Elizabeth “Libby” Nelson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the second of R.W. and Mary Nelson’s five children. As a child, Libby loved to play softball, basketball and read. When she was in seventh grade, Libby decided she wanted to be a lawyer. She finished her undergraduate work at Washington University in St. Louis in 1977, and graduated from Drake Law School in 1980. She took two bar exams, one in Iowa and one in Wisconsin, and began working for a trust company in Milwaukee.
Her home state called her back in 1981, and Libby began one of several stints working for the State of Iowa. After working for the Department on Aging, she clerked for a federal bankruptcy judge. In 1984, she joined the Attorney General’s Office, representing the Department of Revenue on tax issues. Libby then entered private practice, performing transactional law, litigation, debtor-creditor work, real estate law and corporate governance. She returned to service with the State as an administrative law judge focused on the area of workers’ compensation, and the primary mediator for resolving disputes between claimants, employers and insurance carriers.
Libby then moved on to increased responsibilities with the Attorney General’s Office, representing the Iowa Lottery, General Services, the Iowa Communications Network, the treasurer, the auditor, the Higher Education Loan Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority. She left the State in 2001 and joined Kemin Industries as chief legal officer. She is currently vice president and general counsel, responsible for intellectual property and regulatory affairs, audit, administrative services and environmental health and safety.
Libby is a member of the Kemin board of directors, on which she also serves as an officer. She is a Youth Emergency Services & Shelter of Iowa (YESS) board member and chair of the Continuum of Care Committee. She is also on the board of trustees for Drake University. Libby is admitted to practice law in the State of Iowa and the State of Wisconsin and before the federal district courts in both states. She is a member of the Iowa and Wisconsin Bar Associations.