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Experience matters. Meet the expert criminal defense team that has been solving legal problems for more than 26 years.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Columbus and Central OH serving Ohio and the U.S

When you are charged with a crime or face trouble with the law, you need someone who has the experience to be able to get the best possible outcome for your case. You deserve someone who believes the system was created by the people, for the people.

Too many people leave their attorney’s office feeling confused and more fearful than they were before they met.

That won’t happen at Palmer Legal Defense. We like to make things simple and understandable. And, almost everything can be made simple.

Work directly with the lawyer representing you, and while no attorney can ethically promise an outcome to a case, we can promise to work together to break down your problem to its lowest common denominator and get you the best possible outcome for your case.


We focus exclusively on criminal defense, and we’re here to solve your problem.

Steve Palmer

Owner and Partner


Stephen E. Palmer is a trusted Columbus criminal defense attorney for more than 26 years. Steve has developed a distinctive approach that puts clients at ease and gets to the heart of the matter to relieve fear and anxiety. Clients who work with Steve feel an almost immediate sense of relief after that initial conversation, because they understand that he will solve the problem and they will get through it. He is well known for his ability to simplify matters that feel very complex to clients.

Steve communicates in a language everyone understands. He delivers the good news, the bad news, and the ‘we need more information to answer that’ news. At the close of every case, Steve’s clients are confident that they received the very best possible outcome for their cases.

Steve Photo

Experience matters

Steve’s 26 years of experience spans thousands of cases and countless jury trials ranging from DUIs and misdemeanors to high visibility, complex federal cases. He believes no two cases are the same, and neither are his clients’ needs. To Steve, criminal defense isn’t just about representing a client in court; it’s about helping people solve their problems. Problems that are often not black and white legal matters.

He has practiced in courts all over the State of Ohio and in federal courts nationwide. His expertise and success have caught the attention of other criminal defense attorneys, leading Steve to provide consulting services for attorneys who need winning courtroom strategies.

Steve is both comfortable and capable of handling any matter inside (and outside) the courtroom. He draws upon his vast network (both local and national) to assemble the right experts, investigators, and consultants to meet the needs of each individual case and client. And when approached with cases outside his practice area, he helps people find the right person for the job through his extensive referral network of attorneys who practice other areas of the law.


Steve has been listed as a Top Lawyer on the Ohio Super Lawyers list every year since 2011. He was also featured in Columbus Business First’s 20 People to Know in 2014. He is a long-standing member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and remains active in the Ohio State Bar Association, speaking regularly on various criminal defense topics.

On the air

For the past 15 years, Steve has provided the Columbus radio audience with legal input on several local morning radio shows. He appeared every Wednesday morning on the highly-rated morning show 99.7 The Blitz with Loper and Randi. He has provided hundreds of callers with legal (and non-legal) insight on a wide range of problems.

Steve also produces a regular podcast, Lawyer Talk Q & A, which is dedicated to answering questions asked by the public about various legal problems and situations.

Outside of the office

Aside from law, Steve is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys hunting, shooting, and virtually any other activity that puts him in touch with nature and the woods. With a background in construction, he also enjoys the quiet solitude of carpentry and woodworking. And when not in the courtroom, woods, or workshop, he enjoys classical guitar and continues with regular instruction and occasional performance.

Education / Awards & Distinction

Admissions & Professional Involvements

Publications / Speaking Engagements / Media

  • Ohio Courtroom Evidence, Third Edition, Lexis Law Publishing, 1998, co-authored with his father, John Palmer.
  • Order of the Curia, Law Review, Capital University, 1994-1995. Co-Author State v. Vega and Ohio’s Operating Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI) Law: per se Unconstitutional? Capital University Law Review, No. 3, Vol., 24, 1995.
  • Columbus Business First: 20 People to Know, November 2014
  • Seminar Speaker, Criminal Advocacy, Ohio State Bar Association, 2015
  • Lawyer Talk Podcast, ranked #2 for 15 Best Criminal Defense Podcast in 2022 by the Feedspot blog.

Rachel Palmer

Practice Manager

As the Practice Manager for Palmer Legal Defense, Rachel brings 13 years of experience in criminal justice (with expertise in corrections and investigations) and another 15 years in leadership, human resources, sales, and marketing to the practice.

Rachel has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ohio University, a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Tiffin University, and a PhD in Human Services with a specialization in Criminal Justice from Walden University.

Her business and criminal justice experience, combined with her extensive education, make her a tremendous asset to the practice and to our clients.

Rachel is also a published author of Ethics at One Ohio Prison and the Stepmom Survival Kit, with more to come!

Practice Manager Rachel Palmer

She is very involved in the Columbus community, participating in the Columbus Buddy Walk since 2008 and on the event committee since 2017. She is also the Yes! Columbus Board Advocacy Chair, and she volunteers for the Mid-Ohio Food Collective regularly.

Rachel is married to Steve and is Stepmom/Bonus Mom to Drew and Matt. She is also Dog Mom to Dexter and the overall Chaos Coordinator at home! Outside of work and volunteer activities, Rachel prioritizes time with family and friends. She also loves kickboxing, walking the dog, water sports, pageantry, and roller skating. On rainy days, one might find her binging on Netflix or curled up with a book. Cleaning and organizing are also favorites, but lifelong learning and helping others are passions that keep Rachel motivated.

Favorite Quote

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


Eric Yavitch

In Memoriam

On July 26, 2008, Eric Yavitch passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. This was a great loss to his family, to everyone at Yavitch & Palmer, and the entire legal community.

Eric and I founded Yavitch & Palmer with a dream—to provide professional legal service without pretense and prejudice. Eric exemplified these qualities. He was a master of his craft and was held in the highest regard by his peers. But Eric was far more than just a great lawyer. He strove to provide individual assistance and counseling to his clients. He sincerely cared about everyone he helped.

With Eric’s passing, it would be easy to abandon the Yavitch & Palmer tradition. But in his honor and memory, we will continue to provide fair, honest legal representation to those in need. In so doing, we will rely on Eric’s example as a guidepost. He lived his life selflessly. We should all strive to do the same.

Eric Yavitch