Applying Decades Of Experience To Solve Modern Legal Issues

Charles L. Smith

Attorney Charles L. Smith

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Practice Areas:

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Debtor-Creditor


Charles Smith is a partner in the law firm of Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP . His practice focuses on bankruptcy, commercial law, and debtor-creditor relations. He grew up on a farm outside of Mason City, Iowa and received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1971 and his Juris Doctorate from Creighton University School of Law in 1974.

He has been active in Bar Association activities at the local, state and national level. From 2000 to 2006 he served on the Board of Governors of the Iowa State Bar Association and served as Chair of its Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section from 2008 to 2011. He has also served as a Bankruptcy Trustee for over thirty-five years. He is married and has three adult children. He is active in his community having served as Mayor and on the Council Bluffs City Council.

Most recently, he has served as Chair of the Iowa West Foundation, the largest philanthropic foundation in western Iowa, from 2008 through 2012.


  • Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, Nebraska
    • J.D. - 1974
  • University of Notre Dame
    • B.A. - 1971

Bar Admissions

  • Iowa, 1974
  • Nebraska, 1988
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Iowa, 1974
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Iowa, 1978
  • U.S. District Court District of Nebraska, 1988
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Nebraska
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 1978


  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Since 1997
  • Named in the Best Lawyers 2014 Omaha Litigation-Bankruptcy "Lawyer of the Year" Publication
  • "Preeminent" AV 5.0 Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected to Great Plains Super Lawyers, Since 2009
  • Recognized by Omaha Magazine in their “The Best Lawyers in America®” issue; Selected to the 2017 Great Plains Super Lawyers list
  • Recognized as Top 10% of America’s Most Honored Lawyers by American Registry in 2022

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Iowa West Foundation, Member 2004 – 2014, Chair 2008-2012

Past Positions

  • Board of Governors of the Iowa State Bar Association, 2000 to 2006
  • Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section, Chair, 2008 to 2011
  • Iowa West Foundation, the largest philanthropic foundation in western Iowa, Chair, 2008 to 2012

Professional Associations

  • Iowa State Bar Association, Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section Chair, 2008 to 2009
  • Iowa State Bar Association, Co-Chair Private Cause of Action (Civil Fraud) Study Committee
  • Iowa State Bar Association, Chair 2010 Amendments to Article 9
  • Iowa State Bar Association, Governor, 2000 to 2006
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Pottawattamie County Bar Association, President, 2001 to 2002
  • Nebraska State Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees
  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Panel Trustee for the Southern District of Iowa
  • American Association of Justice
  • Iowa Association for Justice
  • Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 1988 to 1994
  • Council Bluffs City Council, Member, 1982 to 1985
  • Mayor of the City of Council Bluffs, 1984
  • Council Bluffs Public Library, Past President & Board Member, 1976 to 1980 and 1988 to 2006
  • Iowa State Library Commission, Past Chairman, Member, 1991 to 1995
  • Iowa Racing Association, President, 1996 to 2006

Current Employment Position

  • Partner