Thompson Coburn LLP is pleased to announce that Robert E. Wallace Jr., former general counsel and executive vice president of the St. Louis Rams, is joining the firm as a partner. Wallace will start at the firm Jan. 2. He will pursue a business law practice and lead the firm’s Sports Law Group.
In his new role at Thompson Coburn, Wallace will tap his 30-plus years of experience in both the St. Louis business community and the national sports arena, including his past executive and legal work for the Philadelphia Eagles and the St. Louis Football Cardinals. Wallace, 55, will serve as a legal counselor to business clients and also represent teams, prospective buyers of sports teams, sports marketing companies and civic and government entities facing team relocation or facility issues. He also will assist players, coaches and executives with contract negotiations and separations.
“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my life,” Wallace said. “It will give me the chance to take the skills I’ve developed as a lawyer and business executive and put them to use representing clients at Thompson Coburn.
“I’ve always enjoyed serving as a legal counselor in the business world and look forward to continuing in that role at Thompson Coburn. Leading a sports law group is another exciting challenge for me.
“Sports business, including the expanding collegiate and amateur market, has amazing growth potential. With the support of a very deep bench of attorneys at Thompson Coburn, our goal is take the firm’s ties to the Midwest sports community and develop them into a thriving and nationally recognized sports law practice.”
Wallace earned his law degree in 1981 from Georgetown University. He graduated from Yale College in 1978 and lettered in varsity football.
“Bob’s business acumen, first-class negotiating skills and extensive knowledge of the national sports landscape add a significant breadth and depth of experience for our clients,” said Thompson Coburn Chairman Tom Minogue. “He is in many ways a St. Louis institution. His strong commitment to our community and dedication to mentoring young lawyers parallels Thompson Coburn’s core values of leadership, collaboration and diversity. We are honored to have him join our firm.”
Wallace spent 16 years with the Rams, serving as executive vice president and general counsel. Ranked fourth on the Rams’ leadership chart, Wallace was one of the highest-ranking African-American club executives in the National Football League.
He led the Rams’ operations and business departments during two Super Bowl appearances, managed the team’s $200 million budget and served as lead negotiator in the renaming of the Rams’ stadium to the Edward Jones Dome.
Wallace left the Rams in March 2011 after his contract expired. He has since developed a mediation practice focused on commercial, labor-management and real estate disputes. Wallace also serves as an NFL-approved hearing officer for violations of the league’s drug and conduct policies, work he will continue at Thompson Coburn.
Wallace, the immediate past president of the Sports Lawyers Association, has forged deep ties to the St. Louis community. He currently heads the board of directors for Giant Steps, a St. Louis school and therapy center for children with autism, serves on the board of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and is a member of the University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor’s Council.
In 2010, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Wallace to the Governor’s Council on Disabilities. He also has served on the boards of the Regional Business Council, the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association and the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
Wallace lives in Chesterfield with his wife Julie. The couple has two sons. Grant graduated from the John Burroughs School and now attends Yale, playing wide receiver with the Yale Bulldogs. Eric attends Giant Steps and Parkway Central High School.