Sarah C. Ellis


Growing up, Sarah Ellis would accompany her dad, who was a real estate developer and contractor, to his office almost daily and watched his excitement as he put together deals and made plans for new development. Those moments with her dad shaped Sarah’s career path, and she followed in his footsteps, in her own unique way. In a commercial development or transaction, Sarah can be found in a variety of roles, including the architect of the deal, lender’s counsel, title insurance agent, and borrower’s counsel. From government buildings, energy facilities, and manufacturing facilities to gas stations and hotels, there aren’t many project types that Sarah has not participated in. Beyond commercial developments and as Co-Leader of Steptoe & Johnson’s Bankruptcy and Workouts Team, Sarah works closely with banking clients on collateral, bankruptcy, and collection issues.

Click here to read: I Said, “Stop!” … Or At Least I Thought I Did: Borrower Complaint Letters That Trigger A Duty To Respond, WV Bankers Magazine, Pub. 13 2022 Issue 2

Representative Experience

  • Lender’s counsel in a transaction for the purchase of long-term care facility, as an interim measure to secure HUD financing
  • Borrower’s counsel for a long-term care provider in obtaining a HUD loan for the term financing of additional facilities
  • Frequently acts as lender’s counsel for the financing of GSA leased facilities
  • Represented a lending institution in a transaction involving the financing of cell towers in multiple states, including property title due diligence and reviewing cell tower licensing agreements with telecommunications vendors
  • Led a team of multi-disciplined lawyers and professionals in a transaction to finance the purchase of traditional oil and gas wells in numerous West Virginia counties. The project, completed for a multi-state bank, involved the due diligence and perfection of security interests for over 640 wells and over 1000 mineral and surface leases
  • Assisted a lending institution in strategically structuring a credit facility, specifically the collateral package, for borrower’s purchase of a high wall coal mine
  • Negotiated new easements and shared services agreements between adjoining major international manufacturing facilities to allow for access to necessary services
  • Provided survey review, environmental survey review, title insurance, and loan structure advice to an international manufacturing company for credit facilities in excess of over $600 million
  • Assisted lenders in negotiation and documentation of conventional and derivative financing totaling in excess of $5 billion
  • Conducted due diligence to ensure proper collateralization and documentation of credit facilities by assisting in the evaluation of real and personal property liens, appraisals, surveys, environmental surveys, taxes, mineral rights, corporate structure, leases, and other related items
  • Represented creditors by guiding them through the intricacies of bankruptcy, foreclosure, and collection methods to maximize recovery of secured and unsecured debt
  • Represent coal companies, in the purchase of assets out of bankruptcy, including stalking horse bidding, credit bidding, evaluation of assumed liabilities, and assignment of leases

Licensed In

  • Ohio
  • West Virginia


  • J.D. The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law
  • M.B.A. Ohio University
  • B.B.A. Ohio University


  • The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Board of Trustees
  • Bible Center School Board Member
  • The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Education Task Force
  • The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Distributions Committee
  • Community Bankers Association of West Virginia
  • Leadership Kanawha Valley 2007-2008
  • American Cancer Society Relay for Life Committee
  • WV Bankers
  • College of Business Outstanding Graduate in Management, Ohio University 2001
  • Masthead Editor, I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2024-Present), Corporate Law (2020-Present), Real Estate Law (2020-Present)
  • 2016 Super Lawyers® West Virginia Rising Star
  • Nancy H. Rogers Prize in Dispute Resolution, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law 2006


  • Co-author “Avoiding CCPA Debt Collection Traps – A Periodic Reminder,” WV Bankers Magazine, Winter 2020
  • Co-author “I Said, ‘Stop!’ … Or At Least I Thought I Did: Borrower Complaint Letters That Trigger A Duty To Respond,” WV Bankers Magazine, Summer 2022

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