Helping Individuals Who Have Been Hurt By Others

Roxanne’s Biography from ATLA’s Litigating Tort Cases


Roxanne Barton Conlin, a nationally-renowned and respected trial lawyer and pioneer for women’s rights, practices law from her Des Moines, Iowa, firm of Roxanne Conlin & Associates. Ms. Conlin handles all type of civil litigation including cases involving women’s issues such as employment discrimination, sexual harassment, rape, domestic abuse, and the failure to diagnose breast cancer. Ms. Conlin has also represented plaintiffs in several class action lawsuits, including shareholders against MidAmerican Energy, contending that the utility sold itself to its officers and principal shareholders for an artificially low price, and one on behalf of the black community in Des Moines for exclusion from night clubs. Most recently, the Supreme Court of Iowa reversed dismissal of a class action antitrust suit in favor of her clients, a group of computer consumers, against the Microsoft Corporation. She has also handled several seminal cases for survivors of violent crime.

From 1992 to 1993, Ms. Conlin served as the first female president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. She also served as President Elect, Vice President, Secretary and Parliamentarian. She has served as chair of numerous ATLA committees, including the Organization Review Committee, Education Committee, Membership Oversight Committee, Consumer and Victims Coalition Committee, and Safety Conference Committee. She was founder and first chair of the Civil Justice Foundation, an organization that makes grants to consumer groups. Ms. Conlin also served as president of the Roscoe Pound Foundation from 1994 to 1997. In 1994, Ms. Conlin was elected to membership in the Amer­ican Law Institute. Ms. Conlin is one of only two women ever elected to membership in the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates in 1995.

She has served on the Board of Trustees of Thai Lawyers care, the National Pro Bono effort to help the victims of the September 11 tragedy. She served on the Board of Directors for Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. She is a Life Fellow of the Iowa State Bar Association. She has recently been elected to membership in the College of Labor &

Employment Lawyers. She is also an elected member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Ms. Conlin was appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of’ Iowa in 1977, Ms. Conlin was the second woman in the nation to be appointed by a President to this post. While serving in that capacity, she also was elected President of the Federal Executive Council made up of all federal agencies. She received an award for Outstanding Assistance from the United States Secret Service and special commendations from both the FBI and the Postal Inspection Service.

In 1981, Ms. Conlin was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1982, she became the first woman candidate for Iowa governor on a major party ticket. Though she won a tough 3-way primary, she lost the General Election. From 1986 to 1988, Ms. Conlin served as president and general counsel of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 1998, Ms. Conlin served as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

She founded and was the first chair of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus, the largest caucus in the nation for many years. She worked as deputy industrial commissioner, assistant attorney general for the State of Iowa, consultant to the United States Commission on the Observance of International ­Women’s Year, and University of Iowa adjunct professor of law.

Ms. Colin graduated from Drake University Law School in 1966 at age 21. She received her undergraduate degree from the same institution, summa cum laude in 1964. She also received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the same university in 1978. She was elected Phi Beta Kappa and to Pi Alpha Alpha – the National Honorary Society on Public Affairs and Administration. She was named in 1989 as its Outstanding Alumni.

She is the author of numerous articles and treatises on legal issues. Roxanne has had several closing arguments included in the Professional Techniques Library Million Dollar Argument Series of tape recordings including, Gail v. Western Convenience Store, 434 N.W.2d 862 and Monohon v. Sullivan Payne Company, Polk County No. CL 70-41225 (1991)

She received the Marie Lambert award from ATLA’s Women’s Caucus. She is the recipient of the 1998 Rosalie

Wahl Leadership Award from the Minnesota Women’s Lawyers Association. That same year, Ms. Conlin was named as one of “The Fifty Most Influential Women Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal. Most recently the same journal named her one of the ten most influential women attorneys in the nation in 2002. In 1989, it declared her one of the Top Ten Litigators, and in 1991 one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers.” In 2001, the YWCA gave her its coveted Mary Louise Smith Award for Racial Justice.

Ms. Conlin participates in community and charitable activities and has been recognized for her’ efforts. She has received a special award from the YWCA for a program she conceived to provide make-overs to job applicants in connection with their retraining. She has received awards for her service to Very Special Arts of Iowa, the United Way and the Young Women’s Resource Center. In 1987, she received the Iowa Citizens Action Network Annual Award for Public Service. She has served on the Board of Directors of Dowling High School, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the YWCA, Drake Law School, Iowa Shares Program, Youth for Understanding, the Polk County Rape Center’, the River Hills Day Care Center and the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.

She appears in the Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys, The Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Law, Who’s Who of Women, Who’s Who in the Middle West and Who’s Who in Politics, the Dictionary of International Biography and The World’s Who’s Who of Women.

Roxanne and James Conlin have been married for 40 years. They have raised 4 children, 2 daughters, Deborah and Jacalyn, and 2 sons, Douglas and James Barton, and are enjoying 5 grandchildren.