Michele L. StephenPartner
Savitt Bruce & Willey LLP
- +1 206 749 0500
We’re litigators and trial counsel. We know that cases are won and lost on their “story”: who is right and who is wrong in the eyes of the judge and jury. Our expertise is in developing and telling that story by drawing out the key facts, players, and themes, defining the legal framework in which they operate, and weaving them into a compelling narrative. While our subject-matter expertise is both deep and broad, our record of success demonstrates our skill in crafting and presenting a winning argument.
Our skill as litigators informs every step along the way. Understanding the facts requires not only an eye for detail but a strategy that identifies the right detail, combined with the tenacity to obtain and marshal complex facts and develop a record that completes the picture. Defining the legal framework means not merely understanding what the law “is” but a creative process of identifying and describing the legal principles and authorities that—when applied to the facts of a particular case—lead to the just result for our clients. Weaving these elements together effectively requires more than just proficiency with legal subject matter: it requires articulating clearly to a judge, arbitrator, or jury, who may have no familiarity with the subject matter or even the law, not only that our client should win but why.
We believe in the power of what can be achieved in the courtroom, but one size does not fit all. Our successes demonstrate the ability to develop winning strategies that meet the unique needs of each case. We know when a major investment of people and time will yield results and when it just means a big bill, and we’re committed to identifying cost-effective solutions to our clients’ problems. If there is a way to resolve a dispute successfully short of trial, we find it.
Our skill as legal writers gives our clients a unique advantage in litigation. Increasingly, cases are decided on written motions. For a client, winning on a motion is the best possible result—it avoids both the cost of trial and the compromise of settlement. Even if a motion does not decide a case, it may resolve a key issue so as to tip the scales decidedly in a client’s favor at trial or drive a favorable settlement. This places a premium on lawyers who can synthesize complex facts and legal issues and distill them into an easy-to-follow explanation as to why their clients should win.
When trial is necessary, success requires not only the skills of the courtroom—examinations of witnesses and arguments to jury and judge—but also the use of those skills in the presentation of a winning story developed strategically from the outset. That is what we do.Show more +
Michele has extensive complex commercial litigation experience representing corporate and entrepreneurial clients in state and federal courts in disputes involving intellectual property, commercial and partnership contracts, and other complex matters. Michele earns client loyalty through informed, tenacious representation, balanced and driven by business needs. Her ability to develop and marshal a multitude of facts in a strategic and cohesive way leads to successful results for her clients, whether achieved at trial or in a favorable settlement. Michele also counsels clients on pre-litigation planning and strategy and litigation avoidance.
Before joining Savitt Bruce & Willey, Michele was a partner at the Chicago firm of Freeborn & Peters. Michele is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Michele was born and raised in sunny San Diego, which she willingly left to attend law school in Chicago and experience true winter. After buying her first winter coat, she spent almost eleven years there before coming to Seattle in 2007 with her husband. They and their young son enjoy continued exploration of all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Areas of Practice
- Contracts and Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance Disputes
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Risk Management and Litigation Avoidance
Prior Professional Experience
- Freeborn & Peters LLP, Chicago IL, 2001-2007
- Partner, 2006-2007
- Associate, 2001-2006
- Cassiday, Schade & Gloor LLP, Chicago IL, 1999-2001
- Judicial Extern to the Honorable George M. Marovich, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1999
Employment Law (Corporate) and Commercial Litigation and Employment Law (Individuals) in Washington
1425 Fourth Avenue Suite 800 Seattle 98101-2272