St. Louis attorney John Fox Arnold has been at the center of some of the region’s most transformative projects of recent decades, overseeing the development of the St. Louis MetroLink Light Rail System and the $45 million reconstruction of the McKinley Bridge between St. Louis and Venice, Illinois.
According to one nominator, Arnold is known among his peers as “the man who saved the McKinley Bridge.”
He relishes the fact that his work, both in the areas of transactional law and municipal finance, has resulted in construction that directly benefits the community.
“That’s extremely rewarding,” he said. “I have enjoyed working through the details to make those transactions work.”
Fox, the son of a lawyer, had planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and work alongside his father at his firm after serving overseas in the U.S. Army. After he earned his LL.B. from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1961, the Army sent him to Germany.
His plans of working with his father went unfulfilled, however, because his father died within days of his return from active duty. Arnold remained in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1968, when he ended his service with the rank of captain.
After he returned to the United States, he joined Green, Hennings, Henry & Arnold in St. Louis, where he was partner from 1963 to 1970. He went on to join Lashly & Baer, where he has been a member for 49 years.
He has served as the firm’s managing partner for 10 years and chairman of the board for 20 years.
Arnold said he immediately started to work in corporate law after law school, while the transactional and municipal-finance parts of his practice developed through time.
Arnold has served as general counsel and special counsel to public agencies and represented developers and owners during acquisition and construction of governmental, commercial and urban redevelopment projects.
He also played a leadership role in creating the state’s first Community Improvement District in downtown St. Louis.
Arnold said he is especially proud of is his work on the MetroLink and McKinley Bridge. He noted that both projects were complicated, with many moving parts.
He said the MetroLink project required working on acquiring the right of way, federal funding and light-rail cars, as well as building relationships with the communities through which the right of way extended.
The bridge project took four years of working with bond holders, two states and half a dozen agencies to complete.
Through his work with various entities, Arnold was able to secure the funding to refurbish the bridge. Today, both Missouri and Illinois maintain the bridge, which is open for use.
Arnold also has held leadership positions within the local and state legal community. He served as president of The Missouri Bar from 1984-1985 and president of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis from 1975-1976.
As a a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, he joined efforts to secure funds from then-newly formed Legal Services Corp., paving the way for the launch of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.
He was also involved with an ABA pilot project for group and prepaid legal services, and in the 1970s he served on the state’s Uniform Law Commission, helping to draft legislation in the area of business law.