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Winston Calvert | Law Firm Leader

Winston Calvert, 34, city counselor, City of St. Louis

Practice areas: Government, municipal and public policy

Law school: Washington University

Not many 34-year-old attorneys hold an important governmental office or run a law firm. Winston Calvert is doing both at once. In April, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay named Calvert, then with Armstrong Teasdale, as the city’s top lawyer.

He now heads a legal department of 40 attorneys and 19 staff, handling legal issues that range from the mundane to the profound — including the city’s headline-grabbing challenge in June to Missouri’s same-sex marriage ban.

In private practice, Calvert was on the legal team that successfully defended St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Church in a lawsuit involving control over the church’s property.

Prior to his appointment as city counselor, Calvert served on boards and committees for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Prison Performing Arts, among others.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

Since being appointed city counselor, I was honored to play a role in the issuance of the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the history of Missouri. Four couples are now married because courageous public officials did the right thing. 

Who is your legal hero?

In many ways, my concept of what it means to be a lawyer, what it means to represent clients zealously and what it means to be a good person come from my closest mentor, Richard Scherrer at Armstrong Teasdale. 

What’s been your favorite moment as an attorney so far?

Holding my son’s hand during a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Stanislaus church the night that the court entered judgment acknowledging St. Stanislaus’s right to control its own property.

What simple piece of advice do you have for young lawyers?

Being a lawyer is not much different from being a human being: If you expose yourself to new ideas, break bread with your enemies and remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you are, your life as a lawyer will be far more rewarding.