Davis Brown Law Firm supports fostering the professional and civic growth of attorneys and staff of all backgrounds. We serve an extensive client base and practice in a broad range of legal areas and industries. Recognizing that a diverse team can better address client needs, the firm endeavors to hire and retain individuals with a strong work ethic, commitment to excellence, and diverse talents and experiences. Sarah Franklin is the current Diversity Interest Shareholder, pushing the firm toward a more diverse workforce through outreach and targeted recruiting. 

As a progressive law firm, Davis Brown was the first in Iowa law firm to:

  • Elect a female president. In 1998, Deborah M. Tharnish was elected by her peers to serve as the Board of Directors President.
  • Elect an openly gay, female president. In 2011, Sharon K. Malheiro was elected by her peers to serve as Board of Directors President. 
  • Offer health benefits to same sex domestic partners in 2004, five years before it was mandated.

Advancing Female Leaders

In the late 70s and early 80s, when the legal community was only beginning to hire women lawyers, and many firms hired only a single female lawyer, one of our named partners, A. Arthur Davis, believed in hiring the most talented person, regardless of gender. This commitment continues today as a cornerstone of our firm culture. Amongst major law firms in Des Moines, Davis Brown ranks highest in female partner attorneys.

Professional Development

Through our internal mentoring program, policies, programming, pro bono work, community involvement and team approach to work, lateral hires, associates, summer associates, and interns receive support as they grow their legal practices and experience.

Davis Brown is a founding sponsor of Drake Law School's Cady Law Opportunity Leadership Program, which provides internships, mentorship, and leadership training for underrepresented students. In this program, selected students will spend half of the summer following their first year of law school interning at Davis Brown and the other half at a participating business in the internal legal department. 

Drake Law School selects up to five students from underrepresented groups based on superior academic credentials, information contained in their Drake Law J.D. application and diversity statement, as well as a personal interview. To apply, follow the steps to complete the Drake Law J.D. application on the Application Instructions webpage.

Community Diversity Initiatives

Supporting people, events, and programs focused on diversity is a natural extension of our internal commitment to advance female leaders and expand our diverse workforce.

  • LGBT Community - Davis Brown has been proud to advocate on behalf of the LGBT community, serving as cooperating attorney for Lambda Legal Defense Fund and as a member of the Iowa Supreme Court's Task Force on Gender and Racial Bias in the judicial system. 
  • Task Forces - Attorneys serve on legislative and judicial task forces addressing issues such as sentencing reform, guardianship and conservatorship, business tax courts, and other issues affecting Iowans.
  • Pro Bono - the firm's pro bono objective is "for the public good," - attorneys annually donate more than 1,500 hours of pro bono legal services to those who can't afford them.

In the community, we are proud to support and participate in various diversity initiatives, including: 

  • Volunteer Lawyers Project 
  • Hola Center 
  • Iowa Legal Aid
  • Youth Justice Initiative 
  • National Association of Women in Construction
  • Chrysalis Foundation 
  • Latino Heritage Festival  
  • Iowa International Center 
  • One Iowa
  • Hawthorn Hill 
  • Equal Justice After Hours 
  • Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity 
  • Home Base Iowa   
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Iowa 
  • Drake Legal Clinic 
  • Technology Association of Iowa 
  • Metro Women Connect 
  • Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) 
  • Economic Potential for Iowa Companies (EPIC) 
  • Polk County Women Attorneys 
  • Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys