Welcome 2020 Summer Associates

Welcome 2020 Summer Associates

Posted on 06/18/2020 at 04:15 PM by The Newsroom

Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C. is pleased to announce our 2020 Summer Associates, (left to right) Elizabeth Shaw, Samuel McMichael, and Sierra Leeds.

Sierra Leeds

Sierra is currently attending Drake University Law School where she will graduate with the Class of 2021. She holds an undergraduate degree with a double major in Marketing and Speech Communications from Iowa State University.

Growing up in Boone, Iowa, Sierra first became interested in a legal career early in high school. “I took a Business Law course through our local community college; it was taught by an attorney at 8:00 a.m. and I was excited to get there every morning,” she said. “Because of the early hour, that’s how I knew I was interested – so I kept taking classes to learn more.”

Sierra’s previous legal experience includes serving as a Legal Clerk for Goodman/Keller P.C., Executive Editor of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, and as a Student Attorney for the Entrepreneurial/Transactional Clinic at the Drake Legal Clinic. She was also an intern for the Iowa Senate during her undergraduate study.

Sierra hopes to gain exposure to a variety of areas of law this summer to help her determine where she will take her practice upon earning her law degree. In addition, she was drawn to pursue an Associate position at Dickinson for the summer due to its size. “The firm is big enough to collaborate on a variety of areas of law, but small enough to know each other. I also like that there are a number of areas available to practice in,” she said. “Des Moines also feels like home because of its size. I don’t feel like I’m in over-crowded city.”

Along with earning her Juris Doctorate in the law, next year will also be a big year for her personally. When Sierra isn’t studying or doing legal research, she is busy planning a wedding with her fiancé over the winter break in January 2021.

In her spare time, she also enjoys trying out new local eateries, hanging out with her mini golden doodle, named KC, and exploring destinations around the U.S. with friends.  

Samuel McMichael

Sam also attends Drake University Law School and will graduate with the Class of 2021. He holds an undergraduate degree from Wartburg College in Business Administration.

His areas of interest in the law are in litigation and employment law but he also wants to learn and experience all types of law as an Associate with Dickinson Law.

While pursuing his business degree, Sam came to a crossroads and decided to take his future career goals a step further. “While I did, and still do, believe a business degree is extremely versatile, I didn’t know exactly what I would eventually do with it,” Sam said. “As a result, I began to think law was a more specific direction that seemed interesting and would possibly fit my skill set. After shadowing a couple of attorneys, I decided I would go to law school and seek a legal career.”

Sam also has a love of meeting new people, which will help him become successful as a future attorney. “I enjoy meeting and talking to new people. I hope this will assist me during my career in attracting new clients and fostering stronger attorney-client relationships,” he said.

Sam was born and raised in Des Moines, and attended Lincoln High School. “I am a self-appointed Des Moines advocate,” he reports. “I’ve grown up here and love the city. Des Moines is benefited by its size, which allows it to avoid the burdens of a big city like traffic and living expenses, etc., while still offering plenty of things to do. I am especially pleased by Des Moines’ current explosion of downtown living and its emphasis on recreation.”

In addition to being able to stay in Des Moines, being a part of Dickinson’s Summer Associate program was appealing to Sam for a variety of reasons.  “Aside from feeling an instant connection to the attorneys I interviewed with,” Sam said, “I felt Dickinson Law was a firm that provided consistent feedback, a healthy work environment, and a chance to work in a variety of practice areas. It offered a blend of small firm comradery with larger firm opportunity.”

Sam’s previous legal experience includes working as a Staff Member for the Drake Law Review and as a Summer Associate at Nyemaster Goode in 2019.

Outside of work, Sam enjoys hanging out with his friends and his girlfriend, Skylar, as well as playing golf, tennis, and softball. He has a dog, Kinnick, who he named after his beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.

Elizabeth Shaw

Liz attends the University of Iowa College of Law and will graduate in 2021. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Recreation Management with a concentration in Business Studies from the University of Iowa. She also holds a Leadership Studies Certificate from Iowa.

While studying with a trusts and estates professor this past year at Iowa Law, her interest was sparked in the area of estate planning, and she also hopes to explore family law and other areas as a Dickinson Associate. “I don’t know exactly what area of law I want to practice upon graduation but I knew I would be able to gain valuable experience in a number of various areas while spending the summer at Dickinson,” she said.

Liz was initially attracted to the firm because of its community reputation. “Dickinson is very involved in the Des Moines area, which is important to me. Since I grew up in a small town, I saw how much of an impact the local businesses have on the entire community. I also heard amazing things about the attorneys’ character at Dickinson.”

Growing up in Osage, Iowa with two siblings, Liz and was very active in sports and activities. “I helped start the Model UN program at Osage High School and I was involved in volleyball, basketball, and track and field throughout high school.”

Her interest in the law began when her parents were going through a divorce. “I remember not knowing what was going on or why I had to be the one who “decided” which parent I was going to live with,” she explained. “My experiences during that process motivated me to pursue a legal career in order to help others understand their options and the impacts of the law on their situation.”

Liz’ legal experience includes serving as an Intern for the Howard County Attorney’s Office, as a Law Clerk at Whitfield & Eddy P.L.C., and as an Intern at the University of Iowa Athletics Department Compliance Office.

“I also love to volunteer in any community I live in,” she said. During her undergrad years, she volunteered on a weekly basis at the Ronald McDonald House, and was heavily involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a member of Chi Omega.

Liz plans to stay in Iowa after graduation. “Growing up in Iowa I knew that I always wanted to build a career and family here. The people in Iowa are hard workers, determined, achievers, and care about each other. Even though Des Moines is a bigger city, it feels like a small town because people are welcoming and there is a sense of community,” she said. “The main aspect that drew me here is that there is always an activity going on. Even during COVID-19, there are various trails to either bike or run on and plenty of restaurants to order take out from.”

In her spare time, Liz can be found on the golf course or kayaking with her boyfriend, cooking new recipes, cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes at sporting events, and watching movies.   

About the Associate Program

Dickinson's Summer Associate Program is focused on assisting law students in advancing their careers through a variety of educational and professional experiences. Summer Associates will learn the culture of practicing within a law firm while gaining exposure to the business of practicing law. Dickinson designs its Associate Program to fit the needs and interests of each individual. If you're interested in applying for the Dickinson Summer Associates program please contact recruiting committee chair, Ted Craig. For more information on the program, click here

Tagged As: summer associates


Questions, Contact us today.

Contact Us


The material, whether written or oral (including videos) that is posted on the various blogs of Dickinson Bradshaw is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. The opinions expressed in the various blog posting are those of the individual author, they may not reflect the opinions of the firm.  Your use of the Dickinson Bradshaw blog postings does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between you and Dickinson, Bradshaw, Fowler & Hagen, P.C. or any of its attorneys.  If specific legal information is needed, please retain and consult with an attorney of your own selection.

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field