Best Lawyers in America Cover Story
July 27, 2012
Steve Dichter and Doug Christian were law partners during the 1980’s before parting ways to work at different big firms.
In 2005 they reunited to form what is now Christian Dichter & Sluga, P.C. “I got a call from an old friend in 2004 inviting me to lunch at a pizza shop down the street,” recalls managing partner Doug Christian. “It was Steve. He asked if I was interested in working together again and building a firm from the ground up. . . practicing law the way we knew it could and should be practiced. I still recall my response, ‘In a heartbeat.’ We did, and have never looked back.”
With their partner Gena Sluga, Dichter and Christian have assembled a dynamic group of lawyers. “I’m in way over my head,” Christian professes. “Steve is the 2012 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year for Banking and Finance Litigation in Phoenix; Gena brings her Berkeley Law analytic skills and Southwest Super Lawyers listing to our coverage practice; and Alison Christian is recognized as a Southwest Super Lawyers ‘Rising Star.’ It’s a talented group.”
This small Phoenix firm already packs a big wallop. It is ranked by U.S. News—Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” as a First Tier Metropolitan Phoenix Law Firm in three categories: Insurance Law, Personal Injury Defense, and White Collar Criminal Defense. Protestations notwithstanding, Christian has played a formative role in the firm’s ascendance, and has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® for Insurance Law and Personal Injury Defense Litigation, along with many related accolades.
The firm’s success has resulted in an increasingly diverse practice. “Our wheelhouse is insurance law. I’ve been litigating insurance coverage and bad faith claims since the recognition of the tort of insurance bad faith in Arizona. Today, we advise insurers and policyholders on insurance coverage and claim practices, and, when needed, we have lawyers who know their way around the courthouse. But we don’t want to be branded as a ‘boutique shop’ in any one practice area,” says Christian. “We’re not trying to be anything in particular other than good lawyers giving our clients a day’s work for a day’s pay. Adding Charlie Callahan’s insurance defense practice, along with associates Jeff Hutchins and Micalann Pepe, we continue to expand the scope of what we do.” Christian’s highest praise is reserved for his friend and partner, Steve Dichter. “He’s as good as it gets. I don’t know a brighter, more intuitive lawyer. In baseball lingo, he’s a five-tool player. He can do just about anything and do it well. He was recently brought on to the defense team for an intellectual property lawsuit in Federal District Court. He effortlessly assimilated a mountain of facts, seamlessly assumed his role on the trial team, and got a defense verdict.”
A large measure of Christian Dichter & Sluga’s success is attributable to the unique presence it has in Las Vegas through its joint venture affiliate, Christian, Kravitz, Dichter, Johnson & Sluga. According to Christian, “I started Lewis and Roca’s Las Vegas practice in the mid-1990’s under the name Christian & Petersen to comply with Nevada ethics rules. While practicing primarily in Nevada, I learned first-hand that you need a formidable presence on the ground in Las Vegas to compete. When we started this firm we joined forces with my old friends Marty Kravitz and Gary Schnitzer and their Las Vegas firm Kravitz Schnitzer Sloane & Johnson to form the joint venture firm. I wouldn’t try to maintain a Phoenix-Las Vegas practice without them. They know Nevada like we know Arizona.”
So what does the future hold? Christian chuckles, “For us, future is a relative term. Steve and I are, stated charitably, a bit more mature in the practice than the others. We believe that we still add value to resolving our clients’ problems. But we are confident that our younger lawyers know our clients’ needs and know how to do things the right way. . . professionally, respectfully. When the time comes, they’ll be fine.” In the meantime, Steve Dichter and Doug Christian continue to demonstrate that, at least for a couple of old Arizona trial lawyers, Thomas Wolfe was wrong. . . you can go home again.
Christian, Dichter & Sluga, P.C.
July 27, 2012
We’re a new, innovative Phoenix law firm, whose lawyers offer a breadth of experience obtained with large law firms and government agencies.
Each of us attended a U. S. News & World Report First Tier law school and collectively we now comprise a First Tier Metropolitan Phoenix Law Firm in the categories of Insurance Law, Personal Injury Defense, and White Collar Defense, as designated by U.S. News—Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.”
Deeply rooted in Phoenix’s legal community, we’re in it for the long haul, providing common sense advice along with experienced, effective advocacy.
PRACTICE AREAS: Insurance Law, Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense, Business Litigation, Personal Injury Defense, Professional Liability Defense
Doug Christian has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the Insurance Law category since the category’s inception in Arizona in 2005. Doug, practice group leader Gena Sluga, and associate Alison Christian emphasize insurance coverage and bad faith litigation in their practices. We advise national insurers, claim administrators, and risk managers on commercial and personal lines insurance coverage in Arizona and Nevada.
White Collar Criminal Defense:
Steve Dichter’s listings in The Best Lawyers in America® for White Collar Criminal Defense and Banking and Finance Litigation complement his practice emphasis on civil and criminal financial fraud. Along with Jeff Hutchins and Micalann Pepe, Steve leads our commercial litigation and criminal defense practice. He is an experienced trial lawyer and trusted advisor for businesses and individuals in Arizona and Nevada.
Personal Injury Defense:
Doug Christian is recognized in this category in The Best Lawyers in America® and has tried personal injury cases across Arizona, from Flagstaff to Tucson. With the addition of Charles Callahan’s trial experience we can provide cost-effective representation to insurers, businesses, and individuals through innovative fee structures and litigation management services.
Other practice areas include Professional Liability, Intellectual Property, and Product Liability litigation.