Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Downtown Advocates Needed

Back in 2002, Thompson Coburn considered moving to Clayton before signing a 10-year lease renewal and expansion at U.S. Bank Plaza. The firm even brought 15 attorneys and support staff from a Clayton-based firm it acquired.

Said Thompson Coburn’s Millard Backerman at the time, “We believe downtown St. Louis is, and will be, the business center of the metropolitan area.”

Now that’s smart thinking.

When asked about how the city’s earnings tax factored into Thompson Coburn’s decision, Mr. Backerman said, “It’s built into our system, and the bulk of our work is in the city.” He added that the downtown location gives the firm closer access to staff and attorneys who live in the Metro East.

Good deal. Sounds like Mr. Backerman was a great advocate for downtown. A quick perusal of the firm’s attorney list, however, shows that Mr. Backerman apparently is no longer with the firm – hopefully he’s enjoying retirement now.

Is there anyone else of influence at Thompson Coburn who will continue to be an advocate for downtown? Downtown is at a critical juncture and can’t afford to lose any more major firms to Clayton.

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