Biography

Sommer L. Sheely focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, including energy, environmental and oil and gas litigation; Defense of False Claims Act/qui tam litigation; business and partnership disputes; and complex fiduciary litigation.

She serves clients as lead trial counsel before federal and state courts and administrative panels. Over her career, she has served as lead counsel in numerous jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and mediations. Her cases also often include pursuing and defending against injunctive relief.

Sommer believes in partnering with clients to achieve effective, efficient outcomes and in knowing her clients and their businesses. She delivers and encourages prompt and open communication. An active member of her legal and business community, Sommer focuses on strategic collaboration and in representing her clients' businesses in a positive and professional manner in the court and public's eye.

Sommer's experience includes:

  • Obtained judgment and injunctive orders granting immediate property access for pipeline company to survey and construct $2 billion interstate natural gas project.
  • Pursued and achieved settlement prior to the start of depositions for all relief sought in $68 million dispute between insurer and reinsurer.
  • Achieved dismissal of more than a dozen putative class actions—prior to class certification—on behalf of a large international government vendor in collaboration with its client municipalities.
  • Successfully defended and resolved bet-the-company qui tam cases for a small fraction of amounts demanded.
  • Won directed verdict as lead trial counsel on behalf of a large national insurance company relative to claims of improper annuity payments and fraud.
  • Successfully defended multiple fiduciaries of large trusts and estates against claims of breach of fiduciary duty and other torts.
  • Won summary judgment in multiple federal lawsuits brought by former agents against a large national insurance company.
Professional & Community Activities
  • Immediate Past President, Ohio Women's Bar Foundation
  • Co-Chair, Ohio Women's Bar Foundation Leadership Institute
  • Chair, Ohio Women's Bar Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala Planning Committee
  • Board of Trustees, Columbus Children's Theatre
  • Board of Trustees, Vice President, Federal Bar Association, Columbus Chapter
  • Chair, Charitable Events Committee, Bricker & Eckler Women in Networking group
  • Former Adjunct Faculty for Appellate Advocacy, Michael E. Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University
Presentations & Published Works
  • Speaker, Ohio State Bar Association and National Business Institute, on litigation topics including: data breach litigation, class action defense, civil trial preparation, deposing and defending expert witnesses, e-discovery, and maximizing free online legal resources
Bar Admissions & Activities
  • Federal Bar Association, Civil Litigation and Energy Sections
  • Ohio State Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section
  • Columbus Bar Association, Bar Admissions Committee
  • Admitted: State of Ohio (2003); Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (2002)
  • Admitted: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; United States District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Ohio, Western District of Pennsylvania and Eastern District of Michigan
Awards & Recognition
  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation), 2016–2018
  • Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers (Business Litigation; Estate & Trust Litigation; Environmental Litigation), 2016–2018
  • Forty Under 40 Honoree, Columbus Business First, 2015
  • Rising Star, Ohio Super Lawyers, 2009–2015
  • Ohio Women's Bar Foundation Leadership Institute, Inaugural Class, 2011–2012
Education
  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (J.D. with honors, 2002); Managing Editor, The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution; National Moot Court team, national finalist and regional Best Oral Advocate
  • Oxford University (2000), Summer Law Program
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A., history and pre-law, magna cum laude, 1999); Phi Beta Kappa
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