Rebecca E. Reif
100 Court Avenue, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309
J.D. (with Highest Honors), Drake University, 2013
B.A., Political Science (Magna Cum Laude), Colorado State University, 2008
Becky is a member of the firm’s Public and Private Law Practice Areas, with a focus on Employment & Labor Law, Education Law, and Litigation.
In the area of employment law, Becky serves clients in strategic planning and litigation related to employment relationships, including reviewing and revising policies and employment agreements, and advising on compliance with federal laws such as the FLSA and FMLA. In addition, she assists employers by conducting internal investigations, as well as defending claims of retaliation, discrimination and harassment, and other employment-related claims.
For clients in the education practice, Becky serves in both advisory and advocacy capacities, including developing and implementing policies, providing day-to-day counseling, and litigating cases in state and federal court and before administrative agencies. She assists education clients with issues such as student rights and discipline, employee misconduct, civil rights and discrimination, and compliance with laws such as Title IX and the Clery Act. Becky does a particularly significant amount of work with Iowa private colleges and universities, and currently serves as chair of the firm's Higher Education Practice Group.
Originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming, Becky graduated from Drake University Law School with Highest Honors and was named to the Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers. While in law school, she was a member of the ABA National Moot Court team and Research Editor for the Drake Law Review.
- Defended private colleges and universities and school districts from employment discrimination claims in state and federal agencies and federal and state district courts, including allegations of sex or sexual orientation discrimination, race discrimination, and disability discrimination.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment for a school district in a lawsuit involving claims of race and disability discrimination in education. In this matter, the state district court granted summary judgment on an arguably novel application of the doctrine of issue preclusion.
- Litigated and obtained a summary judgment ruling in favor of a private college on civil rights and tort claims in federal court.
- Defended a national corporate client which had a multi-million default judgment entered against it in a personal injury action in a state district court. Won a motion to set aside the default judgment, and the Iowa Court of Appeals declined to overturn the order setting aside the default.
- Drafted and advised many public and private educational instructions on obligations under Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Act, including preparation of comprehensive policies and reports.
Iowa Bar Association
Polk County Bar Association
Polk County Women Attorneys
C. Edwin Moore Inn of Court
National Association of College and University Attorneys
Best Lawyers in America© – Ones to Watch (2021-2023)
- Education Law
- Labor and Employment Law - Management
- Litigation - Labor and Employment
Super Lawyers Great Plains - Employment Litigation: Defense (Rising Star 2022)
The Iowa Lawyer magazine, "Spotlight on Service," page 30, March 2020
Order of the Coif, 2013
Order of the Barristers, 2013
M. Gene Blackburn Best Brief Award (Drake Law School Supreme Court Day Moot Court Competition), 2013
Drake Law School, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition Team - Regional Competition Semi-finalist, and 2nd place for Best Brief Award, 2012
Drake Law School, Finalist, First Year Oral Argument Advocacy Competition, Spring 2011
Drake Law School, Finalist, C. Edwin Moore Oral Advocacy Competition, Fall 2010
Becky's most recent speaking engagements include:
Iowa SHRM, Annual Conference, "Employee Leave and Accommodation Issues (Including Remote Work) Post-COVID," October 2021
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Employment Law Webinar Series, "Stump the Ahlers’ Attorneys – Panel Q&A Series Finale," with Drew Bracken, Ann Smisek, Lindsay Vaught and Carrie Weber, February 2021
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Employment Law Webinar Series, "Navigating Employee Leave Issues in a Pandemic Environment - The ADA, FMLA, and More?," with Emily Kolbe and Olivia Brooks, January 2021
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Title IX Virtual Training Workshop for Clients, June 2020
- "Title IX Decision-Maker Training for Higher Education," with Ann Smisek
- "Training on Supportive Measures and Informal Resolution," with Kristy Latta
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Webinar, "New Title IX Final Regulations, What You Need to Know for K-12s and Higher Education," with Miriam Van Heukelem, May 2020
Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "FMLA/ADA Hot Topics," with Lindsay Vaught, November 2019
Iowa SHRM Conference, “Current ADA and FMLA Issues & Highlights,” October 2019
Mississippi Valley Human Resources Association, "ADA and FMLA Update," September 2019
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Webinar, "Assistance / Emotional Support and Service Animals," with Emily Kolbe, August 2019
Iowa Employment Conference, Spring Conference, “New Technologies in the Workplace and Implications for Employment Law,” with Lindsay Vaught, April 2019
Ahlers & Cooney P.C., Webinar, "New Proposed Regulations under Title IX," January 2019
Ahlers & Cooney P.C., Employment Law Client Seminar, "Pay Equity Update" with Lindsay Vaught, October 2018
Iowa Employment Conference, Fall Conference, "Advanced Employment Law: Pay Equity, ADA, FMLA & Other Case Law Updates" with Lindsay Vaught, October 2018
Published Articles & Books
Drake Law Review, Volume 61, “Note, Knowledge is Power: Reform of For-Profit Educational Institutions on an Individual and Jurisdictional Level”
Professional, Community and Civic Leadership
Animal Lifeline of Iowa, Board Member (2017 - present, President 2020)
Girls on the Run Coach, Capitol View Elementary (2019 - present)
Young Women's Resource Center, Young Empowerment Partnership Member (2017- 2019)
Iowa State Bar Association, Executive Council of Young Lawyers Division
- District 5C Representative (2014 - 2019)
- Committee Chair: Disciplinary Opinions (2016 - 2019)
Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute – Class of 2016 - 2017
Book Club Project - Iowa Correctional Institute for Women
The Wall that Heals (traveling Vietnam memorial)