Wampler & Passanise provides unmatched defense for juveniles and adults facing serious criminal allegations at the federal, state, and municipal court levels. The firm has an experienced team of legal professionals with decades of combined experience, providing clients with winning defense strategies for the most serious criminal charges including homicide, drugs and weapons offenses, embezzlement, white-collar crimes, and crimes involving domestic violence and burglary.

Managing Partner Joseph S. Passanise and Associate Attorney Taylon Sumners are skilled in courtroom litigation and follow a cross-functional team approach to cases, a key point of difference for the firm. The attorneys, paralegals, and investigators focus on creating a positive lifelong impact for clients—often working with medical, mental health, and probation and parole professionals to ensure positive outcomes.

Passanise is a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Defense Lawyers (ABCDL), a member of the National College of DUI Defense, the National Trial Lawyers Criminal Defense Top 100, and was recognized in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar and DUI/DWI Defense. He was recognized by Best Lawyers in America, 2022 Ed. as Springfield Lawyer of the Year for Criminal Defense: White Collar and received the AVVO Client Choice Award. He was appointed to the Missouri Board of Tourism by Governor Mike Parson in 2020.

Sumners was recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America. In 2022, she received the AVVO Client Choice Award. In 2021, she was named an Up-and-Coming Trusted Advisor by the Springfield Business Journal and appointed to the Springfield-Greene County Historic Sites Board.

The Firm overall has been recognized by Super Lawyers® for Criminal Defense in Missouri and Kansas. It was also recognized in U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms in 2022. The firm will be forever grateful for the leadership of Dee Wampler, who died in 2021 at the age of 81.

Management & Demographics
Management & Personnel
Managing Partner
Associate Attorney
Sarah Shewmaker
Senior Paralegal
John Scroggins
Director of Marketing

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  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Drug Offenses
  • Sex Abuse
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Violent and Nonviolent Crimes

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Where’s My Apology Letter? Client Control and Expectations Regarding Representation

by Joseph S. Passanise and Taylon Sumners

Through every interaction with clients, lawyers can practice effective client management, utilizing clear communication, transparency and diligence.

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