Steven Miller

Steven D. Miller


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Public Agency
Public Agency
San Francisco

Steven has a varied practice representing both public and private clients in the public arena. He assists public agencies throughout California operating bus, rail, and ferry service. His general areas of expertise include public contracts and procurements, regulatory compliance, intergovernmental agreements, constitutional issues, election law, and government ethics. He has particular depth of expertise in all issues relative to transit agencies and the complex statutory and regulatory framework under which they operate. Steven is the evaluator for the City of San Jose Board of Fair Campaign and Political Practices (formerly Ethics Commission), advising that entity regarding alleged violations of the San Jose Municipal Code in the area of election and ethics rules.

Steven has extensive experience in public sector contracting issues, including representing both public and private entities in the area of public works contracts, contract negotiations of all types, and bid protests relating to complex state and local procurements. He regularly advises private and public entities on compliance with federal Buy America requirements.

Steven also assists clients, both public and private, on a wide range of issues relating to political and election law. His constitutional law focus has led to his involvement in recent efforts to address structural reform in California, including drafting initiatives for Statewide ballots.

Steven's expertise includes advising local government, as well as manufacturers and users, regarding the developing legal landscape, and the increasing opportunities for commercial use, of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e. drones). In addition, Steven teaches legal writing and research at University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Steven has a particular enthusiasm for, and expertise in, the developing legal landscape, and the increasing opportunities for commercial use, of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e. drones). He blogs on the topic at

Beyond the practice of law, Steven is a Grammy-award winning violinist and served for many years on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has issued more than 20 CDs and has appeared on both NPR and PBS.

Representative Work

Guides transit agencies through a number of complex procurements and resulting implementation of high-technology systems, including Positive Train Control, Computer Assisted Dispatch, and electronic toll collection systems.

Leads the legal team for a number of transit agencies in procurements of ferries, buses, railcars, and locomotives.

Advises public agencies on disputes arising under the California Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act.

Helps resolve and mitigate organizational conflicts of interest arising under federal regulations.

Serves as an evaluator for the San Jose Elections Commission.

Advises companies on Buy America compliance relative to agreements with various state and local agencies.

Frequently represents large, private entities in bid protests of government contracts.


"A Q&A with ferry attorneys Katherine M. Tsou and Steven D. Miller of Hanson Bridgett," Marinelog (November 2022)

"AB 2647: Sharing Documents with the Board of Directors," co-author, Government Law Alert (October 2022)

"Governor Signs AB 2449: The Latest Development to the Brown Act in a Post-Pandemic World," co-author, Government Law Alert (September 2022)

"Brown Act in a Time of Pandemic: the Governor Vetoes AB 339," Government Law Alert (October 2021)

"New Legislation Addresses Brown Act Teleconferencing Requirements," Government Law Alert (September 2021)

"California Legislature Takes Aim at Brown Act Teleconferencing Requirements," Government Law Alert (September 2021)

"Busker v. Wabtec – California Supreme Court Rules That On-Board Work Is Not Public Works," Appellate Alert (August 2021)

"The Brown Act Finally Meets Social Media," Government Law Alert (September 2020)

"The California Court of Appeal Issues Landmark Local Government Finance Decisions," Government Law Alert (July 2020)

"California Supreme Court Case Alert: Public Records on Private Accounts," Government Law Alert (March 2017)

"The Wild West of Commercial Drones—Why 2015 Could Be a Pivotal Year in California," Public Law Journal (May 2015)

"Regulating the 'Initiative Industrial Complex:' Is SB 168's proposed prohibition of per-signature payment an unconstitutional restriction on core political speech?" Public Law Journal (Spring 2011)

"Getting to a Citizens’ Constitutional Convention: Legal Questions (Without Answers) Concerning the People’s Ability to Reform California’s Government Through a Constitutional Convention," Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review (Winter 2011)

"Local Regulation of Commercial Drones: The Next Frontier," Government Law Alert (April 2014)

See All Publications

Blog Posts

See All Blog Posts


"Drone Law: Flying into Troubled Skies in 2016," co-speaker, The Knowledge Group webinar (June 2016)

"Municipal Regulation of Drones," Strafford Webinar (January 2016)

See All Presentations


"Trump executive order eases path for deliveries by drone," SFGATE (October 2017)

"Pending SF policy could let city agencies launch drones," San Francisco Chronicle (May 2017)

"Who Will Regulate Flying Cars?," The Recorder (April 2017)

"California struggles to lead the way on drone regulation," Los Angeles Times (August 2016)

"Model Airplane Hobbyists Skeptical Of Proposed Drone Registry," Popular Science (November 2015)

Academic Distinction

Hastings Law Journal, Articles Editor

Order of the Coif & Thurston Society


J.D., magna cum laude, University of California, Hastings College of the Law (2004)

Artist Certificate, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1992)

B.M., Indiana University (1986)

Admissions And Courts


Law Blog

Drone Law
Commercial Drone Use in California

San Francisco

415-995-5831 Direct Phone
415-995-3426 Fax

Email Attorney


Firm Leadership

Political & Election Law Practice Leader

Government Executive Committee Practice Co-Leader