Steve Cikes

Senior Counsel


Steve Cikes brings 15 years of experience representing and advising public agencies and non-profit organizations on labor, employment and government law as well as affirmative, public interest litigation.


Prior to RPLG, Mr. Cikes joined Sloan Sakai Yeung Wong LLP in 2005. His practice focused primarily on representing and advising public agencies and non-profit organizations on labor, employment and government law matters. He also represented clients in affirmative, public interest litigation – including, for example, severing a counsel for representatives of a municipal entity subclass in In Re Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litig. Mr. Cikes has extensive litigation experience, having handled a variety of cases before state and federal courts, administrative tribunals and arbitrators. He successfully litigated cases involving claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title VII and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. He also has significant experience dealing with traditional and administrative writs of mandate, federal/state preemption issues, fiscal emergencies and the vesting of public employee pension and retiree medical benefits.

During law school, Mr. Cikes served as a judicial extern for United States District Court Judge William H. Alsup (Northern District of California), a law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division in San Francisco, and an editor of the law review.


  • City of El Centro v. Lanier, 245 Cal.App.4th 1494 (2016)
  • County of San Luis Obispo v. San Luis Obispo Government Attorneys’ Union, PERB Decision No. 2427-M (2015)
  • Epstein v. Superior Court, 193 Cal.App.4th 1405 (2011)
  • Retired Employees Assn. of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange, 52 Cal.4th 1170 (2011)
  • International Assn. of Fire Fighters, Local 188 v. Public Employment Relations Bd., 51 Cal.4th 259 (2011)
  • County of Sonoma v. Superior Court, 173 Cal.App.4th 322 (2009)
  • S. Western Falun Dafa Assn. v. Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 163 Cal.App.4th 590 (2008)
  • Martin v. City of Richmond, 504 F.Supp.2d 766 (N.D. Cal. 2007)


  • Co-Author, “Labor and Employment Voter Initiatives: Legal Pitfalls and Hurdles in Seeking Reform at the Ballot Box,”A Public Law Group White Paper (September 2015)
  • Co-Author, “Can the State Use its Spending Powers to Circumvent Charter Cities’ Home Rule Authority?,”California Public Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Summer 2015)
  • Panelist, “Post-Employment Benefits: Vesting, Impairment, and Bankruptcy,”California State Bar – Labor & Employment Section, 19th Annual Public Sector Conference (May 2013)
  • Co-Author, “Declarations of Fiscal Emergency: A Resurging Option for Public Entities Attempting to Deal With the Current Economic Climate, “California Public Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Winter 2011)


  • Named “Rising Star” by Northern California Super Lawyers and San Francisco Magazine– 2013, 2014
  • Graduated Law School with Highest Honors (Top 5%)
  • Editor, Golden Gate University Law Review
  • Recipient, The Helen A. and John A. Garfield Endowed Scholarship
  • Recipient, CALI Award – Civil Procedure II
  • Recipient, Witkin Award – Professional Responsibility
  • Recipient, Witkin Award – Writing and Research II


  • Golden Gate University, School of Law, JD
  • University of San Francisco, BA
  • San Francisco State University, BS


  • California
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California

Our Team

Amy Ackerman
Head of Government Section
Ruth Bond
Ruth Bond
Head of Litigation Section
Arthur Hartinger
Arthur Hartinger
Jonathan Holtzman
Jonathan Holtzman
Co-Managing Partner
Photo of Jenica Maldonado
Jenica Maldonado
Co-Managing Partner
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Louise Renne
Louise Renne
Linda Ross
Linda Ross
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