Patrick J. O'Connell

Contact Information

Patrick J. O'Connell
526 Second Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
319-365-9101 extension 131
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Practice Areas

  • Municipal and Government Services
  • Civil Litigation
  • Collective Bargaining 
  • Criminal Law
  • Employment and Labor Law
  • Insurance Defense
  • Labor Arbitration 
  • School Law
  • Workers Compensation

Mr. O’Connell regularly represents cities and counties, large private employers, and insurance carriers on matters such as litigation defense, trials, appeals, human resources counseling, employee discipline, civil service, workers’ compensation, collective bargaining, arbitration, ADA accommodations/interactive processes, 28E sharing agreements, ordinance drafting, contract drafting, zoning, eminent domain, code enforcement, open records and open meetings laws, OSHA investigations, FMLA, ADA and interactive process, and most other matters facing Iowa employers.  Mr. O'Connell works regularly for thirty-one different cities, counties and public entities in Iowa.  He is the lead city attorney responsible for the cities of Burlington, West Burlington, Middletown, Clinton, Bellevue, Anamosa, and Monticello.  In addition to his regular city attorney work, he serves as general counsel, labor representative, or human resources attorney for several other public employers.  Mr. O'Connell also works as workers' compensation defense counsel for several private employers and insurance carriers. 


  • The University of Iowa (J.D., 1995)
  • Luther College (B.A., 1992)

Professional Affiliation

Active in the following organizations:

  • Iowa League of Cities
  • Iowa Municipal Attorneys Association
  • Iowa Municipal Management Institute
  • Iowa Public Employer Labor Relations Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Linn County Bar Association
  • Bar of United States District Courts of Iowa
  • Eight Circuit Bar Association
  • National Public Employer Labor Relations Association

Additional Biographical Information

  • Major and Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1993 – 2004
  • Adjunct Paralegal Studies Professor at Kirkwood Community College 2008-2016 

Presentations and Publications

  • Contributor, Human Resources Administration and Labor Relations update, Iowa Municipal Policy Leaders' Handbook, 2019.
  • Successful Strategies for Addressing Problem Properties, Iowa League of Cities Nuisance Abatement Conference, 2019
  • Creating and Administering Clear Disciplinary Policies, Iowa Municipal Management Institute, 2019
  • How to Avoid Lawsuits by Obtaining Resignations from Problem Employees, Iowa Employment Conference, 2018
  • Proper Use of Performance Reviews and Performance Improvement Plans, Iowa Employment Conference, 2017
  • Special Considerations for Employees on FMLA Who Abuse the Law, Iowa Employment Conference, 2016
  • How to Avoid a Lawsuit Under the Open Meetings Law, 2015
  • Policy Drafting for Body-Worn Camera Programs, 2015
  • Contributor, 2016 Iowa Municipal Policy Leaders' Handbook (A guide for Iowa Mayors and Council Members), The University of Iowa Institute of Public Affairs
  • "Top 5 Things City Managers/Administrators Should Know About Municipal Law," 2015
  • "Paid Leave and Unpaid leave," 2014
  • "Discipline and Discharge of Public Employees," Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference, 2014
  • School Law in Iowa, 2009
  • Employment Law in these Challenging Times, NBI Seminars, 2008
  • Employee Discharge and Documentation, NBI Seminars, 2005-2008
  • Workers’ Compensation in Iowa, 2003
  • Employee Handbooks, 2001-2002