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About me

  Steve is a third generation, native San Diegan. He graduated "With Distinction" from San Diego State University in 1976, and married his law school sweetheart, Karen, shortly after the award of his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego in 1979.


  Steve's grandfather and father were both local real estate brokers, so he was only following family tradition when he obtained his real estate salespersons license at the age of 19. These family roots served as the inspiration for his career-long devotion to the practice of real estate law, with emphasis in land use and acquisition, development, construction, and broker liability.


  Steve and Karen are the proud and devoted parents of four children. Steve spent over fifteen years coaching and managing his sons in Little League and Senior League baseball, and organized and managed "16 and under" and "18 and under" travel clubs that competed in World Series and other championship tournaments throughout California, Colorado and Arizona. His two older sons played on San Diego CIF Championship baseball teams for Francis Parker prep school in 2001 and 2004.


  Early in his career Steve was a prosecutor, and later progressed to the Civil Litigation Division for the City Attorney of the City of San Diego before joining the Firm in 1983. His career highlights include winning a ruling against a public utility that resulted in an award of $45 million in favor of the City fo San Diego (1984 dollars); co-chairing an eminent domain trial that resulted in a $42 million jury verdict in favor of a major developer; and obtaining more than $8 million in a construction defect case against subcontractors.  


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Real Estate: 40%
  2. Business: 30%
  3. Contracts: 20%
  4. Personal Injury: 10%



Hourly ($300-400/hour), contingent (25-40%), Free consultation (30 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

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Contact info

Freeland McKinley & McKinley

PO Box 9580
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, 92067

16236 San Dieguito Rd
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, 92091



We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Top LawyerSan Diego Magazine2013
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2013
Top Lawyers in CaliforniaAmerican Lawyer Media2013
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2012
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2011
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2010
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2009
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2008
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2007
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2006
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2005
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2004
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2003
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2002
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2001
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2000
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell1999
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Managing PartnerFreeland, McKinley, & McKinley2011 - Present
PartnerAsaro Keagy Freeland & McKinley1988 - Present
Deputy City AttorneyCity Attorney San Diego1981 - 1983
AssociateDorman & Dorman1979 - 1981
Association namePosition nameDuration
California State BarN/A1979 - Present
Nevada State BarN/AN/A
San Diego County Bar AssociationN/AN/A
San Diego County Board of RealtorsN/AN/A
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Brown v. FSR BrokerageN/A
Red Mountain, LLC v. Fallbrook Public Utility DistrictN/A
Manderville v. PCG&SN/A
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Rancho Santa Fe Review, Volume 32 Number 46(Re: Lafornara v. RDA) RSF attorney wins $1.99 million settlement from city for clients2013
Criminal Justice JournalProving a Violation of Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Rabbit Tracks in the Snow or Russian Roulette?1982
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of San Diego School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1979
San Diego State UniversityPolitical ScienceBA - Bachelor of Arts1976