Best Lawyer - 2007
Rich Witzel and Jay Kanzler
In March 2006, law partners Rich Witzel and Jay Kanzler were retained to investigate an insurance claim in Florida that stemmed from the death of St. Louis native Gail Sands, whose body had been found drowned in a shallow swimming pool outside her Florida home in 2001. After a half-dozen trips to the Sunshine State and months of detective work, Witzel and Kanzler discovered what Gail's family had always suspected but cops and state prosecutors could never prove: She'd been murdered by her husband. Lionel Sands and an accomplice were killed in a gunfight with law enforcement authorities before the legal team got a chance to present their proof in court, but that bizarre denouement only serves to highlight the attorneys' hard-won accomplishment.