Sandy Ellis


Sandy Ellis is our Receptionist and brings more than 50 years of experience to the Firm. Her past work encompasses the educational and judicial systems, having served in the Willard R-2 School System, the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Missouri Court of Appeals.A graduate of Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, Sandy also graduated from high school in Bolivar as well.She and her husband Larry, married for more than 50 years, have one child and one grandchild.

Sarah Shewmaker

Senior Paralegal

Sarah Shewmaker is the Senior Paralegal for the Firm, working directly for Managing Partner Joseph S. Passanise.

Sarah joined the Firm in October 2013. As part of the trial-preparation team, she conducts research, files briefs, and creates a variety of other legal documents needed for criminal defense cases and appeals.

A graduate of Drury University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology, Sarah also holds an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Drury as well.

Teresa Funk


Teresa Funk is a Paralegal for the Firm, working directly for Associate Attorney Taylon Sumners. She works on the trial-preparation team, preparing documentation, filing briefs and conducting research.

Teresa was with the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska. There she worked for the Clerk of the District Court for three years.

She worked for the Nebraska Department of Corrections and the Nebraska State Penitentiary before returning to Springfield.

Pam Mosier

Firm Administrator

Pam Mosier is the Administrator for the Firm and has overall responsibility for managing finance and operating procedures.

She brings an extensive background in organizational and financial management to the Firm, having served as a Clinic Manager for Mercy Hospital for more than 25 years. There, she had finance oversight and was responsible for revenue projections and budget reconciliation.

Pam has an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming from Mayo Vo Tech.

In Memoriam

Dee Wampler

Our friend and colleague Dee Wampler died on October 8, 2021. He earned his Juris Doctor in 1965, giving up an opportunity to join the FBI to become an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Greene County. He became the youngest elected Prosecuting Attorney in the county’s history at the age of 29. In 1973, he began in private practice, eventually founding Wampler & Passanise Law Office with his law partner Joseph S. Passanise.

Wampler helped create and was a lifetime board member of the Messiah Project; was President of the Civil War Roundtable of the Ozarks; and on the Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts, Hammons Center for the Performing Arts, Ozarks Crime Prevention Council, and the Springfield Symphony. His firm was also a major sponsor of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks.

He was recognized in Who’s Who in American Politics, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers. He had been selected as a Top Ten Lawyer in the State of Missouri, published more than 200 articles for law enforcement journals and blogs ( and authored six books including The Trial of Christ – A Criminal Attorney Defends Jesus, The Myth of Separation of Church and State, One Nation Under God, Standing on the Front Line and five books on Missouri criminal law.

As we move forward, he can rest assured that the example he set will continue to inspire us. For one of the true legends in criminal defense in this region, court stands adjourned.

Shawna Kipp

In business, they say everyone is replaceable. However, we have learned the hard way that’s simply not true. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our friend, colleague and the glue that held us together, Shawna Kipp, our Senior Paralegal and Office Manager. She left this life tragically on January 27, 2021 and leaves behind a grieving family, colleagues, and a host of friends for whom life will not be the same without her.

Shawna had been with us for more than a decade. She was the epitome of hard work and dedication, respected from this office all the way to the courthouse and throughout the community at-large. We will miss her easy and infectious smile, her calm in the midst of chaos and her enduring friendship. Blessed are we for the opportunity to have known her and to have her as our friend. To know her was to love her.

As a champion of children of all ages and a highly devoted grandmother, Shawna would be thrilled that we are requesting donations be made in her name to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital ( Rest in peace our beautiful, irreplaceable friend.