Kelly Knepper-Stephens

OF COUNSEL ATTORNEY

225 West Washington Street, Suite 575
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 334-3469
kstephens@messerstrickler.com

 

Kelly Knepper-Stephens focuses her practice on civil litigation, government regulation, and compliance, including representing clients in both individual and class action cases involving state and federal consumer laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and other federal and state regulations.  She is a Debt Buyer Association International Certified Receivables Compliance Professional and has earned the Credit & Collection Compliance Officer designation from the American Collectors Association.  Kelly serves on the Editorial Review Board for the Compliance Professionals Forum.  As General Counsel of Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC, a debt collection company, she served as a Small Entity Representative (SER) for the Arbitration Rulemaking and the Debt Collection Rulemaking.  Collection Advisor Magazine named Kelly one of the top 25 Women in Collections in 2016.

Ms. Knepper-Stephens received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, where she returned as a Visiting Professor of Clinical Law and Freidman Fellow from 2008-2011.  Kelly taught Professional Responsibility and Ethics and Constitutional Law as an adjunct professor at Temple University Law School, Japan Campus, and Criminal Law and The Criminal Justice System to undergraduates at Old Dominion University.

Ms. Knepper-Stephens developed her trial skills as a Deputy Public Defender with the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office where she litigated 29 jury trials and 1 bench trial.  She prepared 20 cases for trial that settled the morning of trial, two after she argued in-limine motions. Ms. Knepper-Stephens has filed over 35 pre-trial motions, fifteen of which resulted in a full dismissal of the case.  She has negotiated 22 full dismissals prior to trial.

Education

  • George Washington University Law School, Juris Doctorate

Admissions

  • Illinois State Bar

  • Maryland State Bar

  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California

  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California

  • United States District Court for the Central District of California

Speaking Engagements

  • HIPAA Compliance for Collection Professionals.  Hour long live webinar presentation for Lorman Education Services with Mark Hinely, KirkpatrickPrice.
  •  Attorney Ethics for Debt Collection Practitioners and Their Defenders, Part II. Hour presentation to be delivered at the ACA International Fall Convention & Expo, November 11, 2016.
  •  Will that be cash, check or charge? Ensuring Payment Processing Compliance in an Ever Changing Landscape.  One hour panel presentation to be delivered at the NARCA 2016 Fall Conference October 28, 2016.  Fellow presenters Joshua Dickinson, Spencer Fane; Nicole Strickler, Messer, Stilp & Strickler.
  • Ethics in the CFPB Era.  One hour panel presentation to be delivered at the NARCA 2016 Fall Conference October 29, 2016, with David Kaminski, Partner at Carlson Messer.
  • Business Ethics in the Day-to-Day World of Clients and Vendors in the ARM/CRM/BPO Industries.  Forty-five minute panel presentation to be delivered at the InsideARM First Party Summit October 18, 2016.  Fellow presenters: Barbara M. Woodworth, CGI Financial Solutions Group, Therese M. Yakel, Early Out Services, Inc., David Mertz, Global Debt Registry.
  • Extra Judicial Efforts to Regulate Attorney Debt Collection Conduct Harms the Profession, Clients and the Courts, Part II.  One hour panel presentation delivered at the Conference on Consumer Finance Law, September 16, 2016.  Fellow presenters: John Ryan, Hinshaw and Culbertson, and Donald Maurice, Jr., Maurice Wutscher, LLP.
  • Ethics as the Cornerstone of the Compliance Management System.  Two hour ethics session presented at the DBA International 2016 Executive Summit August 2, 2016 with Donald Maurice, Jr., Maurice Wutscher.
  • Protect Your Assets! Four Things you Need to Know for Call Center Compliance. One hour panel presentation delivered at the ACA International Convention & Expo, June 18, 2016.  Fellow panelists: Joshua Dickinson, Spencer Fane; Mike Poncin, Moss & Barnett; Nicole Strickler, Messer, Stilp & Strickler.
  • Attorney Ethics for Debt Collection Practitioners and Their Defenders. Hour and a half presentation with David Kaminski, Partner at Carlson Messer, delivered at the ACA International Convention & Expo, June 18, 2016.
  • Maintain TCPA Compliance—Understand What HIPAA Constitutes as a Health Care Message. One hour webinar presented through Lorman Education Services on April 12, 2016 with Ethan Ostroff, Partner at Troutman Sanders.
  • Ethics as the Cornerstone of the Compliance Management System.  Two hour ethics session presented at the DBA International 2016 Annual Conference February 9, 2016 with Donald Maurice, Jr., Maurice Wutscher.
  • All You Need to Know About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act but Didn’t Know to Ask.  One hour webinar presented two times through Lorman Education Services on June 15, 2016 and December 17, 2015 with Ethan Ostroff, Partner at Troutman Sanders.
  • How Extra-Judicial Efforts to Regulate Attorney Debt Collection Conduct Harms the Profession, Clients and the Courts.  One hour ethics session presented at the Annual Consumer Financial Services Conference at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law on November 20, 2015.  Fellow presenters with Donald Maurice, Jr., Maurice Wutscher, LLP, David Shultz, Hinshaw and Culbertson.
  • Defense Strategies for High Exposure Litigation.  One hour session presented at the InsideARM First Party Outsourcing Summit on October 13, 2015.  Presented with Bart Murphy, Partner at Ice Miller.
  • Out of Statute Debt.  One hour webinar presented through InsideARM on October 8, 2015.  Presented with David Kleber from Bedard Law Group, P.
  • Three Take Aways From the Dallas Debt Collection Dialogue.  Article posted September 30, 2015 on InsideARM.com (found at http://www.insidearm.com/daily/debt-collection-news/accounts-receivables-management/three-take-aways-from-the-dallas-debt-collection-dialogue/) (last visited November 7, 2015).
  • Impact of Recent Court Decisions on Your Call Center Operations (panelist).  One hour panel presentation delivered at the ACA International Convention & Expo, July 19, 2015.  Fellow panelists: Joshua Dickinson, Spencer Fane; Mike Poncin, Moss & Barnett; Nicole Strickler, Messer, Stilp & Strickler.
  • Performing Call Calibrations: Tips for Your Call Center Operations, Compliance Management.
  • System and Quality Control Protections.  One hour seminar presented at the ACA Mid-West Regional Conference on May 19, 2015.  Presented with Brian LaRoche, Product Marketing Manager, CallMiner.
  • Developments in Ethical Rules and Responsibilities, International and Multijurisdictional Practice in the Electronic Age.  Two-hour MCLE Seminar presented at Temple University Law School, Japan Campus on May 8, 2013.
  • Developments in Ethical Rules and Responsibilities, Four Practice Lessons from Recent Decisions.  Two-hour MCLE Seminar presented at Temple University Law School, Japan Campus on November 15, 2013.
  • Recent Developments in Ethical Responsibilities: Lessons from Five Real Stories.  Two-hour MCLE Seminar presented at Japanese In-House Counsel Network on April 17, 2014.
  • Developments in Ethical Rules: State Ethics Opinions and Real Stories that Impact Your Practice and Responsibilities. Two-hour MCLE Seminar presented at Temple University Law School, Japan Campus on May 20, 2014.

                                                     Representative Cases

  • Wilkerson v. State, Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 107, September Term, 2010.  Drafted petition for certiorari, petitioner’s brief, and reply brief and argued before Maryland’s highest court concerning Maryland’s application and interpretation of Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004).  Court remanded case to the lower court to hold a supplemental hearing on the Seibert challenge.  Had the court determined the police deliberately delayed giving the Miranda advisements or used the prohibited two-step/question-first tactic then the post-advisement statements relating to the pre-advisement statements would need to be suppressed at a new trial.
  •  Atkins v. State, Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 110, September Term, 2010; 26 A.3d 979; 421 Md. 434 (2011). Drafted petition for certiorari, petitioner’s brief, and reply brief and argued before Maryland’s highest court concerning the constitutionality of a jury instruction on the lack of scientific evidence presented by the State.  Court reversed and remanded for a new trial.
  • State v. Northam, Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 65, September Term, 2010.  Filed briefs and argued before Maryland’s highest court concerning whether a defendant could trigger a Maryland Rule regarding the right to fire his appointed counsel by writing the court but without mentioning any dissatisfaction orally.  Court affirmed decision of lower court upholding the conviction.
  • Anderson v. State, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, September Term, 2009, No. 2382.  In an unreported opinion the Court of Special Appeals reversed and remanded client’s firearm conviction because the trial court erred by conducting the trial in absentia.  Supervised the student team who filed briefs and argued before the court.
  • Bell v. State, M975655, March 29, 2006.  Four day DUI trial where jury returned a not guilty verdict. 
  • McCoy v. State, CN221722, January 18, 2007.  Two day assault with a deadly weapon (car) and battery trial.  Jury returned a not guilty verdict on all counts. 
  • Manriquez v. State, CN 221186, January 22, 2007.  Day and a half vandalism trial where jury returned a not guilty verdict. 
  • Hassler v. State, CN 219180, January 29, 2007.  Possession of a controlled substance trial, jury returned a not guilty verdict.  Successfully argued to the jury that client did not own the fanny pack containing drugs that he wore when arrested.
  • Grovom v. State, CN222103, March 20, 2007.  Evading arrest trial where jury returned a not guilty verdict.
  • Mutter v. State, CN 222529, March 27, 2007.  Two counts of resisting arrest.  Argued unlawful police conduct and excessive force.  Jury returned a not guilty verdict.
  • Le v. State, CN226510, June 4, 2007.  Two day DUI trial where jury returned a not guilty verdict.
  • Reilly v. State, S207361, June 9, 2008.  Brandishing a weapon at an off duty police office, and other related charges, where jury fully acquitted client.
  • Payne v. State, S216075, June 16, 2008.  DUI trial where jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.