Our Team

We believe your goals and opportunities shouldn’t be held hostage by one mistake.
You can rely on us to pursue all legal options as we work to protect your future.

Joseph S. Passanise

Managing Partner

PRACTICE AREAS

DWI Defense
Repeat Or Aggravated DWI Offenses
How DWIs Can Affect College Life

Drug Charges
FAQ On Drug Charges

White Collar Crimes
Federal Charges

Sex Offenses
Sexual Assault
Federal Sex Offenses

Violent Crimes
Murder Charges

Expungement

Joseph S. Passanise

Managing Partner

EDUCATION

Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas

  • Juris Doctor – 1997
  • Honors: With Honors

Missouri State University

  • 1991
  • Honors: With Honors
  • Major: Political Science and Communication

Missouri State University

  • M.A., Master of Arts – 1993
  • Major: Communication

University of London, Imperial College

  • M.B.A., Master of Business Administration – 1995
  • Honors: Rotary Scholar
  • Major: Business Administration

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri

HONORS

  • Member of the National College of DUI Defense, Sustaining Member (2021-present)
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law (2005-Present)
  • Named Super Lawyer by Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Magazine, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys through peer review (2006-Present)
  • Peer-recognized as a Best Lawyer in America (2007-Present) in the practice areas of white collar, and general criminal and DUI defense
  • Named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers (2007-Present)
  • Member of the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center (2011-Present)
  • Awarded the Charles M. Shaw Award for excellence in trial advocacy in 2013
  • Named Best Lawyers Attorney of the Year for Criminal Defense: General Practice in Best Lawyers 2021 Ed. and 2022 Ed.
  • Past President of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL)
  • Fellow in the prestigious American Board of Criminal Defense Lawyers (ABCDL)
  • AVVO 10.0 Rating for Criminal Defense and Client’s Choice Award
  • Appointed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson to the Missouri Tourism Commission (2021)
  • Appointed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson to the Missouri Senate Redistricting Commission (2021)

CLASSES & SEMINARS

  • Missouri Bar and MACDL Conference Speaker
  • Teaches Legal Communication as per-course faculty at Missouri State University
  • Teaches at area colleges and universities on the topics of criminal justice, DUI, and Title IX

PRO-BONO ACTIVITIES

  • Board of Directors – Parenting Life Skills
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Perfect Game Sponsor: Bowl for Kid’s Sake
  • Defending Partner: Taste of the Ozarks

PUBLISHED WORKS

  • Author “Witness Preparation and Examination for DUI Proceedings” by Aspatore in 2013 and 2014

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL), Past President
  • National College of DUI Defense (2004-Present), Member
  • National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center (2011-Present)
  • Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association

Taylon Sumners-Schwartz

Associate Attorney

DWI Defense
Repeat Or Aggravated DWI Offenses
How DWIs Can Affect College Life

Drug Charges
FAQ On Drug Charges

White Collar Crimes
Federal Charges

Sex Offenses
Sexual Assault
Federal Sex Offenses

Violent Crimes
Murder Charges

Expungement

Taylon Sumners-Schwartz

Associate Attorney

EDUCATION

Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas

  • Juris Doctorate
  • Honors: Dean’s List
  • Honors: Order of Barristers
  • Honors: Certificate in Advocacy

Nebraska Wesleyan University

  • B.A.
  • Major: Sociology
  • Major: Anthropology
  • Achievements:
    • President and Founding Member of the Criminal Law Society
    • Outreach Coordinator for the Women’s Legal Forum
    • Taught inmates at the Nebraska Correctional Center on a volunteer basis
    • Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities

HONORS

  • Trusted Advisor: Springfield Business Journal (2021)
  • AVVO Client’s Choice Award (2021-Present)
  • Top 40 Under 40: National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (2021)

CLASSES & SEMINARS

  • Missouri Bar and MACDL Conference Speaker; Teaches at area colleges and universities on the topics of criminal justice, DUI, and Title IX

PRO-BONO ACTIVITIES

  • Board of Directors: American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women
  • Board of Directors: Greene County Historical Sites Commission
  • Sponsor: Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Volunteer: Pink Ribbon Rally of the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks
  • Volunteer: Making Strides for Breast Cancer; American Cancer Society

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Missouri DWI Institute
  • Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association

Sandy Ellis

Receptionist

Sandy Ellis

Receptionist

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

Paralegal

Sarah Shewmaker

Paralegal

Sarah Shewmaker is a 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 Courtois

Paralegal

Teresa Courtois

Paralegal

Teresa Courtois is a Paralegal for the Firm, working directly for Associate Attorney Taylon Sumners-Schwartz. 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

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.

Contact

For personalized legal guidance, call our office at 417-882-9300 or submit this form to schedule a meeting with an attorney.





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