Chris Pieper is a trusted advisor and counsel, skilled in developing and executing effective strategies for highly complex legal, policy, and public relations challenges and opportunities. As a member of the firm, Chris’s practice is focused on regulatory & government solutions, real estate, public finance and incentives, local government, environmental, tax advice and controversies, energy and utilities, international business, administrative law, and appellate litigation. Chris recently returned to private practice following service at the highest levels of state government, including directing the Missouri Department of Economic Development and as Chief of Staff to the Governor.
Chris began his legal career at a large St. Louis law firm before being recruited to the incoming administration of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, where he served in various roles, including Legislative Director for the Missouri Department of Revenue, Special Assistant Attorney General, Deputy General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and Trustee for the Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund (PSTIF), one of the largest insurers of storage tank liability in the country.
In 2010, Chris was appointed General Counsel and later to act as Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), a cabinet-level agency with more than 900 employees and overall budget and programs of more than $1 billion. Chris directed programs related to job creation, real estate and infrastructure development, workforce development, international trade, military installations, the arts, and tourism. As director, Chris served as a member of the Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB), the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC), the Missouri Workforce Investment Board, the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, the Missouri Partnership, and the Hawthorn Foundation. As General Counsel, Chris provided strategic and legal counsel as part of the executive management team, directed all outside litigation, and represented the department before the Administrative Hearing Commission. Chris developed and drafted policy and legislation, including the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, which helped to revitalize Missouri’s automotive industry, Missouri Works, which streamlined Missouri’s business incentives and workforce training programs, and the Aerospace Industry Jobs Act, which strengthened Missouri’s aerospace industry by bring the first-ever commercial aircraft production to the State.
During his time with DED, Chris gained unique expertise in federal, state and local economic development programs, including Historic Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Brownfield Tax Credits, Missouri Works, New Markets Tax Credits, BUILD, Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) Tax Credits, State Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Private Activity Bonds, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Chapter 100, Chapter 353, Community Improvement Districts (CIDs), Transportation Development Districts (TDDs), Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NIDs), among others.
Following his time as DED director, Chris was appointed Senior Policy Advisor and ultimately Chief of Staff to the Missouri Governor, engaging in all aspects of State government—a budget of more than $27 billion and more than 44,000 employees. In these roles, Chris drove passage of legislation enabling a historic bond issuance to invest more than $500 million in capital improvement projects throughout the state; coordinated the administration’s successful efforts to secure the new headquarters of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency—resulting in a $1.7B redevelopment and more than 3,000 high-paying jobs; and spearheaded administration efforts in key economic development initiatives such as City Arch River, CORTEX, and the $4.4 billion redevelopment of the former Bannister Mall in Kansas City into a global headquarters creating 15,000 new jobs.
Chris graduated with dual degrees, magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and worked a news reporter and editor for Pulitzer Publishing before attending law school. He graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri School of Law and was a member of the Order of the Coif and Lead Articles Editor for the Missouri Law Review.
Chris served as law clerk for the Hon. Ronnie L. White, Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, now U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, and as law clerk to the Hon. John R. Gibson, Senior Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.
Chris is a member of the Boone County Bar Association, the Cole County Bar Association, the Elwood Thomas Inn of Court, and was recently appointed to a four-year term on the Missouri Arts Council.