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Nicholas A. Klinefeldt



Nick Klinefeldt has a national practice helping clients respond to government investigations, conduct internal investigations and defend against litigation with the government. He served six years as a presidentially-appointed U.S. Attorney and four years as the chair of the firm’s white collar defense and investigations team. He has successfully represented Fortune 500 clients in high stakes matters across the country and around world.

Government Investigations

Nick uses his combination of government and private practice experience to help clients effectively respond to grand jury and other government investigations.

As the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, Nick was in a unique position whereby he not only ran grand jury investigations and prosecuted white collar criminal cases, but – as the head of the office and chief law enforcement official for the district – he supervised all the office’s cases and investigations and led its relationships with law enforcement agencies. In addition, Nick was involved in national DOJ leadership activities, including serving as the co-chair for the Attorney General Advisory Subcommittee on Criminal Practice.

In private practice, Nick has helped clients in all manner of government investigations, including grand jury investigations, False Claims Act investigations, parallel criminal/civil investigations, Congressional investigations, State Attorney General investigations, FCPA investigations, and many others. Nick regularly represents clients against U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country as well as against DOJ components, like the Fraud Section, in Washington, D.C.

Internal Investigations

Nick uses his experience conducting investigations for the government and defending clients against government investigations to conduct internal investigations for clients. He helps clients independently and objectively investigate facts, assess exposure, manage risk and, when necessary, prepare confidential reports for their board. Nick has also conducted internal investigations for government and political entities in high profile matters where the client has asked him to prepare a public report regarding investigation findings and recommendations. Nick is a recipient of the FBI’s Distinguished Service Award.

Industry Experience

As part of his practice, Nick has developed significant experience in several industries. Nick served as leader of the litigation section of the firm’s national health and life sciences industry group. He has represented clients across the country in matters concerning the federal health care fraud state, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, the False Claims Act and other types of health care investigations. His clients have included medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, health care executives and sale representatives, and physicians.

In addition, Nick has represented many of the firm’s food and agriculture clients in government investigations across the country.


Nick is an accomplished trial lawyer and has tried numerous jury trials in both federal and state court. He has successfully handled trials as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney and in both federal and state court. Nick also has successfully handled appeals at the state and federal levels. In addition, Nick has had a lot of experience with cases that have been covered by the media, including national media. 

Nick blends his combination of experience to provide clients strong, comprehensive representation – with unique insight – from beginning to end.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

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


Massachusetts Court of Appeals, Hon. Christopher J. Armstrong, 2002-2003
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Hon. Robert W. Pratt, 2000-2002


University of Iowa College of Law
J.D. with distinction, Journal of Gender, Race & Justice (note and comment editor) (2000)

University of Iowa
B.A. in Political Science, with honors (1995)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • U.S. Investment, M&A, Litigation, Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets
    Panelist, Zhejiang Lawyers Association, Shanghai, July 2018
  • Anatomy of a Government Investigation
    Iowa State Bar Association, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, November 3, 2017
  • Responding to White Collar Investigations
    Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Des Moines, November 2, 2017
  • Internal Corporate Investigations
    Iowa State Bar Association, Des Moines, September 22, 2017
  • Current Issues in Federal Criminal Law
    Panelist, Iowa State Bar Association Federal Practice Seminar, Des Moines, December 16, 2016
  • Ethical Considerations for In-House Counsel (Crisis Management)
    Iowa State Bar Association Corporate Counsel Institute, Des Moines, November 17, 2016
  • Lessons Learned as U.S. Attorney
    Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Seminar, Des Moines, November 4, 2016
  • Federal Sentencing
    Iowa State Bar Association Bridge the Gap Seminar, West Des Moines, September 9, 2016
  • In-House Legal Ethics Panel
    Moderator, FaegreBD M&A Conference, August 4, 2016
  • DOJ’s New Enforcement Landscape from the Perspective of a Former U.S. Attorney
    Fourth Annual ACC/Drake University Corporate Counsel Forum, Des Moines, June 3, 2016
  • From Peanuts to Prison: Criminal Liability for Food Contamination
    Co-moderator, 2016 Food & Agriculture National Conference, Faegre Baker Daniels, Indianapolis, May 24, 2016
  • Six Months Later: What Does the DOJ's Yates Memo Mean to You?
    Panelist, Faegre Baker Daniels, Minneapolis, March 23, 2016
  • Differences Between State and Federal Criminal Law
    Co-Presenter, Polk County Bar Association Seminar, Des Moines, November 21, 2014
  • The Federal Criminal System: From Arraignment to Trial
    Co-Presenter, Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers Seminar, Des Moines, February 21, 2013


Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Iowa Legal Aid Foundation – Past Board Member
  • Department of Justice — Attorney General Advisory Subcommittee on White Collar Crime, 2009-15; Attorney General Advisory Subcommittee on Criminal Practice, 2009-15 (Co-Chair)
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa — Criminal Justice Act panel


  • Best Lawyers® — Criminal Defense - White Collar, 2020-24 (Lawyer of the Year, 2023)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation — Distinguished Service Award
  • Faegre Drinker — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2021
  • Faegre Baker Daniels — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2016
Awards Methodology
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.
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