Associate General Counsel, Spire Inc.
Plenty of attorneys say that at an early age they had a good idea they were headed for the legal field. Matt Aplington took that a step further.
The associate general counsel at Spire Inc. not only has had the law in his blood for his entire life, but he also is following in some prominent footsteps as an In-House Counsel Award winner. His father, David, earned the In-House Counsel Lifetime Achievement award from Missouri Lawyers Media in 2018.
“I’m a fifth-generation lawyer, so it’s sort of been a family tradition,” Matt Aplington said. “That gave me an opportunity to watch my dad be an in-house lawyer as well.”
What’s more, his mentor at Spire, David Abernathy, also won an In-House Counsel award in 2018.
“It’s special,” Aplington said. “I grew up watching my dad work as in-house counsel, and it really did inspire the thought that preventing problems before they start is the best outcome. It taught me to have a broader perspective on a given issue. It’s really neat to follow in the footsteps of mentors in getting this award.”
Aplington, who has been at Spire since 2016, has turned heads with his litigation record and approach to cases. His nominator raved about his ability to protect his company’s interests while staying compassionate toward opposing parties, writing that Aplington “makes an effort to remember that there are lives on the other side of the case and that it is not a zero-sum game.”
Aplington’s work covers a wide array of cases, including supporting gas utilities, obtaining land rights and supporting crews in the field. Although the work can be tough at times, Aplington said he believes treating everyone with respect is very important, and he points to his approach with pride.
“There have been plenty of great cases we’ve won, and I’ve enjoyed dealing with the field crews and right-of-way department,” he said. “That’s when I get to deliver on our company’s promise and respect.”
Aplington, who has lived in St. Louis for most of his life, graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Spanish, then earned his law degree from Saint Louis University. And while he knew he was headed for the legal field, he broke into that field by running errands.
“I always tell people I got into this business by making copies and coffee, and that’s literally true,” he said.
Aplington worked as an intern for two summers and full-time for two years at The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis, where he learned the ins and outs of legal work before moving to Lowenbaum Law. He spent the first of his six years there in the corporate department before realizing he liked litigation much better.
“I did a lot of work for the litigation department after that, and they said, ‘Why don’t you move your office to the litigation department?’” Aplington said. “I didn’t intend to be a litigator. I thought I would be a corporate lawyer.”
The rest fell into place nicely for Aplington, who said he has found his calling in his work as in-house counsel.
“Being in-house has really been meaningful for me,” he said. “Even before I went into law school, I knew I wanted to be in-house and get to know the clients intimately. I get to be involved in business decisions being made, and being able to do that, especially here, has really been a wonderful opportunity.”