Katherine A. Beenken






100 Court Avenue,
Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309

Court Admissions

All Iowa Courts

U.S. District Courts – Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa

U.S. Court of Appeals – Eighth Circuit


J.D. (with Honors), University of Iowa, 2012

B.A. Journalism and Mass Communication (Magna Cum Laude), Drake University, 2009

Bar Admissions

Iowa, 2012


Katherine provides representation and counsel to local governmental bodies, including public school districts, cities and counties, as well as higher education institutions. She assists clients in a variety of capacities, including counseling on personnel issues, labor relations, employee benefits, contract and policy review, and representation in special education matters.

She also counsels clients on various personnel, human resources, and other employment law matters, including employee discipline and terminations, employment contracts, drafting and revising employment policies, and investigations related to employment. Katherine has experience working with the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS), the Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS), the Iowa Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of public agencies.

Katherine is the Practice Group Leader for the firm's Employee Benefits practice group. She joined the firm as an associate in 2012 after completing the summer clerkship program with the firm.

Representative Projects

  • “Special Report” to IASB regarding Employee Benefits
  • Established a nonprofit entity to assist the community and school district
  • Representation of public entities in special education administrative matter and federal court appeal, receiving a favorable ruling for the public school and area education agency
  • Representation of public school district in a student disciplinary matter and subsequent litigation following the student’s admission to bringing a firearm onto campus
  • Representation of City and County governments in personnel and employment matters


American Bar Association

Iowa State Bar Association

Polk County Bar Association

Polk County Women Attorneys

National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys

National Public Employer Labor Relations Association


Willard L. Boyd Public Service Distinction, University of Iowa Law School, 2012


Katherine's most recent speaking engagements include:

Iowa State Association of Counties, “HR 202: How to Effectively Manage Public Employees,” August 2019

Iowa Municipal Professionals, 2019 Iowa Municipal Professionals Academy, “Social Media, the Workplace, and Employee Speech - Do’s and Don’ts for Public Employers,” July 2019

Polk County Bar Association, PCBA Spring 2019 General Practice CLE, “Special Education Law for Lawyers Who Do Not Practice Special Education,” April 2019

National Business Institute, Special Education Law:The Ultimate Guide Seminar, “Developing Legally Compliant IEPs That Benefit,” March 2019

Iowa State Association of Counties, New Officers Training School, "HR Essentials for County Officials," January 2019

National Business Institute (NBI), Seminar, "Manifestation Determination Review Essentials and Discipline & Expulsion - Best Practices," December 2018

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Hot Topics in HR," October 2018

Iowa Association of School Business Officials, "Payroll, the FLSA & Overtime Regulations," October 2018

School Administrators of Iowa, School Law Conference, "Mental Health Consideration for Staff and Students" and "Social Media Issues Involving Staff and Students" with Drew Bracken, February 2018

Ahlers & Cooney, Special Education Client Seminar, "Restraint and Seclusion" with Miriam Van Heukelem, "Location, Grade Level, Classroom: What is 'Placement'", "Technology and the Special Education Student", February 2018

Benefits Compliance Program sponsored by Mark J Becker & Associates, LLC, "Iowa Chapter 20 - Implications on Benefits" with Drew Bracken, April-May 2017

Professional, Community and Civic Leadership

Polk County Women Attorneys – Communications Chair

Polk County Bar Association – Public Relations Co-Chair

Iowa Legal Aid, Volunteer Intake Attorney

The Wall that Heals (traveling Vietnam memorial)