- Yale Law School (J.D. 1994)
- Stanford University (B.A. 1982)
- ABA Forum on Communications Law (Chair)
- ABA Section on Torts, Trial and Insurance Practice (past-Chair of Media, Privacy and Defamation Law Committee)
- Media Law Resource Center, Newsgathering Committee (past-Co-Chair)
- Colorado Broadcasters Association (past-member, Board of Directors)
- Colorado Freedom of Information Council
- Editorial Board, Media Law Reporter (BNA)
- Sturm College of Law, University of Denver, Adjunct Professor
- ACLU of Colorado
- Colorado Bar Association
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America as one of the preeminent First Amendment lawyers in Colorado and as the 2014 Denver First Amendment Litigation Lawyer of the Year
- Recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer in First Amendment and Media Law
- Recognized as a Lawyer of the Year by Colorado Law Week
- Colorado Press Association “Friend of the First”
- ACLU of Colorado “Sherman Award”
- Colorado Lawyers Committee, Lawyer of the Year Award
- Recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as AV Preeminent
- Transparency Out of Tragedy, Newsletter of the ABA Litigation Section’s First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee (Fall 2012/Winter 2013)
- Support Anti-SLAPP Legislation, Chair's Column, Communications Lawyer (Feb. 2013)
- Internet Law Developments 2012 in Recent Developments in Media, Privacy, and Defamation Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Fall 2012) (with A. Kissinger and K. Larsen)
- Privacy Expectations in Online Social Media—An Emerging Generational Divide?, Communications Lawyer (Nov. 2011) (with J. Fischer)
- Expanded Media Coverage in Colorado Courts, The Colorado Lawyer (Sept. 2011) (with R. Verner)
- The Empirical Case: Proving the Need for the Privilege, White Paper on the Reporter’s Privilege, Media Law Resource Center (2004)
- Survey of Colorado Defamation and Related Claims Against the Media, in Annual Media Libel & Related Law Survey (Media Law Resource Center) (with T. Kelley)
For nearly two decades, Steve has represented media companies, online publishers, and individuals in defending claims based upon content, fighting subpoenas, and seeking access to government information and proceedings. He represented the national news media in connection with coverage of the Aurora theater shooting case, the Oklahoma City bombing trials, and the Kobe Bryant rape prosecution, and he secured access to public records related to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the shooting at Columbine High School. Steve also litigates copyright and trademark matters.
Steve is an active leader in the national media law bar. He is 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 is a prolific writer on media law and is frequently called upon to speak on First Amendment and newsgathering issues.
Steve has taught mass media at the University of Colorado and Law of the Internet at the University of Denver’s Sturm Law College.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Steve was a freelance documentary producer at the public television station in San Francisco. Steve began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then joined the Denver office of Faegre & Benson, where he was a partner, before he joined LSKS when it opened its Colorado office in 2007.
Spacecon Specialty Contractors v. Bensinger, 713 F.3d 1028 (10th Cir. 2013). Steve and Tom Kelley successfully defended a filmmaker on appeal after the plaintiff, a drywall contractor, challenged the district court’s award of summary judgment in a libel action arising from a documentary on the employment of migrant laborers. The court held that the film involved a matter of public concern and that the plaintiff had not offered sufficient proof of actual malice as required under Colorado law.
Bustos v. A & E Television Networks, 646 F.3d 762 (10th Cir. 2011). Steve and Tom Kelley successfully represented A&E Television Networks in obtaining summary judgment on libel claims premised on the Gangland: Aryan Brotherhood program. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit affirmed, ruling that calling the plaintiff a member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang when he "merely conspired with the Brotherhood in a criminal enterprise" is not actionable because it is substantially true.
People v. Perrish Cox, 39 Media L. Rptr. 2148 (Colo. Dist. Ct. 2011). Steve and Michael Beylkin represented Associated Press and The Denver Post in obtaining an order unsealing the redacted arrest warrant affidavit for a Denver Broncos football player charged with sexual assault. The court rejected the accused’s argument that the media lacked standing to intervene and held that the First Amendment right to inspect judicial records was not outweighed by competing interests. Steve and Michael were subsequently named two of Colorado’s “Lawyers of the Year for 2011” by Colorado Law Week based on their work on this matter.
Shoen v. Watkins, 39 Media L. Rptr. 1085 (Colo. Dist. Ct. 2010). Steve and Tom Kelley obtained summary judgment in a libel case against a national cable television network that reported on a murder case involving a wealthy family. The trial court found there was no defamation by implication because the program presented different perspectives on a lingering controversy without accepting any position.
Harris v. Denver Post Corp., 123 P.3d 1166 (Colo. 2005). Steve successfully argued to the Colorado Supreme Court that the private journals and video recordings of the Columbine killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were “criminal justice records” subject to inspection and copying under state law, because they were confiscated by the Sheriff and thereafter used in the investigation of the crimes perpetrated at Columbine High School.
- Steven D. Zansberg
- 1888 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203
- Phone (303) 376-2409
- Fax (303) 376-2401
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Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado