Deborah M. Tharnish

"Provides excellent customer service, has substantive knowledge of the law and consistently gives sound advice."

Chambers USA, Reference Feedback

Deb is a highly-regarded Iowa litigator with a practice focused on commercial litigation and employment law. She is known for her non-confrontational but direct style, her common sense, and her status as a trailblazer for female attorneys.

Deb was a member of the Davis Brown Board of Directors, serving as the firm’s and Iowa’s first female law firm President in 1998 and 1999.

Her litigation practice spans almost 40 years, serving companies in the insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing industries as well as municipalities. Deb regularly helps companies and employers with:

  • Contract and business tort cases
  • Real estate assessment appeals
  • Defending all types of discrimination claims, wrongful termination claims, and restrictive covenant cases

Awards & Honors

“An excellent, gold standard employment litigator”
-Chambers USA, Reference Feedback

  • AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell. The highest peer rating standard. This rating signifies that a large number of the lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards.
  • The Best Lawyers in America©; 2021, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Labor & Employment. Deb has been recognized by Best Lawyers since 2008.
    • Best Lawyers®; 2015 Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in the Des Moines metro.
    • Best Lawyers®; 2021, 2018, and 2012 Litigation - Labor & Employment “Lawyer of the Year” in the Des Moines metro.
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial, Iowa Ranked Band 1; Labor and Employment Law, Iowa Ranked Band 1, 2020
  • 2020 Great Plains Super Lawyers, Business Litigation. Deb has been recognized by Super Lawyers since 2007.
  • 2014 Super Lawyers Business Edition, Business Litigation
  • Benchmark Litigation Top 250 Women in Litigation, 2013
  • Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Arabella Mansfield Award Recipient
  • Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award
  • Iowa State University Alumni Medal Recipient
  • Hoover High School Hall of Fame Recipient
  • Graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute
Best Lawyers Award Badge