William Thomas

Co-Founder, Principal – Attorney

Practice Areas:  Construction, Product Liability, Professional Liability, Medical Malpractice, General Liability

Experienced trial lawyer with an emphasis in complex litigation.

Former president of the Lawyers Association of St. Louis, the local trial bar.
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About Bill

Attorney In St. Louis, MO

William S. Thomas is one of the firm’s many experienced trial lawyers. His practice is diverse, with an emphasis in complex litigation. He has tried cases in a number of difficult venues, from the City of St. Louis, Missouri, to Madison and St. Clair Counties, in Illinois, and Federal Court in East St. Louis and St. Louis. He was lead trial counsel in one of the longest civil jury trials in St. Louis County history, which lasted 100 trial days. In addition to his trial practice, Bill is actively involved in a number of professional organizations. He is a former president of the Lawyers Association of St. Louis, the local trial bar. He is active in the Defense Research Institute, (DRI), serving on its Products Liability Committee, and that committee’s Building Products and Power Tool Specialized Litigation Groups, where he has spoken at DRI conferences. He is active in the DRI’s Construction Committee, and Professional Liability Committee, where he serves on their Design Professional Subcommittees. He has authored a number of articles for the DRI’s monthly publication, For the Defense. He is an extensive author and speaker on a number of topics from products liability to construction law issues.

Background

Education:

University of Notre Dame
St. Louis University School of Law

Professional:

Pitzer Snodgrass, P.C.
St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office
United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri

Licensure

Licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois State Courts, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois, Federal Court of Claims and the Seventh and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Certificates and Accomplishments

  • AV Rated by Martindale Hubble.
  • Avvo Rating of a perfect 10.
  • Eagle Scout.
  • Graduate of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers’ Trial Academy, 1995.
  • Graduate of the International Association of Defense Counsel’s Trial Academy, Boulder, Colorado, 1998.
  • Recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as an “Up and Coming Lawyer” for 2007.
  • Selected as Missouri and Kansas “Super Lawyer,” 2008, 2013 – 2020, Construction Law.
  • Selected as a “Top 50” St. Louis Lawyer by Missouri and Kansas “Super Lawyer” Magazine, 2015, 2016.
  • Named in AM Best, as a “Best Lawyer in America” in Construction Law and Litigation, 2019-2021.
  • Director, writer and performer in Lawyers Association’s Annual “Gridiron Show,” performer, 1994 – 2018, writer, 1995 – present, assistant director, 1995 – 2003; director, 2004 – 2016.
  • Member, American Arbitration Association Panel of Neutrals

Ratings & Reviews

William S. Thomas
Rated by Super Lawyers


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Publications

  • Various articles and casenotes published in “The Critical Path,” the publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Construction Law Committee.
  • Staff Reporter, St. Louis Lawyer Magazine, the monthly magazine of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (1997-1999).
  • Co-Author, “Defending Design Professionals: Is Contract Language an Adequate Shield?” 64 Defense Counsel Journal 389 (July, 1997).
  • Author, “Professional Responsibility for Design Documents” 14 Missouri Lawyers Weekly 952 (August 7, 2000).
  • Co-Author, Missouri Bar CLE Deskbook Series, Professional Liability, Chapter 4, “Design Professional Liability” (2005).
  • Author, “Redevelopment and Remodeling Projects Pose Different Risks for Designers,” Law Day Collection of Articles: The Legal Side of Redevelopment, Rehab, Renovation & Rental, Published by the Missouri Bar, May 2006.
  • Author, “Fair Housing Act Amendments: Celebrating 20th Anniversary in Obscurity,” DRI’s For the Defense Construction Law Issue, August 2008, p. 60.
  • Co-Author, Missouri Bar CLE Deskbook Series, Construction Law, 2009 Supplement, Chapter 1, “Construction Contracts: Risk Shifting Devices,” (2009).
  • Author, DRI Defense Library Series, Construction Litigation Desk Reference: A State-By-State Compendium, Chapter on Missouri, (2010).
  • Author, “Design Professional Ethics,” DRI’s For the Defense Professional Liability Issue, January 2011, p. 51.
  • Author, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Document Retention – More Paper or Paper-Less?” Travelers Insurance Stamped, Sealed and Delivered, May 2014.
  • Author, “Preparing for and Combating the Reptile Theory in Depositions of Defendant’s Witnesses,” Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers Quarterly Report, Winter 2020.

Seminars and Presentations

  • Assisted in the preparation of “The Liability of Design Professionals to Third Party Non-Clients,” for the International Association of Defense Counsel Construction Law Seminar, Spring 1997.
  • Faculty Member, “Missouri and Illinois Law for Design Professionals” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, 1997, 1998 & 1999.
  • Faculty Member, “Missouri Construction Law: Can this Job Be Saved?” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, 2000.
  • Presenter, “Liability Issues in Construction Contracts,” Seminar, Charles L. Crane Agency Company, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2001.
  • Faculty Member, “Inside the Jury Box: An In-depth Discussion of Juror Perspectives” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, August 2001.
  • Faculty Member, “Claim Prevention for Missouri Design Professionals” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, January 2002.
  • Faculty Member, “Let’s Make a Deal: Understanding Construction Contracts” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2002.
  • Faculty Member, “Solving Water Intrusion and Mold Problems in Missouri” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, December 2002.
  • Faculty Member, “Water Intrusion and Toxic Mold Claims,” Topic: Defending Mold Claims, Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2004.
  • Presenter, “Product Liability Essentials: Hints, Pointers and Tips for Handling Missouri Product Liability Claims,” Seminar, Gallagher Bassett Agency, St. Louis, Missouri, November 2005.
  • Faculty Member, “Legal Issues for Missouri Professional Engineers,” Topic: Complying with Laws and Regulations on the Practice and Unauthorized Practice of Professional Engineering, Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, November 2005.
  • Faculty Member, “The Fundamentals of Construction Contracts: Understanding the Issues in Illinois,” Topic: Contractual Relationships with Design Professionals, Seminar, Fairview Heights, Illinois, January 2006.
  • Faculty Member, “Tort Reform in Missouri: One Year Later: ‘Are We There Yet?’” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, June 2006.
  • Faculty Member, “Product Liability,” Topic: Depositions of Parties, Corporate Representatives, and Mediation Strategies, Seminar, Chicago, Illinois, July 2006.
  • Faculty Member, “Design Law for Missouri Architects and Engineers,” Topic: Laws and Regulations Governing the Design Process, Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, September 2006.
  • Faculty Member, “How Design Documents Can Prevent or Cause Construction Claims in Missouri,” Topic: Regulations and Statutes Relating to Designers, Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, January 2007.
  • Faculty Member, “Legal Issues for Missouri Design Professionals,” Topic: Professional Conduct and the Standard of Care, Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2007.
  • Presenter, “OSHA Standards, Violations and ‘Multi-Employer’ Jobsites,” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, June 2007.
  • Faculty Member, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) All Industry Day Seminar, Topic: “Presentation of a Mock Trial,” Chesterfield, Missouri, April 2008.
  • Presenter, Construction Law Seminar, “Enforceability of Limitation of Liability Clauses in Construction Contracts,” Chicago, Illinois, May 2008.
  • Faculty Member, Missouri Bar Solo and Small Firm Conference Trial College, Topic: “Client Preparation, Depositions, Direct and Cross-Examination,” Osage Beach, Missouri, June 2008.
  • Faculty Member, Seminar, “Legal Issues for Missouri Professional Engineers,” Topic: Complying with Missouri Rules and Regulations on the Practice of Professional Engineering, St. Louis, Missouri, September 2008.
  • Presenter, Construction Law Seminar, “Enforceability of Limitation of Liability Clauses in Construction Contracts,” Seminar, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2008.
  • Moderator, Missouri Bar CLE Seminar, “Fundamentals of Construction Contracts: Understanding the Issues,” St. Louis, Missouri, October 2008.
  • Speaker, DRI Product Liability Conference, Topic: “Update on the Class Action Fairness Act and Developments in Consumer Protection Legislation,” San Diego, California, April 2009.
  • Speaker, Construction Seminar, Topic: “Update on Enforceability of Limitation of Liability Clauses,” New York, New York, May 2009.
  • Speaker, St. Louis Business Journal Seminar, Trends in Trial Technology, Topic: “A Practitioner’s Perspective,” St. Louis, Missouri, June 2009.
  • Speaker, Lloyds of London International Seminar, “Jury Leanings When Times are Lean: An Assessment of Juror Decision-Making and Trends in Damage Awards Amidst the Worst Economic Downturn in Decades,” London, England, October 2009.
  • Speaker, Current Issues in Construction Arbitration Seminar, Topic: “Evidentiary Issues in Construction Arbitration,” St. Louis, Missouri, January 2010.
  • Speaker, Construction Contracts from A-Z Seminar, Topic: “Ethical Considerations in Construction Contracting,” St. Louis, Missouri, February 2010.
  • Panel Member, BAMSL Bench, Bar & Professional Development Conference, Topic: “Handling the High Profile Case in the Information Age,” Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, June 2010.
  • Speaker, Construction Seminar, Topic: “Multi-Party Claims and Third Party Practice in the Construction Context,” Chicago, Illinois, June 2010.
  • Speaker, “Architect & Engineer Liability for Indoor Air Quality/Mold,” St. Louis Chapter of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc.), St. Louis, Missouri, November 2010.
  • Speaker, Construction Seminar, Topic: “Multi-Party Claims and Third Party Practice in the Construction Context,” Phoenix, Arizona, December 2010.
  • Speaker, “Contractual Provisions for Minimizing Exposure or Losses,” Seminar, Charles L. Crane Agency Company, St. Louis, Missouri, March 2011.
  • Speaker, Willis North America 17th Annual Construction Risk Management Conference, Topic: “Understanding Claim Exposures and Contractual Risk Transfer,” Dallas, Texas, April 2011.
  • Faculty Member, “Construction Claims in Missouri” Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, August 2001.
  • Speaker, Construction Seminar, Topic: “Indemnity, Insurance and Additional Insured Status – A Loss Prevention Primer,” Chicago, Illinois, June 2011.
  • Faculty Member, “Minimizing Engineering Liability Exposure,” Topic: Understanding Liability Under Contract, Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2012.
  • Speaker, Construction Seminar, Topic: “Enforceability of Limitation of Liability Clauses, a 50 State Review,” Chicago, Illinois, June 2012.
  • Faculty Member, Mini Law School for the Public, Missouri Bar Speaker Series, Topic: “Professional Responsibility: The Responsibilities Design Professionals Have to Protect their Clients and the Public,” St. Louis, Missouri, April 2013.
  • Presenter, Construction-Product Liability Seminar, Canadian Litigation Counsel Client Appreciation Day, Topic: “Cross-Examination of the Plaintiff’s Product Liability Expert Witness,” Toronto, Canada, June 2013.
  • Presenter, Hall & Company AE Resource Webinar, Topic: “Understanding Claim Exposures and Contractual Risk Transfer,” September 2013.
  • Presenter, Professional Development Seminars, Topic: “Professional Liability of Engineers and the Standard of Care,” St. Louis, Missouri, October 2013.
  • Presenter, Foxmoor Continuing Education Seminars, Law of Construction Defects and Failures, Topic: “Liability for Construction Defects and Failures,” St. Louis, Missouri, April 2014.
  • Faculty, DRI Product Liability Conference, Building Products Specialized Litigation Group Committee, Topic: “Liability of Product Manufacturers Complying with Performance Specifications in Design/Build Projects – Liability for ‘Delegated Design’,” Phoenix, Arizona, April 2014.
  • Presenter, Construction Liability Seminar, Topic: “Opening Statements and Cross-Examination of the Plaintiff’s Design Liability Expert Witness,” Chicago, Illinois, July 2014.
  • Presenter, Hall & Company AE Resource Webinar, Topic: “Liability for ‘Delegated Design’ – Understanding and Avoiding Risks to Design Professionals,” July 2014.
  • Presenter, Hall & Company AE Resource Webinar, Topic: “Claims Against Design Professionals – 5 Things to Do and 5 Things Not to Do,” June, 2015.
  • Speaker, Construction Seminar, Topic: “Risk Shifting through Indemnity, Anti-Indemnity Acts and the ‘Additional Insured Loophole’,” Dallas, Texas, August 2015.
  • Speaker, Case Management Strategies and Techniques Seminar, Topic: “Arbitration as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure, Effective Pre-Claim Strategies,” Montreal, Canada, September 2015.
  • Presenter, Half Moon Education Seminars, Legal Issues for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, Topic: “Overview of Contract Law Principles, Risk Shifting and Avoidance Through Contracts,” St. Louis, Missouri, October 2015.
  • Speaker, Difficulties Faced in the Litigation Process Seminar, Topic: “Techniques for Dealing with Difficult Judges,” Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, January 2016.
  • Speaker, Litigation and Claims Management Seminar, Topic: “Managing Risk Through Limitation of Liability Clauses,” New Orleans, Louisiana, May 2016.
  • Presenter, Half Moon Education Seminars, Engineering Law and Ethics, Topic: “Handling Ethical Issues in Professional Engineering Practice,” St. Louis, Missouri, May 2016.
  • Presenter, Hall & Company AE Resource Webinar, Topic: “Document Retention For Design Professionals,” January 2017.
  • Faculty Member, Litigation and Claims Management Seminar: “Combating the Reptile Theory,” Topic: “Defeating the Reptile During Depositions,” Boston, Massachusetts, May 2017.
  • Faculty Member, Litigation and Claims Management Seminar: “Combating the Reptile Theory,” Topic: “Defeating the Reptile During Depositions,” Vancouver, Canada, September 2017.
  • Presenter, Professional Development Seminars, Topic: “Professional Liability of Engineers,” St. Louis, Missouri, October 2017.
  • Faculty Member and Presenter, Litigation and Claims Management Seminar: “Creative Use of Technology in Claims and Litigation,” Topic: “Social Surveillance Technology,” Park City, Utah, September 2018.
  • Faculty Member and Presenter, Strafford Seminars, “Defeating Reptilian Tactics in Construction Litigation – Responding to Reptile Techniques During Discovery, Deposition, Voir Dire, Opening Statement, Cross-Examination, Closing Argument,” Webinar, November 2019.

Associations

Active Member of the following organizations, and served in the following capacities:

  • Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
    • 1996-1998, Member at Large, Young Lawyers Division
    • Construction Law Committee
    • Law Related Education Committee
  • Lawyers Association of St. Louis
    • 2001-2003-Executive Committee Member, 2003-Treasurer, 2004-Secretary, 2005-Second Vice President, 2006-First Vice President, 2007-President-Elect, 2008-President
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
    • Professional Liability Subcommittee
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Product Liability Committee
    • Building Products and Power Tools Specialized Litigation Groups
    • Construction Law Committee
    • Design Professional Subcommittee Vice Chair
    • Substantive Law Committee Vice Chair
    • Professional Liability Committee
    • Design Professional Subcommittee Chair
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Construction Law and Litigation Committee
    • Professional Liability Committee
      • Vice-Chair, Architects & Engineers Liability
    • Product Liability Committee
    • Trial Techniques and Tactics Committee
  • Missouri Bar Construction and Environmental Law Committees
  • The Harmonie Group (Former Firm Membership):
    • 2011-Board of Directors, 2014-Board of Directors
    • Litigation Practices Committee Co-Chairperson
  • International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization
  • American Society of Civil Engineers, Associate Member
  • American Institute of Architects, Associate Member
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Former Vistage Group Member
  • St. Louis Engineer’s Club
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