Awards and Honors

Our team of top criminal defense lawyers has been recognized by leading law-review websites, publications and organizations. They have also received numerous local and regional awards for legal expertise and community leadership. Below are highlights of the accolades received.

Missouri Lawyers Media

Missouri Lawyers Media publishes Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the only independent publication dedicated to legal coverage in the state. The group also recognizes legal professionals with a variety of awards programs. Joseph Passanise was recognized for Law Firm Leadership in 2023, along with Sandy Ellis, Receptionist and one of the firm’s longest-term employees, who was honored as an unsung Hero the same year. In 2022, Taylon Sumners was recognized in the Up and Coming Category, which shines a light on young attorneys who have demonstrated leadership.

Years our lawyers have been featured in Best Lawyers: 2007-present

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

For more than three decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere. Their lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Lawyers are not allowed to pay to participate in or be included on any of their lists.

Years our lawyers have been featured in Super Lawyers: 2006-present

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country.

National Trial Lawyers

The National Trial Lawyers’ mission is to promote excellence in the legal profession through advocacy training, networking and education of trial lawyers.

The National Trial Lawyers promotes and endorses legal educational programs, including its annual Trial Lawyers Submit. Their goal is to enable members to draw upon the association’s strong training, educational and networking resources so they may have benefits that were either unavailable or difficult to find on their own.

Our Lawyer’s Avvo scores:

Joe Passanise: 10/10 – Superb

Taylon Sumners-Schwartz: 6.8 after 2 years in Practice

The Avvo Rating is how Avvo evaluates a lawyer’s performance based on the information they know about the lawyer and reviews provided by clients. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model that considers the information shown in a lawyer’s profile, including a lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements, and industry recognition – all factors that, in their opinion, are relevant to assessing a lawyer’s qualifications.

They periodically collect background data from multiple sources, including state bar associations, court records, lawyer websites, and information that lawyers choose to provide to Avvo. There is no favoritism in choosing Avvo ratings; lawyers cannot pay to change their rankings.

Peers recognized Joseph Passanise as Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense White Collar in 2022

Passanise was recognized by Best Lawyers In America20221 Ed., as Springfield Lawyer of the Year for Criminal Defense: General Practice. The following year, he was recognized in Best Lawyers in America: 2022 Ed., as Springfield Lawyer of the Year for Criminal Defense: White Collar.



National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys

Taylon Sumners-Schwartz has been recognized by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys since 2021 in the Top 40 under 40 Category.

Firm Achievements


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