Before opening his St. Louis employment law firm, Russ Riggan practiced employment law at two of Missouri’s largest law firms and represented the interests of employers in employment-related disputes. After serving as a management-side employment lawyer for nearly a decade, Russ resigned as a partner of a large defense firm in downtown St. Louis to open his own practice. Russ now predominantly represents the interests of workers whose workplace rights have been violated.
Because of Russ’ past experience representing employers, he is intimately familiar with different approaches employers can take with respect to complying with various state and federal employment laws. The employment law landscape is vast and complicated, and employers often run afoul of the law, either accidentally or intentionally. Russ’ unique past background of defending, counseling, and negotiating on behalf of employers gives him invaluable insight into how to properly represent workers seeking to assert employment law claims. Russ is committed to protecting the interests of workers and to resolving employment law disputes on terms favorable to his clients.
Russ was lead trial counsel for our client in Keith Wildhaber v. St. Louis County, Missouri, a case in which our client, a St. Louis County Police Officer, alleged that he was denied over twenty promotions due to unlawful sex stereotyping and was then unlawfully retaliated against for seeking legal recourse. After a five-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict for our client, Officer Wildhaber, on his sex discrimination and retaliation claims and awarded total damages in the amount of $19.97 million. After post-trial motions, the trial judge granted our firm’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs and increased the total amount of the judgment to $20.65 million. Less than two months after our trial victory, Officer Wildhaber was promoted from a sergeant position to a lieutenant position to become the head of the Police Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit. Russ’ trial victory in the Wildhaber case was the second-largest jury verdict in the State of Missouri in 2019, and is one of the largest judgments (if not the largest judgment) in the history of Missouri’s Human Rights Act.
Russ has been recognized as one of the Top 50 lawyers in St. Louis by Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers Magazine, and has also been selected for the Best Lawyers in America List. In 2020, he was presented with the Legal Champions Award by Missouri Lawyers Media. Based upon feedback from his peers in the legal profession, Martindale-Hubbell assigned Russ an “AV Preeminent” Peer Review Rating—the highest given to practicing lawyers—based on ethical standards and legal ability. Russ has also been named to Missouri Lawyers Media’s Power 30 List, which is intended to recognize the 30 most powerful employment attorneys in Missouri. In 2022, Russ was elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Russ was also named the 2023 Lawyer of the Year for labor and employment litigation in the St. Louis market by Best Lawyers in America.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Russ worked in law enforcement, with stints at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Marshals Service. Also, Russ worked as an intern in the United States Senate and as a legal intern for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Russ is an active member of St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood. He has coached over thirty youth athletic teams, with an emphasis on coaching basketball. He is also a member of the ACTS community at St. Peter. In his spare time, Russ enjoys hanging out with and traveling with his wife and three sons, playing golf, and duck hunting.
J.D., Washington University School of Law, (2001)
- Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Champion
- Employment Law Clinic
B.A. Political Science, Vanderbilt University, (1998)
- cum laude
- Dean’s List
- Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity
Jurisdictions Admitted To Practice
- Missouri Bar
- Illinois Bar
- United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri and Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
- Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
- American Bar Association – Fair Labor Standards Legislation Committee
- Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
- Executive Board Member of the Federal Bar Association (St. Louis Chapter)
- Executive Board Member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (St. Louis Chapter)
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
- American Bar Association – Labor and Employment Law Section
Publications and Presentations
- Guest Speaker, St. Louis on the Air Show, Radio Segment on New FLSA Overtime Regulations, St. Louis Public Radio (90.7 KWMU), November 2016.
- Panelist, Employment Law Briefing, Ogletree Deakins Client Seminar, “My Favorite Mistake”, October 2016
- Speaker, “Recent Trends in the Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements and Non-Compete Agreements,” Missouri Bar Labor & Employment Law Symposium (2019)
- Annual Speaker on Employment Law at Missouri Bar’s Annual Law Update
- Speaker, Missouri Employment Law–Hot Topics, St. Louis County Bar Association CLE Luncheon, October 2011
- Speaker, H1N1 and Other Aerosol Transmissible Diseases: An Employer’s Perspective, ABA OSHA Committee Mid-Winter Meetings (2010)
- Author, Missouri Bar CLE Deskbook on Employer-Employee Law, Chapter 13, Occupational Safety and Health Act (MoBar 3d ed. 2008)
- Moderator, Affirmative Defenses in OSHRC Litigation: Pardon, Parole, or Unwarranted Excuses?, ABA OSHA Committee Mid-Winter Meetings (2008)
- Speaker, Overview and Update on OSHA and USERRA, Missouri Bar’s Labor/Employment Symposium (2006)
- Speaker on Non-Compete Issues, Council on Education in Management (2005)
- Author, Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in OSHA Cases, Associated General Contractors’ Building Cornerstone Newsletter (2005)
- Author, OSHA Citations: Avoiding a Common Pitfall, Missouri Employment Law Letter (2005)