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WJA 2021: Megan S. Heinsz

“I love going to trial,” says Megan Heinsz. “Then I’m finally at the time when we put our case in front of a jury to decide what happened. That’s the culmination of what we work for.”

heinz-meganWhen she started law school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Heinsz wasn’t sure she wanted to be a lawyer. “My father was a law school dean,” she says, “but he never pushed me to go to law school. He encouraged me to take the LSAT. I got my J.D. But when I did my clerkships and saw how the courts actually work, I decided I wanted to be a litigator.”

Today, Heinsz is an established litigator with a reputation for being an essential contributor in high-stakes litigation on behalf of her firm’s clients. She represents and defends corporate and individual clients at the state, federal, district and appellate levels, and in arbitration. Her national practice takes her to courtrooms throughout the United States — regularly in federal district courts in Missouri, Massachusetts, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia and North Dakota, as well as multiple state courts.

In her practice, she defends multinational corporations in allegations ranging from exposure to hazardous toxins and trade secret violations, to gender discrimination and FCA violations. Her corporate clients include global entities in the oil and gas, beverage, electric power and health care industries

“I’m also back room, helping get everything ready to be presented during trial,” Heinsz says. “I’m responsible for all of the electronic presentation of demonstrative exhibits. During my career, we’ve moved from paper documents on the ELMO overhead projector and flipping pages of hard copy transcripts at trial to now doing everything electronically.”

Heinsz recently completed an in-person jury trial for a product liability case in North Dakota. All the hearings, oral arguments and depositions were done virtually.

Reflecting on her career, Heinsz is proud of her team’s success in 2015 when they attained the largest reported verdict in the history of the St. Louis County Circuit Court. The jury ordered Wells Fargo to repay $45.7 million to the Barbara Burton Morriss Revocable Trust and pay Mrs. Morriss $32.1 million in punitive damages.

In 2014, she was part of the team that obtained a total defense verdict in a highly publicized gender discrimination lawsuit, Katz v. Anheuser-Busch. Heinsz says, “In assisting my clients, I work to help them continue to have faith in our jury system.”

As a founding member of her firm and the first lawyer the firm hired, Heinsz works hard to ensure that women are well-represented in the legal field. “I mentor young women in our summer intern positions,” she says. “I advise young women associates about their career path. I help them find their areas of interest and assist our firm in accommodating them.”

Heinsz understands the importance of work-life balance. An avid runner and swimmer, she recently achieved the Swimmer of the Year honor at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. She is also a member of the St. Louis Library Board Foundation.

Women's Justice Awards 2021