It’s hard to imagine a better connected St. Louisan than Bob Lattinville. As a sports agent and lawyer, he’s represented iconic athletes, coaches and even universities. Last year, he grew his influence by joining William Morris Endeavor—a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion. T&S checked in with Lattinville to learn more about his illustrious career and why he continues to call the StL home.

You have been in the agent business for a long time. How did you get your start?
I wish I could tell you I had a plan, but it started by accident. The summer after my first year of law school, I’m sitting on the rail of the infield at the Kentucky Derby with a good buddy and former teammate of mine, and he convinced me to represent him over a handful of mint juleps. Months later, I signed him with the Denver Broncos. I was still in law school and thought it would be really cool if it could be part of my job.

Your job is glamorous on the surface, but how challenging is it?
You’re involved with type A people who are extremely competitive by nature. The people who serve those individuals also are intense and competitive. There is a round-the-clock intensity to it, and your successes are very fleeting and always checked, as is your humanity. It is not a career for the faint-of-heart.

You’ve been in the room with some of the most important people in sports. Have you ever thought, “Holy cow, look at the people around me?”
A couple times I was kind of pinching myself. Ozzie used to stop by my house, and I’d think to myself, “Wow, he’s a friend of mine.” I had the absolute honor of working with Sean McVay this spring. He’s 36, and the wisdom and energy from that guy really impressed me. When I finished out in California, I was excited to get back to work.

What’s the biggest difference between representing players, coaches and universities?
With young players, you don’t typically see judgment based on experience. The most seasoned coaches, the most accomplished executives are the ones who exercise good judgment in the face of popular opinion. It’s the team manager and president who has the chops and has done the homework to make tough decisions whose careers have longevity in an industry where your career can be fleeting. You’re only a couple bad decisions away from doing whatever else you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life.

The William Morris agency is the biggest of the biggest. What’s it like to be part of it?
It’s great from a resource and collaboration standpoint. The biggest challenge that they have is ensuring people like me understand what is available to us. For example, we have an entire company that is based on analytics—not just statistics but understanding why a movie makes a studio money or why a left-handed pitcher adds value to a baseball team. It’s somewhat of a challenge to understand how we can bring all these resources together to separate ourselves in a very competitive industry.

What occupies the most of your time?
Trying to stay current. Just in the last year, what does the Austin case mean, and what exactly is name, image and likeness? All of these things impact college sports. One of these things I do on a routine basis is get up early and put my phone away so I can get current on what’s going on for that day or season.

How do you find balance in your life?
To be candid, I don’t think my life is all that balanced. I don’t have a lot of hobbies—if you heard me play the guitar, it would sound like I had a baseball glove on. Most of my closest friends come from sports, and we’re all together because we’re involved in the same industry. From the outside it may seem like I’m having a working dinner, but it isn’t really because my best friends are there. I don’t have a blanched life, but I try to spend quality time with my people.

What are some of the essential items in your closet?
Our coaches turned me onto performance wear shirts by Mizzen+Main. I love them! When I was a young lawyer, it was suits. My dad had a really good buddy who was a tailor, so every year I would get a suit. It’s a lot more casual now.

Trendy or traditional when it comes to fashion?

What’s a comfort food for you?
I love hamburgers.

After the best or worst day of your life, what drink are you reaching for?
It’s probably some form of red wine for both. The best day is going to be the one that is happiest for my daughter. I’ve never had Screaming Eagle, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. I figure I can afford it on my best day.

Where do you look forward to traveling to?
I have several players on the San Francisco 49ers. I usually get up there a day early. It’s so much fun, and I love taking a day trip up to Napa.

What’s the one place you’d take a pass on?
The coldest I’ve ever been in my life was in Syracuse, New York, for a hockey game.

Give me three places in St. Louis you would take an out-of-town client.
If you’re not from St. Louis, you’ve got to go to one of our Italian restaurants. I’d probably take them to Cafe Napoli. If somebody enjoyed drinking wine, I’d take them to Truffles. If I was going to do something more casual, I’d go with Grassi’s.

When you’re cooking, what’s your signature dish?
I think I make a pretty good beef tenderloin. I love to cook, but I’m not really good at it.

What’s the dish you’re most likely to pass on if served?
Anything that has mayonnaise in it.

Why have you continued to make St. Louis your home?
Just this week I’ve talked to three or four of my high school buddies. There are friendships and relationships here that I’ve had for decades. People stay here because there’s a comfort about it. God knows, we don’t stick around for the weather. I think there’s a vein of authenticity to St. Louisans. Wherever you are in the world, if you bump into someone from St. Louis, there’s an instant connection that you don’t get with other cities.

What are the three keys to making the deal?
Preparation is No. 1. Two, you have to understand what your clients’ priorities are. I break it down into needs, wants and extras. Everybody is unique, and no best or worst case scenario is going to look the same. Three, I would say, is humility. Whoever you’re negotiating against, they’re also experts in their field, and you’re never too old to learn something.