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St. Louis Mayor Slay reveals his next step: He's joining Spencer Fane law firm

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Outgoing St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay will return to his legal roots once he leaves office this spring. He's joining the law firm Spencer Fane, which is opening a St. Louis office.

The stable of lawyers at Spencer Fane already include influential Democratic activist Jane Dueker, who represents a number of major corporate clients, and St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar, whose district includes downtown.

Before his election as mayor in 2001, Slay spent two decades practicing law, specializing in commercial litigation. The city's longest-serving chief executive,also continued his practice as an alderman and as Board of Alderman president.

Still, it wasn’t a slam dunk that he was going back into practice.

“I actually thought about possibly doing something politically,” the mayor told St. Louis Public Radio in an interview. “Run for another political office, maybe at the state level or even the federal level.”

But after mulling it over, Slay said he loved being a lawyer; his specialty is business law.

Slay also said he’d been approached by several law firms, but believed Spencer Fane was the best fit.

“I have an opportunity to help them grow in St. Louis. And what I’m really excited about, I’m going to be opening an office in downtown St. Louis. All of those things were really attractive to me,” he said.“This is a very quality firm, with an excellent reputation, that can handle lots of things. That was very important to me.”

In a statement, the firm praised the mayor’s legal expertise, and said he’ll focus on “economic development, real estate development, public finance, international commerce, regulatory work and related business transactions."

Slay said in the interview that he knows several Spencer Fane lawyers quite well.

A St. Louis native, Slay earned his law degree from Saint Louis University and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Quincy College in Illinois, which is now known as Quincy University.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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