Biography

John M. Hessel represents business clients in commercial transactions and commercial litigation. His diverse client base spans a variety of industries, including service institutions, manufacturers, municipal corporations, financial institutions, publishing companies and local and national media entities. John's representations stretch from California to New York, where he handles negotiations, arbitrations, and mediations involving contractual issues, intellectual property, complex litigation matters, and class actions.

A particular focus of John's practice is Municipal Law. John is the long-standing city attorney for Kirkwood and Florissant, Missouri. He advises these cities and other municipalities, fire districts, state and local bonding authorities, and other governmental bodies in a number of complex matters including labor law, Sunshine Law, contractual issues, environmental issues, pension issues, zoning, and traditional litigation cases.

John also has deep experience addressing the unique needs of traditional media and new technologies, through all modes of content delivery. He represents clients in litigation involving defamation and privacy, newsgathering, and access; copyright and trademark registration and litigation; First Amendment issues, and much more.

A member of the Missouri and Illinois Bars, John practices before the U.S. District Courts in the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois. He regularly appears in the Missouri Appellate Courts and has appeared in the Supreme Court of Missouri and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits. He is a frequent speaker on municipal and media law issues.

John is a former member of the Firm's Management Committee.

Practice Areas

Education

  • Saint Louis University School of Law (J.D., 1977)
    • Top 10% of class
  • Southeast Missouri State University (B.A., summa cum laude, 1974)
    • Political Science and History
    • Included in Who’s Who in American Colleges & Universities
    • Cardinal Key (Honorary Achievement Society)
    • Awarded academic and athletic scholarship (1970-1974)

Legal Background

  • City attorney, City of Kirkwood, MO
  • City attorney, City of Florissant, MO
  • Evans, Hoemeke & Casey (merged with Lewis Rice) (1977-1982)
  • Advisory group, Civil Justice Reform Act, Eastern District of Missouri (1980-1995)
  • Adjunct professor of media law, Washington University in St. Louis (1981-1985)
  • Adjunct professor of media law, Webster University (1979-1981)

Professional Affiliations

  • International Municipal Lawyers Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • Missouri Municipal Attorneys Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Municipal Law Section (Chairperson, 1988-1989)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts, Eastern District of Missouri and Southern District of Illinois
  • Missouri Bar
  • Illinois Bar

Charitable & Civic Activities

  • Board of Directors, Eagle Bank
  • Member, Greenbriar Hills Country Club

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • St. Louis Municipal Lawyer of the Year 2011, 2013, and 2016
    • St. Louis Litigation-First Amendment Lawyer of the Year 2014, 2018, 2020
    • St. Louis Litigation-Municipal Lawyer of the Year 2015, 2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America® 2009-2021
  • Keynote speaker, Medal of Valor Award (2014)
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® 2009-2016
  • Top Lawyers in St. Louis in commercial law and municipal law
  • Presidential Who's Who
  • Madison Who's Who
  • Recipient, SEMO Distinguished Alumni Merit Award (2009)
  • Proclamation for civic duty, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (April 2008)
  • Citizen of the Year, City of Kirkwood and City of Des Peres (2008)
  • Medal of Valor Award, Crusade Against Crime
  • Recipient, SEMO Salutes Award (2003)
Firm Highlights
News

Jerina D. Phillips Offers COVID-19 Vaccination Advice for Employers in St. Louis Magazine Article

More
Client Alert

COVID-19 Rescue Plan Act Expands Paid Leave Availability but Does Not Revive Employer Mandates

More
Client Alert

New York State Regulator Discourages Ransomware Payments and Publishes New Cyber Insurance Risk Framework

More
Diversity & Inclusion

Fatima G. Khan Elected President of South Asian Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

More
News

Paul R. Himmelstein Joins Lewis Rice Kansas City Office

More
Client Alert

Temporary COBRA Changes Under the American Rescue Plan Act

More
Client Alert

City of St. Louis 2021 Primary Municipal Election: Meet the Candidates

More
Client Alert

Supreme Court Decision Provides Good News for Creditors

More
Client Alert

Have You Done Your Annual CCPA Housekeeping?

More
News

Lindsay S. C. Brinton and Meghan S. Largent Negotiate $1.4 Million Settlement for Landowners along Legacy Trail

More
Client Alert

Virginia Passes Sweeping Data Privacy Legislation Similar to CCPA and GDPR

More
Client Alert

Public Access to Electronic Court Records in Missouri

More
News

Brian P. Pezza Gives Advice on Vaccination Acceptance in the Workforce in Society for Human Resource Management Article

More
Client Alert

Model COBRA Notices Under the American Rescue Plan Act

More
Diversity & Inclusion

Lewis Rice Member Ronald A. Norwood Serves on Missouri Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyers of Color to Establish Diversity, Inclusion Programs

More
News

Meghan S. Largent and Lindsay S. C. Brinton Negotiate $700,000 Award to Cobb County, Georgia Landowners in Rails-to-Trails Case

More
News

Kansas City Office of Lewis Rice Names New Member

More
Diversity & Inclusion

Two Lewis Rice Members Selected for Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Programs

More
Client Alert

Federal Appellate Court Determines a Website Is Not a “Place of Public Accommodation” Under the ADA

More
News

Jeremy P. Brummond’s Article on Waivers of Consequential Damages is Published in Construction Executive

More