Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C.
701 Market Street, Suite 800
St. Louis, MO 63101
Don M. Downing is a former Missouri Chief Deputy Attorney General and managing partner of Gray, Ritter & Graham’s St. Louis office.
As Chief Deputy Attorney General – Missouri’s top appointed legal officer – from 1993 to 1995, Don was the lead lawyer in cases involving consumer protection, antitrust, environmental, securities and many other areas of law. He appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States four times, including one case he personally argued. He also argued cases on behalf of the state six times before the Missouri Supreme Court, and tried substantial cases in federal and state court. He was responsible for hiring, training and supervising more than 170 assistant attorneys general.
His private practice has focused on complex commercial and class action litigation. He has represented large and small businesses in complex commercial disputes, including class actions, banks in insurance coverage litigation and other commercial disputes, Big Four accounting firms in securities and malpractice litigation, and cities, school districts and other public entities in actions against providers of products and services.
Don has also represented farmers in numerous cases. He was appointed national co-lead counsel for thousands of plaintiff farmers and other businesses in multi-district litigation involving contamination of the U.S. rice supply by genetically modified rice. He was lead trial counsel in three bellwether rice trials, and obtained significant plaintiffs’ verdicts . Mr. Downing led a negotiation that resulted in a global settlement for the farmers.
He has represented hundreds of farmers in several states and recovered in cases involving defective cotton seed and crop damage caused by herbicide drift. He has obtained a settlement for a class of farmers in a federal court lawsuit against the federal government. He also has represented farmers in several states in antitrust claims against seed and technology providers.
Additionally, he has represented thousands of consumers in class action litigation against cellular telephone and internet service providers, drug companies, hospitals, and other entities that engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices. For example, Don recently served as co-lead counsel in a pharmaceutical class action that resulted in a settlement for Missouri consumers.
A native of Kennett, Missouri, Don earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri in 1979, and his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1982, where he served as an editor on the Missouri Law Review. After graduation from law school, he served as law clerk for the Honorable Edward L. Filippine, District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Don was appointed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators in 2009, serving as Chairman in 2014. He has served on the University of Missouri Law School Foundation Board of Trustees and the Law Library Campaign Committee. He received the Law School’s highest award, the Citation of Merit. He is also an active member of the University of Missouri Jefferson Club, serving as the chairman of its annual St. Louis regional dinner. He also has served on numerous other boards and advisory boards. In 2013, he was selected by the judges of the Eastern District of Missouri to serve on the merit selection panel for the appointment of a United States Magistrate Judge.
He is licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois, as well as before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Don was named the Best Lawyers in America’s (a Woodward White company) 2015 St. Louis Lawyer of the Year-Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Plaintiffs, Best Lawyers in America’s (a Woodward White company) 2014 St. Louis Litigation – Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year, and Best Lawyers (a Woodward White company) 2013 St. Louis Litigation – Antitrust Lawyer of the Year. He is also listed in Best Lawyers (a Woodward White company) in the categories of Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action – Plaintiffs, Litigation – Antitrust, and Litigation – Banking & Finance. He has an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is the highest given. He has been annually selected to Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) since 2006, in the area of Business Litigation. He has been named among the Top 50 attorneys in St. Louis and the Top 100 attorneys in Missouri and Kansas by Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company). He is included in the 2012 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.
- J.D., University of Missouri School of Law, 1982
- B.S., University of Missouri, 1979
Honors and Awards
- Best Lawyers 2015 St. Louis Lawyer of the Year – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs (a Woodward White company)
- Best Lawyers 2014 St. Louis Lawyer of the Year – Banking & Finance Litigation (a Woodward White company)
- best Lawyers in America ® 2013 St. Louis Litigation: Antitrust Lawyer of the Year (a Woodward White company)
- 2012 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
- Named National Litigator of the Week, American Lawyer Litigation Daily, July 7, 2011
- The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 – Present (a Woodward White company)
- Best Lawyers in St. Louis, St. Louis Magazine, 2005 – Present
- Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, 2006 – Present (a Thomson Reuters Company)
- 2011 Recipient, Citation of Merit from the University of Missouri School of Law
- Appointed by the judges of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to serve as a member of the merit selection panel for the appointment of a United States Magistrate Judge, 2013
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Member, Board of Curators of the University of Missouri
- University of Missouri Law School Foundation, Board of Trustees, Law Library Campaign Committee
University of Missouri Jefferson Club
- National Benevolent Association, Chair, Board of Directors, Legal Committee
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation