July 22, 2013

Ahlers & Cooney Law Firm Celebrates 125th Anniversary

Firm has long-standing reputation of leadership across many sectors
Des Moines, Iowa (July 17, 2013)   A major milestone for the Ahlers & Cooney law firm will be reached this month as the firm celebrates its 125th Anniversary. In 1888, the firm's doors opened as Wishard & Baily, with William H. Baily at the helm. Over the past 125 years, the firm’s name has changed due to retiring attorneys and since 2003 has been known as Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. The firm has its offices in the historic 100 Court Avenue Building in downtown Des Moines.
Mr. Baily began the practice of law in 1875 in Independence, Iowa, with Frank D. Jackson, who would later go on to serve as Iowa’s Governor from 1894-1896.  Mr. Baily moved to Spirit Lake in 1876 and practiced there until 1888 when he moved to Des Moines.  Through hard work and his many talents, he built a large practice in the fields of civil litigation, representation of cities and financial institutions, and probate work.
“Our founding attorneys were successful in developing a firm that was widely recognized for its work with public and municipal entities, as well as businesses. We’re proud of the firm’s long history and that 125 years later, we continue to be recognized for work in these practice areas, as well as additional areas of practice,” says Peter Pashler, President of the firm.
Today, Ahlers & Cooney is organized by six practice areas of: Public Finance & Law; K-12 Education; Employment & Labor Law; Higher Education; Litigation, Dispute Resolution & Investigations; and Corporate, Business & Tax. Firm lawyers provide comprehensive legal services to municipalities and educational institutions, and state, national and international businesses – across an array of industries.
Whether helping to build Iowa's communities and schools or protecting Iowa's businesses and employers, the firm has built a reputation of excellence over the past 125 years for being innovative in solutions while effectively managing risk for its clients.
A few of the accomplishments of the firm and its attorneys – from the early 1900's and today include:
  • In the late 1800's and early 1900's – Mr. Baily was active as counsel in municipal litigation, setting the stage for the firm's present-day practice in Litigation and Public Finance Law.
  • Mr. Bailey and Associate Grace Ballantyne represented a Des Moines woman named Mary Coggeshall and three others in a fight for women’s suffrage.  They were successful when the Iowa Supreme Court in 1908 reversed the district court, saying the election was void because "women as a class were barred from voting."
·         Ahlers & Cooney consistently ranks in the top rankings for Bond Counsel in the Midwest region based on dollar volume of bonds issued with the Firm’s opinion – and currently ranks 1st in Iowa.
·         The firm continually is recognized by Best Lawyers in America (U.S. News/Iowa) – and in 2012, 19 attorneys were recognized across 23 categories. They are also recognized by Chambers USA and many other industry-specific organizations.
  • Attorneys serve as general counsel and bond counsel to a number of Iowa’s community colleges, private colleges and universities across the state, and as bond counsel to Iowa’s public universities which are governed by the Board of Regents. Members of the Higher Education practice area are at the forefront of the development of college and university law. 
  • Ahlers & Cooney represents well over 100 local public school districts from across the State of Iowa, ranging from some of the State’s smallest school districts to the largest school district in the State. 
  • The lawyers in the Litigation area today have over 200 years of combined experience. Many of the firm's trial attorneys are former judicial law clerks for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States District Court and the Iowa Supreme Court.
  • The firm has negotiated a multitude of collective bargaining agreements for public and private clients and defended hundreds of civil rights complaints.
  • Several attorneys are recognized as Fellows in various professional organizations such as the American College of Trial Lawyers, American College of Bond Counsel, and American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
  • Several attorneys are active as mediators and/or arbitrators in the rapidly growing area of alternative dispute resolution.
  • The firm believes in giving back to the communities in which its attorneys and staff live and work and strongly supports a range of activities – from donating hours weekly to Iowa Legal Aid, to supporting the annual United Way campaign as a Pacesetter firm, to its annual charitable project selected by the staff.
  • In 2012, Ahlers & Cooney was selected as one of Iowa’s top workplaces by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, an honor based on employee feedback.

« Back