Stephen E. Chappelear

Columbus
T 614.559.7251
F 614.464.1737
10 West Broad Street
One Columbus Center, Suite 2300
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3484

Steve is the senior litigator in Frost Brown Todd’s Columbus office. He has 39 years of experience litigating and trying cases. His extensive experience includes jury trials, bench trials, appeals, arbitrations, mediations, injunction hearings, and settlement negotiations. He has been active in state and federal courts throughout Ohio. 

Steve’s practice is broad ranging and involves work for both plaintiffs and defendants in business and commercial law, contract interpretation and breach, Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, lender liability, trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, construction law, real estate, oil and gas, employment, patent and trademark, shareholder and partner, restrictive covenants, and trusts and estates.

Steve’s recent victories include a jury verdict in favor of his bank client defending a multi-million dollar fraud claim, with a recovery of attorney fees from the attorneys who brought the claim, and an arbitration award in favor of another bank client for defective construction of a new building. He obtained a judgment in 2015 establishing his client's rights to real estate, followed by an award of attorney fees against the opposing parties and their counsel.

Steve has studied jury trials in Franklin County for over 30 years, and has written five books and a law review article analyzing local jury trials, including high and low verdicts in different categories of cases, and average verdicts.

Steve has published over 75 articles in legal publications, and has lectured more than 200 times to lawyers around the country on topics of trial advocacy, trial techniques, appellate advocacy, professionalism in the courtroom, and jury verdicts.

Steve is recognized as one of Ohio’s leading business litigators. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for more than 20 years. He was Best Lawyers® “Construction Lawyer of the Year” in 2012 for Columbus, and has been listed for many years by Best Lawyers in five categories: Commercial Litigation; Litigation-Construction; Litigation-Intellectual Property; Litigation–Employment; and Litigation-Trusts and Estates. He has been named one of the Ohio Super Lawyers® every year since 2004, one of the top 50 lawyers in Columbus in 2015-16, and was one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Ohio in both 2017 and 2009. He holds the highest level of excellence and ethics, AV-Pre-Eminent, from Martindale-Hubbell. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business included Steve in its rankings, stating that he is ‘commended for being ‘thorough and imaginative’ in his approach.”

As a leader in the legal profession, Steve recently completed a term on the American Bar Association Board of Governors representing the lawyers of Ohio and Illinois. He is also a long-time member of the ABA House of Delegates and has been active in leadership positions in the ABA Section of Litigation and the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. He served as liaison to the Intellectual Property Law Section, the Forum on Entertainment and Sports Law, and the Forum on Communications Law. He is a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education, and Committee on Issues of Concern to the Legal Profession.

Steve is a former president of the Ohio State Bar Association, where he serves on the Council of Delegates and the Council of the Litigation Section. He is a former chair of both the OSBA Litigation Section and the Federal Courts and Practice Committee.

Steve is also a former president of the Columbus Bar Association, and remains active in the CBA Common Pleas Court, Federal Court, and Professionalism Committees, as well as the Columbus Bar Foundation.

Steve has also served as president of the Ohio State Bar Foundation and the National Conference of Bar Foundations.

Steve is a Master of the Bench in the Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer American Inn of Court, where he is a charter member and has twice served as president.

Steve received the Columbus Bar Association’s highest award, the Bar Service Medal, in 2005, and the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s highest award, the Ritter Award, in 2012. The Ritter Award recognizes “outstanding ethics, professionalism, and contributions to the administration of justice.”  In 2014, he received the Public Interest Law Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award for his continued commitment to public interest and the Columbus community through his pro bono legal services, and the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Community Service Award.

Steve has been active in alumni work at his alma mater. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ohio State University Alumni Association, and is a past vice-chair of the Board. He is a past president of the OSU Moritz College of Law Alumni Association, and currently serves on the law school’s National Council. He is Past President of the OSU Men’s Varsity “O” Alumni Association, and serves on the Board of the OSU Varsity "O" Alumni Society. He is a member of the Ohio State University Sports & Society Initiative Board of Advisors.  He is a recipient of the Outstanding Service to the College Award from the OSU Social and Behavioral Sciences College, and the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from the OSU College of Arts and Sciences.

Highlights & Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 1995-2017 (Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Construction, Litigation-Intellectual Property, Litigation-Labor & Employment, Litigation-Trusts & Estates); Columbus Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year", 2012
  • People to Know in Law, 2016, Columbus Business First
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial, 2015-2016
  • Ohio Super Lawyers®
  • Ohio Super Lawyers®, "Top 50 in Columbus," 2015-2017
  • Top 100 in Ohio, 2017, 2009
  • AV-Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Ritter Award, Ohio State Bar Foundation, 2011
  • Columbus Bar Service Medal, 2005
  • Distinguished Service Award, The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences, 2012
  • Public Interest Law Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award, 2014
  • Community Service Award, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 2014

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Ohio State Bar Association, Past President
  • Ohio State Bar Foundation, Past President
  • Columbus Bar Association, Past President
  • National Conference of Bar Foundations, Past President
  • OSU Moritz College of Law Alumni Association, Past President
  • Trial Techniques Committee, American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Past Chair
  • Real Property and Probate Litigation Committee, American Bar Section of Litigation, Past Chair
  • American Bar Association House of Delegates, Member
  • American Bar Association Board of Governors, Past Member
  • Ohio State Bar Association Council of Delegates, Member
  • Ohio State Bar Association, Litigation Section, Past Chair
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Member
  • National Council of the OSU Moritz College of Law, Member
  • OSU Men's Varsity "O" Alumni Association, Past President
  • OSU Varsity "O" Alumni Society, Board Member
  • OSU Alumni Association, Board Member, Vice-Chair
  • Ohio Oil and Gas Association

Non-FBT Publications and Events

Speaker, "Networking 101: Connecting, Communicating, Networking", The Ohio State University Student Alumni Council, February 23, 2017.

Speaker, “Welcome To New Alumni”, The Ohio State University Autumn Commencement, December 18, 2016.

Speaker, "Trial Tactic Tips" (Topics: Jury Selection; Strategic Objections; Business Divorce; Powerful Closing Arguments; Professionalism in the Courtroom), Ohio State Bar Association CLE Institute, Turks and Caicos, December 1, 2016.

Speaker, "Cross Examination Demonstration", Electronic Interactive Trial Advocacy Training, Ohio State Bar Association, August 29, 2016.  

Speaker, "Mantoring: Effective Mentoring of Women Attorneys;" Ohio State Bar Association: Women in the Professional Section, January 29, 2016.

Speaker, "Professionalism in the Practice of Law," Licking County Bar Association, December 11, 2015.

Speaker, "Trial Tactic Tips" (Topics: Jury Selection; Strategic Objections; Oil and Gas Litigation; Specialized Courts; Powerful Closing Arguments; Professionalism in the Courtroom), Ohio State Bar Association CLE Institute, St. Maarten, December 3, 2015.

Speaker, "Dealing with Difficult Opposing Counsel," Columbus Bar Association, Chester Professionalism Institute, Columbus, Ohio, October 30, 2015.

Speaker, "Professionalism in the Practice of Law," Miami County Bar Association, October 1, 2015.

Speaker, "Effective Presentation Techniques," Ohio State Bar Association, March 24, 2015.

Speaker, "The Billable Hour and the Future of Legal Fees", Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy, "Significant Issues Facing the Legal Profession", March 18, 2015.

Speaker, "Strategic Trial Advocacy," Columbus Bar Association, March 13, 2015.

Speaker, “Professionalism in the Practice of Law,” Licking County Bar Association, December 19, 2014.

Speaker, “Trial Tactic Tips” (Topics: Jury Selection; Strategic Objections; Oil and Gas Litigation; Trust and Estate Fiduciary Litigation; Business Divorce; Powerful Closing Arguments; Professionalism in the Courtroom), Ohio State Bar Association CLE Institute, St. John, December 4, 2014.

Speaker, “Best Practices for Beginning Attorneys,” Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, October 23, 2014.

Speaker, “Community Service Award Presentation,” Ohio State Bar Foundation, Ohio State Bar Association District 7 Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, March 14, 2014.

Speaker, “Show Me the Money! College Athletes and the Right of Publicity,” Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer Inn, American Inns of Court, March 12, 2014.

Speaker, “Hall of Fame Induction: Jim Houston,” OSU Army ROTC Alumni Society Annual Meeting, February 27, 2014.

Speaker, “Leadership: Skills, Styles, and Traits,” Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy, February 21, 2014.

Speaker, “Trial Tactic Tips” (Topics: Jury Selection; Strategic Objections; Powerful Closing Arguments; Expert Use of Expert Witnesses; Specialized Courts; Jury Instructions; Professionalism in the Courtroom), Ohio State Bar Association CLE Institute, Dominican Republic, December 5, 2013.

Author, "From the Mouths of Jurors." Columbus Bar Lawyers Quarterly (Summer 2013): 12-13.

Speaker, “Leadership: Skills, Styles, and Traits”, Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy, February 28, 2013.

Speaker, “You Make the Call: Objections and the Rules of Evidence”, Evidence Workshop, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, December 7, 2012.

Other Contact Info

Assistant

Jennifer Rini
Email
T 614.559.7277
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