New Attorneys Choose Whitfield & Eddy Law and DSM During the Pandemic
Notwithstanding a global pandemic spreading uncertainty across our state and nation, three attorneys joined Whitfield & Eddy Law in Greater Des Moines (DSM) this summer. Established in 1929, Whitfield & Eddy Law is a full-service law firm serving individual and business clients throughout Iowa and across the nation. Even though present circumstances limit opportunities for in-person contact, the firm and its 40-plus attorneys remain committed to recruiting and retaining top legal and support talent to ensure its clients receive the highest quality legal services. With a pivot to the virtual world, the firm has successfully navigated the requirements of social distancing and transitioned its recruiting and training efforts through the use of video conferencing and other technologies.
New Attorneys in 2020
Jennifer Chavez-Rivera, Joshua Feil and James Andersen joined the firm as associate attorneys throughout the summer of 2020 and participated in Zoom interviews to discuss why they chose Whitfield & Eddy Law and DSM to pursue their practice.
Connections That Count: Law School Relationships Drive New Attorney Hires.
Over 90% of the firm‘s attorneys are graduates of The University of Iowa College of Law or Drake Law School and the relationships they developed in law school count. Law school can be an intense three years and law school classmates forge strong bonds during their time together. After law school, these relationships can create a network for business and professional referrals that often continue for decades. Relationships established during law school were instrumental in these three young attorneys finding Whitfield & Eddy Law.
Jennifer’s first experience with the firm was as a member of the inaugural class of Drake Law School’s Cady Law Opportunity Fellow Program. In 2018, Jennifer split her 1L summer clerking with Wells Fargo, N.A. and then Whitfield & Eddy Law. Finding satisfaction with the firm’s work, and building relationships along the way, Jennifer continued to clerk with the firm through the duration of her law school years culminating in an offer to join the firm as an associate attorney following her graduation and licensure in 2020. Jennifer looks back on her initial meeting with Whitfield & Eddy Law attorney Anjela Shutts during a Cady Fellows event as a motivating factor in wanting to become a part of the firm from the beginning.
Joshua and his family were ready for a change and knew the Midwest would be a good place to explore. He grew up in Visalia, California and has lived in Maryland, Michigan, Utah, Maine and most recently Salem, Oregon. While attending the Iowa College of Law, Joshua and his wife lived in North Liberty and enjoyed the mix of small-town charm and larger university community. Looking for a change in his career path, Joshua contacted his law school classmate and Whitfield & Eddy Law attorney, Peter Chalik, to learn more about law practice opportunities in DSM. That network connection helped Joshua land an interview and eventually an associate position with the firm. During the interview process, Joshua was surprised to discover that he had interacted with Whitfield & Eddy Law attorney Mac Stanfield on a transaction just a few years prior. He is currently licensed to practice in Oregon and is seeking licensure in Iowa.
James was reaching the end of his Nebraska Supreme Court clerkship and knew he wanted to practice law in the Midwest, so he also made use of his established law school relationships. Through regular conversations with Iowa College of Law classmate Zach Hermsen, James decided to explore opportunities at Whitfield & Eddy Law and DSM. His familiarity with the state from prior judicial clerkships in Iowa, and also the fact his parents (both retired lawyers) and sister live in Audubon, an hour away, didn’t hurt either. James already knew the solid reputation of the firm from his work with the courts and his parents’ professional (and law school) relationship with Whitfield & Eddy Law Attorney Jaki Samuelson.
The Community + Access to Leadership Roles Matter
DSM offers more ready access to business, civic, cultural and recreational resources that help our attorneys grow personally and professionally compared to larger population centers.
Jennifer was born in Kodiak, Alaska and her family is originally from El Salvador. She grew up in DSM, attending East High School and Central Academy before enrolling at the University of Iowa. With her mom, siblings and her extended family on her mom’s side still living in the community, DSM is home. She has been active the past five years in DREAM Iowa, a nonprofit organization that promotes community development and empowerment for immigrants and refugees. She is currently helping with scholarship fundraising for DREAM Iowa’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. Post-COVID, she would like to establish a mock trial program at her middle school, Amos Hiatt, to build awareness and understanding of the law with youth and families.
James is active in professional organizations, including the Iowa State Bar Association committees, specifically the Environmental Law Section. He looks forward to firm volunteer opportunities like Meals from the Heartland, Combat Hunger and Des Moines Parks and Recreation trail cleanup days.
Josh is active in his church including different administrative functions and setting up Zoom meetings for the group. He was active on the Gilbert House Children’s Museum board in Salem and expects to be on a nonprofit board in DSM at some point. They’ve been actively recruiting friends finishing medical school to the region as well.
DSM is at the Center of Amazing Things
Despite the tired “no coast” or “flyover country” labels, DSM is the low-cost, high-opportunity place for individuals and families.
For Jennifer, DSM is her hometown, as well as a burgeoning city that gets better every day. She looks forward to being a part of the continued development of the 515 area and supporting its Latino community. She is a first-generation Iowan and ready to sink roots here and leave a legacy in this city.
Josh and his family love trying out new restaurants in DSM. They enjoy the Ecuadorian restaurant, Mi Patria, and are excited to see what new cuisines are coming to Norwalk. Quality of life is important to Josh, his wife and their three young sons. They have previously visited Maquoketa Caves in Maquoketa, the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville and enjoy visiting the nearby Blank Park Zoo. With their new home and maple trees, raking (17 city yard waste bags this fall so far) and playing with the kids in the leaves has been memorable.
James enjoys the local trail system for bicycling and running and the region’s central location, which he notes, is less than three to four hours away from communities and friends to visit.
Learn More About Whitfield & Eddy Law
With a combined force of nearly 100 attorneys and staff, Whitfield & Eddy Law is an employer of choice in DSM. Learn more at whitfieldlaw.com or follow the firm on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Named the #5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and a Top 10 Best Place for Business and Careers, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a city where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.