Steve is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, where he represents clients in complex civil litigation matters before state and federal courts throughout the country. He has considerable experience with commercial disputes, constitutional challenges, statutory interpretation issues, and defamation and invasion of privacy suits. He is skilled at representing municipalities in cases involving so-called “locally undesirable land uses” such as airports, music amphitheaters, jails, or landfills. A past President of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, he regularly handles state and federal appeals involving a broad range of civil and criminal issues, often serving as lead appellate counsel or consulting counsel following an unfavorable result in a lower trial or appellate court.
Steve devotes a significant portion of his practice to representing not-for-profit hospitals in property and sales tax exemption controversies. He assisted with the drafting of 2012 legislation covering this unique area of law and has argued two appeals before the Illinois Supreme Court regarding that legislation, including one on behalf of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association that produced a unanimous ruling upholding the legislation’s constitutionality. His unique, and uniquely extensive, experience litigating hospital exemption issues, counseling hospitals and their affiliates in preparing property and sales tax exemption applications, and guiding hospital-related entities in contested proceedings before the Illinois Department of Revenue enables him to develop comprehensive, long-term strategies that enable his clients to minimize their tax liability and thereby devote more resources to their charitable purposes.
Steve is a founding member and current chair of the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee, a former member and two-term chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility, and a former outside General Counsel of The Chicago Bar Association. Although primarily intended as a form of public service, Steve’s involvement with professional ethics and liability issues has increasingly led to his retention by lawyers and law firms as an expert witness or as counsel regarding those issues.
Steve was recently appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to chair the Court’s Statutory Court Fee Task Force, a group of judges, legislators, and lawyers tasked with recommending improvements to the 2019 legislation overhauling the imposition of court costs and fees in civil, traffic, and criminal cases. That legislation was the product of recommendations by the legislatively created Statutory Court Fees Task Force, which Steve also chaired.
Clients rely on Steve to assemble and lead litigation teams in high-stakes or potentially precedent-setting situations. They appreciate his hands-on approach, which often includes major drafting responsibility for important briefs, as well as the care with which he develops nuanced, often multipronged strategies for pursuing his client’s objectives.
Steve is the past chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, through which he collaborated with the members of the Committee and lawyers throughout the firm to implement the firm’s innovative and ambitious pro bono policy. Steve was one of seven NGE attorneys to receive the 2023 Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.