Michael A. Giudicessi



In advocating for employers, Michael Giudicessi has built a winning record that includes prevailing on crucial rulings and dismissals in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He counsels businesses and represents them in litigation on employment and commercial issues. Michael also has represented media organizations for more than 40 years in some of Iowa’s highest-profile First Amendment cases, protecting the fundamental right to a free press.

Employment Litigation

Michael defends clients against discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, contract, wage and hour, and other employment claims.

Media Law/First Amendment

Since 1980, Michael has handled content and communications issues. His experience extends to pre-publication review and counseling, libel and privacy defense, and freedom of information and access litigation. Michael’s work in this area has protected reporters’ privilege and their right to attend court proceedings and access court records. He has received state and national recognition for this work, including induction to the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s open state government hall of fame.

In-House Experience

Before joining the firm, Michael held legal positions at several Iowa-based corporations, including serving as general counsel of Palmer Communications.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa


Iowa Court of Appeals, Hon. Leo E. Oxberger, 1979-1980


University of Iowa College of Law
J.D. with distinction (1979)

University of Missouri
B.J. (1976)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • A Theory For Defending Libel Suits In An AI World
    Law360, co-author, November 2018
  • Media Law Resource Center
    Co-author of Iowa law outlines published annually on employment defamation law, employment privacy law, media defamation law and media privacy law

Firm Blog Contributions

  • LaborSphere – a resource providing coverage and insights on breaking cases, recently enacted legislation and a broad range of labor issues

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Communications Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association

Civic Activities

  • Iowa Supreme Court Rules of Evidence Substantive Review Task Force — Member, 2021-22
  • Science Center of Iowa — Board Member, 2010-17 (Chair, 2013-15)
  • Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Planning Committee — Member, 2016
  • Iowa Supreme Court Working Group on the Restyling of the Rules of Evidence — Member, 2015
  • Southern District of Iowa — Magistrate Merit Selection Panel (Chair), 2014
  • Iowa Freedom of Information Council — Counsel and a Past President


  • Faegre Drinker — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2022
  • Best Lawyers® — Litigation - First Amendment, 1995-2023; Labor Law - Management, 2023 
  • Chambers USA — Iowa, Labor & Employment, 2012-22
  • National Freedom of Information Coalition — State Open Government Hall of Fame Inductee, 2017
  • Distinguished Service Award — Iowa Newspaper Association, 2015
  • Great Plains/Iowa Super Lawyers — Employment Litigation Defense, First Amendment/Media/Advertising, 2007, 2009, 2011-22 (Top 10 Iowa Lawyers, 2014-15)
Awards Methodology
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.
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