Ellen Sturm is a lawyer with Cellino & Barnes law firm and was Steve Barnes‘ girlfriend.
On October 2, Barnes’ private plane crashed with two fatalities en route from Manchester, New Hampshire, to Buffalo, New York, in the town of Corfu, New York. Barnes was one of the founders of Cellino & Barnes, a nationally famous personal injury law firm.
WBEN’s Tom Puckett reported that Barnes was piloting the aircraft at the time of the crash.
Ellen Sturm Finished No. 1 in Her Law School Class at the University of Buffalo
According to Sturm’s now-deleted profile on Cellino & Barnes’ website, she specializes in personal injury law. Sturm, 64, graduated from law school at the University of Buffalo in 2001 where she finished at the top of her class.
Sturm is licensed to practice law in New York, Delaware and Florida. Prior to working at Cellino & Barnes, Sturm worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, in Philadelphia. Sturm was previously a law clerk for Judge Eugene F. Pigott, a senior judge of the court of appeals in New York state. Sturm has been at Cellino & Barnes since 2009.
Sturm Filed Suit Against Ross Cellino in 2017, Accusing Him of Withholding Money From a Successful Lawsuit
In February 2020, during the public break-up of Ross Cellino and Steve Barnes’ legal practice, it was widely reported that Sturm accused Cellino of unethically profiting from a successful case in 2017.
Sturm claimed that Cellino made “several million dollars from the settlement” while Sturm never received her pre-agreed cut of $936,220. As a result of not receiving her settlement, Sturm sued Cellino for more than $3.7 million in November 2017. Sturm worked on the case with Steve Barnes’ brother, Richard, who worked at Cellino & Barnes for 16 years. According to the lawsuit, “Ross is fond of complaining about Ellen Sturm and Richard Barnes.” Another section read, “Ellen Sturm has a resume that is more impressive than any attorney at our firm.” A deal was struck in the lawsuit prior to the dissolution of the firm.
The Buffalo News reported in February 2020 that in 2012, Barnes objected to Ross Cellino wanting to hire his daughter, Jeanna, a job at the firm. Jeanna Cellino is a 2012 University of Buffalo Law School. The Buffalo News report said that Barnes objected because he did not want “nepotism” in the firm.
Barnes Brought Sturm Into Cellino & Barnes in 2009 & the Couple Has Been Dating for More Than a Decade
In a 2020 feature on the law firm’s break-up, New York Magazine described Barnes as bringing Sturm into the law firm. A 2014 email from Ross Cellino to Steve Barnes was quoted in the article as reading:
When you approached me about having Ellen join the firm you assured me that your relationship with her would not interfere with the management of the firm.
The same statement was made about your brother. To your brother’s credit he has not interfered with the operation of the firm. The same cannot be said about Ellen.
The article said that Barnes and Sturm owned two lakefront homes in the Buffalo-area.
On her Cellino & Barnes profile, Sturm says that the “resilient spirits” and “the courage to go on in the face of adversity” are the qualities she sees regularly in her clients. Sturm says, “I take very seriously my commitment to do absolutely the best job that I can for them.” A letter to the Buffalo News during the coverage of the break-up of Cellino & Barnes said that Sturm and Barnes had been together for “over a decade.”
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