Steven F. Pflaum is chair of the General & Commercial Litigation practice group. His practice includes a wide variety of complex civil litigation matters, including commercial, constitutional, media, airport, and land use cases. A substantial portion of his practice involves appeals in state and federal courts across the country. Areas of particular concentration include representing hospitals in property tax exemption and other controversies, defending and counseling print, online, and broadcast media entities with respect to defamation and related claims, and representing municipalities in disputes regarding so-called “locally undesirable land uses” such as airports, music amphitheaters, jails, or landfills.
Steve serves as a neutral or as counsel in alternative dispute resolution proceedings conducted by various courts, self-regulatory organizations, and ADR providers. He is a frequent lecturer and author on subjects related to the substantive areas of his practice, as well as on litigation and trial practice, legal and judicial ethics, and current legal developments. He also serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Airport Noise Report, the leading national publication on airport noise issues.
Steve devotes a substantial amount of time to activities intended to improve the administration of justice and the regulation of the legal profession. He is a member and two-term chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility, a founding member and current chair of the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee, and a faculty member of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s Illinois Professional Responsibility Institute. 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.
He is also listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Leading Lawyers Network and Illinois Super Lawyers.
Steve is President of the Appellate Lawyers Association, an organization of lawyers who practice in the courts of review and of judges who serve on those courts. Steve is also a member of the Chicago Bar Association, for which he served as General Counsel from 1996 to 2009 and sat on the Board of Managers from 1993 to 1995. Steve is also a member of the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys (co-chair, Bylaws & Governance Committee), Chicago Council of Lawyers, American Bar Association and the State Bar of California.
Steve is the chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. In that capacity, he has worked with the members of the Committee and lawyers throughout the firm in developing and implementing the firm’s innovative and ambitious pro bono policy.
While in law school, Steve served as an editor of the Michigan Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Experience — Served as lead counsel for a not-for-profit hospital in a case of first impression in which the Illinois Appellate Court upheld the hospital’s right to seek a judicial determination regarding its entitlement to property tax exemptions without first seeking exemptions from the Illinois Department of Revenue
Successfully represented pork producer in landmark Illinois Supreme Court decision regarding land use regulations applicable to so-called “mega-hog farms”
Drafted municipal noise ordinance intended to control noise from outdoor music amphitheater and successfully defended ordinance at trial in ensuing federal court constitutional challenge
Obtained dismissal of multiple lawsuits across the United States, including putative class actions, against candy manufacturer arising out of advertising promotion
Obtained jury verdict in favor of manufacturer accused of copyright infringement and Lanham Act violations
Obtained dismissal of numerous lawsuits against media defendants for defamation and/or false light invasion of privacy
Prepared amicus curiae briefs in various federal and state appellate courts, including United States and Illinois Supreme Courts, on behalf of corporations, associations and other clients