In more than thirty years of practice, Mark Weinhardt has established himself as one of the leading courtroom advocates in Iowa and the Midwest. Mark's practice is evenly divided between complex business litigation and white collar criminal cases. He has tried more than 55 jury cases to verdict and dozens of bench trials to judgment. He has argued over 20 appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Iowa Supreme Court, and the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Accolades and Achievements

Mark is one of only nine 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.” The International Academy of Trial Lawyers limits its Fellowship in the United States to 500 lawyers under 70 years old − and Mark is the only Iowan among those 500. (Three Iowans over 70 are IATL Fellows.) 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, and Best Lawyers named him its "Lawyer of the Year" in both 2016 and 2018 for bet-the-company litigation and in 2013 for 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 in a broad range of subject areas.

In recent years Mark has litigated complex contract disputes, various business torts including fraud and interference with contracts, all manner of 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 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 and nonsolicitation 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 nearly a dozen states outside of Iowa. He has won jury acquittals in a number of complex cases, including the Postville child labor case and the health care fraud case noted above as well as an insider trading case for a prominent physician.

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 law enforcement.

Mark has also conducted numerous internal investigations for business, nonprofit, or governmental entities that suspected wrongdoing within their organizations, often working in collaboration with law enforcement authorities. Perhaps most notably, Mark was recently appointed by the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to act as special counsel to the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Senator Kent Sorenson regarding allegations of wrongdoing in connection with Iowa’s Presidential caucuses. The Firm’s report to the Senate Ethics Committee is available here.

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, and agricultural lending and insurance. A sampling of criminal cases Mark has handled can be seen here.


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. In 1994 he became an equity member of that firm. He served two terms on the firm's management committee and served twice as its president, most recently in 2009.

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 a high-profile public corruption case that launched his career in the criminal law.

Honors and Accomplishments

  • One of nine “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 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 - present
  • President, 2015 - present

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 - present
  • 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: Nissa Maddalone
  • Direct: 515.564.5275


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