Stanley B. Stallworth
By Patrick Folliard
The goal of this column is to enlighten our readers about the private endeavors of attorneys with whom we come in contact in the profession. By examining lawyers and their work practices by day in contrast to the personal interests that they pursue outside of the office, it is our hope that this series of articles allows our readers to see the other side of lawyers who manage to pursue unique interests despite their demanding careers.
In July, attorney Stanley B. Stallworth spent about $700 on a wide range of painting supplies. His plan was to celebrate his 44th birthday alone with his easel, enjoying the day making art rather than purely appreciating it. Unfortunately, things got hectic, and Stallworth, a real estate partner in Sidley Austin LLP’s Chicago office, never got around to putting brush to canvas. Today, those same tubes of paint, palettes, and different-sized brushes remain unopened in boxes on the floor of his home office.
“Many of the big galleries in major cities don’t exhibit African American artists,” says Stallworth, who owns Guichard along with four other people, including his sister, a professor and associate dean at the University of Alabama; the business’s namesake, African American artist André Guichard; Guichard’s wife, Frances; and fellow attorney Stephen Mitchell. “That we’ve not only opened a gallery, but opened one that is as beautiful, well run, and as successful as a gallery on Erie or LaSalle streets in Chicago’s mainstream art district, and is giving African American artists a first-class venue to show and sell art at first-class rates, makes it all the better.”
When he is not thinking art, Stallworth is thinking real estate law. While many real estate law partners develop niche practices like lending, Stallworth is a self-described real estate generalist and prefers all-around work with a focus on development and construction. “I have to really like what I’m doing,” says Stallworth. “From my perspective, issues of acquiring and disposing of real estate and watching buildings go up are the most exciting part of the practice.”
“I was ‘sidetracked’ when I earned better grades than I expected and consequently was offered jobs at law firms,” says Stallworth. When he accepted his first legal job as an associate at Sidley in 1989, Stallworth developed his plan to return to Alabama after three to five years; instead, he remained at the firm partly because of mentors. One in particular, Virginia Aronson, a white female partner and member of the Management Committee, identified with Stallworth and became interested in his success because, like her, he also hailed from a small town, and because he was very bright.
Patrick Folliard is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, Md.
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From the November/December 2007 issue of Diversity & The Bar®