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About the Partners

The law firm of Barrett, Chapman & Ruta was founded in 1990 by two partners, Richard Lee Barrett and Victor Chapman, who have been friends since they were teenagers. Steven Ruta joined the firm shortly thereafter, having clerked for the U.S. District Court. BC&R is a full-service litigation firm representing both large and small business owners.


Richard L. BarrettRichard L. Barrett
lee@bcrlaw.net
Richard Lee Barrett ("Lee") is a senior partner with the law firm of Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P. A. in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Barrett began his professional career as a credit analyst and commercial loan officer with Southeast Bank in Miami, Florida. He left banking to attend law school at the University of Florida where he was awarded a teaching fellowship in Appellate Advocacy. While attending law school, Mr. Barrett also taught graduate level finance for the University of Florida's Executive MBA Program
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Education

Richard Lee Barrett ("Lee") is a senior partner with the law firm of Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P. A. in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Barrett graduated from Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida (an Orlando suburb) and for two (2) years attended Florida Technological University (now the University of Central Florida) on a wrestling scholarship. In 1979, he transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville where he received a degree in finance from the College of Business Administration. He was then hired by Southeast Bank Corporation where he received graduate level instruction in accounting, economics and banking to become a commercial loan officer in Miami, Florida.

He left banking to attend law school at the University of Florida where he was awarded a teaching fellowship in Appellate Advocacy. While attending law school, Mr. Barrett also taught graduate level finance for the University of Florida's Executive MBA Program

Work History

Mr. Barrett worked as a credit analyst/commercial loan officer for Southeast Bank in Sarasota and Miami before attending law school. While attending law school, he taught graduate school finance and worked as a law clerk for Turner, Kurrus & Griscti, P.A. a criminal defense firm. After graduation, he was hired and ultimately became a partner with Dempsey & Goldsmith P.A., a full service law firm with offices in Orlando and Tallahassee. In 1990, he joined with Victor Chapman, his best friend since the age of thirteen (13) to form Barrett & Chapman, P.A. and, in 1993, Steven Ruta became a full partner to create Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P.A., a full service litigation firm. Mr. Barrett has practiced law in the Orlando area since 1984. He concentrates his areas of practice in commercial litigation and focuses specifically on business sale and closely held corporate disputes.

Business Associations

Mr. Barrett is a member of the Florida Bar and the Orange County Bar Association ("OCBA"). He has served as Chairman of the Florida Bar's Law and Education Committee, and as Chairman of the OCBA's Technology Committee. Most recently, he served as Chairman of the OCBA's Business Law Committee which worked closely with the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in establishing the "Complex Business Litigation Court." In particular, Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P.A. worked with the Court's Office of Judicial Administration and the Clerk of the Court to serve as the small firm pilot program for implementation of the electronic filing (e-file) system now in place for all Business Court cases. Mr. Barrett has also served on the Florida Bar's Civil Procedure Committee and, in 2006, was appointed by Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court to be a member of a committee consisting of judges and attorneys charged with drafting model jury instructions for business related cases for use throughout the State of Florida. Mr. Barrett is also a long standing member of the Florida Association of Criminal Lawyers ("FACDL") and the Central Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers Association ("CFCDLA").

Awards

In 2006 and 2008, Florida Trend Magazine listed Mr. Barrett among the "Legal Elite" and was voted by his peers as among the State's top two percent (2%) of commercial litigators. Mr. Barrett is, individually, rated AV by Martindale- Hubble, which is its highest designation.

Volunteer Activities

Mr. Barrett serves as a Director and General Counsel for the Orange County Sheriff's Citizens Advisory Committee and for over ten years was a Director of the Police Athletic League ("PAL"). He is also a current Board member of the Orange County Sheriff's Foundation. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Orlando and serves as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for children in the Orange County Court system. In 2006, he received the OCBA's pro-bono volunteer of the year award for his work as Guardian ad Litem. Mr. Barrett is also a member of the OCBA Mentor Panel. Mr. Barrett is also a Director for the Earth Web Foundation, which funds and assists many worthwhile environmental organizations

Representative Clients

Mr. Barrett has a varied litigation practice. He has represented NASD Broker/Dealers in trade secret litigation, and software companies in patent infringement/intellectual property litigation. He specifically enjoys representing small business owners; although he has also represented Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, and F. Lee Bailey in his successful fight with the U.S. Government over legal fees. He has also represented professional football players, professional motocross racers and the head of Florida's Department of Insurance. He is also approved counsel for the Travelers Group of insurance companies.

Courts of Practice

Mr. Barrett is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, Florida Supreme Court and the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of the United States District Court of Florida. He is a member of the Florida Bar Association and can practice in all Florida courts.

Hobbies

Mr. Barrett, and his two sons, race motocross (off road motorcycles), and he carries his hobby into his work. Mr. Barrett represents most of the motocross tracks in Florida, particularly in premises liability issues. In 1999, Mr. Barrett and his brother raced the Baja 1000 desert race in Mexico and finished fourth in the Sportsman Class. He also is an avid scuba diver and coaches high school wrestling.

Victor L. Chapman Victor L. Chapman
victor@bcrlaw.net
Mr. Chapman graduated from Lake Brantley High School (Seminole County) in 1975. He then attended the University of Central Florida where he received his degree in Criminal Justice, cum laude, in 1979. Mr. Chapman graduated from Mercer Law School, cum laude, in 1983.
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Education

Mr. Chapman graduated from Lake Brantley High School (Seminole County) in 1975. He then attended the University of Central Florida where he received his degree in Criminal Justice, cum laude, in 1979. Mr. Chapman graduated from Mercer Law School, cum laude, in 1983.

Work History

Mr. Chapman served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force from 1983 until 1987. His duty assignments included defending Air Force members throughout Europe and the Middle East. He also served as a NATO Status of Forces Trial Observer in Turkish Courts where American servicemembers were being prosecuted. Mr. Chapman's last active duty assignment was as the Chief of Military Justice at George AFB in California where he acted as the chief prosecutor for that base after leaving active duty, Mr. Chapman served in the Air Force reserve. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals for his service. Since leaving the Air Force, Mr. Chapman has been a partner with the law firm (then) known as Dempsey & Goldsmith, P.A. (until 1990) and Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P.A. since 1990.

Areas of Practice; Business Associations

Mr. Chapman maintains a state wide practice that is devoted principally to the area of commercial litigation in state, federal and appellate courts throughout Florida. Mr. Chapman's practice includes contract disputes; landlord/tenant matters including commercial and residential matters; corporate shareholder and organizational matters; business torts; and an appellate practice in both state and federal appellate courts. Mr. Chapman also represents clients in commercial transactional matters such as the sale of businesses, contract negotiations, leases and other commercial relations. Mr. Chapman is AV rated by Martindale-Hubble, the highest peer review rating.

Mr. Chapman is a member of the Florida Bar and Georgia Bar and is admitted to practice in the following courts: the Supreme Court of the United States of America; the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida; the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida; and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Mr. Chapman is also a member of the Orange County, Florida Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.

Representative Clients

Mr. Chapman's litigation practice is quite varied. Mr. Chapman's clients vary from larger corporations to individuals and small business owners. Mr. Chapman's clients have included large national companies such as State Farm, British Airways, Steritech, Technomedia Solutions, LLC, Tropical Nut & Fruit, Inc. and Federal Alliance for Safe Home ("FLASH"). Mr. Chapman also represents local individuals and businesses such as Del-Air Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Inc., Ace Wrecker, Cyber-Test, Inc., Florida K-9 Services, Inc., Roxy's Nightclub, 105 Partners, LLP, Icon Nightclub, and Cairo Nightclub in both transactional and business litigation matters. Mr. Chapman is approved counsel for the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association ("FIGA").

Community and Business Activities

Mr. Chapman has served on numerous boards, including the Orange County Sheriff's Office Police Athletic League ("PAL"), four years as a member of the Orange County Sheriff's Office Citizen Review Board and the Regional Domestic Security Task Force. He is the Privacy Office for the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (and a member of the Governance Board of that organization). Victor is a guest lecturer with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center ("FLETC") on matters dealing with privacy issues in connection with the collection of intelligence information and compliance with federal (28 CFR, Part 23) and state law. He is a Benefactor Life Member of the National Rifle Association ("NRA") and a certified firearms instructor.

Ralph S. Ruta Ralph S. Ruta
steve@bcrlaw.net
Mr. Ruta is a native Floridian. He grew up in Brevard County, Florida and graduated from Titusville High School. Mr. Ruta attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. He graduated from FSU in 1984 cum laude with a degree in Political Science. Mr. Ruta attended Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York. He received his Juris Doctor from Cornell, cum laude in 1987, with a specialty in advocacy.
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Education

Mr. Ruta is a native Floridian. He grew up in Brevard County, Florida and graduated from Titusville High School. Mr. Ruta attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. He graduated from FSU in 1984 cum laude with a degree in Political Science. Mr. Ruta attended Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York. He received his Juris Doctor from Cornell, cum laude in 1987, with a specialty in advocacy.

Work History

Mr. Ruta returned to Florida after completing his legal education. He was appointed to serve as law clerk for the Honorable George C. Carr, Federal District Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In 1989 Mr. Ruta joined the Orlando office of Dempsey & Goldsmith, P.A., as a litigation associate. One year later, Mr. Ruta joined Lee Barrett and Victor Chapman in forming the law firm of Barrett & Chapman, P.A. When Mr. Ruta became a full partner of the firm in 1993, the firm thereafter became known as Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P.A.

Areas Of Practice; Business Associations

Mr. Ruta represents clients across Florida and the nation on a wide range of commercial litigation matters in state and federal court. Mr. Ruta's practice includes contract disputes; commercial, residential and mobile home landlord/tenant matters; corporate shareholder and organizational issues; business torts; and appeals to both state and federal appellate courts. Mr. Ruta also represents clients in commercial transactional matters such as the sale of businesses, contract negotiations, leases and other commercial relations. Mr. Ruta is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer review rating.

Mr. Ruta is a member of the Florida bar and is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States of America; the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; and the United States District Court for the Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida. Mr. Ruta is a member of the Orange County, Florida Bar Association.

Representative Clients

Mr. Ruta represents large corporations as well as small businesses and individuals. Representative clients include national companies such as Industrial Nanotech, Inc., ValleyCrest Landscape Development, Inc., Dryclean USA of Florida, Inc., Convergent Labels Technology, Inc., Total Car Franchising Corporation, and Transamerica Financing. Local businesses and business owners such as Brokers Title Companies, La Amistad Behavioral Health Services, DB Young & Associates, NationMark, Inc., Trend Supply, Inc., Southern Realty, Inc., Anthony's Pizza and others have retained Mr. Ruta in a variety of transactional and business litigation matters. Mr. Ruta has been approved counsel for several insurance companies such as Peachtree Casualty Insurance Company, Zurich North America, State Farm Insurance, Dairyland Insurance Company, and Explorer Insurance Company.

Community And Business Activities

Mr. Ruta is active in his community. He is a member of the Maitland, Florida Rotary Club where he has served as President, Secretary and Director. Mr. Ruta also served as the District Chairman of the Inaugural Rotary Gridiron Classic Football game. Mr. Ruta is also involved in the local school system. He serves as chairman of the Lake Sybelia School Advisory Counsel, a position he has held for six years; and was the Orange County School Board North Area Volunteer of the Year for 2005-2006. Mr. Ruta also coached youth sports for several years in local Little League and YMCA sports leagues.

Mr. Ruta is the former co-owner of a chain of retail hobby stores in the Central Florida area. His personal experience as a successful business owner gives him a unique and valuable perspective on business law. Mr. Ruta has been invited to speak at regional and national retailer summits and workshops including the Florida Association for Media in Education and Diamond/Alliance Game Distributors.


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