Background & Education
I grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa where I attended grade school and high school. I attended the University of Northern Iowa and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and a minor in Economics.
I have broad experience in business, including as a self-employed carpet installer and co-owner of a residential and light commercial construction company in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I also managed retail hardware and sports apparel stores.
In 1985, I graduated with honors from Drake University Law School where I was Order of the Coif, Editor-in-Chief of the Drake Law Review, a Legal Research and Writing Teaching Assistant, and authored the Note, “The Inconsistencies and Confusion of Successor Corporation Liability in Product Liability Claims — Should Iowa Adopt a New Approach?” 34 Drake Law Review 161, 1984-85.
During law school, I interned as a Student Judicial Law Clerk to the late Honorable Edward J. McManus, then Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. After graduating from law school, I served as Judicial Law Clerk to the late Honorable Floyd R. Gibson, United States Senior Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. I then practiced law with the Kansas City law firm of Hillix, Brewer, Hoffhaus, Whittaker & Wright where I focused on representing businesses in commercial litigation and employment related matters. I later worked as in-house counsel in Principal Mutual Life Insurance Company’s law department where I negotiated and documented multi-million dollar commercial real estate loan and equity transactions. I joined Mark Wiedenfeld’s firm in 1996 and the firm later became Wiedenfeld & McLaughlin, L.L.P. In July 2016, I formed the McLaughlin Law Office, which is now located in Johnston, Iowa
Although my 30 years of legal experience cover several areas of the law, beginning in 1996 I began to focus primarily on civil litigation. I handled trials and appeals in both state and federal courts, including insurance defense related matters such as personal injury accidents and incidents, coverage disputes, and dram shop claims. I also litigate civil rights and employment claims, construction defect cases, and other commercial disputes.
Beginning in 2000, I added business organization, estate planning, and probate administration, to the services I provide my clients. I advise and counsel individuals and couples on their estate planning and probate matters, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, and probate administration. I advise and counsel individuals starting new businesses on the types and structures of organizations and create those entities for them.
Professional Activities and Affiliations:
I also have provided pro bono legal services both through the Polk County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer’s Project and on my own.