As a litigator with over 40 years of courtroom experience, Stephen Ellis has one overriding objective for his clients – achieving their goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In some cases, that means taking a case all the way through to trial and judgment, but in many cases, a trial should be the last resort. For business people focused on moving forward with productive pursuits, Steve understands litigation is an often stressful, time-consuming and costly experience. Most business disputes will settle at some point, and litigation is one tool toward that objective. The goal should always be to reach the maximum leverage for a successful resolution as quickly and efficiently as possible. Steve well understands that dynamic, and works with his clients to develop the appropriate strategy for the best result.
Over the course of his legal career, Steve has handled hundreds of complex real estate and business litigation matters. His practice experience includes a broad range of trial and appellate work, as well as extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution venues, including arbitration and mediation. Although Steve has experience in resolving virtually every type of contract dispute, his primary area of emphasis is real estate litigation, where he handles commercial landlord-tenant, ownership, development, sale, leasing, title and construction disputes involving all types of commercial, industrial and residential properties. He works for public and private owners as well as developers, contractors and design professionals. He also represents public and private companies, partnerships and business associations in the prosecution and defense of contract, warranty, unfair competition, trade secret, fraud and business tort claims.
Steve served as head of the Firm’s Litigation and Trial Section from 2005 through 2008. Locally, he served as co-chair of the Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee of the Orange County Bar Association from 2004-2010, and serves as an arbitrator for the Mandatory Arbitration Program administered by the Orange County Superior Court.
Steve is active in church and community affairs, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Casa Youth Shelter in Los Alamitos as well as a past member of the Governing Board for the Los Alamitos Medical Center.
Areas of Expertise
- Business Litigation
- Real Estate
- Construction Litigation
News & Insights
Publications & Speaking Engagements
- “Judicial Council Emergency Eviction Limitations in California Due to COVID-19,” Rutan & Tucker, LLP E-Alert, April 2020
- CEB Panelist, Civil Procedure During Trial (1997, 1999)
- CEB Panelist, Proving and Attacking Damages (2000)
- Presenter, Five Things You Should Know About Mandatory Fee Arbitration (OCBA Last Dash 2006)
- Panelist, MFA Arbitrator Training (2003-2008)
Awards & Affiliations
Awards & Honors
- AV® Preemininent™ rating with LexisNexis/Martindale Hubbell
Memberships & Associations
- Orange County Bar Association