Steven J. Katzman’s unique and accomplished background includes over three decades of experience in both government service and private practice. A former United States Trustee for five federal judicial districts and federal prosecutor, Steven offers unparalleled trial, bankruptcy and complex litigation experience, specializing in complex insolvency, federal and commercial litigation.
During 2003-2008, Steven was appointed as the U.S. Trustee for the Central and Southern Districts of California, the Districts of Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, where he was responsible for oversight of over 100,000 bankruptcy cases filed annually. From 1991 through 1996, Steven also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, where he prosecuted bankruptcy fraud and related crimes, including mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud. From 1996 through 1999, he established and managed a new office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, in Youngstown. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Steven pursued numerous trials and appeals, including the prosecution of attorneys, accountants, and corporate officers for embezzlement, concealment of assets and tax offenses, complex bank and mail fraud cases and death threats to a federal bankruptcy judge.
In private practice, Steven was senior insolvency and federal litigation counsel for the Orange County, Calif., law firm of Albert, Weiland & Golden LLP. Prior to that, he was an associate with the Newport Beach, Calif., office of Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger, and a law clerk for Bankruptcy Judge John E. Ryan in the Central District of California.
A recognized expert in his field of practice, Steven has also been designated as an expert witness in several cases, including both a federal government agency and the California State Bar.
Steven has been recognized in his field of practice by both Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers®, and was selected by Best Lawyers® as 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the practice of Litigation-Bankruptcy in Orange County, California. He has served as the President of the Orange County Bankruptcy Forum, Conference Co-Chair of the California Bankruptcy Forum, and has been a frequent speaker at many national and regional legal associations, including the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, the California State Bar, and the Justice Department’s national training facilities.
Academically, Steven received his law degree from the University of California – Davis, and his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California – Santa Cruz. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, yoga, adventure travel, charity work and teaching cycle classes.
Since becoming a partner at Bienert | Katzman, Steven has successfully represented a number of different interests, in very large, complex business and white collar criminal matters, securing judgments and settlements collectively in the hundreds of millions of dollars and successfully defended actions seeking similar amounts. Successful cases include the representation of:
- The FDIC in cases arising out of the Washington Mutual Receivership, securing settlements and judgments collectively in excess of several million dollars.
- The Official Committee of Retired Employees in the case of In re City of San Bernardino, representing the interests of over 2,000 retired city employees.
- An oil & gas company and its principals accused of violating a federal court order related to the acquisition of an oil facility, first securing a complete exoneration for his clients and then successfully securing the purchase of the entire facility from the bankruptcy estate.
- The liquidating trustee of a luxury resort, asserting claims for fraudulent transfer and securing more than $200 million in damages and approximately $100,000 in sanctions.
- An investor placed into a speculative, proprietary investment, securing a settlement in excess of $4 million against a national brokerage house, including the return of the investment, interest and attorney fees.
- A prominent film industry businessperson in involuntary bankruptcy cases against five of his companies, obtaining dismissal of the cases and adverse findings against a prominent court-appointed Trustee.
- Several attorneys in multiple cases arising out of the Madoff case, involving claims in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
- A company seeking to enforce a $350 million dollar judgment against the founder of a large credit card facility in his chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
- An international businessperson indicted on an alleged $130 million dollar bank fraud, resolved on a $4.7 million loss.
- A prominent figure in the gaming industry in a lawsuit filed by a liquidating trustee of a Las Vegas hotel-based fund seeking over $7 million, settled for $300,000.
- A federal bankruptcy trustee, recovering in excess of $1 million in embezzled tax refunds seized by the Secret Service.
- A couple accused of fraud, obtaining a dismissal of civil charges and establishing that their bankruptcy filing was the result of a forgery and unethical practices of their business partner.
- Selected to the Best Lawyers® list every year since 2013
- Selected to the Super Lawyers® list every year since 2015
- Selected by Best Lawyers® as Orange County’s 2013 “Litigation-Bankruptcy” Lawyer of the Year
- Served as the President of the Orange County Bankruptcy Forum, Conference Co-Chair of the California Bankruptcy Forum
- Frequent speaker at many national and regional legal associations, including the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, the California State Bar, and the Justice Department’s national training facilities