Kirk Schuler

Kirk Schuler




Kirk’s practice is devoted to dispute resolution. He focuses on two principal areas—commercial litigation disputes between businesses, and disputes involving state and federal governments. Kirk regularly advises individual and organizational clients with business disputes on their legal options, negotiates solutions with opposing counsel and mediators, and advocates for his clients’ rights and their “day in court” before arbitrators, judges, and juries. For his clients facing disputes involving the government—such as criminal and white-collar investigations and prosecutions, False Claims Act and civil enforcement actions, and government contract and public procurement disputes—Kirk utilizes his experience as a former federal prosecutor to communicate effectively with the government and defend and protect his client’s rights. 

Kirk begins every new engagement with a conversation with his clients to define what “success” means to them. From there, he maps their way to success, advocating fiercely on their behalf each step of the way.

Pandemic-Related Practice: To help the firm’s clients recover from the pandemic, Kirk has also tailored his practice to provide advice to borrowers and lenders regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP” or the “Program”) created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). Since the start of the pandemic, Kirk has been assisting clients navigate the ever-changing regulatory and statutory framework for the PPP. In conjunction with his False Claims Act (“FCA”) practice and his work as co-editor of Dorsey’s FCA Now blog, Kirk has also spearheaded Dorsey’s efforts to stay abreast of False Claims Act cases in the PPP space—such as through Dorsey’s FCA Case Tracker for PPP Fraud—to defend borrowers and lenders facing government and whistleblower scrutiny about their participation in the Program.

Education & Admissions

Drake University Law School (J.D., 2006), High Honors with Certificates in Litigation/Dispute Resolution and Legislative Practice; Law Review; Moot Court; and Student Bar Association

Drake University (B.A., 2003), magna cum laude, Academic All-American (Men’s Tennis)


  • Iowa
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Guam
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court


  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Chief Judge Mark W. Bennett, 2007-2008
  • Iowa Supreme Court, Justice Mark S. Cady, 2006-2007


Representative Litigation

Kirk has resolved a wide variety of disputes with well over a decade of experience as a current private practitioner and former federal prosecutor. But the variety of cases, including the more recent matters listed below, is always balanced with one trait that is constant: great advocacy for his clients.

  • Business Disputes, including commercial litigation of a wide-range of business disputes involving claims of breach of contract, misrepresentation, fraud, negligence, strict liability, unlawful discrimination, breach of fiduciary duty, products liability, wrongful death, intellectual property rights, and much more.
  • Noncompete Enforcement, including cease and desist letters and an injunction to prevent client’s former employee from working for its competitor.
  • Employment Discrimination Litigation, including complete summary judgment in favor of an employer for defense of FLMA and Iowa worker compensation claims, and defense of employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Trust and Estate Litigation, including litigation and favorable settlement of a dispute between beneficiaries of an estate and trust involving claims of legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duties against the trustee, executors, and their attorneys.
  • Elder Abuse Litigation, involving the prosecution of claims for violating the rights of elder Iowans under Iowa Code Chapter 235F.
  • Iowa Consumer Fraud Act, including claims of deceptive marketing practices.
  • Unfair Advertising Claims, including the prosecution of Federal Trade Commission violations for unlawful comparison advertisements. 
  • Landlord-Tenant Disputes, including the settlement and resolution of tenant’s hunting rights on rented land.
  • City and County Disputes, including the representation of a city in defense of its water rights and a county in defense of its right to issue general obligation bonds and use tax exempt financing to support urban renewal areas.
  • Creditors Rights/Collection, including the collection of debts and foreclosure of real estate.
  • Insurance Interpleader, including litigation between putative beneficiaries to life insurance proceeds.
  • Products Liability Litigation, including the complete dismissal of a products liability action in favor of client.
  • Proposition 65 Litigation & Compliance, including the defense and settlement of “bounty hunter” claims favorable to a manufacturer and distributor of products into California, and crafting company compliance programs to conform to Proposition 65 regulations.
  • Trademark Infringement, including the prosecution of claims under the Anti-cybersquating Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”) and the crafting of a permanent injunction related to trademark rights favorable to client.
  • Shareholder Disputes, including the dismissal of a shareholder derivative rights action.
  • Public Records Requests, including the demand for documents on behalf of clients under various state sunshine laws. 
  • Bid Protests of Government Contracts, including the filing of protests and the defense of awarded contracts.
  • PREA Investigations & Defense, including the defense of an employee facing allegations of Prison Rape Elimination Act violations under Iowa law.
  • Criminal Law, representing defendants in all aspects of criminal proceedings through initial hearings post-arrest, plea negotiations, pre-trial motions and hearings, trial, sentencings, appeals, post-conviction relief, and revocations of supervised release; also including dismissal and expungement of criminal assault charges in Iowa state court, and CJA appointments representing indigent defendants in federal court for drug, gun, and financial crimes.
  • Government Investigations/White Collar, including representation of qui tam plaintiffs and defense of companies accused of false claims and antitrust violations, coordinating internal investigations, and counseling clients in responding to civil investigative demands and civil and criminal subpoenas.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution, including international and domestic arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association and its international division, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, and the confirmation of arbitration awards. 
  • Trial & Appellate Experience involving the prosecution of myriad cases to resolution in federal and state courts, including over ten federal jury and bench trials as lead counsel before U.S. District Courts in Iowa, Illinois, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as several appeals in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits, and representing clients in proceedings for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. 

News & Resources


Civil investigative demands: What are they and how does a recipient respond?
False Claims Act Settlements and Judgments Near $3 Billion in 2023
Iowa Federal Practice: Pro tips for pro hac
DOJ Announces First-In-The-Nation False Claims Act Settlement with PPP Lender
False Claims Act Case Tracker for Paycheck Protection Program Fraud
Fired Employee Alleges Employer Unlawfully Retaliated Against Him For Complaining of PPP Fraud
Deferment Period Extended for PPP Borrowers that Appeal Adverse Forgiveness Decisions
Time Period Extended for Paying Back PPP Loans
What to do if your PPP loan isn’t forgiven
Borrowers & Banks Beware: The New Year Brings the Nation’s First False Claims Act Settlement for Paycheck Protection Program Fraud
Can I please go to work yet?
SF 2338: A Proposed Fix for "Pexa" and the Pandemic
Minnesota Businesses Must Require Workers, Customers, and Visitors to Wear Masks
The Convergence: Feds Level First Hybrid Healthcare- and Securities-fraud Charges Arising from COVID-19 Marketing and Sales
Minnesota Critical Sector Employers Must Develop and Implement Written COVID-19 Preparedness Plans by June 29 Under Latest Order from Gov. Walz
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz Further Loosens COVID-19 Workplace Restrictions Effective May 17 at 11:59 pm – but Requires Newly-Reopening Employers to Implement Preparedness Plans
Governor Tim Walz April 23 Order Allowing Additional Businesses to Restart Operation
Looking Ahead: Enforcement Actions for Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Related to COVID-19
Governor Tim Walz has Extended Minnesota Stay-at-Home Order
Minnesota Stay-at-Home Order to take effect Friday, March 27 at 11:59 pm – “Critical Sectors” may continue operating
The Defense Production Act: The Obscure Law that Industry and Government Should be Talking About Today (and for the Foreseeable Future)
DOJ’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force Priorities Highlighted By Bid-Rigging Qui Tam Settlement
Justice Department Touts FY2019 False Claims Act Statistics as Evidence of Administration’s “High Priority” Against Fraud, but the Numbers Show Less of a Priority on Qui Tams
Dorsey Alert: HHS Regulatory Sprint May Impact FCA Enforcement Trends
Supreme Court Settles Circuit Split and Reads the False Claims Act Statute of Limitations Provision Broadly in Boon to Relators

News & Press Mentions

Chambers USA 2024 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Chambers USA 2023 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practice in Des Moines
Chambers USA 2023 Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers and Practices
Hontos, Schuler Discuss PPP Fraud
Dorsey & Whitney Names New Partners
Dorsey’s Des Moines Office Recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”
Dorsey’s Des Moines Office Named - Trial and Commercial Law Firm of the Year in Iowa

Events & Speaking Engagements

Virtual False Claims Act Forum: Proposed False Claims Act Amendments – An Interview with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley
Webinar Playback: PPP Loan Debt Forgiveness: Lost in a Black Hole?
Webinar Playback: PPP Borrowers: Are You Ready for SBA Audits and Potential Appeals?
Dorsey & Whitney's Annual Des Moines Symposium

Select Presentations

  • Responding to Government Investigations, Association of Corporate Counsel – Iowa Chapter, Drake University Law School, May 20, 2022
  • "Keeping Your Organization Calm, Cool, And Collected When The Government Brings the Heat:  How To Effectively Manage Government Enforcement Efforts,” Association of Corporate Counsel – Iowa Chapter, Fall Symposium, Elm Crest Country Club in Cedar Rapids, October 6, 2017.
  • “Best Practices: Records Retention & Preparing for Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel – Iowa Chapter, Fall Symposium, Elm Crest Country Club in Cedar Rapids, November 11, 2016
  • “Avoiding Litigation Pitfalls in P3 Projects: Understand What to Include in P3 Contracts to Mitigate Litigation Risks,” Dorsey’s Annual Symposium, Des Moines Botanical Gardens, October 27, 2016
  • "What to do when your company is served with a federal subpoena," Association of Corporate Counsel – Iowa Chapter, CLE Luncheon, August 20, 2015

Industries & Practices

  • Appellate
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
  • Government Contracts Counseling & Litigation
  • Government Solutions & Investigations
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Products Liability
  • Trusts & Estates Litigation

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Member, Criminal Justice Act Panel for Des Moines
  • Member, Commercial Litigation Practice Group
  • Member, Government Enforcement & Corporate Investigations Group
  • Co-Editor of FCA Now, Dorsey & Whitney’s False Claims Act blog
  • Past-President, Dallas County Bar Association
  • Member, Polk County Bar Association and Membership Committee
  • Member, Iowa State Bar Association and Federal Practice Committee
  • Co-Founder and Director of icare, a 501(c)(3) Iowa Non-Profit, and co-organizer of the EAT-A-THON
  • Member, Advisory Board for Can Play, a 501(c)(3) Iowa Non-Profit
  • Member, Festival Committee for the Drake Relays
  • Past-Member, Board of Directors for Seeds of Faith Early Learning Center in Clive, Iowa
  • “Spotlight on Service” Honoree, The Iowa Lawyer magazine, November 2017
  • Vision Soccer Academy, Parent Volunteer Coach for Boys Academy Program


Chambers USA 2023

  • Ranked by Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Business Lawyers” (Litigation: General Commercial), 2023
  • Named "Des Moines Ones to Watch" in Commercial Litigation by Best Lawyers®, 2022-2024

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

  • Contributed more than 100 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020-2022
  • Dorsey & Whitney – Scales of Justice Team Award (Dr. Conaway Disability Rights Team), 2021
Kirk Schuler