H Icon for Hammer Law Firm

Susan M. Hess

Attorney and Shareholder Email Hammer Law PLC Icon


My affiliation with the Hammer Law Firm began in 1992 when I began an internship with the firm during my senior year at Hempstead Senior High School in Dubuque, Iowa.

I continued working for the firm as a paralegal while taking college classes at Northeast Iowa Community College and ultimately getting my degree from Loras College, also in Dubuque. I attended University of Iowa Law School, participating in an accelerated summer program, and received my Juris Doctor in 2005.

I believe that my well-rounded background is an asset to both my law firm and my clients, as I have worked long and hard to accomplish my goals.

I am committed to bringing the same determination and hard work into the courtroom for my clients. My practice involves all types of litigation, including family and divorce law, personal injury cases, criminal law, and corporate defense.

When I am not practicing law, I enjoy spending time with my family on our small farm.


2002 - Loras BA Political Science, Cum Laude

2005 - University of Iowa College of Law, Juris Doctorate

Bar Admission

2006 - Iowa

  • US District Court Northern District of Iowa

2008 - Illinois


Iowa State Bar Association

Dubuque County Bar Association

  • President 2020-2021
  • Executive Board

Jackson County Bar Association

Illinois State Bar Association

Jo Daviess County Bar Association

Iowa Defense Counsel Association

  • President 2021-2022
  • Legislative Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Board Member-District I
  • Board Member Defense Update

Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys

  • District 1 Representative

Iowa Women Lead Change Steering Committee 2015/16

Volunteer Lawyer Project

Linwood Cemetery Association, Board Member, Past President 2014-2018

Iowa Supreme Court Remote Proceedings Task Force 2023

Two by Two Character Development, Board Member


Biz Times Rising Star 2012

Northeast Iowa Community College Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee 2013

Leadership Iowa Graduate Class of 2015

Iowa Supreme Court Recognition Award Pro Bono Service 2012

Iowa Defense Counsel Association President’s Award 2018

DRI - Exceptional Performance Citation 2021-2022

Representative Cases

Residential & Agric. Advisory Comm., LLC v. Dyersville City Council, 888 N.W.2d 24 (Iowa, 2016-rehearing denied 2017)

In Re Marriage of McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671 (Iowa 2013)

O’Bryan v. Wal-Mart, 828 N.W.2d 326 (Iowa Ct. App. 2013)

Residential & Agric. Advisory Comm., L.L.C. v. Dyersville City Council, 13-0015, WL5951191 (Iowa Ct. App. 2013)

In Re Guardianship & Conservatorship of FW. Jr., 11-1574 (Iowa Ct. App. 2012)

Proshield v. International Profit Associates (Iowa Ct. App. 2011)

Amling v. State Farm, 10-1130 (Iowa Ct. App. 2011)

Proshield v. International Profit Associates, et al., 854 N.W.2d 73 (Table)

Wilson Bros. v. Wilson 770 N.W.2d 850(Iowa App. 2009)

Herrig v. Dubuque Community School Dist., 772 N.W.2d 15 (Iowa App. 2009)


Certified Mediator –International Academy of Dispute Resolution


Presenter: National Business Institute –Handling Real Estate Transactions from Start to Finish May, 2017

Presenter: Iowa Defense Counsel Association Annual Meeting and Seminar- Attorney Client Privilege in the Corporate Setting- September, 2017

Presenter: Iowa Defense Counsel Association Trial Practice Academy-Family Law Trial, Drake Law School, Des Moines, Iowa-May, 2014

Presenter: Iowa Defense Counsel Association Trial Practice Academy-Family Law Overview-Iowa City, Iowa-February, 2015

Presenter: Iowa Defense Counsel Association Trial Skills Academy-Deposition Bootcamp-Grinnell, Iowa, October, 2016 and 2017


“Field of Dreams Case Provides Opportunity for the Iowa Supreme Court to Set the Standard of Review for Rezoning in Iowa: Play Ball!”- Iowa Defense Counsel Update, Winter, 2017