Stephen R. Eckley

Steve is a senior civil trial attorney at Belin McCormick. Clients come to Steve because of his experience, his reputation for courtroom success, and his role as a leader of Iowa's lawyers. When you become his client, whether your legal matter is big or small, you become his friend.


In 35 years as a trial attorney, Steve has successfully represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of cases involving business disputes, professional negligence, property damage, personal injury, and insurance coverage. Steve may be the only Iowa attorney to have juries in two separate civil cases return favorable verdicts on the same day. His largest case to date involved representation of the sole defendant in two lawsuits for $400,000,000.00 in property damage, four deaths, and many injuries resulting from the explosion of an ammonium nitrate facility. In 2016, he successfully defended the appeal of a $12.4 million jury verdict he had won for the owners of an apartment complex plagued by multiple construction defects.

Steve is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers. He is listed in the Global Directory of Who's Who and by Best Lawyers in America. Steve has also been recognized as an Iowa Super Lawyer, a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, and by Chambers and Partners as a leader in his field.

In addition to trying cases, Steve has a strong background in mediation, arbitration, complex civil litigation, and appellate work. He has served as national litigation counsel for a manufacturer of cleaning products. Steve enjoys advising clients with respect to the avoidance of litigation as much as helping clients who find themselves in litigation.


Steve has served as President of the 1500-member Polk County Bar Association and is immediate past-President of the 8000-member Iowa State Bar Association (ISBA).

In his personal life, Steve and his wife Dawn will soon become empty-nesters, which they see as an unfortunate but necessary step toward their dream of someday becoming grandparents.

Honors and Accomplishments

American Board of Trial Advocates
Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
Iowa Super Lawyer (recognized in categories of Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, and Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff)
Top 100 Trial Lawyer
Recognized by Chambers and Partners for his Litigation Practice
Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Bet-the-Company
Litigation and Commercial Litigation
AV® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Admitted to Practice (State)

  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Colorado

Admitted to Practice (Federal)

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Community & Professional Activities

Iowa State Bar Association (President 2017-2018, President-Elect 2016-2017,Vice President 2015-2016 )
Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission (2013-2017)
Polk County Bar Association (President 2011-2012)
Willkie House (President, Board of Directors)
Polk County Mental Health Center (President, Board of Directors)
Des Moines Leadership Institute Breakfast Club (President, Board of Directors)
Soccer West Soccer Club (President, Board of Directors)
Network Against Human Trafficking (Board member)
Des Moines Jaycees (Board Member)
Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (1991-1992; Board Member)
Youth soccer, softball, baseball, and basketball (Coach)

Publications and Presentations

A Big Shot for a Year, then Forgotten, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, July 2017

A Day in the Life of Lawyer Nick Slick, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, August 2017

A Lawyer's Regrets, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, September 2017

Advice for New Lawyers, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, October 2017

Help Yourself by Helping Others, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, November 2017

A Holiday Gift List, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, December 2017 - January 2018

Courts Under Assault, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, February 2018

Are We Headed for a "Kodak Moment?", Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, March 2018

I have been Warned not to Write this Letter, Iowa Lawyer ISBA President's Letter, April 2018

Civil Court Judicial Forum, Moderator (2016 and 2017)

"Iowa Insurers Wrongfully Deny Coverage for Defective Construction" BUILD Des Moines (September 2014, ppg 36)