Stephen J. van Stempvoort

Steve van Stempvoort focuses on appellate litigation, with an emphasis on the federal courts. Although his practice spans various aspects of complex commercial litigation, Steve’s particular expertise is in First Amendment law, municipal liability, and new technology issues, including litigation and appeals related to defamation, online speech, discrimination, civil rights, and criminal defense.

In his appellate practice, Steve has represented clients in numerous state and federal courts of appeal, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Among other favorable outcomes achieved by Steve on behalf of his clients, Steve has successfully petitioned for certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, obtaining a favorable remand for his client.

Some of Steve’s representative matters include:

  • Counsel of record for successful petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, resulting in favorable remand
  • Obtained a full reversal from the Sixth Circuit of trial court’s adverse ruling in an excessive-force civil-rights case
  • Obtained full dismissal of a federal appeal involving millions of dollars in damages
  • Secured a full remand in the Fourth Circuit for a criminal defendant on an issue pertaining to federal sentencing
  • Obtained government’s concession that requested habeas relief would be proper, after government’s review of opening brief in the Sixth Circuit
  • Won entitlement to charitable tax exemptions on behalf of charitable, religious educational organization
  • Won full dismissal on behalf of individual landowners of a municipality’s claim for highway-by-user
  • Secured a $1 million judgment plus attorneys’ fees for an international corporation in an insurance priority dispute
  • Won full dismissal of claims against an insurer in multi-million-dollar insurance coverage lawsuit
  • Won summary-judgment motion seeking dissolution of an LLC on a theory of fraud
  • Obtained reversal of criminal forfeiture order from the Fourth Circuit
  • Represented in the Fourth Circuit a juvenile offender who pleaded guilty after being threatened with the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison
  • Represented in the Ninth Circuit a litigant asserting first-impression challenge to statute of limitation issues governing prisoner civil-rights lawsuits

Steve maintains an active pro bono practice and also serves as the co-chair of Miller Johnson’s pro bono committee. In the spirit of the First Amendment, Steve has represented clients from across the political and ideological spectrum, including undocumented immigrants, incarcerated prisoners, a domestic-violence shelter, an open-air preacher, a national non-profit, and various individuals seeking to expunge criminal convictions or reinstate social privileges.

Before joining Miller Johnson, Steve served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Richard Allen Griffin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He also served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Glen E. Conrad of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Steve earned his law degree from William and Mary Law School, where the faculty selected him on the basis of his professional promise as a recipient of the Lawrence W. I’Anson Award—the highest honor conferred on a graduating student. Among other pursuits, Steve previously taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.