Steven M. Kelso is a commercial litigator that has tried more than 35 trials, agency actions, and arbitrations to verdict, decision, or award. Steve focuses on defending franchisors and motor vehicle manufacturers/distributors in disputes with franchisees and dealers.
With deep experience in pre-litigation dealer network counseling, Steve also represents his clients in various state and federal courts, before administrative agencies, and on appeal. He has delivered precedent-setting arguments that have shaped franchise and related commercial law throughout the country. His appellate experience includes preserving motor vehicle manufacturers’ and distributors’ ability to enforce ligation waivers in the face of anti-waiver statutes. His clients span a range of industries, including automotive, trucking, consumer services, and health care.
Steve develops litigation strategies with his clients’ legal and business goals in mind. Steve goes beyond traditional representation to create tailored, innovative narratives to effectively demonstrate to judges and juries how his clients’ businesses work. As a result, he has defended companies and franchisors against lawsuits attacking their business models.
Steve began his legal career by serving in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps. While in the Air Force, he tried more than 30 jury trials and served as lead trial counsel and supervising attorney on a range of complex jury trials.