Tom Newkirk

Image of Newkirk Zwagerman attorney Thomas Newkirk.Partner

Phone: (515) 883-2000


Employment, Discrimination, and Civil Rights lawyer Thomas Newkirk focuses exclusively in the areas of plaintiff-oriented civil rights and employment law. Tom also has a specific focus on discrimination in college athletics, representing student athletes, female coaches, and administrators across the country.

Tom is a leading expert in identifying, educating and designing remedies for the effects of implicit or subconscious bias.  Implicit bias is a leading cause of harm in employment, criminal justice and in college athletics.  To reduce that harm it is necessary to increase the understanding of implicit bias as well as other cognitive processes that often prevent us—as individuals, employers, governments and universities—from taking the necessary steps to reduce that harm.

To increase this understanding Tom provides training (often for free or at reduced rates) on implicit bias to private businesses, public agencies and institutions. Tom has worked with the Iowa State Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, Des Moines University, the NAACP, the NCAA, American Association of University Women, among others.

Tom holds degrees from Drake University and Drake Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. Tom is currently a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and Iowa NELA.

Tom currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa, where he and his wife continue to teach their adult children to be enlightened and respectful in all walks of life.

Practice Areas:

  • Gender Bias in Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Race Discrimination and Implicit Racial Bias
  • Implicit Bias Training and Focused Remedies for Implicit Bias
  • Remediation of internal office conflicts and systemic conflicts created by implicit bias
  • Trial practice, litigation and negotiations for all employment areas


Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa, J.D. 

Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, B.A. in Political Science

Bar Admissions: 

State of Iowa (1989) 

U.S. District Court Southern District of Iowa (1990) 

U.S. District Court Northern District of Iowa (1996) 

U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit (1998)

Recent Speaking Engagements, Bias Training and Remediation

Des Moines Foundation: Bias Training

Iowa CASA: Implicit Bias

NAACP, Justice and Disparity: Implicit Racial Bias

Labor and Employment: The Art of a Closing Argument in Employment Cases

National NELA: Moving Implicit Bias Theory from The Classroom to The Courtroom

Des Moines University: Diversity Health Seminar, Implicit Bias Training–Medical Care

Iowa Association for Justice: Claimants & Plaintiff's Trial Lawyers Conference

Capital Crossroads Tri-Chair Leaders: Implicit Bias

Drake University: Implicit Bias 101 and the Practice of Law

ASK Studios,: Implicit Bias in Professional Settings–Architecture

Berkeley University: Presentation on Implicit Gender Bias and Coaching

Alliance of Women Coaches: Implicit bias in Coaching and Student Athlete Complaints

WeCoach: Implicit Bias in Coaching and Decision-Making

Public Defenders Association of Iowa: Implicit Bias Training

University of Pennsylvania: Implicit Gender bias in Coaching and Student Athlete Complaints

PELA: Implicit Bias in the Practice of Law

WTCA (Women’s Tennis Coaching Association): Implicit Gender bias in Coaching

Des Moines University: Health Diversity Seminar

NCAA, Gender Equity Task Force: Implicit Gender Bias in Coaching and Student Complaints

AIA Iowa: Implicit Bias in Professional Settings–Architecture

Decorah Community School District: Remediation

Clark 150: The Continuing Relevance of Clark Today – Implicit Racial Bias in Decisions

Would you like to learn more about Tom Newkirk or make an appointment with him? Contact us!

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