In more than thirty years of practice, Mark Weinhardt has established himself as one of the leading courtroom advocates in the Midwest. In a practice divided between complex business disputes and white collar criminal cases, Mark has tried over 60 jury cases to verdict and dozens of bench trials to judgment. He has argued more than 20 appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Iowa Supreme Court, and the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Recent Successes

Just a few of Mark’s recent courtroom accomplishments include:

  • Won a $10.25 million jury verdict in a civil wrongful death lawsuit brought by an Iowa farmer against his son for the gunshot murder of the farmer’s wife. The case was twice profiled on NBC Dateline.
  • Obtained the complete acquittal of the general manager of a kosher meat packing plant charged with 9,311 criminal counts of violating child labor laws. The victory was covered by the New York Times.
  • Achieved a $62.4 million jury verdict for a subcontractor against a general contractor arising from the largest construction project in Iowa’s history.
  • Led the defense of a Chinese national accused in federal court of stealing of sophisticated crop genetics from U.S. agribusiness giants on behalf of a Chinese conglomerate. The case, which ended in a sentence substantially below the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, was covered by the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times and is the subject of the book The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage.
  • Successfully defended a client charged with first degree murder and first degree (armed) robbery, obtaining convictions on lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and third degree (misdemeanor) robbery.

Accolades and Achievements

Mark is one of only six lawyers in Iowa listed as a "Band 1" commercial litigator by the international Chambers and Partners rating service. Describing him as “just as tenacious as New York, Chicago, or D.C. attorneys,” Chambers has lauded Mark as a “very direct communicator. Very creative, very smart, and very well prepared.” Mark is the only Iowan among the 500 lawyers under the age of 70 who are admitted to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. The Thomson Reuters Business SuperLawyers rating service has, every year since 2012, listed Mark as one of the top ten attorneys in Iowa, regardless of practice specialty. Mark is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, and white collar criminal defense. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Civil Practice

Mark has acted as lead counsel in dozens of matters in which the amount in controversy was in seven, eight, and sometimes nine figures. Specializing in the process of legal advocacy instead of any particular subject area, Mark has represented public and privately held companies and individuals — very often at trial — in a broad range of subject areas.

In recent years Mark has litigated complex contract disputes, business torts including fraud and interference with contract, conflicts between business competitors, controversies between majority and minority shareholders, dealer/franchise/agency terminations, health insurance issues, and cases involving gaming regulation, patent infringement, trade secrets, consumer fraud, securities fraud, professional malpractice and discipline, insurance coverage, and antitrust allegations. Mark has also litigated media matters including defamation cases and open records disputes, and he has handled employment lawsuits ranging from wrongful termination to noncompetition agreements. A sampling of civil cases Mark has handled is available here.

Criminal Practice

Mark has defended individuals and business entities in a wide variety of white collar criminal prosecutions and investigations. He has handled criminal matters for multiple members of the Fortune 500, and he has defended prosecutions or grand jury investigations in a dozen states outside of Iowa.

Unlike many white collar criminal lawyers, Mark is truly a trial lawyer. He has secured favorable outcomes (outright acquittal or conviction for drastically reduced charges) in the majority of his criminal jury trials, including six of the last seven.

In addition to his trial advocacy, Mark has succeeded numerous times in avoiding criminal charges for individuals and business who were under investigation, even when his clients had been labeled a “target” of the investigation by federal prosecutors.

Recent cases Mark has handled include bank fraud, health care fraud, international trade secret theft, antitrust, immigration fraud, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental crime, public corruption, campaign finance, mortgage fraud, mail and wire fraud, securities violations, false statements to the government, vote fraud, food safety, arms exports, tax evasion, agricultural lending and insurance, and, occasionally, murder. A sampling of criminal cases Mark has handled can be seen here.

Investigations Practice

Mark has also conducted numerous internal investigations for business, nonprofit, or governmental entities that suspected wrongdoing within their organizations, sometimes working in collaboration with law enforcement authorities. Mark was appointed by the Governor of Iowa to investigate the head of the Iowa Finance Authority for alleged sexual harassment of state employees. The Firm’s report is available here. Mark was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to act as special counsel to the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee to investigate a state senator regarding allegations of wrongdoing in connection with Iowa’s Presidential caucuses. The Firm’s report to the Senate Ethics Committee is available here. The senator resigned and went to prison.


Before founding The Weinhardt Law Firm (formerly known as Weinhardt & Logan, P.C.) in 2011, Mark practiced for 20 years at Belin McCormick, P.C., a full service law firm in Des Moines. He served two terms on the firm's management committee and served twice as its president.

From 1988 through 1991, Mark served as a criminal prosecutor in the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office in Rockford, Illinois. He handled literally every type of criminal case, from traffic offenses to a half-dozen first degree murder trials. Mark tried the first murder case in Illinois that involved DNA identification evidence.

Mark started his practice in 1985 at Phelan, Pope & John, Ltd., a boutique litigation firm in downtown Chicago where he handled a wide variety of civil litigation matters. He also participated in the defense of one of the legendary “Operation Greylord” judicial corruption cases that launched his career in the criminal law.

Honors and Accomplishments

  • One of six “Band 1” commercial litigation attorneys in Iowa recognized by Chambers and Partners
  • Listed as one of Iowa’s top ten attorneys, regardless of practice area, by Thomson Reuters Business Super Lawyers
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, and white collar criminal defense
  • Des Moines area "Lawyer of the Year" in 2016 and 2018 for bet-the-company litigation and in 2013 and 2020 for white collar criminal defense in Best Lawyers in America
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • AV® Peer Review Rating by Martindale Hubbell
  • Recognized by the Des Moines Business Record as one of four "New Influentials" in the Des Moines business community (October 2009)

Community & Professional Activities

St. Augustin Catholic School

  • Board of Education, 2012 - 2018
  • President, 2015 - 2018

Federal Magistrate Judge Selection Committees, Southern District of Iowa

  • Chair, committee to recommend reappointment of current magistrate judge, 2013
  • Chair, committee to recommend appointment of new magistrate judge, 2013

Ballet Des Moines

  • Board of Directors, 2009 - 2012

Polk County Fee Arbitration Committee

  • Member, 2009 - present

Eighth Circuit Federal Advisory Committee

  • Member, 2004 - 2018
  • Chairman, 2006 - 2015

Committee on Local Rules, United States District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, 2000-01

Metro Arts Alliance of Greater Des Moines

  • Board member 1993-1999
  • Executive Committee 1994-1999
  • President, 1998

Criminal Justice Act Federal Defender Panel, 1992-present

American, Iowa State, and Polk County Bar Associations

National & Iowa Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • Email: Mark Weinhardt
  • Direct: 515.564.5270
  • Office: 515.244.3100
  • Fax: 515.288.0407
  • Address:
    2600 Grand Avenue, Ste. 450
    Des Moines, Iowa 50312
  • Assistant:
    Maura McNally-Cavanagh
  • Direct: 515.564.5281


Legal: University of Michigan, J.D., cum laude, 1985
Undergraduate: Dartmouth College, B.A. (economics), magna cum laude, 1982

Practice Areas

Litigation: Complex Civil Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense, Trials, Appeals, Internal Investigations

Admitted to Practice

States: Iowa

Federal Courts

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court