Stephen R. Pennell

Partner
Litigation + Disputes Group Co-Chair
765.428.7034

Steve is a seasoned trial attorney with a track record of more than 100 wins on summary judgment and substantial experience in state and federal appeals courts.  Recognized for his “outstanding contributions to the representation of clients in the defense of litigation matters” by the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, he has handled a broad spectrum of litigation for businesses, higher education, and individuals, and is a certified mediator.

Over his four decades as a litigator, Steve has evolved his practice to meet the needs of clients.  In recent years, his work has centered on personal injury defense, employment disputes, and government liability.  Steve also has significant experience with trust and estate disputes, antitrust claims, insurance coverage and defense matters, rail accident litigation, and commercial contract disputes.

His personal injury defense work includes product and premises liability claims for retailers, manufacturers, and higher education.  For more than 15 years, he served as national trial counsel in product liability cases for a large privately held pool product company based in the Southeast.  He also defends insureds in motor vehicle and workplace accident claims.

Over his four decades as a litigator, Steve has evolved his practice to meet the needs of clients. 

Large corporate and institutional clients – including Purdue University – have relied on Steve for representation in employment disputes and government liability matters.  He has successfully defended against discrimination and wrongful termination claims, and has resolved disputes related to alleged violations of other federal law, including the Family and Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.

Certified as a mediator in the state of Indiana for more than five years, Steve regularly handles disputes related to property damage and personal injury involving both individuals and business entities.  Regardless of the circumstances – trial, private negotiation, or mediation – he prides himself on working efficiently to secure good outcomes from difficult disputes.

Steve has been recognized for his acumen and contributions to the profession by multiple organizations, including the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, Defense Research Institute, and Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana.  He has been selected to the Best Lawyers in America and Indiana Super Lawyers lists for 10 consecutive years.

In addition to his professional commitments, Steve is active with several local charitable organizations, including as board member of Family Promise of Greater Lafayette.

  • Indiana University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
    • Editor, Indiana Law Journal
    • Order of the Coif
    • American Jurisprudence Award
  • Indiana University, A.B., summa cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Indiana
  • Indiana Court of Appeals
  • Indiana Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court – Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Seventh Circuit
  • Selected to the Best Lawyers in America list in the field of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (2006-present)
  • Selected to the Indiana Super Lawyers list (2004-present)
  • Recipient, Association of Defense Trial Attorneys’ President’s Award (2011)
  • Recipient, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana’s Diplomat Award (2008)
  • Recipient, Defense Research Institute’s Fred H. Sievert Award (2004)
  • Recipient, Defense Research Institute’s Exceptional Performance Citation (2004)
  • Rated as AV “Preeminent” in Martindale-Hubbell, a leading peer review survey
  • Editor in chief, Indiana Civil Litigation Review (2006-present)
  • Publications committee chair, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana (2006-present)
  • New member committee chair, Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (2007-present)
  • Executive council member, Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (2008-2011)
  • Long range planning committee chair, Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (2010-2011)
  • President, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana (2004)
  • Litigation section chair, Indiana State Bar Association (2004)
  • Indiana state representative to the Defense Research Institute (1998-2001)
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
  • Bar Association of the Seventh Federal Circuit
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana
  • Indiana Association of Mediators
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Tippecanoe County Bar Association
  • Board director, Family Promise of Greater Lafayette
  • Regional committee chair, Riley Children’s Foundation
  • Member, Rotary Club of Lafayette
  • Past president, Wesley Foundation (1980-1990)