Steve Leben

Adjunct Faculty
Primary office:

Steve Leben has taught the Legislation class at KU Law since 2007; his course focuses on statutory interpretation. Leben's teaching is informed by regular experience interpreting statutes as an appellate judge since 2007, nearly 14 years as a trial judge, and 11 years of law practice. Leben is a nationally recognized authority on improving judicial practices to enhance procedural fairness; he coauthored a white paper on procedural fairness for the American Judges Association in 2007. Since then, Leben and his white-paper coauthor, Minnesota trial judge Kevin Burke, have made invited presentations on procedural fairness to more than 2,500 state and federal judges. Leben has published 14 law-review articles in the areas of procedural justice, administrative law, civil procedure, family law, and evidence. His scholarly publications have been cited by state and federal courts in Kansas and in more than 75 law-journal articles by other authors. Leben has edited a national publication for judges, Court Review, since 1998, and received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Center for State Courts in 2014 for his work on improving fairness in America's courts. Leben also serves as cochair of the editorial board for the Kansas Bar Association's Annual Survey of Kansas Law.

Courses Taught:
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation

Representative Publications

The Evolution of the Trial Judge from Counting Case Dispositions to a Commitment to Fairness,” 18 Widener Law Journal 397 (2009) (coauthored with Kevin Burke); Commenting on Credibility in Kansas: A Constructive Criticism of State v. Pabst, 56 Kansas Law Review 869 (2008); Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction, 44 Court Review 4 (2007-2008); Thoughts on Some Potential Appellate and Trial Court Applications of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, 24 Seattle University Law Review 467 (2001); Kansas Approach to Custodial Parent Move-Away Cases, 37 Washburn Law Journal 497 (1998) (coauthored with Megan Moriarty); Restoring the Common in the Law: A Proposal for the Elimination of Rules Prohibiting the Citation of Unpublished Opinions in Kansas and the Tenth Circuit,” 31 Washburn Law Journal 155 (1992)(coauthored with Mark D. Hinderks).


J.D., Kansas, 1982, Associate Editor, Kansas Law Review; B.S., Kansas, 1978.


Kansas, 1983

Career History

Press Secretary, U.S. Rep. Bob Whittaker (R.-Kan.), 1979; Associate, Stinson, Mag & Fizzell (now Stinson Leonard Street LLP), 1982-88; Solo Practice, 1988-1993; District Judge, Johnson County (Kan.), 1993-2007; Judge, Kansas Court of Appeals, since 2007.


American Law Institute (elected member); American Judges Association (past president); American Bar Association, Judicial Division and Administrative Law Section (member, State Administrative Law Committee); Kansas Bar Association; Kansas Judicial Council, Administrative Procedure Advisory Committee; KU Law Alumni Association (past president); Order of the Coif.

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks and treatises
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,600+ alumni in all 50 states, D.C., and 21 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 20th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
  • 23rd: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at nation’s largest law firms
  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance