Stephen Zralek is a problem solver. Having practiced over 20 years, he is a commercial litigator who focuses on intellectual property, business and entertainment disputes. Clients seek Stephen’s advice as a result of his experience in the courtroom, his creative problem solving, his tenacity and his engaging approach. His personal philosophy is "Do great work, and take care of people."
Stephen has dedicated his career to helping clients resolve and avoid complex disputes involving class actions, copyrights, trademarks, patents, rights of publicity, trade secrets, non-compete violations, defamation and domain disputes, as well as disputes in the business and entertainment arenas. Stephen routinely appears in Federal Court, Chancery Court and the Tennessee Business Court, at both the trial and appellate level.
In addition to representing clients from the Nashville area, Stephen is routinely called on by clients, lawyers and in-house counsel from other cities to represent them here or to serve as local counsel in Tennessee state and federal courts. Clients in the political realm also call on Stephen to advise them on legal issues, campaign finance and election contests. Recent examples include obtaining a temporary injunction for the Biden for President campaign to keep polls open longer on Super Tuesday after tornadoes had closed some poling locations, and filing an amicus brief in the Tennessee Supreme Court on behalf of leading Tennessee epidemiologists who advocated expansion of absentee ballots to all eligible voters during the pandemic.
Upon graduating from law school, Stephen served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
- Won complete dismissal of Plantiff's contract and ERISA claims against corporate client in 7-day remote arbitration
- Won jury trial for home builder on misrepresentation and contract claims, Landmark Homes of Tennessee, Inc. v. Brown and Brown of Tennessee, Inc. (Chancery Court, Tenn.)
- Won unanimous jury verdict in copyright infringement trial involving architecture, Singletary Construction v. Reda Home Builders, et al. (M.D. Tenn.)
- Won judgment in trademark infringement bench trial between two competing businesses, Clark v. Southall (Tennessee Business Court)
- Won jury trial on behalf of personal manager against celebrity in contract dispute, Cassetty v. McCreery (Chancery Court, Tennessee)
- Won appeal dismissing suit that claimed right of publicity violations, by successfully establishing copyright preemption, Wells v. Chattanooga Bakery, Inc. (Tennessee Court of Appeals)
- Obtained partial summary judgment and dismissal in class action asserting consumer protection violations, McClendon v. North Carolina Mutual (M.D. Tenn.)
- Obtained summary judgment in copyright infringement case by proving Plaintiff did not own a valid registration, Nason Homes v. Singletary Construction (M.D. Tenn.)
- Ongoing representation of business in defense of federal and state trade secrets claims (W.D. Tenn.)
- Ongoing representation of clients in business disputes concerning issues of ownership, intellectual property, restrictive covenants and alleged misrepresentations
- Outside general counsel to international design firm on issues related to IP, contracts, dispute resolution and avoidance, international litigation, and employment advice
- Outside general counsel to bespoke guitar company
- Regularly represent parties in business divorce dispute and probate matters involving disputes over music and publishing royalties
- Routinely serve as local counsel for out-of-state lawyers with litigation in Tennessee state and federal courts
- Routinely handle matters seeking temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions
Professional Recognition and Activities
- The Best Lawyers in America®
- Best of the Bar, Nashville Business Journal: Litigation and Intellectual Property
- AV© Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
- Super Lawyers - Mid-South for Intellectual Property Litigation
- Super Lawyers - Tennessee: The Top 100 Attorneys
- Avvo 10 out of 10
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- IP Committee - Vice Chair of Webinars
- American Bar Association
- Past Chair, Copyright Litigation Committee
- Trademark Litigation Committee and Sections of Litigation and Intellectual Property
- Nashville Bar Association
- Board of Directors (2017-2020), Executive Committee (2018-2020)
- Intellectual Property Section
- Federal Courts Section
- Tennessee Bar Association
- Leadership Law Program graduate (2007)
- Tennessee Supreme Court Board of Professional Responsibility
- Hearing Committee, appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court (2020-present)
- St. Bernard Academy
- Board of Trust (2019-present)
- Co-Chair of Head of School Search Committee
- Treasure, Friends of Bob Freeman, Tennessee State Representative (2018-present)
- Music City Music Council (MC2): Member (2019-2020)
- Sexual Assault Center: Board of Directors (2017-2020)
- Co-Chair of 1-in-6 Breakfast
- Leadership Nashville: Class of 2015
- Alumni Association Board of Directors (2019-present)
- Conexión Américas
- Chair of the Board (2013-2015)
- Board Member (2009-2016)
- Board of Ambassadors (2016- present)
- Co-Chair of Cafecito (2011)
- Percy Priest Elementary School Extended Day Program: Board (2016-2018)
- The Children’s House of Nashville: Board Member (2013-2016)
- Nashville For All of Us: Past Chair
- Family & Children’s Service: Chair of the Board of Directors (2007-08); Board Member (2001-09); Advisory Board (2015-Present)
Stephen is a frequent speaker and author on issues in intellectual property litigation, business litigation, litigating before the Tennessee Business Court and using remote technology in litigation. He has been quoted by USA Today, Managing IP and Young Entrepreneur; and featured in the ABA Journal. He co-authored “The Pro-IP Act: Another Weapon Against a Failing Economy,” published by the ABA’s Landslide magazine, as well as “Race is On to Recapture Copyrights,” published by The Tennessean.
Stephen has presented at conferences hosted by, among others, the Americana Music Festival; MusicBiz; the American Bar Association; the Tennessee Bar Association; the Nashville Bar Association; the PR Society of America; the Nashville Business Journal; Lipscomb University; Vanderbilt University; the Davidson County Judges; the House Democratic Caucus; PODCamp; and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Stephen was born and raised in Nashville. He and his wife, an interior designer, have two children.
- One of the finest lawyers I know.
Rated by a Partner in Entertainment Litigation
- Excellent, conscientious lawyer
Rated by a Partner in Litigation
- Excellent attorney. Have worked with on more than one occassion.
Rated by a Principal in Intellectual Property
- Mr. Zralek did an outstanding job in complex litigation involving land use and takings. I was extremely impressed with his knowledge, ability and artfulness in handling this difficult litigation.
Rated by a Judge in Litigation
Stephen J. Zralek In The News
Stephen is featured in the following articles: