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Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice and Williams Venker & Sanders announce merger

The Midwest law firms of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice and Williams Venker & Sanders have announced their merger effective July 1, 2018.

The merged firm will continue to be known as Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice and will be headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

kreamer scottScott Kreamer will remain managing member, responsible for the day-to-day operations and long-term planning of the firm. Mike Hunter will serve as the manager in charge of the merged firm’s St. Louis and Illinois offices.

“We are excited to be joining forces with such an excellent group of people and look forward to building on the momentum the merger has created as we look to the future,” said Kreamer (top left).

hunter mike“We are thrilled to join with BSCR,” said Hunter (right). “Both firms have been looking to increase their depth and breadth of experience. This combination of our talent and mutual commitment to client service sets the stage for a bright future.”

The merger brings together two very successful regional trial firms with similar histories, practices and philosophies. BSCR, headquartered in Kansas City, was founded in 1982, and has additional offices in St. Louis and Kansas. WVS, headquartered in St. Louis, was founded in 2001, and has additional offices in Kansas City and Illinois. The Illinois office in Belleville will be retained, the firm said.

While both firms have grown considerably since they were founded, each has remained true to the common objective of defending professionals and companies across the country in civil, commercial, and complex litigation, in a personal, efficient and cost-effective manner. The merged firm will continue to focus its efforts on defending clients in courtrooms across the country.

“The combination accomplishes several of the firm’s strategic goals,” said Kreamer. “With the addition of a number of highly respected and experienced litigators and trial lawyers, it advances our goal of being among the top trial firms in the Midwest. It also provides additional depth and resources to more efficiently represent our collective clients.”

With clients of all sizes, from individual professionals to Fortune Global and U.S. Top 10, 100, 500 and 1000 companies located all over the world, the two firms have compatible trial practices and excel in many of the same areas

In 2017, BSCR was recognized by U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” as a Kansas City Metropolitan area “Tier 1” ranked law firm in the practice areas of Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation-Defendant. BSCR has also been recognized as a high ranking firm in General Commercial Litigation in Kansas City & Surrounds by Chambers USA.

Likewise, WVS was recognized by U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” as a National “Tier 1” ranked law firm in Railroad Law and a St. Louis Metropolitan area “Tier 1” ranked law firm in the practice areas of Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, and Railroad Law, and also recognized as a high ranking firm in General Commercial Litigation in St. Louis & Surrounds by Chambers USA.

In addition to the recognition received by the two firms, many BSCR and WVS attorneys have been recognized in a variety of civil litigation defense categories by Best Lawyers, Chambers USA and other legal publications. Lawyers in both firms are involved with prominent professional legal organizations such as the American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, International Association of Defense Counsel, Lawyers for Civil Justice, and Product Liability Advisory Council.

venker paul“We are confident this union creates a solid foundation for the new firm’s growth plan, which is to strategically grow in attorneys and locations to best serve current and potential clients,” said Paul Venker, a WVS founder (below left).

The combination increases the number of attorneys at BSCR to over 50. It also increases the number of locations to five cities in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. Kansas City area attorneys and staff will operate out of BSCR’s Crown Center office location in Kansas City, Missouri. St. Louis area attorneys and staff will operate out of WVS’s downtown office location in St. Louis.

About Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, LLC

For over 35 years, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC has provided services in the areas of appellate, commercial, complex (class action and multi-district), cyber liability/privacy & data breach, employment and labor, insurance defense and coverage, medical malpractice, personal injury, premises liability, products liability, professional and management liability, and toxic/mass tort litigation. Headquartered in the Kansas City, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice attorneys practice throughout the United States serving national, regional and local companies and professionals in a variety of industries including the automotive, aviation, banking, construction, consumer products and services, food/beverage, health care, hospitality/leisure, insurance, pharmaceutical/medical device, retail, and trucking industries. For more information, visit

About Williams Venker & Sanders LLC

Founded in 2001, Williams Venker & Sanders LLC focuses on appellate, commercial, construction, employment, healthcare, insurance, products liability, toxic tort, and transportation law. Headquartered in St. Louis, Williams Venker & Sanders serves as both national and regional trial counsel for several major corporations and as trial counsel for some of the largest hospital groups in the St. Louis area.

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