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"He's very thorough in investigations and case analysis. He is also very attentive and provides practical legal advice from a business perspective."

Client Feedback, Chambers USA, 2019

Overview

Raised in a family of journalists, Paul built his successful 25-year labor & employment litigation practice on communication basics.

For 25 years, Paul has used media fundamentals to advocate for clients: lead with the important, get to the point and focus on credibility with the jury. He has tried cases and counseled clients in more than 25 states, the District of Columbia and the United Kingdom.

Paul prevails for clients in jury trials of delicate harassment and discrimination cases. He also represents management clients in class and collective actions, complex employment lawsuits and arbitration proceedings. In arbitrations before American Arbitration Association (AAA) and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) panels he represents employers. He represents clients across a broad range of industries, including hospitality and financial services.

Paul is a frequent speaker, trainer and author for business and professional organizations regarding employment obligations and management strategies.

"He's very thorough in investigations and case analysis. He is also very attentive and provides practical legal advice from a business perspective."

Client Feedback, Chambers USA, 2019


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment Star - Midwest, 2019-2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Employment Law-Management, 2013-2021; Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2021
  • Chambers USA, Labor & Employment Law, 2013-2020
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, 2006-2012, 2014-2019

Education

  • J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
    • Order of the Barristers
    • Order of the Coif
    • Missouri Law Review, Note and Comment Editor
  • B.A., William Jewell College
    • magna cum laude
    • Student, Editor-in-Chief
    • Hilltop Monitor, Editor-in-Chief

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys, 2005-present; President Elect, 2019; Board of Directors, 2013-present
  • Human Resource Management Association of Kansas City
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • American Bar Association, Labor & Employment and Litigation Law Sections
Experience
  • Defended a highly contested gender/race discrimination case in Hawaii, obtaining summary judgment on two-thirds of the plaintiff’s claims and then settling before trial.
  • Defended national restaurant chains, hotels and casinos across the country and worked with executive management to develop training and litigation strategies to reduce liability risk in high-turnover industries.
  • Obtained verdict in state court jury trial where plaintiff originally demanded $10 million to settle and its last offer during trial was $2 million. Obtained award of attorney’s fees and expenses for prevailing client.
  • Obtained a rare complete-summary judgment in a Missouri state court lawsuit (Davis v. Mediacom and Art Samuel) in which the plaintiff alleged age discrimination and retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act.
  • Handled a case involving claims of race, age and national-origin discrimination, as well as retaliation and public policy wrongful discharge. The plaintiff claimed that he was fired for refusing to approve nonconforming materials to be used in nuclear weapons. Court granted motion for summary judgment on all four counts based upon admissions obtained in the deposition of plaintiff.
  • Defended a complaint filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) alleging that client retaliated against the complainant in violating the whistleblower-protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In addition to mounting a substantive defense, aggressively pursued dismissal based on jurisdiction. After extensive discovery and briefing, the administrative law judge dismissed the matter for lack of jurisdiction. Decision upheld on appeal to U.S. Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board.
  • Served as first chair in numerous employment discrimination jury trials in state and federal courts, all of which returned verdicts in favor of clients.
  • Handled Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) class/collective action matters involving employee misclassifications, off-the-clock work, and donning and doffing.
  • Obtained summary judgments for defense in sexual harassment, age, gender and disability cases.
Alerts | February 28, 2019
Missouri Supreme Court Opines on Scope of Sex Discrimination Prohibited Under Missouri State Law

On February 26, 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court, sitting en banc, released two first impression cases relating to the scope of prohibited sex discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“the MHRA”). 

Alerts | December 02, 2016
DOL to Appeal Injunction on Overtime Rule
News Releases | October 01, 2019
Benchmark Litigation's 2020 Edition Recognizes 33 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

The firm also received Benchmark’s “Highly Recommended” ranking in Missouri and Wisconsin and its “Recommended” ranking in Nebraska.

News Releases | August 15, 2019
Husch Blackwell Places 143 Lawyers in 2020 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The firm has eight "Lawyers of the Year" and 11 attorneys appearing on the list for the first time.

News Releases | April 29, 2019
Chambers USA 2019 Ranks Husch Blackwell in 10 Areas of Law; 33 Attorneys Recognized

Attorneys in 10 offices across the firm's footprint are recognized in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA

News Releases | November 14, 2018
Thomson Reuters' Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 2018 Names 58 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

Husch Blackwell has 58 attorneys in the 2018 edition of Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

News Releases | October 11, 2018
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 28 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

Husch Blackwell is recognized as a top litigation firm in the 2019 edition of Benchmark Litigation, with 28 attorneys across six offices listed.

Media Mentions | August 20, 2018
Kansas City Business Journal: 'Me Too' and Papa John's saga show dangers of gray 'for cause' contracts

Paul Pautler discusses the importance of using specific rather than vague language in executive contracts with Kansas City Business Journal reporter James Dornbrook.

News Releases | August 15, 2018
Husch Blackwell Places 143 Lawyers in 2019 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The Best Lawyers in America® has listed 143 Husch Blackwell attorneys in its 2019 directory. The firm has eight "Lawyers of the Year" and five attorneys appearing on the list for the first time.

News Releases | May 03, 2018
Chambers USA 2018 Ranks Husch Blackwell in 10 Areas of Law; 37 Attorneys Recognized

Husch Blackwell is well represented in the 2018 Chambers USA directory.

Outside the Office

Paul is a sports guy. He has played and coached numerous sports at the high school and college levels. For the past several years, Paul has served as junior high basketball coach of St. Peter’s School.

These days, he is an avid football and basketball fan and golf is his favorite participating sport. A recent highlight trip was Bandon Dunes in Oregon, where the scenery and camaraderie bettered the golf scores.

Community Leadership
  • St. Peters School, seventh- and eighth-grade basketball coach
  • Kansas City Autism Training Center, board member
Anti-Harassment Cooperative Training

Paul has a commitment to effective anti-harassment training. He revamped the firm’s internal training programs for attorneys and staff, and he brings that same commitment to clients’ workplaces. He sees that too often, traditional programs spotlight the negative: what not to do. Instead, Paul addresses inappropriate conduct, but focuses on creating an environment of respect and support, empowering employees to create a work environment they can be proud of. Such training has twin benefits of limiting liability risk while – even more importantly – improving the culture.

Paul is in the process of establishing cooperative and multiemployer training options that would, among other things, provide small companies and high-turnover industry employers with flexible training opportunities.

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