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About me

I studied mathematics at Renssealaer Polytechnic Institute before transferring to SUNY Oneonta to become a teacher.  While searching for my first permanent teaching position, my father suffered a heart attack and I went to work in his custom woodworking business.  That was intended to last only until he got back on his feet.  Ten years later, I was still at it.  Then, for family reasons, my wife and I moved to Arizona.  The initial plan was for me to get a masters degree and return to teaching, until my father-in-law suggested that I consider law school, which at the time in Arizona was very affordable.  "Besides," he argued, "even if you did not like law, you would still have an advanced degree to use to get back to teaching."  As it turns out, the practice of law was a perfect fit.

While custom woodworking and the practice of law might appear to have nothing in common, both require patience, exacting standards, and attention to detail.  My father and I never worried about satisfying a customer becuase invariably my father's standards and expectations were much higher than the customers.  If he was satisfied, the customer was satisfied.  That is the same work ethic I apply in my practice. 


I am admitted to practice in Arizona, the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Employee Benefits: 75%
    17 years
  2. Appeals: 25%
    20 years



Hourly ($350-450/hour), contingent (10-45%)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

7 total 

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  • Andrew R. Alex

    I endorse this lawyer.


    Andrew Alex Car accident Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Jonathan A Millet

    Attorney Koelbel's advice is spot on; as shown by the answers he has posted to questions on appellate law, he takes the time to answer questions in a common sense manner and plainly addresses legal issues.


    Jonathan Millet Trusts Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Ober & Pekas, PLLC

3030 N. 3rd St. Ste. 1230
Phoenix, AZ, 85012


AZActive 199503/30/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Super Lawyer (Southwest) Employee Benefits/ERISASuper Lawyers2007
Closing Argument FinalistArizona Association of Defense Counsel1995
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyOber & Pekas, PLLC2016 - Present
AttorneyLaw Offices of Kevin Koelbel, P.C.2009 - 2016
AttorneyCounters & Koelbel, PC2000 - 2008
AssociateThe Cure Law Firm1999 - 2000
AssociateHobson & Ringler1996 - 2000
Association namePosition nameDuration
Arizona Employment Lawyers AssociationBoard Member2013 - Present
MedFlight911Executive Board Member2012 - Present
State Bar of ArizonaUnauthorized Practice of Law Committe Member2010 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Bachelder v. America West Airlines, 259 F.3d 1112 (9th Cir. 2001)client reinstated with back pay
Hunt v. Pasternack, 192 F.3d 877 (9th Cir. 1999)Court of Appeals reversed district court in favor of my client
Morgan v. Admin. Comm. of Wal-Mart Stores, 214 F. Supp. 2d 1047 (D. Ariz. 2002)Judgment in favor of the employee
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of LawN/AJ.D.1995
State University of New York, College at OneontaMathematicsB.S.1984
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteMathematicsN/AN/A
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
2015 AzELA ConventionReally? Forcing Defendants to Narrow the Issues in Dispute in Pleading Practice2015