Stichter, Riedel, Blain & Postler, P.A. began with an exceptional lawyer – Don M. Stichter. After graduating from Colgate University and serving as a Lieutenant with the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams, Don graduated from the University of Wisconsin College of Law as a member of the Order of the Coif. He then worked at the United States Department of Justice and, in 1959, served as Chief of the United States Attorney’s Office in Tampa. In 1962, Don joined two well-established and highly regarded lawyers to form the firm of Bucklew, Ramsey & Stichter, where he excelled in complex commercial matters, civil litigation, and white collar criminal representations. Don also became one of the few lawyers in the Middle District of Florida with expertise in representing debtors under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act of 1898, and in 1972 he left to found his own firm.
The present firm began in 1974 with the addition of Harley E. Riedel following his graduation from the University of Florida College of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the law review and was also awarded the Order of the Coif. It was Don’s burgeoning insolvency practice that became the principal area of practice of the new firm (then known as “Stichter & Riedel, P.A.”) by 1980, although the firm continued to handle civil litigation and commercial transactions such as loan modifications, asset sales, and mergers and acquisitions (both inside and outside the insolvency arena).
Russell M. Blain, Richard C. Prosser, and Charles A. Postler joined the firm laterally as partners in 1985, 1990, and 1992, respectively. Scott A. Stichter, who joined the firm as an associate in 1987, became a shareholder in 1995. Since then, the firm has grown adding a number of lawyers and partners. In recent years, the firm expanded to meet the challenges posed by the Great Recession of 2008. In 2015, following the retirement of Richard C. Prosser, the firm became known by its current name, Stichter, Riedel, Blain & Postler, P.A. The firm continues to handle all types of insolvency matters, complex business transactions, and discrete areas of civil commercial litigation. The firm's offices are located in a century old office building in downtown Tampa (see “Tampa Building” for a further description), within a few blocks of the bankruptcy and federal district courthouse, as well as the Hillsborough County Circuit Court. To meet our client’s needs throughout the state, our firm also has offices in Fort Myers, Destin, and Pensacola.
The professional accomplishments of the firm and its members include the following (other activities and awards appear in the attorney biographies section of this website):
- Is listed in Martindale-Hubbell's Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers.
- Has been selected as the Top Mid-Sized firm in Florida for Business and Transactions in Super Lawyers, Business Edition.
- Is one of only four firms in Florida (the only one in Tampa) to have continuously (2004-2018) received a top-tier ranking in the Insolvency and Corporate Recovery category in the Chambers USA guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
- Has continuously been recognized by US News/Best Lawyers in Tier 1of the firms specializing in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law-Tampa.
- Has received the Florida Supreme Court’s 2014 Law Firm Commendation award for pro bono services, as well as multiple other awards in recognition of the pro bono activities of its attorneys, including the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit’s Pro Bono Service Award and the "Have a Heart Award" by the Hillsborough County Bar Association for "outstanding pro bono service by a law firm." It is consistently recognized by Bay Area Legal Services as a Sustaining Law Firm.
- Has frequently been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Tampa Bay by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS:
- 16 of the firm’s lawyers have been AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
- 18 of the firm’s lawyers have been listed as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars by Super Lawyers.
- 10 of the firm’s lawyers have been listed in Best Lawyers in America.
- 11 of the firm’s lawyers have been listed in Chambers USA, Americas Leading Lawyers for Business.
- 8 of the firm’s lawyers have been listed as Legal Elite or Up and Comer by Florida Trend.
AMONG THE INDIVIDUAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
- Don M. Stichter has been named "Outstanding Lawyer in Hillsborough County" by the Hillsborough County Bar Association - a 3,000 member bar association encompassing the City of Tampa and all of Hillsborough County.
- Don Stichter, Harley Riedel, Russell Blain, and Christopher Meyer are Fellows of the American College of Bankruptcy. Meyer is a past chair of the College’s Board of Regents and a past President and Chair of the College. Messrs. Riedel and Blain have served on the Eleventh Circuit Admissions Council for the College.
- Don Stichter, Harley Riedel, and Russell Blain are three of eight recipients of the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association's highest award - the Douglas P. McClurg Award - which recognizes a lawyer for outstanding effectiveness in judicial proceedings through preparation, civility and courtesy to counsel and parties, and highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
- Stephen R. Leslie was presented with the 2016 Alexander L. Paskay Professionalism Award. The award is given based upon the exemplification, over a period of years, of traits including outstanding effectiveness in the presentation of matters to the Bankruptcy Court and professionalism in dealings with the Court, counsel, and the parties. The award is named in honor of Judge Alexander L. Paskay, who served as a bankruptcy referee and judge for almost fifty years, including twenty as the Chief Judge of the Middle District of Florida.
- Harley Riedel received the most points of any lawyer in the State of Florida in Florida Super Lawyers Magazine in 2011, and has been included among the top three attorneys in points received throughout the state from 2010 to 2018. Mr. Blain has been recognized as among the top 100 lawyers since 2007, and Don Stichter, Scott Stichter, and Barbara Hart have also been listed as among the top 100 lawyers during this interval. Elena Ketchum and Barbara Hart were named among the top 50 women lawyers in the State of Florida across all practice areas.
- Harley E. Riedel, Russell M. Blain, Scott A. Stichter, Edward J. Peterson, Barbara A. Hart, Daniel R. Fogarty, and Elena Paras Ketchum were named as 2018 “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine. Matthew B. Hale was recognized as an “Up and Comer”. No other Florida firm had more than three listed lawyers in the “Legal Elite” category in the area of “Bankruptcy and Workout Law,” making it the eighth consecutive year (2010 through 2018) that the firm has been ranked as first or tied for first in the number of Florida lawyers named in the “Bankruptcy and Workout” practice area. Mr. Riedel and Mr. Blain are also distinguished as belonging to Legal Elite’s Hall of Fame.
- Four Stichter Riedel shareholders were recognized as the top lawyers in Tampa by Tampa Magazine in its April-May 2018 edition following a peer review process. Charles A. Postler, the head of the Firm’s Corporate and Transactional practice, was named the top Tampa lawyer in four areas - corporate law, corporate governance law, business organizations law (including LLCs), and closely held companies and family business law. In the firm’s core insolvency practice, Scott A. Stichter was recognized as the top lawyer in bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights/insolvency & reorganization law, while Barbara Hart, who leads the firm state court loan litigation practice, was voted as the top lawyer in banking and finance litigation. Michael Bachman was listed as the top real estate lawyer.
- Don Stichter was listed as Lawyer of the Year, 2013 by Best Lawyers in America in the category of Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights/Insolvency & Reorganization Law Tampa. Harley Riedel was named Lawyer of the Year in 2010 in the same category. Six others are also listed by Best Lawyers in America, Russell Blain, Stephen Leslie, Edward Peterson, Charles Postler, Scott Stichter, Elena Ketchum, Dan Fogarty, and Barbara Hart.
- Don Stichter, Harley Riedel, Russell Blain, Richard Prosser, Edward Peterson, Elena Paras Ketchum, and Scott Stichter have each served as president of the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association. Scott Stichter & Barbara Hart currently serve as Directors.
- Barbara Hart (Florida) and Jodi Daniel Cooke (Gulf Coast) serve as Network Chairs of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation.
- Russell Blain was the Chair of the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar in 2008-2009 and remains a member of its Executive Council. He is the immediate past President of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation and the past President of the Ferguson-White American Inn of Court. He is the past President of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation and a past President of the Ferguson-White American Inn of Court.
- Don Stichter served as President of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and was named outstanding Local Bar President by The Florida Bar. Jodi Daniel Cooke served as President of the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association.
- On March 15, 2005, Scott A. Stichter was honored as the recipient of the 2005 Jimmy Kynes Pro Bono Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding pro bono attorney selected by the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit's pro bono program, H.A.V.E. A Heart. It is dedicated to the memory of former general counsel for the Jim Walters Corporation, Jimmy Kynes.
- On November 26, 2008 The Florida Bar awarded Scott A. Stichter The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award for 2009 from the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. Each year, the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar give special recognition to lawyers who have freely given their time and expertise in making legal services available to the poor. Mr. Stichter was recognized for the time and professional expertise he contributed in making legal representation available to those otherwise unable to afford it.
- Harley Riedel, aided by other firm members, authored the chapters on representation of Chapter 11 debtors in possession in both editions of the Norton Handbook for Trustees, Debtors in Possession, and Committees published by West Publishing Company.
- Harley Riedel, Russell Blain, Elena Paras Ketchum, Amy Denton Harris, and Jodi Daniels Cooke have served as guest lecturers in the Advanced Bankruptcy Class at the University of Florida College of Law. Mr. Riedel, Mr. Blain, and Stephen Leslie have served as guest lecturers for the Advanced Bankruptcy Class at the Stetson College of Law. Elena Paras Ketchum, Susan Sharp, and Barbara Hart have served as guest lecturers for the Bankruptcy Seminar at Stetson College Law School and Matthew Hale has guest lectured at Florida A&M University.
Pro Bono Activities and In the Community
The firm handles numerous consumer matters on a pro bono basis for deserving clients who cannot afford to pay for legal services. In addition to the services to organized bar associations described above and elsewhere, the firm's lawyers serve on boards and committees for a variety of charitable, civic, religious, educational, and service organizations. The firm also proudly sponsors the Stichter, Riedel, Blain and Postler Book Award for the Advanced Bankruptcy Course at the University of Florida College of Law.