Thirty years ago, on July 1, 1987, I opened my law practice. Today, the law firm that bears my name closes. Tomorrow I start a new chapter in my career with the firm of Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard.
I have been truly blessed to have had the opportunity to grow my practice over the years, staying focused on assisting small and medium-sized businesses, organizations and individuals in the areas of law I personally enjoy. While there were challenges over these years, it is the many great, interesting and remarkable people I have met and the many friends I have made that I remember most. Generally not captains of industry — just hardworking and honest people — they taught me so much, just by example, sometimes by explanation. I learned more about the human experience from them than I ever learned in school.
Balancing the long, solitary hours were the personal notes of gratitude, the calls just to say “attaboy” and the gift of a 3-inch-tall plastic owl, probably bought at a flea market, that a client personally delivered to thank me for “being so wise — like an owl” in guiding him through a tough stretch of business and personal setbacks.
There was my first trial — a little thing of no great consequence but immensely important on principle to one of my best friends, who I didn’t want to let down. Getting the ruling from the court in our favor, we both walked out of the courtroom, our faces beaming, and once out, hollered with joy! Then there was my deposition technique where opposing counsel fell sound asleep while I was interrogating his client!
But my bread-and-butter practice was corporate, both profit and nonprofit; real estate, including homeowner and condominium associations; and business succession planning. More private than trial work, there were nonetheless memorable, and often poignant, encounters.
In one extremely tense, drawn-out corporate dissolution matter, the one 50 percent owner, in responding to my suggestion to just let the other owner force the sale of the assets of the company and he then start over, informed me that he was responsible for feeding 53 people. He went on to name each employee, their spouse and their children. My client, recognizing his business was on the ropes because of a partner dispute, was nonetheless focused on the welfare of his employees and their families.
There were the countless number of contracts of every ilk and purpose. Technology, employment, service, management, financings and more. The sales of businesses and the purchase of businesses. Often one generation getting ready to take it a little easier and thankful for what they grew over decades of hard work. Or sitting next to the enthusiastic next generation, ready to put everything on the line, knowing they could take that opportunity and grow it into something more, trusting in themselves with the spirit that makes America great. It makes me thankful that such spirit continues to permeate throughout our metropolitan area and state.
The people I have met have been extraordinarily wonderful. Manufacturers and distributors of all sorts of products — from pallets, packaging and heavy machinery to plastics. Industry-leading marketing and communication companies; the corner pharmacy, photographer, dress shop and barber. High-tech entrepreneurs in all sorts of software applications to disease detection and eradication. Restauranteurs and barkeepers, the building trades and specialty fabricators, real estate developers and investors, and franchisors and franchisees. Architects, engineers, accountants, doctors and, yes, other lawyers — their enthusiasm and life stories were boundless and interesting, and at times compelling. But neither the practice of law, nor the running of a law practice, happens by itself.
Over the years I have been fortunate to have had many truly talented and dedicated attorneys, paralegals and secretaries, and only one office manager. To our current attorney staff, my partner Jim Nowogrocki, and associates Matthew Schaper, Morgan Taylor and Adam Marquart, thank you. Not only during these last few weeks, but during your entire tenure, we have worked well as a team, collaborating on a wide variety of cases and matters. Thank you for all you did.
Of course, support staff is the glue that keeps a firm running, and for the last few years that task has fallen to both of our Jessicas and my ever-capable and extremely talented (to say nothing of unique) Mimi, our office manager!
But most of all, I want to thank our many, many clients over all these years who entrusted their legal matters with us. Many of the businesses, organizations and individuals we represent have been with us for 15 or 20 years, and two of them for all 30 years.
What’s next for you and me?
Tomorrow, I have the great pleasure of joining the Midwest law firm Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard based in downtown St. Louis, just blocks from my current downtown office. At Sandberg Phoenix I will continue to practice with an emphasis in corporate, commercial, homeowner and condominium associations, real estate and succession planning law. Of course, I am still taking new clients and matters, and I do desire to continue to represent the many of you I have counseled in the past, so please reach out when assistance is necessary. My contact information starting tomorrow will be:
David P. Weiss
Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard
600 Washington Avenue – 15th Floor
St. Louis, MO 63101
(314) 446-4278 – direct
(314) 241-7604 – fax
(314) 231-3332 – main
My partner Jim Nowogrocki will be opening his own law firm, continuing to concentrate in employment law and federal and state court litigation. Beginning tomorrow, Jim can be reached at:
James G. Nowogrocki
Law Offices of James G. Nowogrocki, LLC
1015 Locust Street, Suite 400
St. Louis, MO 63101
(314) 588-9500, ext 2
(314) 922-7657 – cell
While we would have liked to have reached out to all of our clients via a personal letter or call, such was not possible in light of the thousands of clients we have represented over the years. Thus, we had to triage the notification process. If you are a past or current client and did not yet get a notice regarding your files, rest assured we will be contacting you in the next few months. Or you can contact our office manager, Mimi, at (314) 588-9500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may authorize us to transfer your files to either me or Jim Nowogrocki at our new firms, depending on who assisted you with your legal matters, or you can authorize the return of your files to you or another designated agent.
Our downtown office will remain open for any business matters concerning Weiss Attorneys at Law, P.C., but our support staff will have more limited hours. We recommend you schedule an appointment and not merely drop by.
What’s next for E-LawLines?
We’ve had a lot of fun over the years publishing E-LawLines on topics of legal and personal interest, from “Who Gets the Engagement Ring If the Relationship Falls Apart?” to “A Good Day to Thank Mighty Musial.” While this is the last edition of E-LawLines from Weiss Attorneys at Law, P.C., my desire is to continue providing you with valuable legal information (and hopefully a few laughs) via E-LawLines in one form or another in the years to come. Stay tuned!
Again, thank you for allowing me and my partner, associate attorneys and support staff to be entrusted with your legal matters. It has been our honor to be of such service. I wish you each good health and continued success.
David P. Weiss,
Managing Officer and Founder