Clients in many industries seek Jaki Samuelson for employment counseling and training specific to their businesses. She has built an employment law and litigation practice based on understanding the businesses she represents and working with them to manage risk and address solutions. Jaki serves a diverse clientele including medical and medical supply, retail, agricultural products and cooperatives, banking, manufacturing, non-profit, restaurant, insurance, nursing homes, construction, international and foreign business.

Jaki is known for her engaging demeanor and ability to advise and mentor human resource professionals and managers. Jaki has provided training on risk avoidance and updates regarding employment law to the Iowa Banker's Association Human Resources Conference, the Greater Des Moines Partnership Top Five Series, and numerous small groups and employers. She is a regular speaker on employment topics for the bar, professional organizations, and clients on topics including: employment discrimination and harassment; FLSA; FMLA; mental health; alcohol and drug issues; workplace violence; and risk avoidance.

She has been recognized for her expertise by both clients and colleagues in Chambers USA, Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers, including being recognized as a “Lawyer of the Year” for both employment counseling and litigation. In Chambers USA 2018, clients remark that she is "very responsive to inquiries and concerns. She always follows up with us quickly and thoroughly, without exception. We really like working with Jaki."

She works with both businesses and highly-compensated executives in negotiation and completion of severance agreements. She regularly handles civil rights, non-competition, trade secret, wage and hour, OSHA, and a full range of employment and business-related matters as a counselor before administrative agencies, state and federal courts.

Notable Work

In the past year, Jaki has assisted clients in the following areas:

  • Avoiding liability and sanctions in wage and hour and OSHA investigations;
  • Facilitated the transition of family businesses from one generation to the next;
  • Assisted with the smooth severance of employment for employees and employers;
  • Assisted both businesses and employees navigate and litigate issues related to proprietary rights and restrictions on competition; and
  • Counseled employers regarding a myriad of day to day employment issues affecting their businesses.



  • Co-Chair, Whitfield & Eddy Law Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, 2021— present
  • Past Chair, Whitfield & Eddy Law Labor and Employment Law Practice Group
  • Member Attorney, Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., 1985—present
  • Associate Attorney, Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., 1980—1985
  • Judicial Clerk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Longstaff, 1979—1980
  • Adjunct Professor, Trial Advocacy, Drake University Law School

Activities and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Sections: Labor & Employment Law)
  • C. Edwin Moore Inn of Court (Master of the Inn)
  • DRI, Voice of the Defense Bar (Employment Law Committee)
  • Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers (Past President)
  • Iowa Defense Counsel Association (Past President)
  • Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys (Founding Member, First President)
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Polk County Women Attorneys (Past Chair: Professional Action Committee)
  • Iowa Judicial Qualifications Commission
  • Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission
  • Judicial Nominating Commission, Fifth Judicial District of Iowa
  • Polk County Bar Association


  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers 60th Annual Seminar, February 2022
  • ALFA International Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2022
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers 59th Annual Seminar, February 2021
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Seminar, February 2020
  • Iowa State Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2018
  • ALFA International EPLI & Professional Liability Seminar, June 2018
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Seminar, February 2018
  • ALFA International Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2017
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Seminar, February 2017
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers, 2015 Iowa Seminar, February 2015

News & Events


Honors & Recognitions

Honors & Recognitions

  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a Leading Individual Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law (Chambers USA 2003—2022)
  • Selected by Best Lawyers in America as the Des Moines area's 2020 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Employment Law - Management
  • Selected by Best Lawyers in America as the Des Moines area's 2017 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Employment
  • Selected by Best Lawyers in America as the Des Moines area's 2016 "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Litigation-Labor and Employment
  • Selected by Best Lawyers in America as the Des Moines area’s 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Employment Law-Individuals
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in Employment Law-Individuals; Employment Law-Management; and Litigation-Labor & Employment (2007—2022)
  • Selected for inclusion in the Great Plains Super Lawyers in the area of Employment & Labor (2009—2021)

Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership

  • Panelist, "Lightning Round Q&A," Whitfield & Eddy Virtual Labor & Employment Client Seminar, May 2021
  • Presenter, "Employment Law & Practices," Iowa Extension Council Association Conference, March 2019
  • Panelist, "Jury Verdict Panel," Iowa State Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2018
  • Moderator, "Navigating the Defense of Multi-Defendant Litigation to Avoid Ethical and Professional Negligence Issues," ALFA International EPLI & Professional Liability Seminar, June 2018
  • Panelist, "What Exactly is Sexual Harassment," West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, February 2018
  • Presenter, "Employment Law and Avoiding Risk," Building Operators and Managers Association, January 2018
  • Presenter, "Top Five Things Managers and Owners Need to Know About Employment Law," Greater Des Moines Partnership, August 2017
  • Presenter, "Employment Law Update," Iowa Bankers Association Human Resources Conference, April 2017
  • Presenter, "Construction Hiring Practices," 2015 Construction Loss Control and Safety Seminar, March 2015
  • Panelist, "Looking Back, Looking Forward: Past Presidents Panel," Iowa Defense Counsel 50th Annual Meeting and Seminar, September 2014
  • Presenter, "Tackling Tough FMLA Issues," FMLA Master Class for Iowa Employers, December 17, 2013
  • Presenter, “Drug and Alcohol Testing Issues for Employers”
  • Presenter, “Employer Issues Regarding Workplace Violence” Dart Group Seminar for Human Resources Professionals


University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1979, with highest distinction

  • Order of the Coif
  • Editor, Iowa Law Review, 1978—1979
  • Recipient: Iowa Bar Association Prize for Scholarship and Leadership, 1979

Bradley University, B.A., 1975, summa cum laude

  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Recipient: Full Scholarship for Debate


  • Iowa
    U.S. District Court - Southern District of Iowa
    U.S. District Court - Northern District of Iowa
    U.S. District Court - Western District of Missouri
    U.S. District Court - Central District of Illinois
    U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
    U.S. Court of Appeals - Eighth Circuit

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