About 2024-06-18T16:46:17-05:00



Attorneys Kevin Baldwin, a former prosecutor, and Eric Vernon, a former public defender, work as a team representing clients across the Kansas City metro area in both Kansas and Missouri. We provide criminal defense, employment discrimination, and personal injury representation. As a team, we work together to prepare for trials and have found that their differing styles and outlooks are good compliments, and two brains and four hands are always better than one brain and two hands.

We have extensive experience handling cases before municipal, state, and federal courts, and government agencies. We have developed deep familiarity with local laws, courts, and procedures that allow us to put together the strongest case possible.


We routinely practice in:

  • State courts throughout Missouri and Kansas
  • Federal courts, including the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
  • Municipal and county courts across the region, especially Clay, Cass, Platte, Lafayette, and Jackson County, Missouri (both the downtown and Independence locations), and Johnson and Wyandotte County, Kansas

The ethical rules governing lawyer advertising prevent Baldwin & Vernon from describing our successes, lest you assume we are promising to do the same for you. We commit to doing our best to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our clients. We also make a point of giving all of our clients a straight and honest appraisal of their case and their situation.


Kevin Baldwin is a former Clay County, Missouri assistant prosecuting attorney, where he tried numerous high-profile felony cases. His practice has a special emphasis in employment discrimination, in both state and federal courts. As an experienced litigator, he offers litigation services to other lawyers and firms who need assistance, and has been successful in resolving those cases.

Kevin has extensive jury trial, litigation, mediation, and deposition experience due to his former position as prosecutor and plaintiff’s employment law attorney. His experience includes both criminal and civil law cases.

Kevin has represented employee plaintiffs against the world’s largest multinational corporations and successfully resolved the vast majority of those cases in favor of his clients. He represents his clients’ interests in jury trials, arbitration, and mediation.

In addition, Kevin has also served as a municipal judge in Gower, Missouri, and a municipal prosecutor and city attorney for Orrick and Wood Heights, Missouri.

Kevin grew up in the small town of Madrid, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He graduated cum laude (with honors) from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. During his time there, he was an honors scholar, managing associate of the Law Review and clerked for Judge Wilder of the 22nd Circuit in Ann Arbor.

Areas of practice:

  • Employment Discrimination
  • Missouri, Kansas and Federal Criminal Defense
  • DUI/DWI and Traffic Violations
  • Juvenile Law
  • Personal Injury Claims
  • Unemployment Claims

Bar Admissions:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas


  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan
    • J.D. cum laude – 1997
    • Honors: Honors Scholar
    • Law Review: Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, Managing Associate

Honors & Awards:

  • Named “Best Attorney in the Northland” by Clay-Pe Dispatch, 2004.

  • Named “Super Lawyer” in 2014 and 2015


Eric Vernon has been focused on criminal law since 1997. For several years, he worked as a public defender in Missouri. He had special assignment to juvenile court, and was part of the committee that established Clay County’s Drug Court. A 1995 graduate of St. Louis University School of Law, he is licensed in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. In 1986, he graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy and spent eight years of commissioned service afloat and ashore. He is also a previously licensed merchant mariner: Master of Oceans (steam or motor vessels not greater than 1600 GT).

Although he grew up with a lawyer father and an admiration for Atticus Finch, Clarence Darrow, and F. Lee Bailey, he can’t say he had a burning desire to be a lawyer. As a young and single Coast Guard officer stranded in the gateway to the west, Vernon went to law school at night while guarding our coasts by day.

Law school took a little extra time, as he spent one summer in Operation Desert Storm and a two year sabbatical on a ship in Alaska. After finishing law school, he took another detour to work on tugboats in the Caribbean. Eventually, he settled back home in Kansas City and found his calling working for the Missouri Public Defender’s Office in Clay County.

The other lawyers and staff at the Public Defender’s Office and the many clients taught him the dedication, determination, and skills necessary to give his clients the quality of representation and counsel that they deserve.

In the arena of criminal law, Eric has successfully represented individuals charged with a wide variety of crimes, including federal conspiracy to manufacture and/or distribute drugs, trafficking in drugs, sexual assault, statutory rape, 1st degree murder, manslaughter, weapons charges, possession of controlled substance, child molestation, possession of child pornography, robbery, armed criminal action, and many more criminal charges.

Eric also enjoys working with juveniles who have managed to run afoul of the law and their exasperated parents.

He was honored to be a part of the committee that created the Clay County Drug Court and Veterans Court. He is a big believer in restorative justice and the possibility of redemption. He strongly advocates the mission of the area drug courts, mental health courts, and family drug courts. He often works to get clients entered into the drug courts.

Areas of practice:

  • Employment Discrimination
  • Missouri, Kansas and Federal Criminal Defense
  • DUI/DWI and Traffic Violations
  • Juvenile Law
  • Personal Injury Claims

Bar Admissions:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Illinois


  • Saint Louis University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri
    • J.D. – May 1995
    • Honors: With Honors

      United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut

  • United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut

    • B.S. – May 1986

    • Major: Government

Honors & Awards:

  • Navy Commendation Medal
  • Coast Guard Achievement Medal
  • Southwest Asia Defense Medal
  • Humanitarian Service Medal

Past employment positions:

  • Law Offices of Brian Costello, Kansas City, Missouri, Criminal Defense Attorney, 2002 – 2004
  • Law Office Eric E. Vernon, Gladstone, Missouri, Solo Practitioner, Criminal Defense Attorney, 2001 – 2002
  • Area 7, Clay County, Missouri, Assistant Public Defender, 1999 – 2001
  • Crowley Marine Services, Lake Charles, Louisiana, Chief Mate, 2d Mate, 1996 – 1998
  • Stobbs and Sinclair, Alton, Illinois, Attorney, Law Clerk, 1995 – 1996
  • U.S.C.G. Cutter Sweetbrier, Cordova, Alaska, Executive Officer, 1992 – 1994
  • Commander, 2d Coast Guard District, St. Louis, Missouri, Duty Officer, Budget, Supply, Planning and Special Projects for Operations, 1988 – 1992
  • U.S.C.G. Cutter Woodrush, Sitka, Alaska, Operations Officer, Communication Officer, 1986 – 1988
  • Commander, U.S. Naval Central Command, Manama, Bahrain, Duty Officer, Embargo Watch Officer, 1991


Sylvia is an associate attorney at Baldwin & Vernon, experienced in employment discrimination litigation, and fluent in English and Spanish. Sylvia is motivated by being the voice for others and has extensive experience in employment discrimination law. Sylvia has focused her practice on civil rights and employment discrimination litigation, mediation, and arbitration.

Sylvia is originally from El Paso, Texas. She is married and has 3 German Shepherds.

Areas of practice:

  • Employment discrimination litigation
  • Civil Rights

Bar Admissions:

  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Western and Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit


  • University of Kansas School of Law

    • J.D. — 2017

  • University of Texas at El Paso

    • Bachelor of Psychology with minor in Legal Reasoning

    • Summa Cum Laude

Past memberships & volunteer positions:

  • The University of Kansas
    • President of the Hispanic American Law Students Association
    • Member of Law Students for Reproductive Justice
    • Member of the American Constitution Society
    • Student Senator for OneKU
    • Advisory Board Member for Legal Services for Students
  • University of Texas at El Paso
    • Member of the International Honor Society in Psychology
    • Member of the Law School Preparation Institute
  • National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
  • Association for Women Lawyers (AWL)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA)

Past employment positions:

  • Intern at the KU Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Intern at the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies
  • Caseworker at the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, Inc.
  • Intern at the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, Inc.
  • Research Assistant at the University of Texas at El Paso Psychology Department

Holly VanOstran

Holly VanOstran has had the mission to help employees who have been having troubles at work since the beginning of her career. She found herself attending law school and becoming an attorney to do just that, being the voice of many employees who have to go up against large corporations that have multiple legal teams on their side. VanOstran sees the imbalance and works to level the playing field by representing her clients to find them the justice they deserve after going through a challenging time in their lives.

She is a reminder to employees that they have the right to stand up for themselves in the workplace. When discrimination, harassment, or retaliation occurs, she ensures clients don’t fight the large corporations alone. VanOstran stands with employees, advocating for them and being their voice to fight for justice.

Areas of practice:

  • Employment discrimination litigation
  • Civil rights

Bar Admissions:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas


  • University of Missouri — Kansas City School of Law
    • J.D.
  • Pepperdine University
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

Past memberships and volunteer positions:

  • UMKC Self-Help Clinic
  • Jewish Vocational Services – Young Professionals Board Member
  • Refugee Youth Mentor through JVS

Past employment:

  • Internship with the Department of Labor
  • Internship with the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office in the Capital Crimes Division
  • HR Professional with Burns & McDonnell

Honors & Awards:

  • Graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University
  • member of the Golden Key Honor Society at Pepperdine
  • Phi Delta Phi honor society leadership team member at UMKC


Wendi Bridges has a long history of advocating for others’ rights. Before joining Baldwin & Vernon, Wendi was a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Clay County for 10 years and worked at another local law firm for 6 years. Wendi has been with Baldwin & Vernon since 2010 and she describes it as a small firm that gets business done like a big firm. Her desire for information and knowledge and her innate ability to dig into a case position Wendi to provide a trustworthy, empathetic, and logical perspective in order to reach justice. For Wendi, the best part about working with clients is watching deserving individuals have their day, whether it’s a trial or settlement, and she is inspired by knowing that the outcome can be the right one.

Wendi has been married to her husband, Jeremy, for more than 20 years and they have 2 children, Zoe and Asa.

Honors & Awards:

  • 2017 Missouri Lawyers Weekly Unsung Hero
What should I do now?

Are you facing criminal charges or believe you have a civil case? Contact us using the form below for a free consultation so we can see if we’re a good fit for you, and start building a strategy to defend your rights.

108 S. Pleasant Street, Independence, MO 64050   816-842-1102

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