Stephen L. Pettler, Jr.
Managing member of the firm Stephen L. Pettler, Jr. brings a combination of formidable advocacy skills, entrepreneurial insights, and a well-earned reputation for achieving successful outcomes to his nationwide practice representing clients in complex business litigation and transactional matters.
Steve recognizes that his ability to effectively serve his clients begins by actively, attentively, and truly listening to them. It is an approach that not only reaps benefits in the wide range of matters he handles, but also forms the foundation for enduring client relationships that can span decades. Believing that empowering his clients with information is essential to the quality of counsel he provides, Steve keeps his clients fully informed throughout the duration of their matters by setting forth clear options, defining achievable goals, and proposing direct strategies that can efficiently achieve the desired results.
Serving as general counsel to several national businesses as well as local counsel to national and multi-national companies, Steve has closed scores of multimillion-dollar business transactions and litigated complex cases throughout the country. An accomplished appellate advocate, he regularly appears before the Virginia Supreme Court and has represented clients’ interests in appellate courts in other jurisdictions. His professionalism and accomplishments have earned him accolades from his peers, including his recognition as a Rising Star by SuperLawyer by Richmond Magazine and Virginia Law and Politics Magazine and his selection as one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® for Virginia in 2020.
A native of Prince George County, Virginia, Steve graduated from the University of Virginia and attended the European Business School at Regents College, London before earning his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. While in law school, Steve participated in a joint program with MBA students at the Carnegie-Mellon University Tepper School of Business, where teams of students ran competing businesses in a highly sophisticated, computer-generated model economy.
After practicing for several years at a boutique litigation firm in Pittsburgh, Steve returned to Virginia in 1999 to join Harrison & Johnston. In addition to serving his clients, Steve has been actively involved in numerous charitable, civic, and professional organizations. He served as a member of the Legislative Committee for the Home Builders Association of Virginia and as a Trustee of HBAV’s BuildPac. Steve also represents several large not-for-profit organizations as general counsel and provides legal guidance for not-for-profit private schools.
Steve has a deep appreciation for natural beauty and revels in the abundance of options the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas provides for spending time outside. Not only does hiking and biking through the area’s mountains and valleys relax and refresh his spirit, but Steve strongly believes that it allows him to be more productive and serve his clients better.
European Business School at Regents College, London, England, UK, 1989
University of Virginia, Bachelor of Arts, English Language and Literature 1990
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1994
Pennsylvania 1994-1998 (currently inactive)
1994– Pennsylvania and U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Pennsylvania; U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
1999– Virginia and U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Virginia; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
2001– U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia; U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia
2005– U.S. Tax Court
2010– U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia
Admitted pro hac vice in numerous courts across the country
Winchester-Frederick County, Virginia Bar Association 1999-present
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Bar Association 1994-1998
Virginia Bar Association 1994-present
Top of Virginia Chamber of Commerce 1994-present
Top of Virginia Building Association, 2006-present
Government Affairs Committee Member 2007-present
Home Builders Association of Virginia 2006-present
Legislative Committee 2007-2018
HBAV Build-Pac Trustee 2007-2018
Frederick County, Virginia Development Impact Model Review Oversight Committee, Member 2007-present
Blue Ridge Youth Soccer Association, Board of Directors 2018-present
American Conservation Film Festival, Board of Directors 2020-present
1455, Inc., General Counsel 2018-present
Grafton School, Incorporated, General Counsel, 2014-present
Serve as Pro Bono General Counsel to numerous non-profit organizations and private schools
Armstrong, et al. v. United States of America, United States Court of Appeals, 4th Cir., Case No. 01-1305 (2001)
Reversed District Court decision in part to find tax structure of transaction involving the family who owned National Fruit Products Company, Inc. (White House Brands) to have been reasonable and therefore avoided penalties on assessed taxes in excess of $4 million.
Adham v. SuperValu, Inc., United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (1994)
Obtained $3.4 million arbitration decision finding SuperValu, Inc. in breach of franchise agreements with a franchisee
Winchester Neurological Consultants, Inc. v. Landrio, American Arbitration Association Case No. 16 181 Y 00260 06 (2006), Circuit Court for the City of Winchester, Virginia, Case No. CL06-171 (2006)
Defended Neurologist in suit to enforce covenant not to compete, overturned preliminary injunction obtained in state court and obtained judgment of $145,000 in favor of the defendant.
General Surgery Specialists, P.C. v. Bowers, Circuit Court for the City of Winchester, Virginia, Case No. CL07-33 (2008)
Defended general surgeon in suit to enforce covenant not to compete and obtained dismissal of suit by arguing covenant not to compete was illegal because violated the provisions of the Stark Law.
Winchester Building Supply Company, Inc. v. Jenkins, Circuit Court for Frederick County, Virginia, Case No. CL00-280, Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 010273 (2001)
Represented Plaintiff in suit to enforce a covenant not to compete, reversed trial decision to enforce the covenant only in part before the Virginia Supreme Court so that entire covenant enforced in full.
Sea Research Foundation v. The JASON Project, American Arbitration Association Case No. 01-15-0003-2589 (2015)
Represented non-profit founded by National Geographic in 18 day arbitration proceeding against operator of the Mystic Aquarium in fraud claim case, obtained judgment in excess of $1.8 million for client and collected same.
The Dealers Lot, Inc. v. McInturff, et al., Circuit Court for the City of Winchester, Virginia, Case No. CL13-295 (2013)
Successfully represented plaintiff in trademark infringement and intellectual property conversion suit.
Rising Star, SuperLawyer by Richmond Magazine and Virginia Law and Politics Magazine (2008)
Selected as one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® for Virginia in 2020
Partner- Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery, popular Winchester, Virginia restaurant