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Paul Venker has had a varied and challenging legal career within the trial and appellate arenas, which began as a law clerk during law school. Upon graduation, he was a member of the Research Staff of the Missouri Supreme Court where he was invited to serve as a law clerk to then-Chief Justice, Robert T. Donnelly.

Paul has always practiced, almost exclusively, in the areas of trial and appellate practice. He has taken dozens of trials to verdict in a variety of cases involving employment discrimination, wrongful discharge and covenants not to compete, medical malpractice, long term care, home health care, environmental claims for clean up of hazardous material, product liability involving heavy machinery, transportation of hazardous waste, serious personal injury and general liability. In 2009, Missouri Lawyers Weekly again recognized Paul for receiving one of the top defense verdicts in the state.

Since first arguing an appeal before the Missouri Supreme Court in 1985, Paul has briefed and/or argued more than 25 appeals in numerous appellate courts. These cases involved topics such as sovereign immunity, present value jury instructions in FELA cases; whether a so-called “Saturday Night Special” handgun was unreasonably dangerous and defective; the right to cross-examine an employment plaintiff at trial about the content of her EEOC complaint; and the right of a creditor to conduct a pre-judgment attachment.

Paul’s experience was broadened during his time as an Assistant Litigation Counsel at Monsanto Company from 1988 to 1990. There, he was involved in directing outside counsel across the United States in the defense of toxic tort, personal injury and property damage cases. This role gave Paul the opportunity to be closely involved in a wide range of cases in both complexity and size. He also gained the perspective of being a client along with its challenges and rewards.

For the past several years Paul has been ranked in Chambers USA, a leading guide to the legal profession, for his work in commercial litigation. In addition, for over 10 years, he has been honored by his peers for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Employment Law, Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury, as well as Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers, a distinction given to only the top five percent of Missouri and Kansas lawyers.


  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • USDC, Eastern District of Missouri
  • USDC, Western District of Missouri
  • USDC, Southern District of Illinois
  • USDC, Central District of Illinois


  • University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law, J.D., 1980
  • University of Missouri – Columbia, B.A., magna cum laude, 1977

Memberships & Activities

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Employment Law Committee
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Jefferson County Bar Association
  • Lawyers Association of St. Louis
  • Missouri Bar
    • Board Member, Board of Governors (1992-2000)
    • Board Member, Young Lawyers Section Council (1987-1991)
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
  • St. Louis Bar Foundation
    • Board Member (2007-present)
    • President (2015-2017)


  • Recovery of Medical Expenses Under Section 490.715.5, RSMo: Worth a Closer Look, 32 Mo. Bar Journal 67 (2011)
  • Sovereign Immunity in Missouri, A Different Perspective on § 34.260, RSMo 42 Mo. Bar Journal 81 (1986)
  • Elmore v. Owens-Illinois, Inc.: The Inartful State of State of the Art Evidence, 53 UMKC Law Review 578 (1985)
  • Missouri Homicides: Lesser Included Offenses and Instructing Down, 48 Mo. Law Review 935 (1983)


  • Speaker, “New Missouri Statutes Affecting Civil Litigation,” Washington University School of Law (September 2017)
  • Speaker, “Ethical Traps to Avoid During Investigations Internal to a Corporation,” St. Louis Corporate Counsel Institute (May 2010)
  • Speaker, “How to Respond to a Notice to Depose the CEO/CFO,” St. Louis Corporate Counsel Institute (May 2009)
  • Trial Practice Seminar to Benefit Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Avoiding Mishaps in Opening Statements and Closing Arguments (June 2007)
  • Missouri Bar Lecture, Medical Malpractice Prosecuting and Defending Medical Negligence Cases – Selection, Preparation & Cross-Examination of Experts (July 2006)
  • Missouri Bar Lecture, Medical Malpractice Litigation After Tort Reform – Wrongful Death and Lost Chance of Recovery or Survival Claims (July 2005)

Awards & Recognition

  • Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® in America, St. Louis Metropolitan Area, 2005-present
    • Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" (2014)
    • Litigation - Labor and Employment (2011-present)
    • Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants (2011-present)
    • Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (2011-present)
  • Selected for inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers®, 2006-present
  • Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA (General Commercial Litigation - St. Louis & Surrounds), 2017-present
  • Recognized in Missouri Lawyers Media's "The POWER List of Appellate Attorneys", 2021
  • Recipient of Missouri Lawyers Media "Influential Appellate Advocates" Award, 2017

Community Involvement

  • Center for Patient Safety (Board Member)

News & Events

Law360 Quotes Baker Sterchi Member Paul Venker on Missouri Med Mal Cap Challenge

02.23.21 | Baker Sterchi Member Paul Venker, St. Louis, is quoted in a recent Law360 article "Med Mal Cap Challenge To Decide Mo. Lawmakers' Power" regarding the constitutionality of Missouri's $700,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases in light of a Feb. 16 lower appeals court ruling that the issue should be decided by the Missouri Supreme Court as an issue of first impression.

Venker and Larkin Named to Missouri Lawyers Media "The POWER List" for Appellate Attorneys

02.23.21 | Baker Sterchi Members Paul Venker and Lisa Larkin earned recognition in the 2021 Missouri Lawyers Media POWER List of Appellate Attorneys.

Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Recognizes Nineteen Baker Sterchi Attorneys

11.16.20 | Nineteen Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice attorneys are recognized in the 2020 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and Rising Stars publication. The recognized attorneys include...

Twenty Baker Sterchi Lawyers Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America 2021

08.20.20 | Twenty Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice lawyers are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 across numerous practice areas.

Venker Featured in SLBF Freedom Suits Fundraising Video

07.31.20 | Baker Sterchi Member Paul Venker, in his role as Chairman for the Freedom Suits Memorial Steering Committee, appears in a recently launched video to help raise money for this Memorial sculpture, which will honor the courageous slave-plaintiffs in what have become known as the freedom suits.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice and Attorneys Earn Chambers USA Recognition in Commercial Litigation and Insurance

05.04.20 | The 2020 edition of Chambers USA, a guide to the top law firms and lawyers in the United States, recognizes Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice as a leader in general commercial litigation in Kansas City and surrounding areas and names three Baker Sterchi attorneys as leaders in individual practice areas.

Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Recognizes Nineteen Baker Sterchi Attorneys

11.15.19 | Nineteen Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice attorneys have been named to the 2019 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. The named attorneys include...

Baker Sterchi Recognized in 2020 U.S. News Best Law Firms

11.01.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice has been recognized with national and metropolitan rankings in U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms 2020. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, and peer review from leading attorneys in their field. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, professionalism and integrity.

The Best Lawyers in America (2020 Edition) Recognizes Fourteen Baker Sterchi Lawyers

08.20.19 | Fourteen Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice lawyers have been recognized in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© across numerous practice areas.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice and Attorneys Earn Recognition as Leaders in Commercial Litigation in Chambers USA 2019

04.30.19 | The 2019 edition of the Chambers Guide to the Top Lawyers and Law Firms in the USA (Chambers USA) recognizes Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice and attorneys John Cowden and Paul Venker as a leader in general commercial litigation.

Super Lawyers Recognizes Nineteen Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Attorneys

11.15.18 | Nineteen Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice attorneys have been recognized in the 2018 edition of Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and Rising Stars...

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019

08.15.18 | Fourteen Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice lawyers have been recognized in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® across numerous practice areas.


Supreme Court Appellate Decision is a Win for Healthcare Providers

In 2015, two of the firm's attorneys were involved in briefing and arguing before the Missouri Supreme Court in favor of the constitutionality of the statutory cap on non-economic damages in a medical negligence wrongful death action.

Blog Posts

COVID-19 Healthcare Heroics May Ironically Lead to Future Confrontations - Introduction (Part 1)

04.29.20 | As the United States makes its way into the third month of dealing with COVID-19, there are already signs of concern for our healthcare providers being attacked in the future. In part one of a series of blog articles, we delve into potential dangers for healthcare providers and offer observations about possible defense strategies.

Missouri Supreme Court Holds That Requesting an Accommodation, Standing Alone, Is Not an Activity Opposing a Practice Prohibited by the MHRA

04.07.20 | An issue of first impression was recently presented to the Missouri Supreme Court: whether an employee's accommodation request is a protected activity under the Missouri Human Rights Act. The Missouri Supreme Court found...

First Judicial District Appellate Court of Illinois Upholds Motion for Directed Verdict in Medical Malpractice Claim

12.26.19 | Illinois Appellate Court rejected plaintiff's claim that expert testimony is required only to establish applicable standard of care upholding directed verdict in plaintiff's medical malpractice informed consent claim.

Despite 2017 Amendment to Statute, Court of Appeals Holds Section 490.715 Fails to Preclude Evidence of "Charged" Amounts of Medical Expenses at Trial

01.29.19 | Court effectively negates statutory amendment intended to limit trial evidence to the actual cost of medical care.

At-Will Employee Properly Paid Commission as Monthly Draw

11.29.18 | Recently, the Southern District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's determination in a bench tried case on an employee's claim for what he described as unpaid commissions. In affirming the trial court's Judgment, the court of appeals made clear that Missouri law allows an employer to unilaterally modify the terms of an at-will employee's compensation.

Missouri Supreme Court Explains Some Ground Rules for Using Multiple Experts

10.30.18 | The Missouri Supreme Court has firmly upheld the right of a party to present multiple expert witnesses during the trial of a medical malpractice case. Shallow v. Follwell, 554 S.W.3d 878 (Mo. banc 2018). The Supreme Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals' decision in the case, and instead...

Missouri's General Rule of One Corporation Not Being Liable for Another's Conduct is Reaffirmed

09.16.14 | In Blanks v. Fluor Corp, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed a jury verdict against Fluor Corporation, because it was improperly based on the conduct of its affiliate which was separately incorporated. This case involved a class action for personal injuries to minors due to exposure to lead from a southeastern Missouri mine which was operated by a partnership of multiple entities, at least one of which was an affiliate of Fluor Corporation.

Missouri Supreme Court Abandons Exclusive Causation Requirement for Worker's Compensation Retaliatory Discharge Claims

08.07.14 | In Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc., the Missouri Supreme Court threw out its long-held interpretation of section 287.780, RSMo requiring a plaintiff in a worker's compensation retaliatory discharge claim to prove their filing a claim under Chapter 287 was the exclusive cause for the discharge. The Court now holds…

Supreme Court Narrows "Supervisor" Standard - and Employer's Liability - for Title VII Work Place Harassment Claims

06.24.13 | In this 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court resolved a split among the circuits as to when an employee qualifies as a "supervisor" such that their conduct can impose liability on the employer. In so doing, the Court relied on its seminal decisions – Ellerth and Faragher – in determining…

Consideration and Mutuality Remain Key for Enforceable Employment Arbitration Agreement

02.26.13 | This decision underlines the importance of observing the contractual nature of an agreement to arbitrate. It is also another case which warns of the dangers of an employer: a) relying on the mention of, or reference to, outside or ancillary agreements as a substitute for explicitly being bound by specific terms of the agreement at issue; and, b) not signing the agreement.

Despite Having Standing to Sue, Plaintiffs Cannot Recover Damages for Medical Bills They Did Not Pay and Were Not Obligated to Pay

01.01.13 | The Missouri Supreme Court has held that putative class action plaintiffs claiming injury due to allegedly fraudulent overbilling for medical care cannot recover because they were unable to show they actually suffered any damages in that they neither incurred nor paid the charges at issue.

Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act Does Not Protect Customer Information Insufficiently Guarded or Which Is Not Truly "Trade Secret" in Character

01.01.13 | In this case, a corporate successor, Central Trust sued the former employee of its acquired company, Springfield Trust after the employee started a business which directly competed with his former employer and Central Trust.

Recovery of Medical Expenses Under Section 490.715, RSMO Deck v. Teasley, 322 S.W.3d 536 (Mo. Banc 2010)

01.05.10 | In Deck v. Teasley, the Missouri Supreme Court held a plaintiff can recover the "value" of medical expenses, based on the amount billed, even though neither the plaintiff, nor anyone else, paid the full "value" amount or was ever obligated to pay that amount. This is a surprising result for two main reasons…

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