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WJA 2021: Jovita M. Foster

Jovita Foster’s parents encouraged her from a young age to consider a career as an attorney.

foster-jovita“The law is really about trying to do the right thing in complicated situations, sometimes very confusing situations,” said Foster, 46. “When you look at the law, no matter what the area, the goal is to do what’s right. It is complex and interesting and fascinating. It is a constant challenge and it is always changing, but the one thing that remains the same is that the goal is to do the right thing. That makes me feel very good to know that I’m a part of that process and I can help with it.”

That’s been a theme for the suburban St. Louis native ever since she graduated from Washington University where she won both the Milton F. Napier Award and the American College of Trial Lawyers Medal — both for excellence in trial advocacy.

Foster would go on to represent clients ranging from public utilities to Fortune 100 companies, dispensing sage advice on everything from vendor disputes to regulatory concerns over the better part of two decades at Armstrong Teasdale, where she not only became the first woman of color to be named a partner but earned a spot on the firm’s executive committee.

Starting in 2019, she’s taken her expertise in-house at Drury Hotels where she is general counsel and corporate secretary for an organization that employs more than 5,000 people across 25 states.

“It was an amazing opportunity to work with a company that I have a lot of respect for,” she said, noting that she’d dealt with matters for the chain during her time at Armstrong. “I handled some work for them as their outside lawyer and I really liked the corporate culture. I liked the family approach to doing business and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to work side by side with people who were making really tough decisions.”

Foster also makes a difference outside the courtroom. She’s been director of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis since 2011 and previously served as director of Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, Inc. She also co-chairs the Webster University Board of Trustees.

Foster, who has been honored by her alma mater as a distinguished young alumnus and by the YWCA of Greater St. Louis as a leader of distinction, said she continues to enjoy her role at Drury because of the good people with whom she gets to work.

“One of our slogans is ‘Travel happy’ and they really work happy and live a very positive and upbeat life even with all the challenges that we’ve experienced,” she said. “I’m really grateful to be on this team and proud of all of their grit and hard work.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021