Steve is a member of the firm's litigation and commercial law practice groups. His clients value his sound business judgment, his ability to find ways to resolve their problems quickly and economically, as well as his prompt attention to their problems and their resolution. His clients include Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc.; First Interstate Bank; Mountain West Bank; Orix Credit Alliance, Inc.; Provident Energy Associates of Montana, L.L.C.; Fina Oil & Chemical Company; Summit Leasing, Inc.; Associates Housing Finance, L.L.C.; Citibank; various Citigroup entites; and numerous credit unions.
His active practice includes bankruptcy litigation and business reorganization, complex commercial litigation, debtor-creditor law, Indian law litigation, contract disputes, commercial and consumer litigation (including disputes between franchisors and franchisees, suits on commercial guarantees, repossessions and foreclosures of mixed collateral), secured transactions, real property litigation, foreclosure and quiet title actions, repossessions of personal property (replevin and claim and delivery actions), collections, personal injury and product liability litigation, farm, ranch and small business litigation, oil and gas litigation, lender liability, and business torts.
Steve was born in Minnesota; grew up and was educated largely in Montana; got his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from the University of Montana, and his law degree with high honors from the University of Montana School of Law. Steve has long had an interest in international matters and affairs, an interest which has brought his practice into the international arena as well. Steve is fluent in German and has a working knowledge of French. He lived in Germany for approximately 4 years prior to becoming a lawyer, and earned a master's degree with honors in German Language and Literature from the University of Colorado; engaged in postgraduate studies at the University of Regensburg, Germany; taught in the German high school system as well as the German adult education system; taught foreign languages at the university and college level in Colorado and Michigan; and worked as a German-English translator prior to entering full-time legal practice in 1980. As a law student, he served on the editorial board of the Montana Law Review, and won a nationwide legal writing competition sponsored by the University of Oklahoma law school on the topic of Indian Law in 1980.
Steve is admitted to the State Bar of Montana, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District Montana, and the bars of the Blackfeet Tribal Court, the Chippewa Cree Rocky Boy Tribal Court, the Fort Belknap Tribal Court, the Fort Peck Tribal Court, and the Salish-Kootenai Tribal Court. He is active in the Bankruptcy Law Section of the Montana State Bar Association, having served several terms as a director of that organization. He is also active in the American Bankruptcy Institute, and a member of the American Bar Association and the American Trial Lawyers Association. Before joining this firm, Steve clerked for the Montana Supreme Court, served as Assistant State Attorney General, as Assistant District Counsel for the United States Small Business Administration, and as a specially commissioned Assistant United States Attorney. Steve served as attorney trainer and seminar presenter for the United States Small Business Administration and is frequently featured as a speaker at bankruptcy law seminars. He has presented legal programs at seminars sponsored by the United States Small Business Administration, the Montana Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the National Business Institute. He has also authored law review articles, as well as non-legal publications. Steve has also served as the chairperson of his law firm's Litigation Committee.
Over time, Steve has served his community in a number of civic organizations, including as director and co-founder of Habitat for Humanity, Great Falls Area, Inc., and as a member of Leadership Great Falls. He frequently assists other community charitable organizations in their fundraising efforts.
German and English
U.S. Court of Appeals (1991)
Montana State Bar (1980)
U.S. District Court (D. Mont. 1980)
Blackfeet Tribal Court (1994)
Chippewa Cree Rocky Boy Tribalo Court (1997)
Fort Belknap Tribal Court (1994)
Fort Peck Tribal Court (1999)
Salish-Kootenai Tribal Court (1999)
Professional Association Memberships
American Bankrupty Institute
Montana State Bar Association
Bankrupty Law Section (Member and past Director)
American Bar Association
American Trial Lawyers Association
J.D., with honors, Univ. of Montana, Missoula, MT, 1980.
M.A., with high honors, German Literature and Linguistics,
Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 1974.
B.A., with high honors, German Language and Literature,
Univ. of Montana, Missoula, MT, 1970.
Postgraduate study at University of Regensburg, Germany
French Language study, L'Institut International D'Etudes
Francaises, Castelnaudary,l France, Summer, 1976.
German Language Study, Goethe-Institut, Blaubeuren, West
Germany, Summer, 1968.
Prior Legal Experience
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (D.Mont.) 11/83-12/84.
Assistant District Counsel, U.S. Small Business
Administration, Helena, MT, 4/83 -12/84.
Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice,
State of Mont., Helena, MT, 9/81-4/83.
Disaster Loan Counsel, U.S. Small Business Administration,
Helena, MT, 7/81 to 9/81.
Law Clerk, Justice Daniel J. Shea, Montana Supreme Court
7/80 to 7/81.
Student Director, Montana Criminal Law Information Research
Center (MONTCLIRC), Univ. of Montana, School of Law, Missoula, MT, 5/79-5/80.
Research Assistant, Montana Criminal Law Information
Research Center (MONTCLIRC), Univ. of Montana, School of Law, Missoula, MT, 7/78 to 5/79.
Partner and Researcher, Montana Legal Research Group,
Missoula, MT, 5/78 to 5/79.
1996 "Bankruptcy and the Secured Creditor" chapter of the State Bar of Montana, COMMERCIAL LAW HANDBOOK, 1996.
1996-2002 Author of seminar materials entitled "Recent Case Developments" for the ANNUAL MONTANA BANKRUPTCY SEMINAR
1979 Note, "Criminal Jurisdiction and Enforcement Problems on Indian