Judge Steve Leben

Adjunct Faculty
Primary office:


Judge Steve Leben has taught part-time at KU Law since 2007, teaching Evidence as well as Legislation and 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 co-authored 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 15 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 edited a national publication for judges, Court Review, from 1998 to 2007, 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 co-chair of the editorial board for the Kansas Bar Association's Annual Survey of Kansas Law.

Courses Taught:
  • Evidence
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation


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


Evidence; Legislation and Statutory Interpretation.

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 (Kansas), 1993-2007; Judge, Kansas Court of Appeals, 2007-2020.


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.


Kansas, 1983

Selected Publications

  • "The Evolution of the Trial Judge from Counting Case Dispositions to a Commitment to Fairness," 18 Widener Law Journal 397 (2009) (co-authored 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) (co-authored 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) (co-authored with Mark D. Hinderks).