How does your experience as a commercial real estate appraiser benefit your clients?

I was a commercial real estate appraiser for almost 15 years, which gives me unique insight when advising clients on the details and overall success of their projects and deals. My knowledge of commercial real estate market dynamics, property values, and emerging trends enables me to effectively evaluate the feasibility and profitability of transactions.

Specifically, my ability to accurately quantify property values and determine their highest and best use gives me an advantage in negotiating deals, ensuring fairness in assessments, and offering strategic advice. The experience I have analyzing leases helps me represent both landlords and tenants in leasing transactions across the country in a variety of industries, including retail, restaurant, industrial, medical, and research and development. Additionally, my training in property evaluation makes me an asset during the critical due diligence process. I can guarantee a thorough inspection of every aspect of the property before a transaction is finalized. Overall, my years as a commercial real estate appraiser and my expertise in real estate law enable me to offer my clients valuable perspective and guidance throughout the acquisition and development process.

Why should clients choose to engage Lewis Rice’s Real Estate Practice Group?

There are a lot of choices when it comes to commercial real estate attorneys, but our commitment to client satisfaction distinguishes our practice from others. We have a depth of experience and a proven track record of efficiency and accessibility. We ensure successful outcomes for our clients all while tailoring our services to their unique communication preferences and timelines.

Additionally, our clients benefit from the seamless collaboration between Real Estate and Lewis Rice’s other practice groups like Mergers & Acquisitions, Taxation, and Litigation. We consult one another to provide comprehensive services. For instance, we often provide counsel on M&A deals that involve real estate components.

What kinds of clients do you counsel in your corporate practice?

I am well-versed in the laws governing business entities—including corporations, LLCs, and partnerships—in Missouri and Illinois. I advise these clients in buyout situations, force-out situations, formation strategy, dissolutions, redemptions, and reorganizations.

Describe the matters you handle in your tax practice.

I provide clients with research, advice, and recommendations regarding the tax implications of their proposed business transactions. My tax controversy experience includes helping clients navigate property tax disputes and litigation; income tax disputes; estate and gift tax disputes; withholding tax disputes; sales and use tax disputes; and general representation before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state departments of revenue.

My tax practice also extends into employee benefits law where I counsel clients on the creation and implementation of qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans such as Top Hat Plans, Phantom Stock Plans, Employee Bonus Plans, Incentive Stock Options (ISO), and more. I use my tax experience to help clients recruit, retain, and reward key employees while maintaining compliance with tax provisions, avoiding burdensome tax penalties, and navigating ERISA requirements.

What experience do you have counseling public entities?

I serve as general outside counsel to public entities such as cities, school districts, and other political subdivisions in Missouri and Illinois. I regularly advise them on issues such as:

  • First Amendment rights.
  • Time, place, and manner restrictions.
  • The Missouri Sunshine Law and public information requests.
  • Procurement procedures.
  • Policymaking.
  • Vendor contract review.
  • Collective bargaining.
  • Election law.
  • Employer and employee relations.
  • Premises liability issues.
  • Employee benefits and qualified government plans.
  • Tax matters.
  • Real property acquisitions and divestitures.
  • Insurance matters.
  • Regulatory matters.

Currently I am the city attorney for Ferguson, Missouri, and outside counsel for the Junior College District of St. Louis. I have also represented O'Fallon, Illinois; Glen Carbon, Illinois; Hazelwood, Missouri; Saint Louis University; Blackburn College; and McKendree University.

You are a member of several boards. What inspires you to give back in this way?

I am involved in multiple organizations that serve children and young adults because I enjoy shaping young minds and inspiring people to chase their dreams. I especially appreciate opportunities to mentor up-and-coming lawyers. My daughter is an attorney, so I strive to provide emerging professionals with the support and guidance that I’d like her to receive. Being a part of Lewis Rice’s Recruiting Committee and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and participating in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows Program all enable me to give back in this manner. I can help build bridges and contribute to the future of the legal profession, which is a cause I deeply care about.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love getting lost in the beauty of National Parks, often embarking on week-long adventures to explore nature. I’m an avid hiker but enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. I'm currently planning dog sledding and ski shoeing outings.