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Rising Star: Justin Arnold

justin-arnoldGeneral Counsel

Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

At age 29, when many people are still finding their professional footing, Justin Arnold is off and running as the in-house attorney for Missouri’s largest business association, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Arnold grew up in Farmington, about 75 miles south of St. Louis. He said he knew from a young age that he wanted to practice law.

“Growing up, some of the people I admired most were attorneys,” he said.

Arnold studied political science at Westminster College in Fulton, graduating in 2012. At Westminster, he was an adviser on the Student Judiciary Board, and he said he is grateful to have encountered many professors who were practicing attorneys.

Arnold earned his juris doctorate in 2016 from Saint Louis University School of Law, where he focused on civil litigation and served as the Kaplan Bar Review student representative. He began his professional life by handling asbestos and product liability cases locally for the New York firm Napoli Shkolnik.

“I was fortunate to get thrown into a courtroom on day one of my legal career,” he said.

In 2016, Arnold joined the St. Louis firm of Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd — which focuses exclusively on mesothelioma law — as an associate. He said he traveled extensively for MRHFN, at one point working with clients in both New Mexico and Maine.

The work included useful litigation experience, but Arnold said he’d decided he wanted a policy-setting role. After practicing with MRHFN for a year, Arnold set his sights on the position of General Counsel with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

When he joined the chamber in August 2017, Arnold said he recognized that he might have been a bit young for the job, but he said his extensive litigation experience worked in his favor.

“They were big-thinking enough to take a chance on me,” he said of his employer, which advocates for business interests in the state, including improving economic development, health care and education.

As the chamber’s general counsel, Arnold also is part of its lobbying team. He handles issues ranging from environmental protection and civil justice to energy and environmental interests, while working to ensure the state remains friendly to business growth and development.

Arnold also influences policy through litigation, coordinating such headline-making lawsuits as a challenge to a 2016 constitutional amendment aimed at limiting campaign contributions from businesses and others. The measure passed but is under appeal.

Arnold said his position requires him to strike a balance between lobbying and legal practice, with a dash of instruction thrown in. When the Legislature is in session, his responsibilities each week fluctuate between lobbying and legal work, all while responding to questions from local chambers.

In addition to those duties, Arnold directs the Missouri Chamber Legal Foundation, a statewide organization that aims to foster a pro-business legal climate. That position enables him to be proactive on potential issues that could impact Missouri’s businesses, he said.

“It gives us the opportunity to advance the business community’s interest in court,” he said.

Arnold said his career did not take the path he once thought it would, but it illustrates his belief that attorneys should never close any door. A career headed down the path of being a high-stakes litigator now has him shaping public policy every day.

“I love that I get to work on so many different issues,” he said.

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