Business is Above the Bar at Waukee's Banks Law Firm
Steve Banks, an attorney and owner of Banks Law Firm, has only been a part of the Waukee community a short time but he's already making a name for himself here.
Drive around Waukee's historic downtown Triangle and you might just miss the white stucco two-story that straddles the intersection of Fifth and Walnut Streets.
Inside this 111-year-old property works one of only a handful of Waukee attorneys-at-law, Steve Banks.
Banks, a Fort Dodge native and a graduate of Iowa State University and Drake University Law School, is a general practice attorney who specializes in real estate matters like commercial and residential property sales, contract disputes and collections, but his expertise far exceeds just one area of the law.
"I've kind of got this 'country boy' lawyer thing going on," said Banks. "My mission is not to be a commodity law firm. I handle a lot of different types of cases and I can be as hands-on or hands-off as you choose. I think that's how you have to practice law in a small town."
Hanging Out His Shingle in Waukee
Banks, who passed the bar and started practicing in 2005, came to Waukee in 2009. Once an officemate in his brother Mike Bank's American Family Insurance office, Steve Banks decided that Waukee was the place he would make his permanent work home.
So, in November 2009, Banks purchased the property at 516 Walnut St. in downtown Waukee. The two-story structure built in 1901 had been a three-story hotel and was later converted into apartments.
"As my business grew, I knew I was going to need to find a larger space," Banks said. "I negotiated and purchased this building and wanted to take it back to the period. We did most all the work ourselves. The wood floors, the trim … I love this building. It was the perfect place for a law office."
Banks says as he continues to grow his practice, the historic property will also be able to grow with him. While he currently occupies only the first floor, the existing apartments on the second could eventually be converted into office space.
The future success of the Banks Law Firm is evident when you speak to its clients. Robert Etzel of West Des Moines has been working with Banks for the past few years and says he's gone above and beyond what any "big city" attorney would do for a client.
"He's not only my attorney, but he's a good friend, too," said Etzel. "I have a lot of faith in him. He's a young guy but he's doing a great job for his age. I'd say by the time he's 50, he'll probably be the best attorney in town."
Devoting Time, Energy to Waukee
Melinda Behn, executive director of the Waukee Chamber of Commerce, said Banks has become something of a permanent fixture in the city. Not only does he have a thriving law practice, but he's also giving back by being being on the Chamber's board of directors, the Waukee Rotary Club and the Waukee Economic Development Corporation.
"Steve has been a valuable member of the Waukee Chamber of Commerce the past several years," said Behn. "Steve's legal advice has been helpful on a number of recent projects including the office space contracts. It helps to have a great attorney on our Board."
Banks says hanging out his shingle in Waukee turned out to be one of the best decisions he's ever made.
"I started out with my brother because I needed to get out of my house," he said. "As I developed ties in the community, I started to really appreciate the people. I find it really easy to get along here and get involved. I appreciate that."