Montroll, Backus & Oettinger, P.C.

Our Team

Steve Watson



  • Duke University (1972)
  • The Juilliard School (1973)
  • Goddard College (B.A., 1985)
  • University of New Hampshire School of Law (J.D., 1990)
  • Career Prosecutor Training, Houston, Texas (1992)
  • Custody Dispute Mediation Training, University of Wisconsin (1996)

Areas Of Practice


  • Member, Northwestern Medical Center Ethics Committee, 2017
  • Board of Directors of Northeast Kingdom Human Services, 2004 to 2005
  • President, Vermont Children’s Theater in the Northeast Kingdom, 2003 to 2004


"I pursued a career as a singer in New York City before going to law school and sang professionally in numerous opera productions and musicals. I still love to sing for others, mostly with my guitar in informal settings."

My 25 years of trial experience help me develop a realistic and efficient strategy for clients who need to file a lawsuit or have been sued. It also helps me negotiate settlements for clients who need to avoid the uncertainty and expense of litigation.

Steve Watson

Steve Watson has tried over seventy cases to verdict. After clerking for the Vermont Superior and District Courts, he began his career as a prosecutor in southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to his extensive experience with criminal trials, he has represented plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving intentional torts, business and contract disputes, dental and medical malpractice, insurance coverage, negligent construction, negligent supervision, products liability, property disputes, undue influence, workers’ compensation, and zoning and land use.

Both as a prosecutor and in private practice, Steve successfully represented persons who have been injured by the intentional and negligent acts of others. He created new legal strategies for difficult cases. As a prosecutor, he developed a domestic abuse task force to improve protection for victims, enhance the preservation of evidence, and increase the rate of conviction. He won the case that established the precedent for using expert testimony on the cycle of violence so that juries could understand that victims of domestic abuse often deny that the abuse occurred. As a personal injury attorney, he established the precedent for civil damages when a parent negligently fails to control a child who sexually abuses a neighbor’s child.

Steve has also successfully represented those who have been wrongfully accused of harming others. As a criminal defense attorney, he obtained the dismissal of sexual assault charges for prosecutorial misconduct where a prosecutor misrepresented the statements of a claimant in order to initiate criminal charges.

Steve moved to Vermont in 2002 to become the director of the St. Johnsbury Community Justice Center, which is a restorative justice initiative that helps victims, offenders, and their neighbors address the effects of crime. As its director, he started several neighborhood groups to help residents become active in making their neighborhoods safer. He organized community forums to discuss difficult issues such as needle exchange services for addicts and how to help offenders successfully return to the community after getting out of jail.

In 2004 Steve joined the St. Johnsbury office of Downs Rachlin Martin, PLLC, and continued to develop his litigation practice. In 2009 he started his own firm. He joined Montroll, Backus & Oettinger, P.C., in 2017.

Steve is admitted to practice in the state courts of Wisconsin since 1990 and in the state courts of Vermont since 1991. He is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the District of Vermont and the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and in the United States Supreme Court.


Meet Our Highly-Acclaimed Team