Chuck Stepter began his legal practice with Fishback Dominick in 1973, and was a partner from 1974-1982. After leaving the firm to build a successful solo practice, he returned as a named partner in 1990, bringing several major business clients and numerous individual clients with him. He semi-retired at the end of 2011, and is now Of Counsel to the firm.
Chuck graduated from Stetson College of Law, where he was Executive Editor of the Stetson Law Review, in 1973, after serving two years in Vietnam with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant through accelerated promotions. Chuck developed a successful litigation practice with Fishback Dominick through the early years of his practice, emphasizing personal injury, insurance, and criminal law, including the successful defense of two defendants in an antitrust bid rigging trial of the Florida builders’ hardware industry in 1980.
In the early 1980’s, Chuck developed a successful commercial litigation practice. From 1986–2010, Chuck served as General Counsel to the National Auto Auction Association (“NAAA”), the international trade association of major wholesale motor vehicle auctions, with members in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.
Chuck’s duties as General Counsel to NAAA included frequent meetings with state and federal regulatory and legislative officials and working with other trade associations and groups throughout the United States. Chuck is a nationally recognized expert in motor vehicle law, and frequently acts as a consultant to other attorneys on legal, legislative, and regulatory issues.
Chuck has always been very active in the efforts of the organized bar to provide access to the courts, and is nationally known for his efforts in establishing and maintaining programs to provide voluntary pro bono or reduced fee legal services to the poor and middle class. He has received numerous awards for these activities, and has served in leadership roles on the boards of the Florida Bar Foundation (Secretary-Treasurer), Florida Legal Services (President and Treasurer), the Orange County Legal Aid Society (President and Treasurer), the Florida Bar Delivery of Legal Services Committee (Chairman), the Commission on Access to the Legal System in Florida, and the Joint Commission on the Delivery of Legal Services to the Indigent in Florida. Chuck will focus on legal issues affecting veterans during his retirement.
Chuck is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States Tax Court, the United States Claims Court, the trial and general bars of all three United States District and Bankruptcy Courts in Florida, and all State Courts in Florida. He has been specially admitted to try cases in other courts throughout the United States.
Chuck lectures frequently throughout the United States on legal issues, particularly those affecting the motor vehicle industry. He has received numerous awards from law enforcement throughout the United States for his efforts to combat odometer and title fraud and other crimes affecting the motor vehicle industry and consumers.
Areas of Practice
- Stetson University, Juris Doctor, 1973
- Executive Editor, Stetson Law Review
- Mercer University, Bachelor of Arts, 1970
Courts of Practice
- All State of Florida Courts
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- General and Trial Bars of all United States District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts in Florida
- Frequent lecturer on Motor Vehicle Law and Commercial Law throughout the United States
- Board of Trustees, Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc., 1979 – 1996 and 1998 to 2010 (President, 1982 – 1983; Treasurer, 1979 – 1996 and 1998 – 2010)
- Board of Directors, Florida Legal Services, Inc. 1984 – 1998 and 2006 to date (President, 1989 -1991)
- Board of Directors, Florida Bar Foundation, 1989 – 1993. (Secretary/Treasurer, 1991 – 1992)
- Florida Bar Foundation Legal Assistance to the Poor Grant Committee, 1989-1993 and 1997 – 2001
- Board of Directors, Florida Lawyers’ Legal Insurance Corporation, 1986-1989
- Chair, Florida Bar Delivery of Legal Services Committee, 1984-1986
- Florida Bar Consortium for the Delivery of Legal Assistance to the Poor, 1982-1984
- Florida Bar Special Commission on Access to the Legal System, 1984-1985
- Joint Florida Bar/Florida Bar Foundation Commission on Delivery of Legal Services to the Indigent in Florida: The Next Decade, 1990 – 1992
- Arbitrator, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 1984 to 2002
- Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, 1987 to 1990
- Hearing Officer, Orange County Bar Association Citizens Dispute Settlement Program, 1975-1984
- Chair, 9th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, 1998 to date
- Florida Bar Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, 2002 to date
- General Counsel, National Auto Auction Association (1986-2012)
- AV – Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- National Auto Auction Association Hall of Fame, 2003
- Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award, 1987
- Florida Bar Delivery of Legal Services Committee Chairman’s Award, 1987
- Orange County Legal Aid Society Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012
- Orange County Legal Aid Society Judge J.C. “Jake” Stone Distinguished Service Award, 1992
- National Odometer and Title Fraud Association Lance Thomas Achievement Award, 2011
- Resolutions Recognizing Support of Midwest Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association in 2006 and 2009
- Staff Sergeant, 199th Light Infantry Brigade, Vietnam, 1968-1970