Steve Potenza is a litigation partner in Kirkland’s New York office. His practice focuses on complex and appellate litigation and investigations. His broad experience includes government, regulatory, and internal investigations and significant matters in the U.S. Supreme Court and a wide variety of litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including intellectual property, securities, antitrust, contract, and professional malpractice matters.

Steve has represented clients including a global financial institution in internal and cross-border investigations involving inquiries by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Department of Financial Services, and Federal Reserve. Steve also has represented clients from professional services, technology, e-commerce, and manufacturing industries, among others, in matters ranging from class action and shareholder litigation to patent licensing litigation and defense of price-fixing charges. He served as one of the lead trial attorneys for the State of South Carolina in a successful action against the United States under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, securing preclearance of the State’s voter ID law. He also served on the teams that prepared the successful Supreme Court merits briefs in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt (addressing state sovereign immunity) and Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham (interpreting the “outside salesman” exemption to Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements).

Steve has represented pro bono elementary and high school students in matters involving student free speech rights and a church congregation in litigation over ownership of a historical landmark building in Manhattan.



Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2003New York
  • 2012District of Columbia


  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York


  • Georgetown University Law CenterJ.D.cum laude2002
    Editor-in-Chief, Law & Policy in International Business
  • Union CollegeB.A.summa cum laude1997
    Phi Beta Kappa