Steve Cikes

Senior Counsel


Steve Cikes brings more than 15 years of experience representing and advising public agencies and nonprofit organizations on labor, employment and government law matters.

He also represents the firm’s clients in affirmative, public interest litigation—including serving as counsel for representatives of a municipal entity subclass in In Re Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litig., MDL 2420 (N.D. Cal.).

Steve has extensive litigation experience, having handled a variety of cases before state and federal courts, administrative tribunals and arbitrators. He has 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.


  • Rose v. County of San Benito, 77 Cal. App. 54th 699 (2022)
  • County of San Luis Obispo v. San Luis Obispo Government Attorneys’ Union, PERB Decision No. 2427-M (2015)
  • 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-Presenter, “Public Pensions in California: No More Pension Spiking and Limitations of the California Rule,” California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CalPELRA) Annual Conference (November 2021)
  • 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)


  • Recipient, California Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award from California Daily Journal (2023)
  • Named “Rising Star” by Northern California Super Lawyers and San Francisco Magazine (2013, 2014)


  • 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


  • Golden Gate University, School of Law, highest honors, J.D.
  • University of San Francisco, B.A.
  • San Francisco State University, B.S.

Our Team

Amy Ackerman
Head of Government Section
Arthur Hartinger
Arthur Hartinger
Jonathan Holtzman
Jonathan Holtzman
Managing Partner
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Louise Renne
Louise Renne
Linda Ross
Linda Ross
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