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Steve Higgins

Partner

St. Louis
314 552 6054 direct

For more than 30 years, Steve has maintained a national trial practice in bet-the-company litigation.

A former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and described in Chambers USA as "an accomplished heavy hitter," his practice includes representation of government entities, publicly traded and privately held companies in complex litigation, internal investigations and counseling businesses in the establishment and refinement of corporate compliance programs.

During the course of Steve's career he has served as lead counsel on scores of cases throughout the country and tried over 35 cases to verdict. In recent years, he has played a key role in high-profile litigation involving complex disputes implicating government entities, including two challenges by organized labor to dismantle government-led efforts to reform spiraling public pension costs.

Steve also has led the successful settlement of a number of high-stakes lawsuits. He recently served as joint lead counsel in a significant legal malpractice case brought by a major U.S. telecommunications company against one of its former transactional law firms. The suit, which sought $150 million in damages, was one of the largest legal malpractice cases brought in recent years anywhere in the country.

Utilizing skills he developed as a prize-winning investigative reporter and later as a federal prosecutor of public corruption cases, Steve conducts internal investigations for public and private entities. In one such inquiry on behalf of a global chemical company, he led a one-year international investigation addressing export control issues implicated by the laws of a number of foreign countries.

Steve has also represented corporate and executive clients in federal white collar investigations and trials involving the manufacturing, chemical, consumer products, health care, financial services, automotive and energy industries.

Prior to joining Thompson Coburn, Steve served as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and prosecuted major white collar, banking and environmental cases. In earlier service with the Department of Justice, he was first chair in a number of widely publicized political corruption, fraud and racketeering trials.

Steve is active in bar and community affairs and in state politics. Before his legal career, Steve served in Vietnam as an Army officer assigned to the Phoenix Program and later was an investigative reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, where he received numerous regional and national journalism awards. Steve has served on Thompson Coburn's Executive, Management, and Contributions Committees, and for a number of years chaired its Business Litigation Practice Group.

Steve played a lead role in defending a national beverage distributor sued after it challenged a 50-year old state regulation governing relationships between suppliers and distributers. The case, which raised significant questions about state franchise law, was successfully settled a week into a jury trial.  

Steve has represented two prominent public entities that have won favorable rulings affirming public pension reform efforts in the face of significant challenges by organized labor. The rulings have preserved pension overhauls aimed at reining in spiraling public employee pension costs and saved the entities tens of millions of dollars annually.

Steve led a Thompson Coburn trial team in obtaining a defense verdict for a major telecommunications company in a securities class action case in Delaware Chancery court. Plaintiffs had sought over $40 million in damages and interest alleged to have been suffered during the partnership's sale of its cable system assets to the defendant. The Chancery Court ruled for Thompson Coburn's client on every outstanding issue.

Steve served as lead counsel for a major telecommunications company in the $65 million settlement of a class action suit filed on behalf of more than 200 Missouri municipalities. The suit sought hundreds of millions of dollars in back business license taxes allegedly owed on the company's revenues included from carrier access, EUCL, interstate telephone service and private line service.