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 works primarily in the area of Workers' Compensation and also practices in the broader employment and litigation areas. He serves as chair of the firm's Workers’ Compensation Practice Group, and works with a broad base of clients, providing counsel with pre-litigated preventative matters, non-litigated matters and contested case proceedings before the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commission. As part of the litigation and employment groups, Nick handles a wide variety of litigation ranging from contract disputes to personal injury, as well as appellate advocacy.

While at Drake University Law School, Nick was a member of the Drake Law Review and the AAJ Mock Trial team. Prior to enrolling at Drake, he was a member of the Teach for America Memphis Charter Corps. In Memphis, he taught United States Government and Economics and coached basketball, baseball and tennis. Nick came to the firm through the summer associate program, and currently chairs the firm's Associate Development Committee.


Iowa State Bar Association

Polk County Bar Association

Blackstone Inn of Court


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)