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Civil defense and commercial litigator

Paul Venker

Senior Counsel in St. Louis

Paul Venker represents clients in trials and appeals. He has taken dozens of trials to verdict in a variety of cases involving employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, covenants not to compete, medical malpractice, long term care, home health care, environmental claims for cleanup of hazardous material, product liability involving heavy machinery, transportation of hazardous waste, serious personal injury, and general liability. In prior years, Paul was recognized for receiving one of the top defense verdicts in Missouri.

His legal career has been varied and challenging. Immediately following graduation from law school, 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. Since first arguing an appeal before the Missouri Supreme Court in 1985, Paul has briefed and/or argued dozens of 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 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. In that role, Paul was closely involved in a wide range of large, complex cases. He also gained the perspective of being a client along with its challenges and rewards.

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


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


  • University of Missouri School of Law, J.D., 1980
  • University of Missouri, 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
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Jefferson County Bar Association
  • Lawyers Association of St. Louis
  • Missouri Bar Association
    • 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)

Awards & Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America, St. Louis Metropolitan Area, 2005-present
    • Commercial Litigation (2022-present)
    • Litigation  Labor and Employment (2011-present)
    • Medical Malpractice Law  Defendants (2011-present)
    • Personal Injury Litigation  Defendants (2011-present)
    • Medical Malpractice Law  Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" (2014)
  • Chambers USA, St. Louis & Surrounds, 2013-present
    •  General Commercial Litigation (2013-present)
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, 2006-present
  • Missouri Bar Spurgeon Smithson Award, 2023
  • Missouri Lawyers Media Appellate Attorneys POWER List, 2021-present
  • Missouri Lawyers Media Top 100 POWER List, 2022-2023
  • Missouri Lawyers Media Diversity & Inclusion Award, 2022
  • Missouri Lawyers Media Legal Champion Award, 2022
  • Royal Vagabonds Foundation Leadership Award, 2022
  • Missouri Lawyers Media ICON Award, 2021
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Distinguished Lawyer Award, 2020-2021
  • Missouri Lawyers Media Influential Appellate Advocates Award, 2017

Community Involvement

  • Center for Patient Safety - Board Member
  • The Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society - Trustee


  • 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, "Freedom Suits", Kansas City Association of Legal Administrators Chapter Meeting (September 2023)
  • Panelist, "History of the Freedom Suits", Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis CLE (June 2021)
  • 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)

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