Mike wholeheartedly enjoys his work. He is a former Chair of the Executive Committee of Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP and served on the Executive Committee for 12 years before he became Chair. He led the firm into its merger with Bricker & Eckler LLP when it became Bricker Graydon LLP on April 1, 2023.

Mike practices in the areas of bankruptcy, banking, commercial loan, and real estate workouts. He is also a member of ABI, ABLF, TMA fka TACR (where he is a past President), and the CBA Bankruptcy Committee (where he is past Chair).

Mike is a frequent lecturer on a wide variety of topics including annual case law updates for many years for the CBA (real estate and bankruptcy), NKBA (bankruptcy), and SWOLTA (real estate). He has also provided case law updates for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio biennial Bench Bar Conference and has moderated and served on panels for the Midwest regional Bankruptcy Seminar, Inc. (where he is a past Chari)

Mike has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Banking and Finance Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization, Litigation-Banking & Finance and Litigation-Bankruptcy. He has also been selected as The Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” for his work in Litigation-Bankruptcy, Litigation-Banking and Finance and Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. Additionally, Mike has been named Ohio Super Lawyer for his work in Banking Law and Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law. He has also been named a Cincinnati Leading Lawyer. Mike is recognized with an AV Rating, the highest rating given to lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell.

Mike offers outstanding client service. He refers to his clients as “great” and relishes his role as counselor. His client service philosophy includes providing prompt, efficient service and continually updating clients on the progress of matters. He has said, “If a client ever had to ask me for the status of a matter, I would think I have failed since I have not kept them up-to-date.”

Mike and his wife have been married since 1981 and have three adult daughters, of whom he is very proud. Mike is also passionate about college basketball and card playing – he’s been part of a card-playing group that has met monthly since 1977. He is currently the Board Chair of Parkinson’s Support & Wellness, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which he started.


University of Kentucky, B.A., cum laude, History (1976)

University of Kentucky, Graduate School, History, Spring Semester (1977)

University of Cincinnati College of Law, J.D. (1980)


Ranked, Chambers USA – Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Band 3 (2024)

Professional Activities

Member, Turnaround Management Association

Board Chair, Parkinson Support and Wellness Inc.

Member and VOLO Editor, American Bankruptcy Institute

Member, American Bankruptcy Law Forum

Member, Cincinnati Bar Association - Quid Pro Am Committee

Member, Kentucky Bar Association

Member, Northern Kentucky Bar Association

Member, Ohio State Bar Association

Past Chair and Former Board Member, Midwest Regional Bankruptcy Seminar

Past Mentor, Ohio Supreme Court

Fellow, Ohio State Bar Foundation


Presentations & Publications

Outside The Office

Mike Debbeler is a natural born teacher. He’s a teacher in the sense that another word for teaching is sharing.

“I love teaching,” Mike says. “I think the ability to help people understand complex subjects and hopefully pass on to them my love for this subject or that subject, and then watch them grow from the experience – it’s a joy.

“Any decent kindergarten teacher would say the same thing.”

To that end, Mike speaks at a cluster of seminars each year, all related to some area of his area of practice. He began speaking at seminars a couple years after starting his practice in 1981. For the past couple decades, he was involved in putting together the Midwest Regional Bankruptcy Seminar.

He has also moderated various panels of judges and takes pride in having addressed racism and sexism in the court system on those occasions. And as a VOLO editor for the American Bankruptcy Institute, he is often asked to write case summaries about new decisions. The assignments require speedy turnarounds.

“You have three hours to accept and 24 hours to write the summary. I’ve had requests come at midnight. I always like doing them.”

He taught students at the University of Cincinnati College of Law when he was a student himself – that as a third-year law student in the Appellate Advocacy course. He was also a Visiting Instructor in Law at UC teaching Legal Writing and Research and Appellate Advocacy. A fear of public speaking, he does not have.

Mike’s idea of a nightmare scenario would be to somehow slip into a wormhole and wake up in a world without books. He’s one of those readers who is perpetually in the middle of not just two or three books but a whole bunch of them He has read every legal thriller with John Grisham’s name on it and snaps up anything new from Scott Turow and Jeffrey Toobin.

But his reading takes in many more genres than legal fiction. There isn’t much he loves more than finding a new subject to focus on. He then sets out straightaway to collecting the right literature that will give him more than an armchair acquaintance with whatever worlds those interests inhabit, to wit:

He’s happy at Bricker Graydon. “The Firm lets me do what I love to do and encourages me to do it. This is a good place for me.”

J. Michael Debbeler, Bricker Graydon LLP Photo

J. Michael Debbeler

  • 312 Walnut Street
    Suite 1800
    Cincinnati, OH 45202 -4152


  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court – Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court – Northern District of Ohio
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