by Collin Reischman
Jefferson City, Mo. — Bryan Cave LLC is a name most in Jefferson City will know particularly if they work in the Capitol. With more than 1,100 lawyers and professionals worldwide and a host of heavy-hitting clients, Bryan Cave is one of the most influential and effective firms in the state.
They represent business and entrepreneurial interests, and there is nothing surprising about that. Bryan Cave attorneys have won awards for their field all over the country. In California, Washington DC, North Carolina and Georgia, Bryan Cave lawyers get recognition for their work, and the ability of their firm to get things done. But there is nothing surprising about that. After all, Bryan Cave has 24 offices worldwide and is a household name for state government officials all over the country.
Guy Black, Manager of Governmental Affairs for Bryan Cave in Jefferson City, is a little surprising, though. Black doesn’t have a law degree, or a degree in political science or government. No, Black attended Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. Of course, that was when it was known as Drury College. He received a degree in Liberal Arts, and then started working in Jefferson City.
“I’d say I studied more political science courses than anything else,” Black told The Missouri Times. “I took a civics class in high school which got me very interested in the whole process. Once I started taking courses at Drury I just found that I’ve always really enjoyed public policy and politics and government.”
Black isn’t a lawyer, but that hasn’t stopped him from rising up through the ranks of Bryan Cave after working in the Capitol building. Black’s expertise, and his understanding of Missouri politics, began as a staffer in the Capitol building.
Black worked for former State Senator, David Klarich. It wasn’t long after that when he started working for then-United States Senator Kit Bond, R-MO. Black worked with Bond in Springfield before traveling to Washington D.C. to work in Congress with Bond.
“There are certain parts of that work that is very similar to state politics,” Black said. “But there is also a lot that is vastly different. The size, scope and complexity of the federal government, you can’t even imagine.”
Black eventually returned to Missouri and started working for Bryan Cave, where he has been for 11 years. He maintains he has no single issue that sparks his passion, but he does speak warmly of the pro-bono work he and the firm have done.
“Several years ago I did some pro-bono work on Sickle Cell Anemia, to improve funding for Sickle Cell, and I felt very good about that work, it was really important work to do,” Black said.
His work may not allow for much free time, but the time he does get, he spends with his 7-year-old daughter, Anna. Like her father, she is an avid duck hunter.
“She started going to the blind with me when
she was about 3, she’s been doing it ever since,” Black said. “I think she has a very promising future as a duck hunter. She’ll always be a better duck hunter than her daddy, and that’s all that matters.”
They’ve got their own Duck Club, they call it, in Henry County. The family farm, in Northern Missouri, is the site of plenty of father-daughter bonding as well.
“We try to spend our weekends and holidays on the farm,” Black said. “My daughter is incredible, and spending that time with her is the best use of my free time I can think of.”
They have two labs, gold and black, that they bring to fetch the birds. The golden lab, Faith, is Black’s. But the black lab, Molly, belongs to Anna.
“She’s very insistent about that,” Black said. “Molly belongs to her. Plain and simple.”
Black will be busy this session. He doesn’t like talking about his specific clients, in order to protect their privacy. But he is representing the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers (MIEC), which is currently in a 12-round fight over Senate Bill 207, the Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge bill.
He’ll be working hard all session, handling SB 207 on behalf of his clients, and finding time for his daughter. It’s worth mentioning that he has a sense of humor. The Missouri Times asked Black what his favorite color was. He responded wryly: