Michael Downey is a Litigation partner whose practice focuses on advising lawyers and accountants on legal, ethics and risk management issues and defends those professionals in civil and disciplinary proceedings. His ethics practice includes:
- Advising law firms and groups of lawyers regarding legal and ethical issues that arise in law firm departures and dissolutions
- Assisting law firms in navigating contentious client terminations
- Counseling on conflicts of interest and preparing conflict waivers
- Revising law firm partnership agreements to implement new partner compensation and risk management provisions
- Providing advice and expert testimony on attorney fee and fee dispute issues
- Reviewing client solicitations and lawyer advertisements to ensure compliance
- Preparing opinion letters on issues that arise from lawyer advertising, law firm mergers, and operation of ancillary businesses
- Responding to ethics investigations and defending disciplinary proceedings
An experienced trial lawyer and appellate advocate, Mike represents lawyers in Missouri and Illinois disciplinary proceedings and argues for lawyers and accountants before the Missouri Supreme Court, Illinois ARDC Review Board and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He also serves as an expert witness on legal ethics and law firm practice issues on cases pending in Missouri, Kansas and the District of Columbia. Prior to focusing his practice on professional ethics, Mike primarily litigated complex class action, environmental, and product liability cases—usually for global consumer products, pharmaceutical and refining companies.
A noted author and teacher, Mike now teaches legal ethics and law firm practice as an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law and professional responsibility at St. Louis University School of Law. His first book, Introduction to Law Firm Practice, was released in 2010. Mike has published more than 50 other articles and presented more than 200 times on professional ethics.
A leader in national, state, and local bar association groups relating to legal ethics and law firm practice, Mike has held many notable posts including:
- Vice Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section – expected to serve as chair in 2013-14
- Member of the Technology Working Group for the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20
- Ethics columnist for Litigation magazine
- Past Chair of the Ethics & Technology Committee in the ABA Center Professional Responsibility
- Past Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professional Conduct
- Past member of the Missouri Bar’s Ethics 2005 Committee
- Past member of the Missouri Bar’s Special Committee on Lawyer Advertising
- Former hearing officer for Missouri lawyer discipline cases
A frequently cited expert on legal ethics and law practice matters in publications such as the National Law Journal, ABA Journal and Thomson Reuter’s News & Insights, Mike has been quoted on the front page of the New York Times, on the WSJ Law Blog and appeared as a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.
After graduating first in his class from Washington University School of Law, Mike spent one year clerking for the Honorable Pasco M. Bowman, then Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Mike also earned a graduate certificate in Law Firm Management from George Washington University in 2006, when the Hildebrandt Institute coordinated and provided instructors for the program.
Mike joined Armstrong Teasdale in 2011 from the national lawyer ethics and risk management practice of a large national law firm.
Prior to law school, Mike taught Latin and Ancient Greek and coached soccer and chess at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, a public school in St. Louis County.