Russell L. Samson

Of Counsel
Russell L. Samson
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Tel/Main 1:
801 Grand Ave.
Suite 3700
Des Moines, IA 50309
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Russell L. Samson, Dickinson Bradshaw local attorney, practices primarily in the area of employment law, including traditional labor law, exclusively representing employers in the private sector. He advises clients in the areas of union representation, labor rights, negotiating contracts and union grievances, and unfair labor practices. He also counsels, advises and represents employers in personnel matters ranging from policy creation and documentation, restructuring of personnel to investigating, responding to and defending against claims of unlawful discrimination and wrongful discharge. He has served as the chapter labor attorney to Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa since 1988.

Honors & Awards

Best Lawyers Award Badge     

Chambers USA

  • Chosen for special recognition in the 2021-2024 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a Senior Statesperson in the area of Labor & Employment in the state of Iowa. 
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2008-2024 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a Leading Individual in the area of Labor & Employment in the state of Iowa. Russ has drawn the following published commentary from the editors of Chambers USA:
    • 2008: “As a more traditional labor attorney, Russ Samson brings further strength to the firm and is referred to by peers as ‘the dean of labor law.’ Characterized as ‘a bright guy and a solid lawyer,’ interviewees were keen to stress that while he is primarily known for his union work, he has ‘a great knowledge of the full range of employment.'”
    • 2009: “Samson has become a highly regarded member of the team acting for private sector clients in traditional labor relations matters.”
    • 2010: “Practice chair and shareholder Russell Samson earns plaudits as ‘a go-to lawyer in the state for his prowess in, and command of, traditional labor law.’ He recently acted for Liberty Food Service in opposing a union election and dismissing claims of unfair labor practices.”
    • 2011: “Department head and experienced lawyer Russell Samson ‘listens to the concerns of the client and provides remedies that both limit risk and meet legal obligations.'”
    • 2012: “Russell Samson draws praise as a ‘very bright guy’ who has a ‘great intellect and provides excellent counsel.’ He focuses on traditional labor law, but is able to offer expertise on a broad range of issues.”
    • 2013: “Russ Samson draws acclaim as an authority on labor matters, with a practice covering union representation, unfair labor practices, negotiating contracts and union grievances.”
    • 2016: "Russ focuses on labor and union matters and is valued for his knowledge and experience in the sector. One source says: "He knows his stuff and he is highly respected." He is experienced in handling claims before the Iowa Civil Rights Commission."
    • 2017: "Russ Samson is head of department and maintains a wide ranging practice with expertise in advising private sector clients on matters such as drafting employee handbooks, defending claims from employees, unfair labor practices and contracts."
    • 2020: "Russell Samson is recognized as "a force in the traditional labor law area" by interviewees. He has a multifaceted practice which covers discrimination and wrongful discharge claims as well as matters relating to unfair labor practices and union grievances."
    • 2021: "He is one of the longtime leaders of the firm's employment practice."
    • 2024: "Russ is is always spot on when providing advice.”

Best Lawyers

  • Selected for inclusion in the 2022 and 2023 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the following areas:
    • Employment Law – Management
    • Labor Law – Management
  • Russ is the 2019 "Lawyer of the Year" for Employment Law – Management as recognized by U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers in America
  • Russ is the 2017 "Lawyer of the Year" for Labor Law - Management as recognized by U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers in America

Super Lawyers

  • Selected for inclusion in the Great Plains Super Lawyers Lists in the area of Employment & Labor since 2007.



Admitted to practice in the following states:

  •  Iowa

Admitted to practice before the following federal courts:

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

Reported Cases and Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented a business which provides on-site services to other businesses in a union organizing campaign by a union which represented employees of the customer; was successful in having two unfair labor practices dismissed by the Regional Director (and the decision affirmed on appeal).
  • Successfully represented a business which was the target of “consumer advisory” picketing (including “shame” banners, “giant rat” balloons and a “ratmobile” following trucks and equipment to customers’ sites), including having unfair labor practices dismissed by the Regional Director (which decision was affirmed on appeal by the union).
  • Has represented several businesses in Department of Labor audits under the FLSA (including one where a primary issue involved the “computer exemption”) and under Davis-Bacon. Was successful in having an erroneously published Davis-Bacon rate corrected.

Memberships & Activities

  • Iowa State Bar Association
    • Member, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • American Bar Association
    • Member, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Polk County Bar Association

Articles, Presentations, and Publications