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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Debbie S. Champion


Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch and Champion LLC

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 2000

Industry: Legal Services

Debbie S. Champion generates winners.

A partner at Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion LLC (RSSC LLC), Champion believes that real trial lawyers are a vanishing breed, and she refuses to sit by and watch that happen.

“While most cases settle or otherwise resolve without jury trials, there are enough catastrophic cases that require a great deal of experience in front of a jury,” she said.

“I will continue to build the best trial teams throughout Missouri and Illinois so people who should be trying cases can do so without the worry about the diminishing talent among their trial lawyers,” she said.

Established in July 2000, RSSC LLC, a full service law firm, handles litigation matters from conventional civil litigation to complex international products liability claims. RSSC represents large and small companies, insurance companies and individuals with legal needs, and serves as a litigation boutique firm in a variety of civil law areas of practice. Champion manages the largest team in the firm.

“Each partner leads a team and each case is staffed according to its needs,” she said. “Our attorneys are in the court every day and our lawyers are well known as being highly trained and successful litigators.”

And her influential leadership style has not gone unrecognized. Champion, also a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, has been awarded the Peter Perlman Award for 2019 for the Litigation Counsel of America, serves on the Board of Lift for Life Academy, the first charter school in the City of St. Louis, and is founder and president of Tools for Schools.

Among pages of awards and recognitions, 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. Champion was named 2020 Lawyer of the Year for Missouri in the area of Litigation-Insurance, and is a Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America.

Champion achieved the most defense verdicts in Missouri in 2012 and 2013 and one of the largest defense wins in 2011 and 2019. She serves as president on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, is a Fellow in the American Bar Foundation, and a Master in the Theodore McMillian Inns of Court.

Champion said that one of the best lessons she learned about how to be a strong leader was from her mother.

“The 1970s was a very unusual time for a woman to start a business,” Champion said. “Her advice was never get so big for your britches that you cannot humble yourself to serve the person who is working for you.”

It is obvious that Champion’s leadership style reflects her mothers advice, and it has served her well. Having a career built from serving and persevering, we will, without a doubt, continue to see Champion cross the finish line first.

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Did you know?

Debbie is a Kentucky girl at heart and is the true definition of a steel magnolia.


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