Stephen L. Barker

Managing Member | 859.255.8581


Steve has been defending public and private employers, higher education institutions, and K-12 school districts and school boards for over four decades. Steve’s practiced counsel has been instrumental in helping employers, universities, colleges and schools navigate numerous high-profile legal challenges. He has served as a special investigator of employee misconduct when circumstances required the investigation be handled by an outside party. His successes in these areas of the law have not gone unnoticed—he is a four-time Best Lawyers in America® Lexington Employment “Lawyer of the Year” and serves as Kentucky’s representative in the Employment Law Alliance. Most importantly to Steve, he was presented with the Henry T. Duncan Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Fayette County Bar Association, in 2011.


Applying the wealth of litigation experience he’s acquired over the course of his legal career, Steve mediates disputes in numerous areas of the law, including but not limited to, employment, business, personal injury, and domestic relations disputes.

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Areas of Practice

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Best Lawyers in America® Employment Law Lexington Lawyer of the Year (2013 & 2016)

Best Lawyers in America® Labor & Employment Litigation Lexington Lawyer of the Year (2014)

Best Lawyers in America® Labor and Employment Law Lexington Lawyer of the Year (2011)

Fayette County Bar Association Henry T. Duncan Award (2011)

Greater Lexington Paralegal Association Most Supportive Attorney Award (2015 & 2016)

Best Lawyers in America®: Mediation; Employment Law - Management; Labor & Employment Litigation

Kentucky Super Lawyers®: Schools & Education, Employment Litigation Defense

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow

United Educators Distinguished Counsel

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Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment Matters, UK Law/CLE 16th Biennial Employment Law Institute (2018)

You Don’t Have to Go Home but You Can’t Stay Here, presentation for the University of Kentucky on the Americans with Disabilities Act (2016)

How to Conduct Effective Investigations, presentation for the UK Law/CLE Inaugural Biennial Education Law Conference (2015)

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment Law Matters, presentation for the UK Law/CLE 14th Biennial Employment Law Institute (2014)

Addressing Complaints, presentation for the Education Law Association School Law Seminar: Legal Issues for Private, Religious, and Independent School Administrators (2015)

Mediation of Workplace Disputes: An Effective Approach for Municipalities, presentation for the 2014 Kentucky Municipal Clerks Institute

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Avoiding the Tenure Trap, United Educators Perspectives newsletter (2013).

CLE lecturer and author on litigation, employment law, education law and mediation topics.

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Professional Affiliations

National Association of College and University Attorneys: Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section

Employment Law Alliance: Kentucky Representative

Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance

Fayette County Bar Association: President (2003-2004)

Kentucky Bar Association: Inquiry Commission (2005-2011); House of Delegates (1986-1992)

American Bar Association: Employment Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections

Defense Research Institute

Fayette County Legal Aid: Director (1984-2009)

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Ethics Commission (1999-2003)

National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals

Association of Attorney-Mediators

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University of Tennessee, B.S. (1972)

University of Kentucky, J.D. (1975)

  • Order of the Coif

  • Kentucky Law Journal

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Paralegal Support