Samuel A. McMichael






100 Court Avenue, Suite 600
Des Moines, IA 50309


Derek Smith

Court Admissions

All Iowa Courts


J.D. (Highest Honors), Drake University Law School, 2021

B.A. (Summa Cum Laude), Wartburg College, Business Administration, 2018

Bar Admissions

Iowa, 2021


Sam joined the firm in 2022 as a member of both the Public Law and Private Law Practice Areas, with a focus on Litigation, Employment Law, and Construction Law. Sam enjoys the challenge of problem solving and loves advocating on behalf of the firm’s clients to work collaboratively through any issue that arises. 

Sam handles general litigation and advises clients on all manner of cases. In his practice, he counsels clients on their legal rights and litigation strategy throughout the litigation process. Sam also prepares clients for the courtroom and works to facilitate the best possible outcome in any scenario. In the area of employment law, Sam works on a variety of issues, including employment discrimination, FMLA violations, wrongful termination, retaliation, unemployment claims, and wage and payment matters. In addition, Sam conducts internal investigations for a variety of employment-related matters. 

Prior to joining Ahlers & Cooney, Sam worked at another Des Moines law firm in its litigation department with a focus on insurance defense. He assisted senior attorneys in trial preparation and participated as second chair in multiple trials. During law school, Sam gained significant experience through summer associate positions that honed his litigation skills, and he also served on the editorial board of the Drake Law Review.


American Bar Association

Iowa State Bar Association

Polk County Bar Association


Order of the Coif

Drake Law Review, Best Note Award (2021)

Drake Law School, CALI Excellence Award – Legal Writing I, Contracts I, Constitutional Law II, Criminal Procedure, and Modern Torts (highest scoring student in these law classes)


Ahlers & Cooney, Employment Law Client Seminar, "Case Law Update," with Brad Beaman, April 2023

Published Articles & Books

Hold Your Breath: Predicting How the Eighth Circuit Will, and Should, Hold Regarding Autocratic Asphyxiation Claims Under ERISA-Governed Accidental Death Policies, G9 Drake L. Rev. 631 (2021)

Professional, Community and Civic Leadership

Young Variety, Variety - The Children's Charity, Board Member (2023-2025), Volunteer (2022-2023)

Drake Law Review, Editorial Board, Production Editor (2020-2021)

Wartburg College Student Senate (2016-2018)

Wartburg College, Writing, Reading, Speaking Lab, Tutor (2016-2018)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa, Big Brother (2016-2017)