• Ohio, 1977
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1978


The Ohio State University, JD, 1977

The Ohio State University, BA (psychology), 1974


“Every day, juries, mediators and judges listen attentively to the evidence and the arguments of lawyers, make determinations of witness credibility, follow the law, and apply their common sense to decide issues of liability and damages.”

With more than 46 years of experience handling complex litigation, Stephen E. Chappelear knows the value of presenting evidence and arguments in a manner that is understandable and compelling, whether that is to a jury, judge or arbitrator.  He has represented clients in many industries, such as financial, real estate, energy, manufacturing, education and government, on legal issues including:

  • breach of contract;
  • breach of fiduciary duty;
  • close corporation and partnership control;
  • construction delay and defect claims;
  • contract interpretation;
  • eminent domain;
  • employment discrimination claims;
  • lender liability;
  • oil and gas title disputes;
  • patents, trademarks and trade secrets;
  • real estate title disputes;
  • restrictive covenants;
  • sale of goods;
  • securities;
  • tax;
  • trusts and estates; and
  • unfair competition.

Additionally, Mr. Chappelear acts as an expert witness regarding attorney conduct and serves as a mediator and arbitrator.   A prolific author and frequent speaker, he wrote five books analyzing jury trials in Franklin County as well as more than 80 articles on various legal subjects including trial advocacy, techniques and professionalism.

OSU sports, wrestling and genealogy are interests that Mr. Chappelear enjoys.  He wrestled at both the high school and college Big 10 levels and was an assistant high school wrestling coach, winning a state championship.  In addition to his legal volumes, Mr. Chappelear has written six books on his family’s history.  He and his wife Sharon reside in Pataskala.



Some recent examples of Mr. Chappelear’s courtroom cases are below. 

  • Successfully defended a financial institution in a fraud claim totaling millions and obtained attorney fees from opposing party.
  • Obtained arbitration award for a bank regarding a new building’s defective construction.
  • Established client’s rights to real property and recovered attorney fees from opposing party.
  • Secured dismissal of legal malpractice claim against attorney and recovered attorney fees from the plaintiff and his lawyer.

Honors & Affiliations

Community/Professional Affiliations

Professional Involvement 

  • American Bar Association
    • Board of Governors, 2013 - 2016
    • House of Delegates, 2003 - 2027
    • House of Delegates Resolution and Impact Committee
    • Section of Litigation Leadership
    • State Delegate for Ohio
    • Nominating Committee
  • American Inn of Court (master of the bench, former two-time president)
  • Columbus Bar Association (former president)
  • Columbus Bar Foundation (charter fellow)
  • National Metropolitan Bar Caucus (former president)
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • National Caucus of State Bar Associations (Ohio delegate)
  • National Conference of Bar Foundations (former president)
  • National Council of the OSU Moritz College of Law
  • Ohio State Bar Association (former president)
  • Ohio State Bar Foundation (former president)
  • Ohio Lawyer (former board of editors member)

Community Involvement 

  • The Ohio State University
    • Alumni Advisory Council, 2019 - 2021
    • Alumni Association Board of Directors, 2013 - 2018
    • Moritz College of Law Alumni Association ( former president)
    • Athletic Council, 2017 - 2021
    • Varsity "O" Alumni Society (three-time president, 14 years on board)
    • Sports & Society Initiative Board of Advisors, 2016 - 2024

Honors & Awards


  • AV/Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America, 1995 – present, five categories
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Litigation - Construction
    • Litigation - Intellectual Property
    • Litigation - Labor & Employment
    • Litigation - Trusts and Estates
  • Chambers USA, General Commercial Litigation, 2015-2018
  • National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Ohio Chapter, Great American, 2018


  • Ohio State Bar Foundation's Ritter Award, 2011
  • Ohio Super Lawyers (2004-2024; Columbus Top 50, 2015-2018, 2021; Ohio Top 100, 2009, 2017-2018)
  • The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Service Award, 2012
  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Community Service Award, 2014
  • OSU Social and Behavioral Sciences College's Outstanding Service to the College Award
  • Public Interest Law Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award, 2014
  • Ohio Business Magazine's Ohio Leading Lawyers, 2024


  • Columbus Bar Association's Bar Service Medal, 2005
  • Columbus Business First's People to Know in Law, 2016
  • Columbus CEO Top Lawyers, 2009 - 2023
  • Columbus West High School Hall of Fame, 2018

Best Lawyer Logo

Publications & News

Events & Speaking Engagements

Publications & Newsletters