Melissa Grant recently took a position as an attorney

Melissa Grant recently took a position as an attorney at Whorley Heidman Law Firm in Sheldon. She is a 1998 graduated of Central Lyon High School in Rock Rapids. Photo by Josh Harrell 

 

Melissa Grant has come home to the northwest Iowa.

Her practice location changed to the Whorley Heidman Law Firm Sheldon location this past spring and the Rock Rapids native has found a pleasant blend of career and family with the Sheldon firm.

“The intent is for me to retire here,” said the 37-year-old.

Grant, whose maiden name is Hilbrands, landed in Sheldon after a few twists and turns. A 1998 graduate of Central Lyon High School in Rock Rapids, she earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake in 2001.

Grant worked as a nanny in Des Moines in the summers to help cover expenses. She was just 20 when she graduated in December 2001. Grant then started work in computer programming, data design, and managing financial programs.

She was hired by RSM (formerly McGladrey & Pullen, LLP), a Des Moines accounting firm, working in its IT consulting department. Eventually, Grant moved to managing IT for Mid-State Distributing, a family run distribution company based out of Des Moines.

Then, Grant considered a career change intrigued by the idea of becoming a lawyer.

“It was definitely a challenge academically,” she said.

That was something Grant relished. She earned her law degree from the Drake University Law School in Des Moines in 2011. After graduation, her passion for health law led to joining the UnityPoint Clinic corporate office within the UnityPoint Health system based out of West Des Moines. She started in the compliance department and eventually reported to the chief financial officer focusing on transactions.

After more than a decade in Des Moines, Grant said she felt the pull to be closer to home for her son Maddox, now 5. Grant first joined the Goosmann Law Firm in Sioux City focusing on real estate and health law.

“I enjoyed the change,” she said. “Firm practice includes more direct contact with clients and a wider range of law.”

During her time in Sioux City, she connected with a prominent health-care attorney, Cindy Moser, a partner with the Heidman Law Firm.

Grant sought her advice on furthering a health law practice.

It did not take Grant long to realize the best path, she said, and on Sept. 1, 2016, Grant joined the Heidman Law Firm.

Move to Sheldon

Heidman Law Firm merged with the Wolff Whorley & De Hoogh Law Firm of Sheldon on March 1.

Grant then started commuting to Sheldon three days a week.

“The partners asked me to consider moving up here to join Tom (Whorley) and Jack (De Hoogh) full-time,” Grant said.

She said it was an excellent opportunity to serve smaller communities that she could not pass up.

Grant and her son stayed with her parents in Rock Rapids June 1-July 31 and both commuted to Sheldon for work and day care, but closed on a home and moved here Aug. 1.

“It’s great to get to experience the new community particularly with the contacts Tom has in the community,” Grant said. “It’s rewarding to help people you’re more connected to through family and friends.”

Whorley said she has been a great fit.

“Whorley Heidman is very pleased to have Melissa join our firm and we welcome her as a new resident of Sheldon,” he said. “Melissa has a very impressive legal background with six years of diverse experience as a practicing attorney.”

Grant, who has a quick smile and a ready wit, said the transition to working at the downtown Sheldon office was made easier by the “great staff” who work there.

She said the community has made her feel very welcome and she has enjoyed attending chamber events.

Her son already has found great friends in their neighborhood.

Grant and her son are getting settled and learning about Sheldon and she has met people who knew her as Missy Hilbrands, as well as friends and relatives of her family, another of the benefits of returning to her home area.

Maddox recently started kindergarten at East Elementary and his teacher Ashley Kerr is the stepgranddaughter of Grant’s grandmother.

They are looking forward to fall sports and other local events.

Her parents, Diane and Kary Schroeder of Rock Rapids, are thrilled to have their grandson nearby.

“They spoil him even more now,” she said.

Grant is a member of the American Bar Association, American Health Lawyers Association, Iowa State Bar Association Real Estate and Title Section Council and Iowa Society of Healthcare Attorneys and is the vice president of the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys Board. Grant also is a board member on the Siouxland Community Foundation, serves as a big sister for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Siouxland and is a steering committee member for Santa’s House presented by UnityPoint Health, St. Luke’s Partners.

Grant is licensed to practice in Iowa and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, and upon taking the oath soon will be licensed to practice in South Dakota. Her general practice includes, but is not limited to, health, real estate, business law, employment law and estate planning.

Her legal and business background is crucial to assist clients on compliance, transactions, and strategic planning.

Whorley has worked with several local school districts over the years, and she is excited to do so as well.

Another young lawyer, Jake Nat--wick, a partner with the firm, practices at the Sheldon office on Wednesdays.

“The firm’s other attorneys frequently schedule meetings in Sheldon when convenient for the clients closer to our Sheldon location,” Grant said.

Many of the firm’s attorneys and spouses grew up in area communities, Grant added.

The merged Whorley Heidman Law Firm is at the same location as Wolff Whorley & De Hoogh, in the Security Professional Plaza, 934 Third Ave., Suite 200.