About The Firm

With a rich history deeply rooted in the Central Iowa legal community, Dickinson, Bradshaw, Fowler & Hagen, P.C. boasts one of the largest Iowa-based teams of attorneys practicing in more than 90 areas of law. As a general practice law firm, we provide clients with the highest quality of legal representation, and we recognize the importance of providing personalized representation for each client. Ultimately, our goal is to provide legal services and counseling which enhance the reputation of both the client and the attorney involved.

The firm has a unique history, most recently forming Dickinson, Bradshaw, Fowler & Hagen, P.C. in 2024 when Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen P.C. and Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C., joined legal teams. Combined, Dickinson Bradshaw has one of the largest Iowa-based teams with nearly 60 attorneys practicing in more than 90 areas of law. The merger brought together two solidly-based Iowa firms and demonstrates a shared dedication to the state and serving Iowa clients. Together, we have over 190 years of collective legal experience, with Bradshaw being formed in 1917 and Dickinson, later known as Dickinson & Dickinson, formed in 1937.

Our History

Along the way, both the Dickinson and Bradshaw firms acquired other firms and legal talent to their ranks.

  • In 1917, Charles Sullivan Bradshaw and partners Albert Baird Cummins and James Hune established the Cummins, Hune & Bradshaw law practice in Des Moines that would later become Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. Cummins served as the 18th Governor of Iowa for three terms, from 1902 to 1908, and as a U.S. Senator from 1908 to 1926. Bradshaw is later joined by Senior Partners Rex H. Fowler, W.Z. Proctor, and D.J. Fairgrave.

  • 1937: L. Call Dickinson established a solo practice in downtown Des Moines out of a $60-per-month rental office. Just two years later, L. Call Dickinson is joined by his father, L.J. Dickinson, to create Dickinson & Dickinson. L.J. Dickinson was known as the “Senator” for his six terms serving in the U.S. Senate from 1918 to 1938. 

  • In 1952, the original Dickinson firm merged with Parker, Mannheimer & Parker, forming Dickinson, Throckmorton, Keir, Parker & Mannheimer. Just two years later, the firm became Dickinson, Throckmorton, Parker, Mannheimer & Raife, and remained for many years later. 

  • In 1993, the firm became Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C., and remained as such until the 2024 merger with the Bradshaw firm. Senior partners included John Mackaman, Paul Tyler, and Howard Hagen, who remains with Dickinson Bradshaw today as head of the firm’s banking group.

  • In 2011, seven attorneys formerly practicing as Schneider, Stiles, Serangeli & Mountsier, P.C.  joined the Dickinson firm. This includes shareholders Fred Schneider, William Stiles, William Serangeli, Ronald Mountsier, and Amy Plummer, as well as associates and future shareholders Ben Bruner and Joseph Borg.

  • In 2015, three shareholder attorneys, Mark Feldmann, Doyle Sanders and Justin LaVan, from Beving, Swanson & Forrest P.C. in Des Moines, joined the Bradshaw firm as shareholders.

  • The Dickinson firm established an office in Pella in 2016, which remains open today.

  • In 2019, the Bradshaw firm combined with the firm of Cartwright, Druker & Ryden, which was originally formed in 1858 and is the fourth oldest law firm formed in the state of Iowa, by absorbing its three attorneys and establishing a Bradshaw presence in the Marshalltown area. The firm retained the Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. moniker.

  • Today, the Dickinson Bradshaw firm’s headquarters are at 801 Grand Avenue in the heart of downtown Des Moines.

Serving on the Bench

Modern-day firm attorneys who have gone on to serve as judges in federal and state courts:

Marcia K. Ternus: Iowa Supreme Court

Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, Des Moines, was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1993 by Governor Terry Branstad, and served until 2010. She was the first woman to serve as chief justice of Iowa's highest court. The members of the court selected her as chief justice in 2006.

Chief Justice Ternus is a native of Iowa, growing up on a farm in northern Benton County and graduating from Vinton High School in 1969. She received her bachelor's degree with honors and high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Iowa in 1972. She earned her law degree with honors, Order of the Coif, from Drake University Law School in 1977. While at Drake, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Drake Law Review. Before joining the supreme court, Chief Justice Ternus worked in the private practice at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor and Fairgrave, P.C. with a primary emphasis on civil litigation and insurance law. 

Brent R. Appel: Iowa Supreme Court

Justice Appel was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2006 and retired in 2022. A Dubuque native, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University in California in 1973 and his J.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977. Following graduation from law school, Justice Appel served as a court law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1979, Justice Appel was appointed Iowa First Assistant Attorney General, and in 1983 became Iowa Deputy Attorney General. While serving in the Iowa Attorney General’s office, Justice Appel argued and briefed four cases before the United States Supreme Court, including the second “Christian burial” case, Nix v. Williams. From 1987 until 2006, Justice Appel was engaged in private practice at Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen P.C.

David N. May: Iowa Supreme Court (current)

Justice May was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in July 2022. He was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals in April 2019 and appointed as a district judge in Judicial Election District 5C in February 2016. He previously practiced law with Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia, his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and his law degree from Drake University Law School. His current term expires December 31, 2024.

George G. Fagg: United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

The Honorable George G. Fagg, having been nominated by President Ronald Reagan, was appointed to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 1982. He assumed senior status in 1999 and retired in 2006. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Business at Drake University in 1956 and his law degree from Drake Law in 1958. He graduated first in his class for both degrees.

After law school he worked as a trial attorney in Marshalltown, Iowa, in the Cartwright firm, later Cartwright, Druker, Ryden & Fagg, from 1958 to 1972. In 1972, he was appointed as an Iowa District Court Judge for the Second Judicial District, where he served with distinction for 10 years.

Helen C. Adams: United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa (current)

Chief Magistrate Judge Adams first joined the court on February 13, 2014 and remains on the bench as of 2024. She earned her B.S. and J.D. from the University of Iowa in 1985 and 1988, respectively.

In her legal career, Adams served as a corporate counsel for Pioneer Hi-Bred International from 2009-2014, and for more than 18 years, she was in private practice as a litigator with Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen P.C. from 1990 to 2009. She became a shareholder in 1995. From 1988 to 1990, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Harold Vietor, Southern District of Iowa.

Sharon L. Soorholtz Greer: Iowa Court of Appeals (current)

Judge Soorholtz Greer was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals in April 2019. She received double undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Child Development from Iowa State University and her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. Before her appointment, Judge Soorholtz Greer practiced law with Cartwright, Druker & Ryden in Marshalltown, which combined with Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave later that same year in 2017. She is a member of the American College of Trial Attorneys.

Lawrence P. McLellan: Iowa District Court, District 5C (current)

Judge McLellan was appointed to the bench in 2012. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 from Drake University and his law degree from Drake Law in 1983. In 2006, he also earned a masters in law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in dispute resolution. Upon graduation from law school in 1983, McLellan clerked for the Honorable Ronald E. Longstaff, United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. He had a civil litigation practice with Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. from 1984 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2012 he was with Sullivan & Ward, P.C., also engaged in general civil litigation and mediation.

Patrick D. Smith: Iowa District Court, District 8A  (current)

Judge Smith was appointed to the bench by Governor Kim Reynolds in 2023. Prior to his appointment, he served as senior trial attorney for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and was a shareholder at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. from 2002 to 2018, practicing in litigation, employment and labor litigation, personal injury, product liability, and insurance. He received his undergraduate degree from Drake University and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law.