profile headshot of Katherine E. McKain


As a member attorney with BrownWinick, I take a practical and down-to-earth approach to practicing real estate and corporate law. I strive to assist you with all your legal needs while making the process as smooth as possible for you.

My Approach:

As your lawyer, my role is to “chase the paper” you don't have time to chase. I work diligently to make each transaction as easy as possible for you. I understand that your time is both limited and precious. Therefore, my goal is to provide you with clear and concise information, so we can resolve your real estate issues or complete your transaction with as little interruption to your daily life as possible.

More About Me:

In 2007, I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in History and Communication Studies. In 2009, I earned a Master of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development degree from the University of Kansas. Finally, in 2012, I earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Drake University Law School.

I was born and raised in the greater Des Moines area and, aside from my brief stint in Kansas, have spent my life in Iowa. Prior to my career with BrownWinick, I practiced law in-house with a large multifamily company and worked for a qualified intermediary performing 1031 exchange transactions. I currently participate in a number of organizations, including the Polk County Women Attorneys Association, CREW Iowa, Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association, and the Iowa State and Polk County Bar Associations, and am a member of the Iowa State Bar Association Title Standards Committee. I have also been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® - Ones to Watch in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law and Real Estate Law. 

My Specialties:

  • Real Estate
  • Business and Corporate

Iowa Property Tax Protests & Appeals

03-30-2022 The Iowa property tax is a tax on “real property”, which includes (among other things) land, buildings, structures, or improvements constructed on or attached to land. Assessments of real property occur every two years, in odd-numbered years.   The assessment is intended to be the actual or market value for most property taxes. Iowa Code Chapter...
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Effects of COVID-19 on 1031 Exchange Deadlines

03-20-2020   Following President Trump’s emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Treasury Department (the “Treasury Department”) and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued guidance on special payment relief to individuals and businesses. However, as of the date of this post, no extensions or other relief...
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Criminal Screening under Fair Housing

09-26-2019 While having a criminal record is not a protected characteristic under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) closely regulates criminal history-based restrictions on housing if, without justification, criminal history-based restrictions burden renters of one race or national origin over another....
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Assistance Animals and Fair Housing

08-20-2018 The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) prevent discrimination in housing against tenants due to a disability. Even if a lease says “no pets” or restricts the breed, size or weight of pets, Landlords are required to make a “reasonable accommodation” to allow assistance animals, including those that...
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Drop and Swap Exchanges

03-16-2018 The “Drop and Swap” exchange is a useful tool for a partnership that desires to sell investment property and when some of the partners want to cash out, but others want to reinvest. The most common purpose for these transactions is to add or remove a co-owner of investment property.  However, there are some obstacles that the taxpayer must...
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BrownWinick Promotes Four Attorneys to Members

01-3-2022   BrownWinick recently admitted four attorneys as members. We would like to congratulate Ellen Hames, James White, Katie McKain, and Jennifer Lindberg on this achievement. Admission as members speaks to the hard work, skills and character of these individuals.” said Chris Sackett, Managing Member at BrownWinick. “Each of these attorneys brings a...
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Liz Onthank



University of Iowa

B.A., Communication Studies and History, 2007


University of Kansas

Master's Degree in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development with a specialization in housing and land use, 2009


Drake University Law School

J.D., with honors, 2012


Iowa, 2012

Memberships & Associations

  • Polk County Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
    Member, Sections on:  Corporate Counsel; Real Estate and Title Law
  • Polk County Women Attorneys
  • CREW Iowa (Commercial Real Estate Women in Iowa)
  • Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association