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Joseph R. Swift is a Member of the firm. With over 30 years of experience as a successful trial lawyer, he has scored numerous favorable jury verdicts throughout his career. 

With a practice focused on representing several of the largest for-hire and private transportation carriers in the United States, he is an active member of the Trucking Industry Defense Association, Trucking Lawyers Association, and the Transportation Committee of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. He is also a regular participant in the Arkansas Trucking Seminar.

Joe has been involved with the transportation industry for many years, having driven a truck in college and law school. At a prior firm, he was chair of the Transportation practice group. Joe’s practice also includes the defense of premises and product liability matters. He is routinely called upon by clients and industry groups to speak on transportation and product liability matters.


  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • USDC, Eastern District of Missouri
  • USDC, Western District of Missouri


  • Creighton University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1987
  • Luther College, B.A., cum laude, 1984

Memberships & Activities

  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
    •  Trial Academy Faculty Member (2019)
  • Transportation Lawyers Association
  • Trucking Industry Defense Association


  • Transportation Law Compendium: Missouri, ALFA International (2018, 2019)
  • Social Media Research and the Jury, ALFA International Client Seminar (2017)
  • Deposing Corporate Witnesses or the Safety Representative Witness: A Primer in the Era of "The Reptile", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2016)
  • Deposing Corporate Witnesses: A Primer in the Era of "The Reptile", ALFA International Client Seminar (2016)
  • Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer, An Update on the Plaintiff Bar's Attack on the Trucking Industry, ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2012)


  • Presenter: "Three Sticks of Dynamite in the Road: Don't Blow up Verdicts", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (April 2019)
  • Presenter: "Revisiting the Reptile Theory: The Importance of Deposition Preparation", West Michigan Council of Safety Management (April 2019)
  • Presenter: "The Prepared Witness", Lytx User Group Conference (February 2019)
  • Presenter: "Turning Lemons into Lemonade", ALFA International Transportation Regional Seminar, St. Louis (February 2019)
  • Co-presenter: "Understanding and Reducing Your Digital Footprint", Leggett & Platt Company Seminar (October 2018)
  • Presenter: "To Settle or Try: The Most Important Question!", TIDA 26th Annual Seminar (October 2018)
  • Presenter: "How to Take Control, Keep Control and Not Lose Control of Your Big Case", Arkansas Trucking Seminar (September 2018)
  • Presenter: "Revisiting the Reptile Theory: The Importance of Deposition Preparation", ATTIC RRG Safety Conference (September 2018)
  • Moderator: "Winners and Losers", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (May 2018)
  • Presenter: "Interactive Case Evaluation: What Is This Claim Really Worth?", ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Regional Seminar, Milwaukee (April 2018)
  • Moderator: "Legal Issues Impacting the Transportation Industry", ALFA International Transportation Regional Seminar (February 2018)
  • Presenter: "Competitive Network Environment", ALFA International Business Meeting (October 2017)
  • Presenter: " I Hear You Knocking, But You Can't Come In", ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Seminar (2017)
  • Presenter: "Reptile Dysfunction: Defeating the Reptile in the Safety Director Deposition", ATTIC RRG Safety Conference (September 2017)
  • Presenter: "Anatomy of a Claim", Great West Casualty National Symposium (2017)
  • Presenter: "Closing Arguments: Technology Takes the Stage" and "Breaking it Down: Analysis of the Jurors' Thoughts and Conclusions from the Closing Arguments", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (May 2017)
  • Program Chair: ALFA International Transportation Regional Seminar (February 2017)
  • Presenter: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Social Media and Jury Selection", ALFA International Client Seminar (2017)
  • Presenter: "Circling the Wagons: Preparing for the Showdown", ALFA International Client Seminar (March 2016)
  • Presenter: "Insightful Jury Selection in the Wake of Ferguson, Missouri and Charleston, South Carolina", Arkansas Trucking Seminar (September 2015)
  • Presenter: "Is Talking About It Getting It Done?", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (May 2013)
  • Presenter: "An Update from the Front Lines: A Look at the Latest Efforts and Methods the Plaintiff's Bar Discusses and Encourages", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2012)
  • Speaker: "Double Jeopardy: CSA and the New Hours of Service Proposal", TIDA 19th Annual Seminar (2011)
  • Presenter: "BASICs Training: Dealing with the Roadside Inspection", Arkansas Trucking Seminar (2010)
  • Moderator: "Comprehensive Safety Analysis", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2010)
  • Moderator: "Product Recalls in a Global Economy", ALFA International Client Seminar (2010)
  • Presenter: "Product Liability 101, the Consumer Products Safety Commission and Product Recalls", American Ladder Institute (2010)
  • Speaker: "Green Marketing Claims", Product Safety and Liability Conference (co-sponsored by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers; the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute; and the Consumer Electronics Association) (2009)
  • Speaker: "National Plaintiff's Groups Targeting the Trucking Industry", American Moving & Storage Association National Safety & Operations Conference (2009)
  • Presenter: "Watch Out, It May be Gaining on You: A Report from the Front Lines" and "Plaintiff's Groups Targeting the Trucking Industry", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2009)
  • Presenter: "2008: A Discovery Odyssey", ALFA International Product Liability Seminar (2008)
  • Presenter: "Defending Against Allegations of Criminal Conduct", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2008)
  • Presenter: "Mediation with the Aggressive Approach", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2007)
  • Presenter: "Divide and Conquer! Does In-Fighting Between Co-Defendants Over Liability Drive up the Value of the Verdict?", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2006)
  • Presenter: "Life Care/Medical", ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2005)
  • Presenter: "Direct/Cross of Defense Accident Reconstructionist, ALFA International Transportation Seminar (2004)

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Lawyers® in America, St. Louis Metropolitan Area
    • Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (2019-present)
    • Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (2019-present)
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers®, 2005, 2007-present
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly Top Defense Verdicts, 2009
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated

Community Involvement

  • Soccer and T-Ball coach
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Historical Society

News & Events

Baker Sterchi Adds Five Attorney Team in St. Louis

09.01.20 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to announce that Joseph Swift, Zachary Faires, John McLeod, Ashley Moya, and Kenneth Wilks have joined the firm in St. Louis. Swift, Faires, and McLeod join as Members, with Moya and Wilks joining as Associates. All five attorneys come to Baker Sterchi from the St. Louis office of Brown & James.
  • Favorable Jury Verdicts

    • Blankenship v. Heyl Truck Lines (2017)
    • Straube v. Marten Transportation (2016)
    • Villines v. Steak n Shake (2015)
    • Donald Handley v. Jacobson Transportation (2015)
    • Mehrlenbach v. Evans Enterprises (2014)
    • Mayes v. Steak ‘n Shake (2013)
    • Gambino v. Steak ‘n Shake (2013)
    • Conley v. D&G Transportation (2013)
    • Green v. The Plaza Condominiums (2012)
    • Valadez v. Watkins Motor Lines (2012)
    • Heard v. Fudge (November 2011)
    • Norman v. Marten Transport (2011)
    • Breaux v. Old Dominion (2011)
    • Curran v. Marriott (2011)
    • Edwards and Slay Transportation v. Millstadt Rendering (2010)
    • Munoz v. R&L Carriers (2010)
    • Fattah v. Tran (2009)
    • Hirner, Jennifer v. DayDreamers (2009)
    • Ruben, Raymond v. Village Market (2008)
    • Watkins, Aubrey v. City of St. Louis Missouri (2007)
    • Bockman, Miranda v. O & S Carriers (2007)
    • Michael, Christy v. Cracker Barrel (2006)
    • Stoughton v. Alexander Richardson (2006)

  • Published Appellate Opinions

    • Huggins, Walter v. Teton Transportation, Inc., represented defendant
    • Staple Cotton Cooperative Association, et al. v. D G & G., Inc., et al., represented defendant


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