J.D. (with Honors), Drake University, 1987
B.S., Iowa State University, 1983
- Board Governance
- Public Finance
Ron began his career with the firm as a law clerk in 1985 and has worked extensively in education law. As a public school attorney, Ron’s thirty-plus years of experience has allowed him to work on a wide variety of legal matters. Ron has assisted clients with the negotiation of construction and purchasing contracts, the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements and resolution of labor and employment disputes, and compliance with special education laws. He has assisted clients in compliance with the Iowa open meetings and public records laws, and helped them provide a secure educational environment while respecting student rights under the law.
Ron’s experience on education issues also carries over to private educational institutions, and he has provided specialized assistance to institutions such as Drake University and Simpson College. He has also worked with private employers in matters related to compliance with federal and state laws.
Since 2011, Ron has spent the majority of his time assisting school district clients with the issuance of governmental bonds. As bond counsel, Ron prepares the proceedings necessary for issuance of the bonds and assists clients in compliance with state and federal laws related to the issuance, including federal tax regulations. As disclosure counsel for a bond issue, Ron assists clients with compliance with the federal securities laws and regulations. Ron also assists clients with finance issues unique to schools, including lease-purchase financing, bond elections and the adoption of special levies and taxes.
All Iowa Courts
U.S. District Courts – Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa
U.S. Court of Appeals – Eighth Circuit
- Counsels school districts in the issuance of general obligation bonds and notes and revenue bonds.
- Counsels school districts in connection with public investments, contracting and fund use issues.
- Counsels school districts in connection with corporate governance issues.
- Counsels public bodies related to open meeting law requirements and public record requests. Has assisted public bodies in providing public record information while also protecting records that are to be held confidential.
- Advised and defended school districts and area education agencies in matters related to employment, labor relations, student rights, and student discipline. Worked extensively with school districts and area education agencies on matters related to special education and students with disabilities.
American Bar Association – Sections: State and Local Government Law, Government Practice
Iowa State Bar Association
Polk County Bar Association
Iowa Council of School Board Attorneys
National School Board Association, Council of School Board Attorneys
Education Law Association
Martindale-Hubbell® – AV® Rating
Best Lawyers in America© - Education Law (2013-2020)
- Des Moines Lawyer of the Year (2017)
Order of the Coif
Ron's most recent speaking engagements include:
Iowa Association of School Board Officials, Virtual Spring Conference, "SAVE & Bonding in a New Era," with Jim Wainwright, May 2020
Iowa State University, Iowa School Business Management Academy, “Legal - Bonding & Contracting,” with Beth Grob, May 2019
Iowa School Business Management Academy, Spring Academy, “Bonding and Contracting” with Jim Wainwright, April 2018
Iowa School Business Management Academy, “Bonding and Contracting” with Beth Grob, May 2017
Iowa Association of School Business Officials, Spring Conference, “Post Issuance Compliance” with Beth Grob, March 2017
Ahlers & Cooney, Client Seminar - Post-Issuance Compliance Training for Bonds, “Post Issuance Tax Compliance Policies,” October 2016
Iowa Association of School Business Officials, “Solar/Wind Power and School Facilities – Financing and Contracting,” March 2016
Published Articles & Books
NSBA Council of School Attorneys, Inquiry and Analysis, “Voluntary Single-Gender Classroom Instruction,” January 1997
West’s Education Law Reporter, “Mergens: The Beginning, Not the End, of Questions Arising Under the Equal Access Act,” January 1991
NSBA Council of School Attorneys, Inquiry and Analysis, “Government Officials and the Qualified Immunity Defense,” January 1989
Statutory Redemption, 35 Drake Law Review 655 (1985-86)
Professional, Community and Civic Leadership
Legal Aid of Central Iowa, Volunteer Intake Attorney
Iowa Council of School Board Attorneys, Past Member Board of Directors (Chair 2005-2006)
First United Methodist Church, Indianola, Worship Team Member, Co-Chair of Weekly and Monthly Hunger Projects, Past Lay Leader and Youth Group Leader
Boy Scouts of America, Co-founder and Past Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 123, Mid-Iowa Council