I have been in the legal field for over 27 years & have been a trial lawyer since 1999. I began in a prosecuting attorney’s office and now have my own practice where I practice civil and criminal law. After three years with a well-known plaintiff’s personal injury firm, I took a job at a big defense firm. I have had bench and jury trials in personal injury and criminal cases. No matter the case, I prepare to win at trial. Whether it is a bike or car accident, a faulty product, divorce, nursing home negligence, trucking accident, complex multi-party arbitration, or employment discrimination case, I have handled them all to success. I have tried worker’s compensation cases for employees and employers, like Harrah’s Casino & some major airlines. For a decade, I have tried Petitions For Review of license revocations, and criminal matters of various kinds, and am particularly successful in obtaining early dismissals at preliminary hearings. I opened my own firm in 2011, relying on referrals from former clients and colleagues who respected my passion and skill as a trial lawyer. Today, most of my new clients come from pleased former clients. I have a general litigation-based firm handling mainly personal injury, workers compensation, criminal defense, and traffic.
Why hire me as lawyer? Here are some representative verdicts and settlements:
Local Counsel on Walter Huggins v. Fed Ex Ground, et al. which was a personal injury case in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri. Won $1,050,000.00.
Trial Counsel on railroad crossing collision case representing truck driver and trucking company against Union Pacific railroad. Won $600,000.00 plus verdict after two week trial in St. Louis City.
Settlement prior to filing suit for $500,000.00 against the railroad company for a dangerous railroad crossing where a minister was hit by a train at an unprotected and dangerous crossing.
This does not include the many acquittals and dismissals, and other favorable results obtained in criminal cases. DWIs, assaults, property damage, burglary, stealing, gun charges, high-speed tickets, and run-of-the-mill tickets make up the bulk of my criminal practice.
I have also dedicated my life to being a cycling advocate and have made a lifetime commitment to volunteerism. I am currently the Past President of the non-profit PayBack, Inc. I have also had the great honor of being elected by my peers to the Missouri Bar YLS and was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Legal Community and Public two years in a row.
Admitted to practice in the State of Missouri and Illinois, U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois.
Saint Louis University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri
Juris Doctorate, 1999
– Academic Achievement Award: Highest grade in Legal Research and Writing, 1997
– Legal Research & Writing Teaching Assistant for SLU, 1997 – 99
– National Trial Advocacy Team:
– Selected to represent SLU in jury trial competitions, 1998-99
– National Moot Court Team (Arguments to a Court of Appeals):
– Oral Advocacy Competition Finalist, SLU 1997-99
– Awarded highest score on appellate brief in SLU competition and 2nd place Overall for advocacy, 1997
– Awarded honor to solo author the appellate brief for SLU’s National Moot Court team competition, 1998.
– Selected for Moot Court Teaching Assistant position, 1998 and 1999 and Moot Court Board.
– Directed Research for Steve Smith (former Associate Dean); Prepared the entire case (both arguments and factual pattern) for 1998 Moot Court Level 1 law students; including authoring the “model” appellate brief for grading competitors, the bench brief, and the mock court opinions
– Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, President (Chapter Justice)
– Awarded PAD’s highest honor for the Outstanding District in the United States.
Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri
B.A., cum laude, – 1995, Major: English/Pre-Law
Volunteer Work for the Community and Profession:
Michelle has made volunteering to her profession and community a primary focus in her time outside of work. She is currently the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors for Payback,Inc., a non-profit that helps break the cycle of juvenile delinquency by putting juveniles to work at non-profits to work off their debt to their victims. See http://www.paybackinc.org/ Through fundraisers, PayBack actually pays back the victims of juvenile crimes based on the number of hours the teenagers work at the non-profits. In 2011, Michelle helped raise over $25,000.00 for the charity with an underground run in a cave called the Sandmine Challenge: http://www.sandminechallenge.com/. During her tenure, four yearly fundraising events have been initiated that have increased the event revenue source for the charity by over 75%.
She has been an avid volunteer for her professional bar associations since entering practice over 13 years ago. She was elected by other lawyers and served four years on the highest law-related board in the state, the Missouri Bar Board of Governor’s YLS council. On the Board, she served as the Chairperson of the Promotional/Marketing Task Force and was Co-Chairperson of the Annual Meeting Committee. Funkenbusch has been a regular volunteer for the Law Day Picture Contest, Read Across America, We the People. . . The Citizens and the Constitution program, and is a member of Friends of Habitat for Humanity.
In the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, she served as Vice-Chair of the Trial Committee and was a Teen “Speak Out” Coach for East St. Louis High School, where she helped teach teenagers who to speak up in an intelligent manner about issues in their community.
Michelle has also spent hundreds of hours as a volunteer judge for the Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition, the Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament, as an assistant to the St. Louis University Law School National Trial Team, and, most recently, as a judge for the BAMSL Trial College for new lawyers who have not tried a case.
Funkenbusch also served several years on the Executive Committee of the Lawyer’s Association of St. Louis, the local trial bar. She is well known for her humorous side in this organization, as seen in the Lawyer’s Association Gridiron Show in which she had been a chorus member and writer/contributor for six years.
As a former defense lawyer, she was an active member of TIDA, Missouri Motor Carriers Ass., MODL, and the Defense Research Institute and she authored the Missouri chapter in the DRI Compendium on Spoliation of Evidence. She now uses that experience to fight for the rights of individuals as a plaintiff’s lawyer.
Most recently, Funkenbusch was selected as a member to the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA) which lobbies for the rights of injury victims in the State of Missouri.
Legal Seminar Presentations To Lawyers and Paralegals
“Legal Drafting” for the St. Louis Paralegals Association, 2002.
“Advanced Legal Drafting” for the National Business Institute (NBI), 2003 & Fall 2007.
“Nursing Home Negligence,” for NBI, Fall 2007.
“Free and Low-Cost Legal Research: Strategies for Legal Research on the Web”, for NBI, May 2008; wrote “How to Search Like a Pro” & “Investigative Research: Public Records and “Publicly Available Information”.
“Automobile Litigation: Strategic Issues and Answers” for NBI, presentation in March 2009; composed materials on “Medical Records: Interpretation and Strategic Use of” & “Experts: Finding the Right Ones, Affordability, and Strategies”.
“Fast & Free Online Research For Your Legal Practice” for NBI, presentation in June 2011; composed materials on “Finding Information about Opposing Parties and Potential Witnesses”, “Ethics in the Digital Age” and “Using Online Evidence in Litigation.”
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