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phone:   (303) 564-3669

For more than 25 years, Steve has represented local and national media companies, online publishers, and individuals in defending claims based on content, fighting subpoenas, and seeking access to government information and proceedings. He represented large coalitions of press outlets in connection with coverage of such events as the federal prosecution of Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), the sexual case against Kobe Bryant, the Aurora theater shooting, and the Oklahoma City bombing trials. He secured access to public records related to the police killing of Elijah McClain, the 1 October shooting massacre in Las Vegas, the mass shooting at Columbine High School, and the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.

Steve is an active leader in the national media law bar. He is a past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law, and has chaired several other committees within the ABA and the Media Law Resource Center. Steve also serves as the President of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, which educates about and promotes greater transparency in state and local governments.

Steve has taught media law and internet law at the University of Colorado and at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Steve was a freelance documentary producer at KQED, the public television station in San Francisco.


Steve was a partner at the highly regarded First Amendment boutique law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, which merged with Ballard Spahr in October 2017.   In January 2021, he launched his solo practice, and Mike Beylkin joined the firm in January 2024 .

Representative Experience

  • Persuaded a Colorado judge to lift an unconstitutional prior restraint order that prohibited a newspaper from publishing materials its reporter had lawfully obtained from a court clerk, including grand jury testimony.

  • Obtained  dismissal of a libel suit against a Denver television station and The Denver Post newspaper under Colorado's anti-SLAPP statute.  The court found that the publications at issue, that reported on a series of complaints against a private vendor to the state's Department of Public Health and Environment, were substantially true and protected by the "fair report" privilege.​

  • Obtained a published precedential ruling from the California Court of Appeal holding that  the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with the strict statutory deadline for responding to public records act requests.   The Court rejected PUC's claim that records requesters must wait for months or years, exhausting internal administrative appeals, before having access to the courts.

  • Obtained dismissal under Colorado's anti-SLAPP Act, of a defamation lawsuit brought by anti-abortion activists against a book author for labeling their campaign to discredit Planned Parenthood  "fake news." The court held the challenged publications were substantially true.  Colorado's Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling.

  • Successfully defended the Denver Post and KUSA-TV in a libel suit brought by a convicted felon who disputed the details of a press release from the District Attorney's Office announcing the jury's verdict.  Colorado's Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal under the "fair report privilege."

  • Successfully defended a weekly newspaper in a defamation action brought by the former head of Emergency Medicine at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. The court held that the challenged articles were substantially true.​​​

  • Obtained a published decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirming summary judgment for Clarity Media Group on 75 copyright infringement claims brought by two photography licensing agencies. The claims were premised on celebrity photos posted to the website by paid third-party contributors. ​

Professional Highlights

Leadership Activities

  • ABA Forum on Communications Law, past Chair

  • Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, President

  • ABA Section on Torts, Trial and Insurance Practice, Media, Privacy & Defamation Law Committee, past Chair

  • Media Law Resource Center, State Legislative Committee, past Co-Chair; Newsgathering Committee, past Co-Chair; and Internet Law Committee, member

  • Colorado Broadcasters Association, past member, Board of Directors

  • Media Law Reporter (Bloomberg Law), member Editorial Board

  • Sturm College of Law, University of Denver, past Adjunct Professor

  • ACLU of Colorado, Legal Panel

Honors and Recognition

  • 2021 First Amendment Award, Society of Professional Journalists - Colorado Pro Chapter

  • Chambers USA, "Leader in the Field," First Amendment Litigation (Nationwide), 2019-present

  • The Best Lawyers in America, First Amendment law, First Amendment litigation, media law, 2003-present

    • "Lawyer of the Year," First Amendment Law (Denver), 2014, 2016, 2019, 2021, 2024

    • "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - First Amendment (Denver), 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024

  • Colorado Super Lawyers, media & advertising, 2009-2010, 2012-2017, 2019-2023

  • Law Week Colorado, Lawyer of the Year 2011, 2015; Barrister's Best 2018; "People's Choice" for

    • Colorado's Best Communications/Media Law Lawyer  2017, 2019

  • Marquis' Alfred Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018

  • Colorado Press Association "Friend of the First," 2014

  • ACLU of Colorado "Sherman Award," 2009

  • Colorado Lawyers Committee, Lawyer of the Year Award 1997

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating

Selective Publications

For additional publications, click here


Yale Law School (J.D. 1994)

Stanford University (B.A. 1982) (with honors)




U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

U.S. Supreme Court

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