Michael E. Flowers
Of Counsel, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
(614) 456-1655
Office: Columbus
Energy
Business
Employment
Litigation
J.D. The Ohio State University
B.S.B.A. Bucknell University
Licensure: OH
See Education

Biography

Mike Flowers is a trusted business advisor, as well as a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion within the legal profession.  His focus on diversity issues led to him being named the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the firm.  In that role, Mike works with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and firm leadership to develop, implement, and execute the firm’s aggressive initiatives around diversity and inclusion.  Mike champions policies that impact attorney and staff recruiting, increase attorney retention and engagement, and  create an inclusive and welcoming culture.  Mike works with clients and prospects to learn about their diversity initiatives and develops strategies to work side by side to further the missions of both organizations.   Learn more about Steptoe & Johnson Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

Mike helps business owners and entrepreneurs work to advance their enterprises and he is often in the room when his clients consider significant events in the life cycle of their business. They trust him to help them develop and implement strategies for business structure,  succession planning, and acquisition and divestitures.  Additionally, Mike helps clients secure debt and equity financing and negotiate and finalize major vendor contracts.  His clients include publicly traded manufacturing companies, private equity funds, regional public and private non-profits, regional and national real estate developers, and higher education institutions.

Mike served for 12 years as a member of the Columbus State Community College Board and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University.  He is  a member of the Minority Development Financing Advisory Board, appointed by former Ohio Governor John Kasich. He served on the Small Business Advisory Council where he  advised the former Ohio Lieutenant Governor on the Common Sense Initiative, aimed at reducing the potential adverse impact of various government rules and regulations on small businesses.

On the national level, Mike is a former chair of the 50,000-member Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association (ABA) and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the ABA. On behalf of the ABA, Mike has worked on legal reform projects in 6 countries in Africa and he now serves as a special advisor to the Board of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative which operates legal reform projects in more than 50 countries around the world.

Mike is also an elected member of The American Law Institute which for nearly a century has been dedicated to clarifying and improving the law.

Work Experience

2016 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2008-2016 Vice President & Chief Legal Counsel, KBK Enterprises
1995-2007 Bricker & Eckler, LLP
1979-1995 Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP

Speaking Engagements

Moderator of Presidential Panel for AICUO 2019 Higher Education Conference, June 2019

“Introduction to Opportunity Zones,” Central City Developers Roundtable, May 2019

“Introduction to Opportunity Zones,” Central Ohio Investment Network (COIN), April 2019

"Why Rule of Law is an Imperative," Columbus Business First, 2016

"Common Sense Initiative Improving Ohio's Business Environment," Columbus Business First, 2015

"How Magna Carta has Flexed an Enduring Legacy in our Nation," Columbus Business First, 2015

"Legal Services Needs Full Funding to Meet Rising Demands of Poor," Columbus Business First, 2015

"How Ohioans Win if They Know About Their Judiciary," Columbus Business First, 2015

"Rising Tide of Cyber Attacks Puts U.S. Businesses on Legal Defensive," Columbus Business First, 2014

"Why the Jury System Helps to Preserve America's Democracy," Columbus Business First, 2014

Key Experience

Review and negotiate major shipping contract with international carrier for a publicly traded lawn and garden product manufacturer
Negotiated contract terms between lawn and garden manufacturer and an insolvent major national retailer who was operating under the protection of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Organized county-wide land trust in Ohio as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, including crafting governing documents and recommended management structure

Memberships & Awards

Professional
The Business Journal Influencers: Law, 2019
Board of Governors, American Bar Association (2012-2015)
Member, American Law Institute
Special Advisor, Rule of Law Initiative, American Bar Association
Member, Board of Trustees, Ohio State Bar Foundation (Received Ritter Award for Professionalism in 2005), 2010-2012
Peer Review Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell
The John Mercer Langston Bar Association Distinguished Leader Award, 2006
Best Lawyers® 2020 Columbus, OH Commercial Finance Law, Lawyer of the Year
The Best Lawyers in America® 2005-2006; 2017, 2018, 2019 (Commercial Finance, Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Real Estate Law, Securities Law)
The Ohio State University Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award, 2006
America's Top Black Lawyers, Black Enterprise Magazine, 2003
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Distinguished Alumni Award, 2000
Chair, Section of Business Law, American Bar Association (1999-2000)