Nicholas J. Pellegrin






100 Court Avenue, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309-2231


Derek Smith

Court Admissions

All Iowa Courts


J.D. (with Highest Honors), Drake University, 2011

B.A. (Double Major:  Economics & Sociology/Anthropology, Cum Laude), Denison University, 2006

Bar Admissions

Iowa, 2011


Nick has a general litigation practice focused in the areas of civil defense, workers’ compensation, and employment law. As part of his litigation practice, Nick represents employers, businesses, school districts, and municipalities in a wide variety of litigation, from claims alleging personal injury to contract disputes.

Nick’s workers’ compensation practice focuses exclusively on representing employers and their workers’ compensation carriers. Nick works with a broad base of clients in his workers’ compensation defense practice, including insurers, self-insured entities, private businesses, school districts, and municipalities. Nick regularly represents clients in contested cases before the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commission, and also routinely assists clients with non-litigated matters, preventative measures and best practices, and a range of employment matters touching on workers’ compensation. Nick is the chair of the firm's Workers’ Compensation Practice Group.

Nick serves as the firm’s Harmonie Group liaison. He is also the chair of the firm’s Associate Development Committee.

Nick came to the firm through the summer associate program while he was a student at Drake University Law School, where he graduated with Highest Honors. While at Drake, Nick was a member of the Drake Law Review and the AAJ Mock Trial team. Prior to law school, Nick taught U.S. Government and Economics in Memphis through Teach for America. While teaching Nick also coached basketball, baseball, and tennis.


Iowa State Bar Association

Polk County Bar Association


Best Lawyers in America©

  • Workers' Compensation Law - Employers (2024)

Best Lawyers in America© - Ones to Watch

  • Labor and Employment Law - Management (2021-2023)
  • Workers' Compensation Law - Employers (2021-2023)

Order of the Coif (2011)

CALI Excellence for the Future Awards: Torts (2008), Advanced Torts (2009) and Insurance Law (2010)


Nick's most recent speaking engagements include:

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Work Comp Update," April 2022

Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Employment Law Webinar Series, "Workplace Injuries: What To Do When Employees Get Hurt," with Katherine Beenken, January 2021

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Work Comp Updates," with Olivia Brooks, November 2019

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Work Comp and Private Sector Drug Testing Q & A Session" with Lindsay Vaught, October 2018

Iowa Association of Workers' Compensation Lawyers, Fortieth Annual Seminar, Panel -- "Legislative Changes One Year Later: Where We're At and Where We're Going," October 2018

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Workers' Compensation Changes", November 2017

IAPELRA Annual Conference, "Changes in Iowa Work Comp," September 2017

Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, “OSHA Complaints & Investigations” with Katherine Beenken, November 2016

Professional, Community and Civic Leadership

Link Associates, Board of Directors (2013 - present), President (2017-2019)