Member Spotlight: Nathan Mundy
Tell us about yourself:
I am Nathan Mundy and I am an attorney in private practice in Des Moines. I am married to another attorney, Anna Mundy, who is in-house at Principal Financial Group. We met at Drake Law School in 2004 and were married in 2007. We have two wonderful boys, Jack (5) and Ben (1). We live in Des Moines on the Northwest side with our Wheaten Terrier, Tessie.
I was born on an Air Force base in Mountain Home, Idaho. We lived there for two years until we moved to Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico. We moved to Des Moines when I was in first grade and I have lived here ever since. I went to Lincoln High School where I was All-Conference in football, ran track including a role on the team for the 1600m medley relay at the State Track Meet, participated in show choir, some small theater roles, and the State-Champion All-Male Dance Team. I was moderately successful in the academic classroom.
I received a football scholarship to play at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA. While I only played football for two years, it did introduce me to the next phase in my life, the law. There I majored in Political Science and Philosophy and founded the SAU Chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and re-started the Mock Trial Program as its captain. I also served on the Student Government Association and was on the committee that drafted the SGA Mission Statement. I was also an alumni ambassador to our vast regional alumni network.
After college, I went to law school at Drake University in Des Moines. At first I was a little dismayed about the prospect of returning to Des Moines, but in the end, it was the best move I have ever made. I met my wife at law school and was able to spend some time with my father before he passed five years after I moved back to Des Moines. The Drake University Law School ethos is really suited to my personality. Drake teaches fighters. Drake teaches trial lawyers. Drake takes people with passion and directs them to fight in the courts. I participated in several programs Drake has including its Mock Trial Team, Student Bar Association, Delta Theta Phi, and the International Law Society. The summer I spent studying International Law in France has had a major impact on my life.
I have been practicing for almost 10 years now. I work in the areas of Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Contractual litigation, and I have practiced in Family Law and Juvenile law.
Your notable achievements?
I can’t answer this question without again mentioning my two boys, Jack and Ben. They are amazing kids with passion and joy that are amazing to be around.
This fall I ran the New York City Marathon to raise awareness and funds to the National Spina Bifida Association. Spina Bifida is a neural tube birth defect that forms during the first 4-8 weeks of development. During the course of six months we raised over $7,600 – the most of any Team Spina Bifida member since 2013. Our youngest son Benjamin was born with Spina Bifida and we have only begun to learn about the vast challenges these kids face.
Professionally I cannot name one significant achievement as the nature of our work as lawyers is not to accomplish one big thing. It is to take every case we have, every client we have, and advance their rights. So as a notable achievement I will mention that in ten years of practice, I have taken a dozen criminal cases to jury trial in which eight cases have been dismissed or acquitted. I have also participated in four civil jury trials. Also notable are the dozens of other cases dismissed prior to trial, the dozens of cases where a client has received a better sentencing result because of my advocacy.
Why you do what you do?
Every person in this country deserves representation if their circumstances demand representation. We have to work to insure the rights of our citizens are respected and enforced by our government. We cannot allow government, or companies, to overstep our citizens’ rights to be free from intrusion on liberty, speech, or the right to be free in this country. As lawyers, we are entrusted with guaranteeing our client’s right to Due Process. I am always honored that every client who agrees to my representation entrusts me with guaranteeing they receive due process.
What you do to get away from work?
As stated earlier, I ran the NYC Marathon so running is a big hobby of mine. I’ve run two marathons, a 50k (31.25 miles), a 25k (15.5-ish miles), several half marathons, and other 10ks and 5ks.
I enjoy spending time with my boys outside, hiking, camping, and fishing.
I read a fair amount of non-legal related literature as well.
What you do to give back to the community?
This year I began organizing a charity 5k to benefit Spina Bifida called the Sprint for Split. This year, the proceeds went to my NYC Marathon Fundraising effort. However, I have now partnered with the local Spina Bifida Association of Iowa and will be organizing the charity 5k every year with proceeds going to the local association. This will be a great boost to the local Spina Bifida Association of Iowa. The race is in August at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines.
I also volunteer my time for the Iowa Bar Association’s YLD programs like the Mock Trial Tournaments for junior high and high school tournaments. Since I was a law student I have judged rounds at the regional and state tournaments for both junior high and high school.
Best thing about the Polk County Bar Association?
It is obviously the Volunteer Lawyers Project. I have always attempted to take at least one of these cases per year. It’s amazing to help those who cannot otherwise obtain representation.
Words to live by?
When I was growing up, we had a framed saying in our house: “Talk sense to a fool, and he calls you foolish.” That has always been one of my words of wisdom.
I’ve also appreciated a couple more mottos lately:
“The easy day was yesterday” – Navy Seal motto
“Death doesn’t discriminate, between sinners and saints” – Lyric from the Hamilton musical.
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Shawshank Redemption
Your favorite book?
This is a tough one. I probably read 14-20 books a year that are non-legal related. A few of my recent favorites have been:
Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment by Philipp Blom
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Earnest Hemingway
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 by Hunter S. Thompson
Best place to visit in Polk County?
I really enjoy running outside on the Sycamore Trail. I also like taking my boys up to Saylorville to go fishing. Outdoor concerts at Simon Estes are also an event everyone should do at least once a year.
Anything you would change about Polk County?
I would take some of the mountains in Wyoming, drag them across Nebraska and Western Iowa and add them in Polk County. I would love to have some mountains to run in that were much closer to home.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a professional athlete of some kind when I was kid. First it was baseball, then it was football. When I stumbled upon the law, I haven’t wanted to do anything else.
What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
There hasn’t been a day gone by in the last few months where I haven’t listened to some part of the “Hamilton” Soundtrack. But I also just ran for four hours in the NYC Marathon so I made a great playlist for that, some songs from that playlist:
“See Me Now” by Kanye West
“The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes
“Go Forever” by Rob Bailey & the Hustle Standard
“First” by Cold War Kids
“Renegades” by X-Ambassadors
“Rose Tattoo” by Dropkick Murphys
“When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin
“Do it for the Love” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
“Heart of the City” by Jay-Z
“Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi
Last movie you saw? (Or favorite movie and why)
I’ve really enjoyed watching “Straight Outta Compton” on HBO lately and “The Big Short”. Both very good films.