Steven P. Collier, Partner
STEVEN P. COLLIER is a nationally known trial lawyer who has been recognized since 1997 in The Best Lawyers in America, a referral guide to the legal profession in the United States. The publication Ohio Super Lawyers has recognized Collier since its inception in 2004. He is certified as a Civil Trial Advocate and a Civil Pretrial Practice Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
He also served as president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2014. In 2012 Mr. Collier authored the first edition of Ohio Personal Injury: A Comprehensive Guide. He is a frequent lecturer for bar associations and trial lawyer groups in the area of personal injury law and has taught trial practice at the University of Toledo College of Law. Mr. Collier is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates forum whose membership is limited to trial lawyers who have demonstrated exceptional skill, experience, and excellence in advocacy by achieving a trial verdict, award or settlement in the amount of one million dollars or more.
Tammy G. Lavalette, Partner
TAMMY G. LAVALETTE focuses her practice on commercial and business litigation. She has experience handling cases involving shareholder disputes, contract disputes, insurance coverage issues and bankruptcy-related matters. She possesses both first and second chair trial experience, and she has successfully handled numerous appeals.
Ms. Lavalette graduated cum laude from Ohio University in 1992, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1999. Ms. Lavalette was admitted to practice in Ohio in 1999. She is also admitted to practice in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Ms. Lavalette is a member of the Ohio State Association, and the Toledo Bar Association. She serves as chair of the Newsletter Committee, and Secretary of the Court of Appeals Committee for the Toledo Bar Association.
H. Buswell Roberts, JR., Of Counsel
H. BUSWELL ROBERTS, JR. has more than 35 years of experience representing corporations and secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, he regularly provides general business advice to corporations. He is admitted to practice law in Ohio and Virginia as well as the federal courts in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and the U.S. Tax Court.
Mr. Roberts is board certified in business bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification. His background in the practice of corporate bankruptcy, insolvency, workouts, restructuring and general corporate and commercial litigation complements Collier Law Group’s ongoing emphasis on trial practice and its focus on complex business litigation, plaintiffs’ personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Mr. Roberts also maintains a practice in Blacksburg, Virginia, while serving Ohio clients in his capacity with Collier Law Group.
His firm was named a “Super Lawyers Tier One Top Law Firm” in Virginia for solo practice in business and transactions in 2012 and was recently listed as one of the Best Law Firms by US News and World Report. Mr. Roberts graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1975 and received his B.S. degree in Management with High Honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1972. He was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Toledo College of Law Review and served as a law clerk to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division from 1975 through 1977. He was also a bankruptcy trustee for 12 years.
Mr. Roberts is a member of the Virginia and Ohio Bar Associations. He is also a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Janine T. Avila, Of Counsel
JANINE T. AVILA focuses her practice on complex civil and personal injury litigation, insurance coverage disputes, employment law, and ERISA. Ms. Avila brings invaluable knowledge and experience to the firm and her clients. In 2003, she became a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a membership limited to trial lawyers achieving a trial verdict, award or settlement of one million dollars or more.
The Supreme Court of Ohio has accepted several prominent cases on which she wrote the briefs including Federal Insurance Co. v. Executive Coach Luxury Travel; Ronald Ameigh, etc., et al. v. Baycliffs Corporation, et al.; Harold R. Clagg et al. v. Baycliffs Corp., et al.; and Earlin E. Worley v. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. et al.
Ms. Avila is a published author, including “Kissing Cousins: The relationship of the dual-capacity doctrine to workers’ compensation” in the Tort Law Journal of Ohio. She also serves as a long-time editor for Ohio Trial Magazine. In addition, she has authored speeches such as “The Basics of Insurance Coverage” for the Ohio State Bar Association Insurance Seminar. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, The Ohio Association for Justice, and the Ohio State Bar Association also requested her more advanced “Insurance Coverage” presentation.
Steven R. Smith, Of Counsel
Steven R. Smith devotes his time to business litigation, with a concentration on representing policyholders in insurance coverage matters. He has asserted claims for coverage under commercial general liability, property, directors and officers, legal malpractice and business interruption policies. He has obtained coverage for numerous clients, even when insurance companies first denied coverage. He has litigated insurance coverage issues, negotiated settlements with insurance companies for claims, and conducted coverage reviews for clients facing liability claims from third parties in both state and federal court. He has briefed and argued cases in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Mr. Smith is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in insurance coverage law. He is one of only 26 lawyers in Ohio who have received this certification.
Mr. Smith is an honors graduate of Miami University and the University of Toledo College of Law, and also earned a Masters degree from The Ohio State University. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1980. Mr. Smith is a member of the Toledo and Ohio State Bar Associations and is a Fellow of the Ohio and Toledo Bar Foundations. He served as a Trustee of the Toledo Bar Association from 1997 to 2006, was President of the Toledo Bar Association for the term commencing in 2004.
Melinda D. Steiger
MELINDA “MINDY” D. STEIGER joined the Collier Law Group legal team in 2013. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies from the University of Toledo in 2008. Her minor was in Business Administration. She graduated magna cum laude, won the West Legal Studies Award, and was granted the Paralegal Studies Department Scholarship. Working as a paralegal for local attorneys Ms. Steiger has gained experience in wide range of legal practice areas including probate and estates, domestic relations, bankruptcy, real estate transactions and disputes, Social Security disability, personal injuries and medical malpractice. Her diverse background provides a unique understanding of and insight to the needs of Collier Law Group’s clients.