Jessica Liss has been a catalyst for change in the Missouri employment-law landscape. She recently spearheaded the merger of her St. Louis law firm with a boutique-employment firm, is overseeing an upcoming office move as the firm’s managing principal and has become well-known as an expert in the evolving area of transgender law.
Liss started the Clayton office of Jackson Lewis with one other attorney in 2011 in temporary space. With the addition of 15 attorneys from the merger early this year with Lowenbaum Law, the firm now has 23 attorneys who will be moving in April to larger offices in Clayton. The firm has more than 800 employees nationwide.
“I’m very proud of the growth and success in our office in a short time. It’s unbelievable to me personally that we’ve grown so significantly, and it’s not by accident. It’s been strategic and intentional, and it’s not something you learn how to manage in law school,” Liss said.
Liss represents employers at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal court. She also concentrates her practice on training and counseling managers and staff in all areas of employment law. She became involved in transgender law several years ago when gender transition in the workplace first began to make headlines and employers needed help navigating the legal issues.
“Transgender issues and issues of sexual orientation continue to evolve, although it’s already not as new an area as it once was. Most sophisticated employers realize the need to recognize such employees as a protected class,” Liss said. She predicts that the topic will come before the U.S. Supreme Court shortly.
“We will not see transgender cases decline. More issues are impacting the workplace and everyday lives as more individuals express their identities,” she said.
Liss, who earned her law degree in 1999 from Saint Louis University, credits her early-career experience as a public defender in the city of St. Louis for teaching her how to be an advocate.
“I learned how to navigate a complicated court system and how to try cases. It gave me a foundation to understand how to advocate for my clients, and it propelled my career,” she said.
Liss is an active member of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis and former WLA President. She is also involved with The Wilson School, serving as chair of major gifts for its endowment initiative and formerly as a board member and chair of its Assistance Tuition Committee. She serves on the Issues and Action Committee of the St. Louis Forum.
Liss, who admits that she never seriously considered other career options, said her goals include mentoring newer attorneys, enjoying her time in the courtroom and “leading an office of talented attorneys.”
“The success I’ve achieved has not been accomplished alone. Our lawyers truly want to help clients in rapidly evolving areas of workplace law,” she said.