Steven Bader is an appellate and litigation attorney that enjoys working with his clients to develop cost-effective solutions to complicated legal problems. His background and experiences allow him to serve his clients in various settings.

Appellate Practice

Steven is chair of the firm’s appellate practice. Steven is a clear writer and persuasive oral advocate. His approach, in every case, is to simplify the lower court proceedings, frame the issues on appeal, and guide the appellate court to a result supported by the law and the facts. He has authored briefs, motions, and petitions to the North Carolina Supreme Court, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. This includes cases involving statutory interpretation, common law principles, governmental immunities, certification of class actions, appeals from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and discretionary trial court rulings.

Steven has appeared and argued multiple times before the North Carolina Supreme Court, the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. For his efforts, Steven was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®: Ones to Watch in the field of Appellate Practice (2022) and North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2022).

Complex Litigation

In addition, Steven maintains an active litigation practice, defending businesses and individuals in casualty matters, including wrongful death suits, personal injury claims, construction defect litigation, and professional liability lawsuits.

Steven’s litigation practice is concentrated on defending retail and hospitality businesses sued by customers or patrons. This includes premises liability suits, negligence supervision/retention allegations, liquor liability claims, claims stemming from falling merchandise, and the like. Steven also helps with pre-suit investigations following a loss. Steven enjoys learning about each client’s business, nd takes pride in helping retail and hospitality clients protect their brand following suit.

Steven is a detail-oriented advocate who stays focused on the big picture. Most lawsuits come down to one or two big issues. Steven works with his clients to focus on these determinative questions and position the defense for a successful outcome, whether that comes through settlement, motion practice, or trial.

Insurance Coverage

Steven advises insurance carriers on coverage issues in first and third-party claims. He works with his clients to identify the issues at stake, account for different approaches, and find a pragmatic solution to insurance coverage questions.

Steven’s insurance coverage work also includes representing carriers in declaratory judgment actions in state and federal court. More recently, Steven has successfully litigated motions to dismiss for insurers sued for business interruption claims stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government shut-down orders.


Prior to joining Cranfill Sumner in 2019, Steven partnered at a mid-sized insurance defense firm in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His practice centered on general tort litigation, insurance coverage, and appellate advocacy. Steven briefed and argued numerous cases before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court. He also tried more than a dozen cases to jury. Steven was named a  Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2019.

Steven is an active member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI). His articles have been published in For the Defense (monthly publication of DRI), Minnesota Defense, and Bench and Bar of Minnesota. Steven maintains an AV Preeminent Rating with Martindale Hubbell.

Steven is a cum laude graduate of the Gonzaga University School of Law where he served as articles editor of the Gonzaga Law Review, an associate editor of the Gonzaga Journal of International Law, a research assistant, and a judicial extern at the Washington Court of Appeals. After law school, he served as a judicial law clerk in Minnesota District Court. While earning his undergraduate degree from Saint Cloud State University, Steven was a captain of the men’s track and field team.

Steven and his wife, who is also an attorney in Raleigh, are parents to three young boys and two energetic German Shepherds. When not practicing law or chasing his children (or dogs), Steven enjoys running, reading, history, skiing, watching sports, and cooking.


  • “Communicable Disease Coverage in the Age of COVID-19,” DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 64, No. 1, January 2022
  • “The Last Line of Defense: The ISO Virus Exclusion Meets COVID-19 Business Interruption Suits” (co-author with CSH colleague Jennifer Welch) DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 62, No. 12, December 2020
  • “Down on the Farm: Does the Pollution Exclusion Remove Coverage for E. Coli Infections Linked to Petting Zoos” DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 61, No. 7, July 2019
  • “Supreme Shift: Lessons the Defense Bar Can Learn from Recent Supreme Court Opinions” Minnesota Defense, Volume 39, Issue 3, Fall 2018
  • “Join the Retail and Hospitality Committee” (co-author), Minnesota Defense, Volume 38, Issue 2, Summer 2017
  • “Develop Effective Trial Themes from Discovery to Trial” Featured Article, DRI Trials and Tribulations, the Newsletter of the Trial Tactics Committee, Volume 22, Issue 4
  • “The Joke is on Your Client: An Analysis of Liability Coverage and Defense for the Creators of Online Parody Accounts” DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 57, No. 4, April 2015
  • “Every Dog Has its Day (In Court) – Defending Dog Attack Cases in Minnesota” Minnesota Defense, Volume 35, Issue 1, Spring 2014
  • “When the Grass Turns Brown: Prosecuting Marijuana Mixtures in Minnesota” Bench and Bar of Minnesota, Volume LXIX Number 1, January 2012

Most Recent Posts


Steven Bader Discusses Communicable Disease Insurance Coverage

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“Communicable Disease Coverage in the Age of COVID-19,” an article by Steven Bader recently appeared in For the Defense. Steven outlines what communicable disease coverage is intended to cover and the legal issues surrounding it throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  The article appeared in the January 2022 edition.… Read More


Cranfill Sumner Attorneys Volunteer for Legal Aid Eviction Project

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In May 2020, Legal Aid of North Carolina launched an effort to help North Carolinians who were struggling to pay rent and were facing eviction. Legal Aid paired available emergency financial support with a search for volunteer attorneys from across the state who could help negotiate past and future payments with landlords.… Read More