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Steven T. Collis

Partner

6380 South Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 500, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Steven Collis is chair of Holland & Hart’s nationwide religious institutions and First Amendment practice group and a partner in its complex civil litigation and labor and employment practice groups.

Tech startups, Fortune 500 companies, major presidential campaigns, worldwide faith-based charities and ministries, ski companies, ski industry nonprofits, First Amendment scholars, and individuals have all sought Steven’s counsel and representation. An adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, he teaches and publishes regularly on employment law issues and the intersection of law and religion.

Steven has tried over two dozen jury and bench trials, and as a former Tenth Circuit clerk to Chief Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, Steven has briefed, argued, and won cases in the Ninth and Tenth Circuits and the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Experience

Religious Institutions

Steven is chair of Holland & Hart’s religious institutions and First Amendment practice group.

Steven counsels religious institutions, school districts, and traditional employers regarding a broad range of issues, including those arising under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the Federal Constitution, their state analogues, tax exemptions, and other key legal doctrines specific to the intersection of religion and law.

Labor and Employment

Steven regularly advises and represents clients on matters involving employee benefits (ERISA), Title VII, FLSA, EPA, NLRA, OSHA, FCRA, GINA, ADA, Colorado Civil Rights Act, ADEA, FMLA, WARN, trade secrets and non-competes, and other employment-related issues.

Commercial Litigation

Steven helps businesses and individuals navigate complex civil disputes. He has extensive experience in the courtroom, including two dozen jury and bench trials, and he regularly and successfully litigates cases involving the Colorado Ski Safety Act, land disputes, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, commercial contract disputes, insurance bad faith law, and state and federal employment laws. In particular, he has extensive experience litigating cases involving land use and regulations in Colorado’s mountain communities.

Client Results

Religious Institutions
  • When a religious institution client faced a significant threat of litigation, Steven helped it navigate the regulatory agencies to achieve a successful outcome.

  • Drafted an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of some of the nation’s leading First Amendment scholars in a religious liberty case involving the Free Exercise Clause of the Federal Constitution.

  • Advised a faith-based school on the tax exempt status of its teachers and ministers under key employment and tax laws.

  • Advised a Wyoming church on a number of significant land-use issues relating to RLUIPA, local zoning codes, and various other significant issues and risks concerning places of public accommodation.

  • Helped a local mosque achieve tax exempt status for a number of its properties when regulators were improperly refusing to approve its request.

Labor and Employment
  • As first chair, Steven successfully briefed and argued a major ERISA case in the Tenth Circuit. The published decision now stands as an important precedent for ERISA litigation.

  • When an ERISA client was facing a lengthy and costly appeal from its victory in the trial court, Steven successfully used the Tenth Circuit’s mediation process to convince the appellant to settle at his client’s demand.

  • Successfully defended a law suit brought against his client for over $20 million when a group of high-level executives claimed they were entitled to a larger exit payout. Steven and a team of Holland & Hart attorneys convinced the Court to dismiss the case on the pleadings.

  • Steven and a team of Holland & Hart attorneys successfully defended a suit—both in the trial court and before the Tenth Circuit—when a high-level executive claimed he was entitled to millions more than the company paid him upon his exit.

  • Briefed, argued, and won an important appeal in the Ninth Circuit dealing with a number of key issues arising under ERISA. 

  • Principally drafted winning briefs in multiple labor arbitrations for a Fortune 500 client.

Complex Civil Litigation
  • For a major ski industry client, Steven successfully litigated a significant land use dispute involving easements and claims of adverse possession.

  • As first chair, Steven successfully litigated a land use dispute for homeowners in Eagle County that involved interpreting HOA covenants, the Eagle Count Zoning Regulations, and a complex party wall agreement; his clients won the case and recovered their attorney fees.

  • Steven has successfully litigated numerous land use cases in both the trial court and the Colorado Court of Appeals on behalf of clients throughout Colorado’s mountain communities.

  • When a ski industry client faced a potentially costly lawsuit, Steven's motion to dismiss convinced the plaintiffs to drop the case without even responding to the motion in court.

  • Successfully briefed and argued a significant case in the Colorado Court of Appeals. The published decision now stands as important precedent for civil litigators in Colorado who must deal with the interplay between the Civil Rules and Chief Justice Directives.

News

Publications

Speaking Engagements

Education

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Recognition

  • Colorado Super Lawyers® Rising Stars, Employment & Labor, 2013-2017, Business Litigation, 2018-2019

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Denver Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Chair
  • Doyle Inn of Court, Member
  • Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, Member
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates, Member
  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Colorado Bar Association, Member
  • 1st Judicial District Bar Association, Member
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