Twitter LinkedIn Share this page Facebook RSS

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, 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

  • Missouri Bar
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • Risk and Insurance Management Society
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Employment Law Committee
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
  • The Lawyers Association of St. Louis
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis


  • 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,” 2017 Washington University School of Law (September 2017)
  • Speaker, “Ethical Traps to Avoid During Investigations Internal to a Corporation,” 2010 St. Louis Corporate Counsel Institute (May 2010)
  • Speaker, “How to Respond to a Notice to Depose the CEO/CFO,” 2009 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 (2001-present)
  • Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA, 2017-present
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly Influential Appellate Advocates award recipient, 2017

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.

Community Involvement

  • President, St. Louis Bar Foundation (2015-2017)
  • Board Member, St. Louis Bar Foundation (2007 – present)
  • Board Member, Missouri Bar Board of Governors (1992 – 2000)
  • Board Member, Missouri Bar Young Lawyers Section Council (1987 – 1991)


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

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…