Best Lawyer

Alan C. Kohn

Don't take our word for it: Alan C. Kohn's own peers in the St. Louis legal profession voted him most qualified this year to handle "Bet-the-Company Litigation," meaning high-stakes lawsuits. The 79-year-old Kohn has surely represented his share of corporate giants, including Philip Morris, Peabody Coal, Amoco Oil, Motorola, Ford, Monsanto and the National Football League. But this member of the elite American College of Trial Lawyers has also fought on behalf of such progressive clients as the ACLU, the Sierra Club and citizens wishing to preserve Forest Park from private encroachment. He also won a case this year for an individual investor who felt misled by Merrill Lynch. In the 1950s, Kohn — a native of University City — became the first Washington University School of Law graduate to clerk at the United States Supreme Court (he recalls eating lunch next to President Kennedy in the cafeteria there). He's always been an avid tennis player — he even won a gold medal at the Senior Olympics in the 1980s. Although he laments that his tennis game has become a "sad sight," his mind is still sharp: He just published a scholarly article on judicial activism. "I have no plans to retire," Kohn tells us, "I plan to stay active until the marketplace and/or the laws of nature tell me I have to."

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