David W. Nelmark

David W. Nelmark

Des Moines, Iowa

David's skill set and mindset allow him to adjust his methods to achieve your goals. Certain cases and transactions demand a "leave no stone unturned" approach. Others require careful strategy to get the maximum benefit from limited resources. In either scenario, David will do everything within his power to achieve the best possible result. David has been called "brutally efficient." It probably wasn't meant as a compliment, but it is an approach that has served David's clients well.


David has been studying the art and science of advocacy for nearly 30 years. He has competed, coached, and judged at every level of mock trial and moot court competition. He co-founded the Stanford Law School Mock Trial team and ultimately served as President of the American Mock Trial Association. Rather than specialize in a single area of practice, David has focused his efforts on crafting winning arguments. He represents plaintiffs and defendants in both state and federal courts. His successful results in complex civil litigation matters include claims for breach of contract, fraud, personal injury, wrongful death, antitrust, libel, defamation, copyright infringement, patent infringement, trademark infringement, and false advertising.

David's multi-disciplinary approach to persuasion and problem-solving was honed at Drake University where he finished first in his class, earning a Rhetoric degree from the School of Liberal Arts, an Advertising degree from the School of Journalism, and a minor in Marketing from the School of Business (all in four years).

More than 95% of civil cases settle. As this trend evolved, David went through 40 hours of mediation training to better represent his clients in that setting. Despite the rise of alternative dispute resolution, it remains imperative to be ready, willing and able to go to all the way to trial if that is in the client's best interests.


Arguing before an appellate court is a unique brand of advocacy, combining the skills of brief-writing, oral presentation, and decision-making. The most important aspect of the appeal process is often choosing what arguments to make (and not make). In trying to anticipate what appellate judges and justices will find persuasive, it is invaluable to have had experience "behind the curtain." David served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Michael J. Melloy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth (8th) Circuit in 2005-2006.

David has had extensive success before the Iowa Court of Appeals and the Iowa Supreme Court -- including the recent case of U.S. Bank v. Callen, which was a case of first impression with significant implications in banking and real estate law. He has also handled appeals from the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Iowa and the Northern District of Iowa.

Intellectual Property

While at Stanford Law School, David took nearly every course offered in the area of intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets). He has combined those academic endeavors with real-world IP experience in the corporate arena, the courtroom, and specialized forums involving the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Protocol (UDRP). In addition to founding the firm's Trademark Practice, he maintains copyright registrations and counsels clients in the many aspects of brand protection.


David indulges his desire for competition by participating in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and American Contract Bridge. He feels very old when competing in the former and very young when competing in the latter. Winning is equally fun in both. David and his high school sweetheart, Maria, lived in at least a half-dozen states in the years following their wedding, but returned to their roots in Urbandale after their son was born. They are proud to share all of Central Iowa's recent accomplishments with their friends and classmates from around the country.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Health Care

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit


  • Stanford University, Stanford, California
    • Juris Doctor - 2005
    • Order of the Coif
    • Associate Managing Editor, Stanford Law Review
  • Drake University
    • B.A., summa cum laude,(Phi Beta Kappa) - 1999

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Mock Trial Association (Board Member 2002-14, Past-President)
  • Des Moines Social Club (Board Member 2010-12)
  • Drake University Law School (Guest Lecturer and Trial Advocacy Guest Judge)
  • Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines (Community Connect Mentoring Program)
  • International Academy of Dispute Resolution (Board Member 2009-Present)
  • Iowa State Bar Examination (Evaluator)
  • St. Mark Lutheran Church (Leadership Council Member)
  • American Bar Association (Member)
  • Iowa State Bar Association (Council Member, Intellectual Property Law Section)
  • Polk County Bar Association (Board Member 2014-Present, Vice President)