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 serves 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, Honorable 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 (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 and arbitration of employment claims involving sexual harassment by female supervisor directed at two male employees.
  • Securing summary judgment for food industry corporation in federal court (S.D. Iowa) defeating former employee’s claims of termination in violation of public policy.
  • Defense of municipal client through trial in Iowa state court (Dubuque County) against claim that special assessments for local improvements violated Iowa law.
  • Successful federal court (S.D. Iowa) trial of breach of contract claims asserted by entity claiming rights to unique colony of bonobos living in Des Moines.
  • Consultation, trial support, and appeal, including oral argument to the 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.    
  • Defense of hospital in Iowa state court (Linn County) in action alleging malpractice by nursing employees, resulting in a defense verdict after trial to a jury.
  • 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.
  • Success in securing summary judgment in Iowa state court (Polk County) on plaintiff's tort claims against client premised on conduct of therapist allegedly employed by client.            
  • Represented long term care facility in Iowa federal court (Northern District) against allegations of termination of employment in violation of public policy, including securing a defense verdict after trial to a jury.       
  • Secured dismissal with prejudice of claims against pharmaceutical manufacturer in Iowa federal court (N.D. Iowa) in defense of products liability claims arising from alleged failure of vaccine to protect plaintiff’s swine herd.   
  • Multiple representations of hospital client in defense of medical malpractice claims in Iowa state court (Linn County), including securing summary judgment based on plaintiffs’ inability to offer expert testimony in support of their claims.    

News & Resources


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

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
Chambers USA 2016 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Litigation Practice in Des Moines
Chambers USA 2016 Ranks Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 15 Dorsey Lawyers
Dorsey Partner William Miller argues Concerned Citizens of Southeast Polk Sch. Dist., et al. v. City of Pleasant Hill, et al. (Iowa Supreme Court)
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Des Moines
8 Dorsey Lawyers Selected in Des Moines for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016
Dorsey’s Des Moines Office Named - Trial and Commercial Law Firm of the Year in Iowa
Chambers USA 2015 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Litigation Practice in Des Moines
Dorsey Partner William Miller Comments on Iowa Business Specialty Court Program
Dorsey Partner William Miller Praises Iowa Business Specialty Court Pilot
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 17 Dorsey Lawyers
Super Lawyers Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers in Des Moines
Hon. Thomas Latham of Iowa Pays Tribute to William Miller
Dorsey Represents Deerfield Retirement in Confirmation Hearing Win
Dorsey Congratulates Partner William J. Miller on Being Named to Forty Under 40
Dorsey Represents Deerfield in Filing Prepackaged Chapter 11 Plan
Super Lawyers Recognizes Three Dorsey Lawyers in Des Moines
Dorsey Names Nine New Partners

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.

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Member, Polk County Bar Association
    • President-Elect
    • Member, Board of Governors
    • Chair, Judicial Retention Committee
    • Past Member, Ethics Committee
  • Past Member, Public Relations Committee
  • Past Member, PCBA Volunteer Lawyers Project Board of Directors
  • 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
  • Member, Iowa State Bar Association 
    • Member, Appellate Practice Committee
    • Past Member, Board of Governors
    • Past Member, Independence of the Judiciary/Fair Courts Committee
  • Past Member and Chair, Young Lawyers Division Services to the Elderly Committee
  • Member, Iowa Defense Counsel Association
  • Past Member, American Judicature Society, National Advisory Council
  • Past Member, American Judicature Society, Amicus Committee

Community Involvement

  • Recognized as one of Des Moines Business Record's 2014 Forty Under 40
  • 2008 Graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute
  • Past Member, Amanda the Panda Board of Directors   
  • Past President, Beaverdale Neighborhood Association   


Ranked In - USA Chambers and Partners 2016 - Leading Individual   Ranked in Chambers USA 2015 - Leading Individual      

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation, 2016-2017
  • Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Recognized as one of Benchmark Litigation's Under 40 Hot List, 2016-2017
  • Named "Up and Coming" by Chambers USA (Litigation: General Commercial), 2015-2016
  • Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Great Plains Super Lawyers, 2013-2016
  • Recognized as a "Future Star" by Benchmark Litigation, 2015-2016
William J. Miller