In more than thirty years of practice, Mark Weinhardt has established himself as one of the leading courtroom advocates in Iowa and the Midwest. Mark's practice is evenly divided between complex business litigation and white collar criminal cases. He has tried more than 55 jury cases to verdict and dozens of bench trials to judgment. He has argued over 20 appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Iowa Supreme Court, and the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Mark is one of only eight lawyers in Iowa listed as a "Band 1" commercial litigator by the international Chambers and Partners rating service. Describing him as “one of the superior litigators in the state,” Chambers has lauded Mark as a "very direct communicator. Very creative, very smart, and very well prepared." The Thomson Reuters Business SuperLawyers rating service has, since 2012, listed Mark as one of the top ten attorneys in Iowa, regardless of practice specialty. Mark is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, and white collar criminal defense, and Best Lawyers named him its "Lawyer of the Year" for 2016 for bet-the-company litigation and for 2013 for white collar criminal defense. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Mark has won numerous impressive courtroom victories over the years. Recent examples include the successful defense of Postville packing plant executive Sholom Rubashkin against 83 counts of violating Iowa's child labor laws (see New York Times coverage here), the acquittal of a pharmacy owner of 15 counts of health care fraud in a multimillion dollar case involving hemophilia medication, and the successful defense, both at trial and before the Iowa Supreme Court, of the Iowa Department of Human Services in a $43 million lawsuit brought by a health maintenance organization.
Mark has acted as lead counsel in dozens of matters in which the amount in controversy was in seven, eight, and sometimes nine figures. Specializing in the process of legal advocacy instead of any particular subject area, Mark has represented public and privately held companies and individuals in a broad range of subject areas.
In recent years Mark has litigated complex contract disputes, various business torts including fraud and interference with contracts, all manner of conflicts between business competitors, controversies between majority and minority shareholders, dealer/franchise/agency terminations, health insurance issues, and cases involving gaming regulation, patent infringement, trade secrets, consumer fraud, securities fraud, professional malpractice, and antitrust allegations. Mark has also litigated media matters including defamation cases and open records disputes, and he has handled employment lawsuits ranging from wrongful termination to noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements. A sampling of civil cases Mark has handled is available here.
Mark has defended individuals and business entities in a wide variety of white collar criminal prosecutions and investigations. He has handled criminal matters for multiple members of the Fortune 500, and he has defended prosecutions or grand jury investigations in nearly a dozen states outside of Iowa. He has won jury acquittals in a number of complex cases, including the Postville child labor case and the health care fraud case noted above as well as an insider trading case for a prominent physician.
In addition to his trial advocacy, Mark has succeeded numerous times in avoiding criminal charges for individuals and business who were under investigation, even when his clients had been labeled a “target” of the investigation by law enforcement.
Mark has also conducted numerous internal investigations for business, nonprofit, or governmental entities that suspected wrongdoing within their organizations, often working in collaboration with law enforcement authorities. Perhaps most notably, Mark was recently appointed by the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to act as special counsel to the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Senator Kent Sorenson regarding allegations of wrongdoing in connection with Iowa’s Presidential caucuses. The Firm’s report to the Senate Ethics Committee is available here.
Recent cases Mark has handled include bank fraud, health care fraud, international trade secret theft, antitrust, immigration fraud, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental crime, public corruption, campaign finance, mortgage fraud, mail and wire fraud, securities violations, false statements to the government, vote fraud, food safety, arms exports, tax evasion, and agricultural lending and insurance. A sampling of criminal cases Mark has handled can be seen here.
Before founding The Weinhardt Law Firm (formerly known as Weinhardt & Logan, P.C.) in 2011, Mark practiced for 20 years at Belin McCormick, P.C., a full service law firm in Des Moines. In 1994 he became an equity member of that firm. He served two terms on the firm's management committee and served twice as its president, most recently in 2009.
From 1988 through 1991, Mark served as a criminal prosecutor in the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office in Rockford, Illinois. He handled literally every type of criminal case from traffic offenses to a half-dozen first degree murder trials. Mark tried the first murder case in Illinois that involved DNA identification evidence.
Mark started his practice in 1985 at Phelan, Pope & John, Ltd., a boutique litigation firm in downtown Chicago where he handled a wide variety of civil litigation matters. He also participated in the defense of a high-profile public corruption case that launched his career in the criminal law.
St. Augustin Catholic School
Federal Magistrate Judge Selection Committees, Southern District of Iowa
Ballet Des Moines
Polk County Fee Arbitration Committee
Eighth Circuit Federal Advisory Committee
Committee on Local Rules, United States District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, 2000-01
Metro Arts Alliance of Greater Des Moines
Criminal Justice Act Federal Defender Panel, 1992-present
American, Iowa State, and Polk County Bar Associations
National & Iowa Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Legal: University of Michigan, J.D., cum laude, 1985
Undergraduate: Dartmouth College, A.B. (economics), magna cum laude, 1982
Litigation: Complex Civil Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense, Trials, Appeals, Internal Investigations