profile headshot of Caleb J. Brus


As a business law attorney at BrownWinick, I understand the power of mission focused collaborationI believe your knowledge and experience will guide our work as much as mineWhile we have different roles, we have the same objectives.  Together, we are a team.  I am committed to understanding your business, including your current and future needsIt is inevitable that we will encounter expected and unexpected challengesI will be your responsive partner as we work through your legal and business obstaclesI believe in intellectual honestyThat means I will be clear about the basis and rationale for my advice, even if it means we need to pivot in an unexpected directionYou and your business needs are my top responsibility.  While I have listed specialties below, I view myself as a generalist and I can take on a variety of legal matters. 

My Approach

My work will be guided by three principles: (1) simplicity, (2) adaptability, and (3) dedication.   

Often, legal issues are complex and governed by complicated regulatory bodies.  I believe the ability to communicate simply is the best measure of a deep subject matter understanding.  My value will be demonstrated in how well I can simplify concepts and not my ability to use grandiose legal jargon.   

Adaptation is a universally transferable skill.  I am skilled in overcoming obstacles whether it’s changes to your business structure, strategic initiatives, economic, regulatory or some other unexpected change.  I will help navigate you through.  

Finally, I will be dedicated to your business and legal needs.  I believe the foundation of my role is rooted in an understanding of your business.  Knowledge of you and your business allows me to provide the best legal consultation. In turn, you will be able to make informed and calculated business decisions.  

More About Me

Before joining BrownWinick, I worked for a fortune 500 global financial services company where I was the Chief Compliance Officer for the bank and trust company.  I oversaw a multitude of regulatory bodies including ERISA, DOL, IRS, SEC, FINRA, OCC, and FDIC.  I served in several executive management committee roles, working directly with senior management.  This experience allows me to be more than “just your lawyer” as my issue spotting and consultation skills stretch well beyond legal and regulatory issues. 

I’m a native Iowan.  I attended Simpson College where I received a B.A., with honors, in Business Management and Marketing.  I also received the top award for Business Management from the Department of Business Administration and Economics.  I graduated from Drake University Law School, and I am admitted to the Iowa bar. In the community, I am on the Board of Directors for Bravo of Greater Des Moines.  

My Specialties

  • ERISA 
  • Retirement Plans 
  • Qualified Plans 
  • Employee Benefits 
  • Regulatory Compliance 
  • Financial Services 
  • Government & Regulatory 
  • Deferred Compensation 
  • DOL Investigations 
  • IRS Audits 
  • Business & Corporate Law 
  • Banking & Finance 
  • Trust 
  • ESOPs 

Recent Challenges to Plan Forfeitures

05-24-2024 Recent lawsuits are challenging 401(k) plan sponsors’ use of forfeitures to reduce employer contributions. Such practice is a long-standing precedent permitted by the Internal Revenue Service “IRS.” Plaintiffs in these suits claim that the decision on how to apply forfeitures is a fiduciary determination. The plaintiffs further allege it is a...
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Understanding ERISA Fiduciary Duties

05-17-2024 The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry. ERISA provides protection for individuals in such plans. Central to ERISA is the concept of fiduciary duty, which mandates that those managing and controlling plan...
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Final DOL Fiduciary Rule

04-26-2024 On April 23, 2024, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) released its new fiduciary investment advice rule titled the “Retirement Security Rule” (the “Fiduciary Rule”). The Final Rule is scheduled to take effect September 22, 2024. The changes to exemptions PTE 2020-02 and PTE 84-24 will have an additional one-year transition period where exemptive...
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BrownWinick Welcomes Attorneys Alexandria Munro, Nicholas Ott, and Caleb Brus to the Firm

03-27-2024 BrownWinick is pleased to welcome attorneys Caleb Brus, Alexandria Munro and Nicholas Ott to the firm as our newest attorneys specializing in Business & Corporate law, Intellectual Property and Employment law. “We are thrilled to announce the addition of Caleb Brus, Alexandria Munro and Nicholas Ott to our exceptional team at BrownWinick. Their...
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Tyler Vail



Simpson College

B.A., with honors, Business Management & Marketing, 2011


Drake University Law School

J.D., 2014



Memberships & Associations

  • Bravo of Greater Des Moines
    Board of Directors
  • Iowa Bankers Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Polk County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Drake Recent Alumni Engagement Board; Event Chair, 2024