Before pursuing a career in law, Tony DeWitt was a respiratory therapist and department manager at several different hospitals. During this time, he experienced frustration with how the organizations operated and how physicians and hospitals lacked accountability. “I decided if I could not make a hospital listen to me as a therapist, that I could make them listen to me as a lawyer.”
At Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader, DeWitt focuses on false claims, class action litigation and appellate work. He most enjoys the writing and research that goes hand in hand with appeals, and colleagues know him as the “go-to” for drafting assistance, sometimes knocking out 30-page briefs in a day. He enjoys reducing complicated matters into something simple and understandable.
Tony was part of the team that won the Burns vs. Smith insurance accident coverage case in 2010, one that brought to question the interpretation of insurance policy language. In it, Tony helped change the law on insurance contracts for the state of Missouri. The case went up to the Supreme Court, and the firm won. As a result of the decision, the company elected to withdraw its policies from the state.
To Tony, being a good person is his main foundation, and being a great lawyer is a natural extension. He takes this to heart by volunteering for a variety of causes, including pro bono cases and work with the American Respiratory Care Foundation. “When you can give someone who is scraping by or having a difficult time a lifeline, and help them get their life back on track just by making a few phone calls, there is very little in life that feels as good.”
If not a lawyer, Tony DeWitt muses that he might have been an author, putting his love for writing to use. In fact, one of his favorite quotes is by famed author Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
Growing up, Tony attended many schools, standard for a child whose stepfather was in the Air Force. He graduated from high school at the Clark Air Base in the Philippines, and returned to Sedalia, Missouri, where his grandmother resided, and where he considered “home.”
He’s an avid shooter (a member of the International Defensive Pistol Association), and Tony also enjoys photography and traveling with his wife, children and grandchildren. Tony’s family is a constant source of pride: He has four successful adult children and six grandchildren, as well as two “spoiled” Chihuahuas.
Tony stresses that the most important qualities of a good lawyer are to have the necessary educational foundation and a basic understanding of human nature. He adds that a quest for justice and drive to make the world a better place also are imperative.
The best advice Tony has received remains: “If you want to become a lawyer to do the things lawyers do, you’ll be successful. If you want to practice law to have things lawyers have, you’ll be miserable.”
- EDUCATION AND PAST EXPERIENCE
1993 – Saint Louis University School of Law, J.D.
1986 – Ottawa University, B.S.
- MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
State of Missouri – All Jurisdictions
United States Federal Court of Claims
8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
The Missouri Bar Association
Eighth Circuit Bar Association
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
American Association for Justice
American Association for Respiratory Care, Fellow
American Radio Relay League
Legal Care Project
Missouri Society for Respiratory Care
American Respiratory Care Foundation, Board Member
Samaritan Center of Jefferson City, CLE Presenter
- HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS
Alpha Sigma Nu, National Jesuit Honor Society, April 1993
AmJur Academic Achievement Awards in Legal Research and Writing, Bankruptcy, Environmental
Law, Family Law, Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure
Best Written Note or Comment, Saint Louis University School of Law, 1993
Betty Jo Finney Pro Bono Publico Award, Missouri Coalition for Quality Care, October 2005.
Fellow, American Association for Respiratory Care, October 2002
Order of the Woolsack, Saint Louis University, 1993
President’s Award, NAACP, October 2010
Pro Bono Service Award, Missouri Bar, October 2013.
Winner, Robert McKay Professionalism Writing Competition, 1992, Daniel’s Story – The Professional Lawyer, August 1992