In 1995, the Board of Directors set the firm's name as "Davis Brown Koehn Shors and Roberts, P.C." Each of these five men has made a lasting impact on the firm and the central Iowa community.
(L to R: Stephen W. Roberts, A. Arthur Davis, William J. Koehn, Donald J. Brown, John D. Shors)
A. Arthur Davis
A. Arthur Davis joined what was then known as the Brody firm in 1955 and led the firm from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. Under his leadership, the firm grew substantially, expanding to multiple floors in the newly constructed Financial Center (666 Walnut Street) with the addition of numerous attorneys, including a growing group of female attorneys. Davis was involved with important litigation during his time including Mondragon v. Ford Motor Co., 271 F.2d 342 (8th Cir. 1959) in which a $100,000 verdict in Federal District Court was reversed without a new trial in the Eighth Circuit.
In addition to his legal work, Davis was a leader in the community with a long career in public service. As a young lawyer, he ran for and was elected to the Des Moines School Board, where he served six years, and was President in 1966 and 1967. He served in numerous leadership positions in the Chamber of Commerce (now the Greater Des Moines Partnership) and was eventually elected President. He also served as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Iowa. Davis led the charge for a new library, commissioning the study of the library's future needs and possibilities and when the call came, he led the firm to make a substantial donation to the building fund. In 1995, he was honored to be elected Mayor of Des Moines.
Davis passed away in late 1997, leaving behind a legacy of community dedication and significant growth of the Davis firm.
Donald J. Brown
Don Brown was a business attorney who began at the Brody, Parker, Roberts, Thoma & Harris firm in 1962 and retired in 2014. Brown practiced in a variety of areas including securities, mergers and acquisitions, tax matters, and estate and business planning for business owners. During his time at the firm, he represented many of the larger businesses in Des Moines in IPOs, restructuring, and mergers and acquisitions. A number of companies facing bankruptcy or other serious hazards turned to Brown for counsel through mergers or acquisitions.
As a firm leader, he helped the firm survive and prosper during his over five decades of service. He helped establish priorities within the firm to include the importance of spending time with family, the importance of diversity within the firm, and public service by attorneys. Brown maintains a close connection to the firm and good friendships with former colleagues and clients alike. Brown, along with Bill Koehn, was instrumental in the founding of and firm's participation in the worldwide network of law firms, Lex Mundi.
In the community, Brown was involved with the Nature Conservancy, Iowa Chapter. He has been a member for many years, served eight years on the Board of Trustees, including two years as President, and he is a member of the Nature Conservancy Legacy Club. He also taught part time at Drake University Law School.
William J. Koehn
William Koehn joined the firm in 1963 during a time of growth. Koehn's practice focused on litigation including civil litigation, business litigation, construction law, product liability and environmental law. In his work he traveled extensively around the country. Koehn was a regular author and presenter on matters related to environmental law and served his profession on numerous committees in the Polk County, Iowa State, and American Bar Associations. Later in his career, the focus of his practiced changed to arbitration. He was a trained arbiter and active in the American Arbitration Association.
Koehn was active in the community founding the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters with a small group of friends and colleagues. When travel took less of his time, he became a Big Brother to a young man. He served on the Des Moines YMCA Board, Des Moines Friendship Commission, and Des Moines Area Council for International Understanding, among others and was President of the Raccoon Valley Little League.
One highlight of his career was involvement with Lex Mundi, an international organization of law firms giving member firms opportunities to interact with peers around the globe and connections to refer clients to. With Don Brown, Koehn and leaders of law firms around the world gathered in Switzerland in 1989 to start the organization. He served on the Board of Directors and traveled to international meetings four times a year to connect with other member firms.
Koehn celebrated 50 years of practice in 2004 and retired late that year. He remains active in his new home in Oregon mentoring youth.
John D. Shors
John Shors began at the firm in 1964, when it was still known as the Brody Firm. Shors' practice is in business and health matters. Throughout his career, he has been passionate about capital formation and co-founded the Iowa State University Research Park and a variety of other entities. For many years he has been actively involved with the Iowa State University Foundation, including serving as chair of the foundation, actively raising funds to support the university.
Shors was also a leader in the Iowa State Bar Association, including numerous years of service as President. For this work and in many other leadership roles, Shors was awarded the Award of Merit by the association in 2006.
Shors also served Mercy Hospital and its affiliates for many years. He was president of the local Mercy Hospital Foundation, president of the national Catherine McAuley Foundation (the parent foundation of Mercy hospitals around the country), and as president of the national Mercy Housing Foundation. When he transitioned off the Mercy Housing Board of Trustees in 2001, after nine years of service, he was recognized for his active role in increasing social justice in society.
Shors remains an active attorney at the firm.
Stephen W. Roberts
Stephen Roberts joined the Brody, Parker, Roberts, Thoma & Harris firm in 1965, celebrated 50 years of service in 2015, and retired at the end of 2016. Roberts's practice was in administrative law, business organizations, lobbying and federal and state governmental relations and tax.
He prevailed for his clients before numerous state administrative agencies and departments and represented clients before federal agencies as well. Roberts's tireless efforts helped numerous companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals with their relationships with local, state and federal government.
Outside of his dedication to his clients, Roberts has been a passionate supporter of a number of charitable causes over the course of his distinguished career including the American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, and the Iowa Taxpayer's Association, among others. Steve served the Iowa Republican Party in various capacities during his career including years as Chairman and a national committeeman. Steve is frequently asked to comment on Iowa Republican Party issues by local media outlets.