Joshua Hughes

Joshua Hughes



Josh listens to clients to help find solutions that are beneficial to everyone involved.

Josh’s experience spans trial and appellate advocacy, judicial clerking, and litigation, allowing him to bring a broad perspective to challenging issues. Josh’s first goal is always to understand a client’s objectives and then to develop a plan for what’s next: whether it’s litigation, investigation, or mediation. Armed with a plan, Josh will work hard to execute client goals and ensure a beneficial resolution for everyone involved.

Prior to joining Dorsey & Whitney, Josh served as a law clerk at the Iowa Court of Appeals for the Honorable Judge David May prior to his appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court. In that role, Josh researched and analyzed complex issues in pending appellate cases. Josh drafted appellate opinions on all range of issues, including employment law, complex commercial litigation and contract disputes, and advanced torts.

Josh received his juris doctor with highest honors from the Drake University Law School in 2021. While in law school, Josh was the Notes Editor in the Drake Law Review, Vice President of the Student Bar Association, and captain of the National Moot Court team. During law school, Josh also completed externships with Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel and the Iowa Attorney General’s office. Josh received his bachelor’s degree from Drake University in Law, Politics, and Society where he wrote his capstone thesis on the history of labor relations in the United States.

Josh is actively involved in his community. As an alum himself, Josh supports the Iowa State Bar Association’s middle and high school mock trial program by volunteering time to judge and coach mock trial students. He is also a member of the Iowa State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division’s executive committee and diversity committee. Josh volunteers with the Des Moines Music Coalition and Capital City Pride, as well.

Education & Admissions

Drake University Law School (Juris Doctor, 2021), with Highest Honors, Order of the Coif

Drake University (B.A., 2019)


  • Iowa
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa


  • Iowa Court of Appeals, Hon. David May, 2021-2022

News & Resources


How bad is bad enough to sue? The U.S. Supreme Court clarifies when a work transfer is “adverse” enough to support a lawsuit under Title VII.
What Employers Need to Know about Iowa’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act
What Employers Need to Know about Iowa’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act
What factors should employers consider in assessing whether their diversity, equity and inclusion practices comply with Title VII?
Assessing the Legality of DEI Programs
Workplace Drug Testing: New Iowa Court of Appeals Ruling Signals Best Practices for Employers
Workplace Drug Testing: New Iowa Court of Appeals Ruling Signals Best Practices for Employers
Recreational Marijuana Legalization, Drug Testing Trends, and Considerations for Employers
New Child Labor Law Signals Changes for Employers, Attorneys
Supreme Court Raises Standard for Denial of Religious Accommodations
What Employers Need to Know About Iowa’s New Child Labor Law
The NLRB Reverses Course (again) on Employee Outbursts and Protected Concerted Activity
What Information is Off-Limits for Utah Employers Under the New Vaccine and Immunity Passport Restrictions Act?
New York Governor Hochul Signs New York Pay Transparency Bill Into Law
FTC Takes First Step to Make Good on Promise to Curtail Non-Compete Agreements
Updates Regarding New Iowa Law That Impacts Health Care Staffing Agencies and Contracts with Health Care Entities
What Obligations do Employers have to Provide Employees with Time off to Vote?

Events & Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, Iowa State Association of Counties HR Seminar, March 13, 2024
  • Speaker, Iowa Drug Testing and Ban the Box, Iowa SHRM Chapter, November 8, 2023
  • Speaker, Sexual Harassment Recognition and Prevention Training, August 31, 2023

Industries & Practices

  • Labor & Employment
  • Labor & Employment Guides

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Board Member, Iowa European Cultural Connection
  • At-Large Member, Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division Executive Committee
  • Member, Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division Diversity Committee

Community Involvement

  • Volunteer, Capital City Music Coalition 


   Pro Bono 50 Hours 2022

  • Contributed more than 50+ pro bono hours, 2022
  • Honorary Order of the Barristers: Drake University Law School, 2022
  • Jeffrey and Elizabeth Goodman Distinguished Advocate Award, Drake University Law School, 2021. Awarded to the graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty, demonstrates excellence and proficiency in client representation and advocacy.
  • M. Gene Blackburn Award for Best Brief in the 2020 Supreme Court Day Competition, Drake University Law School.
Joshua Hughes