Danielle Shelton is Of Counsel to The Weinhardt Law Firm, practicing primarily in the areas of business litigation and appeals. In her fifteen years of practice, she has handled a wide variety of high-stakes cases, including cases involving business contract disputes and business torts. In addition to practicing law at The Weinhardt Law Firm, Danielle also teaches at Drake University Law School. In that role, Danielle’s focus is on teaching and scholarship relating to legal writing, appellate advocacy, and civil litigation.

Accolades and Achievements

Danielle has a track record of success as a business litigator. Most recently, Danielle worked with Mark Weinhardt in the successful defense at trial and on appeal of the Iowa Department of Human Services, from which $43 million was sought by a health maintenance organization. Prior to that, Danielle also helped obtain a verdict topping $40 million in favor of her client, Midwest Oilseeds, Inc., in a federal court trial for breach of contract. She also assisted EFCO Corporation in recovering a $15 million verdict in a federal lawsuit involving business contracts and torts.

Besides assisting clients in the courtroom in trial and on appeal, Danielle also works, when feasible, to successfully resolve lawsuits prior to trial. This work includes obtaining summary judgment on behalf of her clients as well as negotiating favorable pretrial settlements.

Danielle also has experience in quasi-litigation forums, such as arbitration and administrative hearings. In a securities arbitration, Danielle helped her client, a long-standing insurance broker, obtain a seven-figure award against a large life insurance company. Following that three-week arbitration hearing, Danielle assisted her client in keeping that award despite an appeal to the federal courts.

As a business litigator, Danielle knows first-hand the impact that procedural rules often play in litigation. Drawing on her business litigation experience, Danielle authored “Rewriting Rule 68: Realizing the Benefits of the Federal Settlement Rule By Injecting Certainty Into Offers of Judgment.”

That article, which was published in the Minnesota Law Review, set forth a practical solution for reducing costs and litigation uncertainties by simplifying the federal settlement rule. The article has been widely received by the legal community, with various states considering implementing rule changes that draw upon the issues and solutions set forth in Danielle’s article.


Before joining The Weinhardt Law Firm, Danielle was an attorney with Belin McCormick, P.C. for fifteen years. After graduating in the top ten percent of her class from Harvard Law School in 1995, she served as a Law Clerk to Judge Ed Carnes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While in law school, she was a summer associate at both Sidley Austin LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP in their Chicago offices.

In 1996, she joined Belin McCormick as an associate, becoming an equity member of that firm in 2001. Since 2003, Ms. Shelton has taught and is a Professor of Law at the Drake University Law School. She serves on the law school's curriculum committee and the university’s curriculum committee. In addition, she acts as advisor to various student associations.

  • Email: Danielle Shelton
  • Direct: 515.564.5274
  • Office: 515.244.3100
  • Fax: 515.288.0407
  • Address:
    2600 Grand Avenue, Ste. 450
    Des Moines, Iowa 50312
  • Assistant: Michele Baldus
  • Direct: 515.564.5275


Legal: Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, 1995
Undergraduate: Augustana College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1992

Practice Areas

Litigation: Complex Civil Litigation, Trial Practice, Appeals

Admitted to Practice

States: Iowa, Illinois

Federal Courts

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court