William J. Miller

William J. Miller




A strong believer that close relationships drive successful outcomes, Bill cultivates connections within and outside the legal field to benefit his clients and community. Combining these relationships with legal skill, Bill is an effective advocate in complex business matters, employment disputes and claims, and personal injury defense for clients in industries at the center of the modern economy including healthcare, government, and financial services.

Bill handles matters through all aspects of litigation, including pre-suit investigation and negotiation, administrative proceedings, arbitration, and trial and appeal in state and federal court. His experience includes litigation in probate and bankruptcy courts. Bill also has been entrusted with internal investigations and policy and procedure reviews in employment and other contexts. He is proud to serve as the pro bono coordinator for the firm’s Iowa office.

Education & Admissions

Drake University Law School, With Highest Honors; Order of the Coif; Iowa State Bar Association Graduating Senior Award; H.G. Cartwright Law Review Award

Augustana College, cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa


  • Iowa
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa


  • Iowa Supreme Court, Justice Mark S. Cady


Representative Litigation

Bill is a trial lawyer and has litigated several matters through trial and appeal. Other successes have resulted in client victories without trial. Some of his notable experiences include:

  • Trial and appeal (Polk County and Iowa Supreme Court) in multiple lawsuits against the same independent living facility client alleging breach of fiduciary duty and other theories.
  • Defense from administrative level through trial in arbitration and state and federal courts of numerous employment law matters.
  • Trial and appeal (N.D. Iowa and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals) of breach of contract claims surrounding economic development agreement between a municipal client and corporation alleging the city failed to pay agreed-upon incentives.
  • Defense of municipal client through trial and appeal (Dubuque County and Iowa Court of Appeals) against claim that special assessments for local improvements violated Iowa law.
  • Consultation, trial support, and appeal (Polk County and Iowa Supreme Court) in action seeking to stymie client’s economic development initiatives involving tax increment financing and zoning issues.
  • Represented manufacturing client in complex products liability action in Iowa state court (Mahaska County). With a Dorsey colleague, tried the case to a jury over five weeks resulting in an eight-figure verdict in favor of client.
  • Multiple cases for hospital client defending medical malpractice claims in Iowa state court (Linn County).
  • Lead counsel in securing a defense verdict after trial in Iowa state court (Polk County) of plaintiffs’ failure to warn claim related to allegedly-defective vehicle loading ramp.

News & Resources


Iowa Passes New Law Related to COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates by Employers and Unemployment Insurance
Iowa Supreme Court Narrowly Upholds Portion of Waterloo, Iowa’s “Ban the Box” Ordinance: What Does It Mean for Other Iowa Municipalities?
No Vaccine Passports in Iowa
SF 2338: A Proposed Fix for "Pexa" and the Pandemic
New Eighth Circuit Opinion Likely to Increase Summary Judgments in Noncompete Litigation
Hutchison v. Shull: Expanding Iowa’s Open Meeting Law (Part 1)
Iowa Supreme Court: So-Called “Shuttle Diplomacy” May Violate Open Meeting Law
Medical Liability Reform – Iowa’s Communication and Optimal Resolution (Candor) Bill Effective July 1, 2015
Recent Iowa Supreme Court Opinions Address Open Records Request for a Public Hospital's Internal Audits and Address Hospital Board Liability for Negligent Credentialing
New Iowa Supreme Court Opinion Reinforces Iowa’s Peer Review Protection
"Unpublished Opinions—New Rule Governing Their Use Could Become Effective End of the Year," The Iowa Lawyer
"An Excellent Volume for Practitioners in Many Fields (A Review of Advance Health Care Directives: A Handbook for Professionals)," The Iowa Lawyer
Note, "Chipping Away at the Dam: Anastasoff v. United States and the Future of Unpublished Opinions in the United States Courts of Appeals and Beyond," 50 Drake L. Rev. 181
Part 3: Best Practices of a Governmental Body To Protect Itself in Challenges Under the Open Meetings Law After Hutchison v. Shull

News & Press Mentions

200 Dorsey Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in 2024 Best Lawyers in America, Lawyers of the Year, and Ones to Watch
Super Lawyers Recognizes Five Dorsey Attorneys in Des Moines
Chambers USA 2023 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practice in Des Moines
Chambers USA 2023 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Chambers USA 2022 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
18 Dorsey Lawyers Recognized by Benchmark Litigation
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Des Moines
13 Dorsey Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in 2021 The Best Lawyers in America Employment Law Issue
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 17 Dorsey Lawyers
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 17 Dorsey Lawyers
Chambers USA 2019 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Nine Dorsey Lawyers Selected in Des Moines for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019
Chambers USA 2018 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Litigation Practice in Des Moines
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 16 Dorsey Lawyers
Eight Dorsey Lawyers Selected in Des Moines for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2018 and 2018 Lawyers of the Year
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Des Moines
Chambers USA 2017 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Litigation Practice in Des Moines
Chambers USA 2017 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Dorsey’s Des Moines Office Recognized for Commercial Law - Law Firm of the Year in Iowa
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 17 Dorsey Lawyers
Dorsey Partner William Miller argues Acciona Windpower v. City of West Branch
8 Dorsey Lawyers Selected in Des Moines for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017
Benchmark Litigation Names 7 Dorsey Lawyers to Under 40 Hot List
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 15 Dorsey Lawyers
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Des Moines

Select Presentations

Bill has presented on topics including appellate law and practice, professional responsibility, and elder law for organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel - Iowa Chapter, Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Judicial Institute, Iowa Defense Counsel Association and Polk County and Iowa State Bar Associations.

Industries & Practices

  • Appellate
  • Banking & Financial Institutions
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Development & Infrastructure
  • Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Labor & Employment
  • Pro Bono
  • Products Liability
  • Trusts & Estates Litigation

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Member, Polk County Bar Association
    • Past President       
    • Member, Board of Governors
    • Chair, Judicial Retention Committee
    • Past Member, Ethics Committee
    • Past Member, Public Relations Committee
  • Member, Iowa State Bar Association 
    • Member, Board of Governors
    • Member and Past Chair, Litigation Section Council
    • Member, Health Law Section Council 
    • Member, Judicial Administration Committee 
    • Member, Appellate Practice Committee
    • Past Member, Independence of the Judiciary/Fair Courts Committee
    • Past Member and Chair, Young Lawyers Division Services to the Elderly Committee
  • Life Fellow, Iowa State Bar Foundation
  • Member, Iowa Defense Counsel Association
  • Member, Iowa Society of Healthcare Attorneys
  • Member, Iowa Municipal Attorneys Association
  • Past Member, Iowa Supreme Court Jumpstart Jury Trials Task Force
  • Past Member and Co-Chair, Iowa Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Past Member, Iowa Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education
  • Past Member, PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project Board of Directors
  • Past Member, American Judicature Society, National Advisory Council
  • Past Member, American Bar Association
  • Past Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Past Member, C. Edwin Moore Inn of Court

Community Involvement

  • Drake Law School, Board of Counselors
  • Augustana College, President's Advisory Council
  • Recognized as one of Des Moines Business Record's 2014 Forty Under 40
  • 2008 Graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute
  • Past Member, Holy Trinity Church and School, Facilities Committee
  • Past Member, Amanda the Panda Board of Directors
  • Past President, Beaverdale Neighborhood Association


Chambers USA 2023Chambers 2022Chambers USA 2021  Ranked in Chambers USA 2020  Ranked in Chambers USA 2019 Leading Individual  
Chambers USA 2018 Leading Individual  Ranked in USA Chambers 2017 Leading Individual  Ranked In - USA Chambers and Partners 2016 - Leading Individual 
Ranked in Chambers USA 2015 - Leading Individual  Benchmark Ligitation 2017    


  • Ranked by Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Business Lawyers” (Litigation: General Commercial), 2018-2023
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation (2016-2023) and Litigation — Labor & Employment (2018-2023)
  • Listed in Great Plains Super Lawyers, 2021-2023
  • Dorsey & Whitney – Scales of Justice Team Award (Dr. Conaway Disability Rights Team), 2021
  • Ranked by Chambers USA as "Up and Coming" (Litigation: General Commercial), 2015-2017
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America Employment Law Issue, 2021
  • Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Recognized as a "Labor & Employment Star – Iowa" by Benchmark Litigation, 2021-2022
  • Recognized as one of Benchmark Litigation's Under 40 Hot List, 2016-2018
  • Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Great Plains Super Lawyers, 2013-2017
  • Recognized as a "Future Star" by Benchmark Litigation, 2015-2016 and 2021-2022

Pro Bono 50 Hours 2022    Contributed 100+ Pro Bono Hours in 2021 Contributed 50+ Pro Bono Hours in 2020

  • Contributed more than 50 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020, 2022
  • Contributed more than 100 Challenge pro bono hours, 2021
William J. Miller