Nathan J. Overberg
100 Court Avenue, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309-2231
J.D. (Highest Distinction), University of Iowa, 1997
B.A. (Summa Cum Laude), Central College, 1994
Nathan actively works in three principal areas of the firm: Urban Renewal & Economic Development, Employment Law, and Higher Education. Nathan currently serves as the firm's Government Law Practice Area Leader.
In Urban Renewal/Economic Development, Nathan advises public entities as they work to creatively renew and develop their municipalities and create new jobs through the use of tax incentives. He works frequently with other attorneys on financings related to economic development projects. His work often involves a variety of public and private sector constituencies and it requires an appreciation for the perspective of each player with a stake in his clients’ projects. It also requires the ability to work tenaciously to bring a project to fruition.
With respect to employment law, Nathan serves clients in strategic planning related to the employer-employee relationship. In both the Employment and Higher Education areas, Nathan assists clients in avoiding litigation with the drafting and review of policies and employee handbooks, the preparation of employment and severance agreements, the investigation of employee and student complaints, and employee education and training. Nathan has conducted in-depth payroll practice audits, including issues unique to higher education clients. In addition, he advises clients on employment law and student issues and problem situations which arise in the day-to-day operation of their businesses.
At the University of Iowa Law School, he was a member of the Order of the Coif, National Moot Court Team and Associate Editor for the Iowa Law Review. After law school and prior to joining the firm, Nathan served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Harold D. Vietor, Senior United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Iowa.
Urban Renewal & Economic Development
- Represents cities and counties to help them realize economic development opportunities under local and state laws. Projects range from projects impacting a small number of new jobs to projects creating hundreds of jobs with millions of dollars of investment.
- Assisted two Iowa communities establish and utilize economic development tools necessary to attract billions of dollars of investment from leading technology companies.
- Successfully represented community in defending use of urban renewal powers. See McMurray v. West Des Moines, 642 NW2d 273 (2002).
Employment & Labor Law
- Provide legal counsel for dozens of nationwide and local reductions in workforce.
- Negotiate and draft dozens of employment contracts and separation agreements.
- Successfully defended a locally-headquartered, multi-state employer in two collective/class action lawsuits pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. The lawsuits involved claims for unpaid wages, expenses and missed breaks from over 85,000 employees in nine different states under the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws. After successfully convincing the Court, on behalf of the employer, that the employer should be allowed to seek discovery from dozens of putative class members, plaintiffs agreed to mediation during which the parties reached a global settlement of the multi-state class claims.
- Defended several subsidiaries of a Fortune 500 company against claims brought by a competitor related to the hiring of several of the competitor’s salespeople. The Court dismissed several of the subsidiaries and several claims at the summary judgment stage, and following a two-week jury trial, the court granted JNOV as to the remaining claim against the remaining client company.
- Represent universities and colleges in handling Title IX matters, coaches' contracts and faculty issues.
- Successfully defended college from claims related to alleged assault on campus. See Freeman v. Busch, 349 F.3d 582 (8th Cir. 2003).
American Bar Association
Iowa State Bar Association
Polk County Bar Association
C. Edwin Moore Inn of Court
National Association of College and University Attorneys
Iowa Association of Business and Industry
Iowa Municipal Attorneys Association
Best Lawyers in America© (2013-2021)
- Civil Rights Law (2015-2021)
- Employment Law - Management (2013-2021)
Chambers USA – Labor and Employment - Iowa (2005-2016)
Super Lawyers Great Plains – Employment & Labor (2007-2019)
Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute - Annual Inspiring Leadership Award (2016)
Nathan's most recent speaking engagements include:
Iowa League of Cities, Virtual Annual Conference, "Pass Go and Collect $200:Using Board Games and Jelly Beans to Understand the Basic Principles of Urban Renewal and Urban Revitalization," September 2020
Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Top 10 Issues & Hot Topics for Private Employers," with Olivia Brooks, November 2019
Iowa League of Cities, Annual Conference, “Should Your City Use Urban Renewal Minimum Assessment Agreements?,” with Jenna Bishop, September 2019
Iowa League of Cities, Annual Conference, "Beyond Buildings: Creating Jobs Through Urban Renewal" with Jenna Bishop, September 2018
Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association, Spring Conference, "TIF Basics" with Jenna Bishop, April 2018
Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute, "Economic Development 101," July 2017
Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "FAQ Panel" with Drew Bracken and Carrie Weber, November 2016
B.E.S.T. Peer Group Presentation, "20 Most Frequently Asked Employment Questions," June 2016
Published Articles & Books
Cityscape, Iowa League of Cities, Vol. 75 No. 9, March 2020, “Questions Answered: Helping Communities Thrive,” co-authored with Jenna Bishop and Jason Comisky, 2020
Ahlers & Cooney, Iowa Urban Renewal Law, A Primer from Ahlers & Cooney, original authors: Mark Cory and Patricia Martin, authors of 2018 update: Jenna Bishop, Jason Comisky and Nathan Overberg, 2018
American Bar Association’s ADEA Treatise 2nd Cumulative Supplement, 2007, Contributing Editor
Iowa State Bar Association’s Federal Practice Manual, 2006, Contributing Editor
Professional, Community and Civic Leadership
Polk County Bar Association, Past President (2015-2016); Board of Trustees (2008 - present)
Iowa State Bar Association, Board of Governors (2016 - present); Professionalism Committee, Past-Chair; Federal Practice Committee, Past Chair
Iowa Legal Aid, Volunteer Intake Attorney
Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Class of 2009-2010
United Way, Leadership Circle (2006 - present)
United Way, Chair for firm’s Campaign (2005-2010)
Link Associates, Board of Directors (2010-2016)
Children & Families of Iowa Foundation, Past President, Board of Trustees (2010-2016)
Ankeny YMCA, 2009 Fundraising Rookie of the Year
Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church, member