Prior to joining Fitch Law Partners LLP in January, 1995, Steve Reilly had been with the Boston law firm of Hale and Dorr, where he became a junior partner in the litigation department in 1994. Steve graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1989. He earned his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in 1986 from Middlebury College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Since 2004, Steve has been recognized as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in an annual list published by a Thomson Reuters rating service in Boston Magazine. Only 5% of the lawyers in Massachusetts are awarded that designation.
At Fitch, Steve's practice has focused on general commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on the defense of banks and other financial institutions in tort and contract matters, the defense of electric utilities in complex liability cases, and real estate litigation. Among other clients, Steve has represented Bank of America, Fleet National Bank, the National Grid family of companies (including Massachusetts Electric Company and Granite State Electric Company), Boston Edison Company, Union Camp Chemicals, Ltd., and Walsh Construction Company.Steve has represented several different banks and financial services companies in connection with claims involving, among other things: letters of credit; bank operations and collections; commercial paper and check fraud; wire transfer fraud; safe deposit box litigation; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; the Fair Credit Reporting Act; the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, and Regulation E; the Truth In Lending Act, and Regulation Z; and legal process issues, including subpoena compliance, trustee process, attachments, search warrants and restraining orders.
By way of non-exclusive example, Steve represented the defendant bank in both the trial and appellate courts in Grassi Design Group, Inc., et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., 74 Mass. App. Ct. 456, review denied, 454 Mass. 1108 (2009). In that case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the bank in a complex check fraud saga. The Grassi decision is significant because it marked the first instance in which an appellate court in Massachusetts had ruled on the “same wrongdoer” rule set forth in Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) § 4-406(d)(2) -- a key defense to many check fraud claims. The Appeals Court also made it clear that, in a check fraud case such as Grassi, the bank’s customer bears the burden of proving that the bank did not exercise “ordinary care” as that term is specifically defined in UCC § 3-103(a)(7). Steve also represented the defendant bank in both the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Demelo, et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association, 727 F.3d 117 (1st Cir. 2013). In that matter, which involved complex allegations of predatory lending and wrongful foreclosure, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims. The First Circuit's decision, which turned on he application of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA"), establishes binding precedent for federal courts located in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico.
As a member of Fitch's admiralty and maritime practice group, Steve participated in a conference for international club correspondents in September 2013.Steve has appeared in both state and federal trial and appellate courts in Massachusetts. He has represented clients before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and in connection with investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.Steve is the author of Creating a Discovery Plan which appears as Chapter 3 of Massachusetts Discovery Practice (MCLE, Inc. 2002). Portions of that article were re-printed in a leading civil procedure textbook: Subrin, Minow, Brodin and Main, Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice, and Context 2nd Ed. (Aspen Publishers, 2004). Steve is also the co-author of Preparing To Take A Deposition, which appears as Chapter 3 of the Massachusetts Deposition Practice Manual, 2nd Ed., 1st Supplement (MCLE, Inc. 2008). He has lectured as a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education faculty panelist on multiple occasions. Steve is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, and is a member of the bars of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He has near native fluency in French.