Debbie S. Champion

Top rated personal injury attorney in St. Louis, Missouri

Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, LLC
Debbie S. Champion
Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, LLC

Practice Areas: Personal injury, Civil litigation, Business litigation; view more

Licensed in Missouri since: 1988

Education: Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005, 2010 - 2022

Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, LLC

500 North Broadway
Suite 1550
St. Louis, MO 63102 Visit website


Debbie Champion is a founding partner in the firm Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch and Champion. Ms. Champion actively practices in Missouri and Southern Illinois state and federal courts. She has argued before the Missouri Supreme Court and the Eastern, Western and Southern District Missouri Courts of Appeals, and the Illinois Court of Appeals. She has also argued in the federal court of the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, and the Eighth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. She is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Champion has been named to the top 50 attorneys in St Louis and the top 100 attorneys in Missouri. She is honored to be included in the Best Lawyers in America, and she appears on the Best Lawyers list in Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants, Insurance Law, and Litigation-Insurance. Champion was selected in 2017 and 2016 as the only female to hold the designation of Best Women Lawyer in both insurance litigation and in non-litigated insurance matters. She is one of two women in Missouri to hold the Best Women Lawyer designation in the area of personal injury defense. She appears in the America’s Top 100 Attorneys List.

Champion was selected to be a member of Litigation Counsel of America, an honorary society honoring the top one-half of one percent of American lawyers. For a number of years, Ms. Champion has been named as one of the top 50 Women Lawyers in Missouri and Kansas by Superlawyers. Champion achieved the most Defense Verdicts in Missouri in 2012 and 2013 and one of the largest Defense Wins in 2011. In 2016, Champion received an award for Outstanding Litigation Practitioner by the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly’s Women Justice Awards. She was honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young St. Louisans by the St. Louis Junior Chamber of Commerce. She is rated as Superb on In 2013, she received the CLMP certification as a certified litigation management professional from her study at the Columbia School of Law in New York.

Ms. Champion received the Lawyer's Lawyer Award by the Women's Justice Awards. She is a recipient of the William McAlpin Pro Bono Award, an Outstanding Volunteer Award from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and the Missouri Pro Bono Publico Award from the Missouri Bar Association. She was recently honored by the Women's Law Caucus of Washington University for her commitment to the advancement of women in the law. She was selected as an Outstanding Young Alumni of Washington University in 2012.

Ms. Champion serves on the Board of Lift for Life Academy, the first charter school in the city of St. Louis. She is also on the Board of Seeds of Blessing, the for-profit arm of the Blessing Basket Project. In the past, she served on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Directors of Shelter the Children. She was an active early member of Kids' Inc., a charitable organization for underprivileged children of East St. Louis, Illinois. Ms. Champion is founder and president of Tools for Schools, a not for profit corporation which distributes school supplies to needy schools and children.

Ms. Champion has served as an expert witness on insurance bad faith and vexatious refusal to pay cases. She has authored several published articles and book chapters. She often presents educational seminars to clients and to the legal community, including several annual conference presentations to industry groups each year.

Ms. Champion is an Advocate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial. She serves as the President Elect of the Missouri/Southern Illinois Chapter. She is a member of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, formerly Council for Litigation Management. She is on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers. She is a Fellow in the American Bar Foundation.

Ms. Champion served on the 21st Judicial Circuit Judicial Commission as part of Missouri's non-partisan court plan for a 6 year term. Ms. Champion has served for the Supreme Court of Missouri as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to Study Expert Discovery. In 2013, she acted as the Chairman of the Steering Committee for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

Practice areas

Personal injury - general: defense, Civil litigation: defense, Business litigation, Employment litigation: defense

Focus areas

Motor vehicle accidents, Slip and fall, Wrongful death, Construction accident, Brain injury, Personal injury - defense, Employment discrimination, Employment law - employer

  • 20% Personal injury - general: defense
  • 40% Civil litigation: defense
  • 20% Business litigation
  • 20% Employment litigation: defense

First Admitted: 1988, Missouri

Professional Webpage:

  • William McAlpin Pro Bono Award, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers
  • Pro Bono Publico Award, Missouri Bar Association
  • Outstanding Young Alumni, Washington University, 2012
  • Distinguished Young Alumni Award, Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, 2012
  • Outstanding Litigator, Women's Lawyer Awards, Missouri Media, 2016
  • Best Women Lawyer-Missouri, Personal Injury, 2016
  • Lawyer's Lawyer Award, 2008
  • Volunteer Lawyer's Award, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, 1996
  • Rated 10 (Superb) on
  • Most Defense Verdicts, Missouri Lawyers Media, 2011
  • Best Lawyer, Insurance Law, 2016
  • Best Women Lawyer-Missouri, Insurance, Litigation and Non-Litigation, 2016
  • Super Lawyers of Missouri & Kansas
  • 10 Outstanding Young St Louisan, Junior Chamber of Commerce St Louis
  • AV rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Missouri Lawyer's Weekly, Top 10 Defense Verdicts, 2011
  • Best Lawyer, Personal Injury Defendants, 2016
  • Best Lawyer, Insurance Litigation, 2016
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Commercial Law League of America
  • U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • Women's Lawyers Association
  • Treasurer, Southern Illinois Chapter
  • National Associan of Professional Women
  • Legal representative, 21st Judicial Circuit Judicial Commission under the Missouri non Partisan Court Plan, 2005
  • American Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Lawyers Association of St. Louis
  • Defense Research Institute
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Attorneys
  •  Treasurer, Missouri Chapter
  • Theodore McMillian American Inn of Court
  • Chairman, Steering Committee for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
  • Fellow, Litigation Council of America
  • Member of the Ad Hoc Committee, Supreme Court of Missouri , 2010
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Bar Associateion, Tort & Insuranc Practice Section
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • Your House Counsel
  • St. Louis CLM chapter, Secretary
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, Board Member, 2014
  • Chairman, Alumni Executive Committee, School of Law at Washington University, 2006
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • American Bar Association, Trial Practice Committee
  • Counsel for Litigation Management
  • Claims and Litigation Alliance
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Board Member Lift for Life Academy
  • Board Member, Seeds of Blessing, 2011
  • Board of Directors, Shelter the Children
  • Volunter Lawyers' Program
  • Advisory Board, Junior Chamber of Commerce
  • Women's Professional Organization
  • Women Presidents' Organization
  • Tools for Schools, President and Founder, 2008
  • Kids' Inc., Member
Educational Background:
  • Murray State University, B.S., Psychology and Criminal Justice, 1983
  • Murray State University, Masters Coursework, Psychology, 1984 -1985, 1985
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Annual Conference, New Orleans, Considering Legal Process Outsourcing as Part of Wider Legal Cost Management: Limitations vs. Benefits, Council for Litigation Management, 2011
  • Missouri First Party and Third Party Bad Faith Claims, Claims Representative Training, Sentry Insurance Company, Davenport, Iowa, January 2011
  • Negotiation 101, Missouri PRIMA Quarterly Meeting, Columbia, Missouri, November 2010
  • Voir Dire, Simon Law Firm Seminar to benefit Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Missouri Athletic Club, June 2010
  • Negotiation 101, Missouri PRIMA Quarterly Meeting, Columbia, Missouri, November 2010
  • Shakespearian Suggestions regarding the Attorney/Adjuster Obligations on Matters of Coverage. Council for Litigation Management, Annual Conference, Ponte Vedra, Florida, May, 2010
  • Litigation 102, Presentation for Adjuster Training, Swiss Re, Council for Litigation Management, 2010
  • Reservations of Rights, Training of Adjusters, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., Maryland Heights, MO, 2010
  • Discovering Discovery, Mini Law School, Bar Association of Metropolitan St Louis, St. Louis University, April 2010
  • Speaker at Prima Annual Conference, Anaheim, CA, Why do these Attorneys take up all my time, PRIMA, PRIMA, 2008
  • Presentation to Missouri PRIMA, Lake of the Ozarks, Why do these attorneys take up all my time, Missouri Public Risk Association, 2008
  • Presentation for Continuing Legal Education, How to Try a Premises Liability Case, Missouri Bar, 2008
  • Presented at ANPAC annual attorney conference, Bad Faith: From levy failure to missing medical records, Ligation Conference, American National Property & Casualty Insurance Company, 2007
  • Annual Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, Vampires, Voodoo & Verdicts; Frightening Issues in Insurance Defense, Council for Litigation Management, 2011
White Papers:
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • CLMP (Certified Litigation Management Professional), Columbia University School of Law., 2013

Office location for Debbie S. Champion

500 North Broadway
Suite 1550
St. Louis, MO 63102

Phone: 314-421-4430

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