Knowles, Kelsey J.
Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Kelsey believes a lawyer’s job is to prevent and solve problems consistent with a business’s mission, philosophy and needs. Legal solutions are not one-size-fits-all. Whether it is day-to-day legal advice or litigation, Kelsey works with you to understand your company’s unique needs and find a solution.
Kelsey dedicates a substantial portion of her practice to assisting employers in employment law compliance. Kelsey regularly drafts handbooks, policies, employment agreements and non-competes that not only comply with the law, but are functional and practical. This practical approach is carried through Kelsey’s work with clients on employment-related problems, whether it is a potential termination, a new approach to PTO or navigating a tricky situation involving the FMLA and ADA. Kelsey recognizes that as legal counsel, her job is two-fold: (1) ensure clients have accurate legal advice, and (2) help clients consider business options and weigh risks.
Kelsey also assists with internal audits on issues such as wage and hour and I-9 compliance and provides guidance and representation for administrative audits before the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security and Iowa Workforce Development. Kelsey also conducts investigations when companies require legal counsel or where the nature of the complaint makes an outside investigator a better choice.
Litigation requires a different approach to problem solving that is still practical and client-focused. Some cases require bet-the-company efforts. Others require a reasoned approach to settlement. All cases deserve our best efforts and attention. Kelsey has litigated cases at the administrative, trial—before both judges and juries—and appellate level, including numerous appellate arguments.
Prior to joining Belin McCormick, Kelsey served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard L. Nygaard for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Honorable Ronald L. Longstaff for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. These personal experiences working with judges as they decide cases continue to inform Kelsey’s approach to practicing law.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) raises special issues and requires an attorney with a background in traditional labor law. Kelsey is familiar with evolving labor law including the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB)
increasing focus on non-unionized employers. Kelsey has extensive experience advising and training companies on legal compliance under the NLRA and reviewing company policies to ensure compliance with the Act.
Kelsey also has experience with unionized employers including with negotiating contracts, addressing mid-contract changes and arbitrating grievances on contract interpretation and discipline and discharge cases. Kelsey assists both unionized and non-union employers with unfair labor
practice charges and other matters before the NLRB.
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