Gunn Shank & Stover P.C.

Attorneys At Law

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(816) 454-5600



Joe Vanover is an experienced problem solver.  He has worked inside and outside of government as an attorney for almost 20 years.  Mr. Vanover has tackled complex and difficult challenges and achieved positive results.  For the more than a decade, Mr. Vanover worked in the Platte County, Mo. courthouse. Other than the judges, there is hardly an attorney who has been in court more often than Mr. Vanover.  Mr. Vanover is thorough and professional.  He treats all parties fairly and respectfully.

Joe Vanover strives to find the path to reach your destination. He works with clients to see the ultimate objective.  He starts his analysis with where you want to end.  Mr. Vanover focuses on foreseeing how events will play out, for good and bad, and alters his approach. He has the drive, tenacity and thoroughness needed.  For years Mr. Vanover has trained other lawyers to think first about how they might win and how they might lose. Persuasion is getting the decider to want to give you victory and then handing the decider the way to make it happen in good conscience.

Licensed in:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas

Trial experience in:

  • Federal court
  • State court
  • Municipal court

Appellate experience in:

  • Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit-St. Louis
  • Missouri Supreme Court
  • Missouri Court of Appeals-Western District
    • Legal positions, past and present:
    • Founder of Vanover Law, LLC and of counsel at Gunn, Shank and Stover, P.C.: present
      • Executive Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Platte County, Mo.: 2003 to June 2017
        Management: Solve problems. Maintain and build relationships.  Take over complex and challenging cases as needed.  Train younger attorneys. Implement advanced use of technologies and improve systems.
        Litigation: Meet with victims and witnesses.  Evaluate cases and potential charges.  Research points of law.  Litigate pretrial motions.  Negotiate settlements.  Foresee jury deliberations.  Prepare for trial.  Try cases.  Appeal adverse rulings.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Mo.: 2003 to June 2017

Prosecuted primarily firearms offenses, but also bank robberies (including a jury trial involving three robberies, approximately 50 witnesses and 300 exhibits), drug cases, counterfeiting and explosives.

Shareholder in Witt, Hicklin and Vanover, P.C.:2001 to 2002

Associate at Witt and Hicklin, P.C.:1998 to 2000

Graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, 1998, College of Arts and Sciences, Communication Department, 1995

  • Teaching Resume
  • Trial School sponsored by Missouri Office of Prosecution Services, 2012-2016 (Pretrial Preparation)
    Instructor at annual Law Enforcement Training, 2003-2016 (Courtroom Testifying, Legal Risk Management, Self-defense Law, Gun Laws, Case Law and Legislative Update, Miranda and Interrogations)
    Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, 2014-2016 (Evidentiary Foundations, Effective Use of Video and Audio, Essential Ethics)
    Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, 2012-2015 (Jury Selection, How to Win Trials and Influence Judges, Effective Use of Video and Digital Media, Prosecuting Sexual Assault and Violent Crimes, Ethics for Prosecutors: Part 1 & 2)
    United States Attorney’s Office-Western District of Missouri, 2015 (Effective Use of Video and Audio)

Article on plea negotiation and its worldwide impact
Joseph W. Vanover, Utilitarian Analysis of the Objectives of Criminal Plea Negotiation and Negotiation Strategy Choice, 1998 J. DISP. RESOL. (1998)

Wikipedia: see Note 2

Scholarly articles citing original article
Catholic University Law Review

Oklahoma Bar Journal

Monash University Law Review

Article in Turkish


State ex rel. Zahnd v. Van Amburg: petition for writ of prohibition:  brief:    audio of oral argument:

State ex rel. Zahnd v. Fincham: petition for writ of prohibition:   brief:   audio of oral argument:

State ex inf. Zahnd v. Rhoads: appeal of mayor’s ouster

USA v. Mark Davidson: appeal of federal conviction

All Vanover appeals in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

State ex rel. Zahnd v. Shafer: appellate writ of trial judge on improper sentence change

St. v. Pennington: interlucutory appeal of suppression of evidence

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Call or text Joe Vanover:

(816) 769-1948 (available from 8am to 8pm)