Q & A
Lobbyist and member of the Government Solutions & Administrative Law Practice Group, David W. Sweeney serves clients in various industries ranging from cannabis to professional sports teams to municipalities.
How did you get to where you are today in your career?
Being a lawyer was not my first career. After college, I worked as a high school special education teacher for eight years. While there I decided to apply to law school, so for three years I attended law school in the evening at Saint Louis University. I graduated in 3.5 years and began working at a small firm mostly focusing on medical malpractice defense. During that time, I moved downtown and got involved in politics: I volunteered for the Sixth Ward Democratic Organization and got to know Alderman Lewis Reed. When he was elected President of the Board of Aldermen, he asked me to be his general counsel. Soon after I became the general counsel for the entire Board of Aldermen. I loved working with each individual Alderman and helping solve his or her unique legal problems. After eight years, I decided to go back to private practice, but continue to work with city and government officials. I have been at Lewis Rice since 2017, where I focus my practice on lobbying and real estate and zoning issues.
What is your favorite part of being an attorney?
The reason I became an attorney is the many things you can do with a law degree. The areas on which I focus my practice are lobbying—in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County—and real estate and zoning issues for different entities, mostly in the city and throughout the region. My lobbying practice includes cannabis, communications, professional sports teams, associations, developers and more. But—much of my time is spent meeting with clients and prospects and understanding their unique business problems. What is most satisfying is helping solve my clients’ problems.
What charitable organizations are you involved in, and what drew you to them?
I am involved with the Saint Louis Public Library as a board member. I really appreciate how the Library is working to afford everyone the same opportunities, such as internet access, job placement, and even just a place to come in and sit down.
Additionally, I am the Chairman-Elect for Downtown Saint Louis Partnership. Our goal is to promote downtown for business and residents. I believe downtown is the heart of our region, and it must be successful in order for our city to prosper. I’m impassioned about downtown, the City, and its success.
What is something about yourself that would surprise people?
Several years ago I ran a 51-mile race, and I have run 8 marathons. I have always been awestruck with people who have completed an Ironman—which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run—but I’m not a swimmer, and I don’t have the time to commit to training. So, the 51-mile race was the next best thing for me. It was grueling, and it took about half a day, but I’m proud to have completed it.