Steve Tapia is a 1973 graduate of Downey High School. While at Downey High, he served as Student Body President, Editor of The Norseman student newspaper, and represented the school in debate, at the California finals of the National Speech and Debate Association’s annual tournament.
After graduating, he attended and graduated from Yale University and University of Southern California Law School. Steve practiced entertainment, media and intellectual property law for 30 years before beginning a second career as a law school professor. He began his legal career as a business, intellectual property and media law litigator at Loeb and Loeb, Los Angeles and, after 7 years, moved in-house to serve as the Director of Legal Affairs at KCET (then Los Angeles’ PBS station). While there, he was a part of the Emmy-award winning creative team for the documentary “Bakersfield Country,” which captured the oral history of Bakersfield’s claim to the title of Capitol of Country Music.
After KCET, Steve was a Senior Attorney at HBO, serving as the production lawyer for films and television programs such as “Dream On,”“The Larry Sanders Show,” “The Bill Maher Show,” “The Tuskegee Airmen,” and “And The Band Played On.” He left HBO to join Microsoft Corporation in 1996. In a 15-year career at Microsoft, he was a Senior Attorney in Microsoft’s Law and Corporate Affairs department and Senior Director of Business Development.
He capped his legal practice years by serving as in-house counsel for DIRECTV Sports Networks (now known as AT&T Sportsnet), where he was the primary contract negotiator and rights manager for the cable network’s sports programming and distribution partnerships with the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, Utah Jazz, Pittsburgh Penguins, Big Sky Conference, Mountain West Conference, and many other teams and conferences.
Since 2014, Steve has been a Distinguished Practitioner In Residence at Seattle University School of Law. He is the Faculty Advisor for the Seattle Journal of Technology, Environmental, and Innovation Law. His article “Requiem for Cyberspace” was published by the Seattle University Law Journal in 2019. Steve is also currently teaching copyright law at the University of Washington School of Law.
He frequently appears on radio and television and in print media as a legal expert. He has been the keynote speaker at annual conferences for the California, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington State Bar Associations. In other activities, Steve is a former President of the Yale Club of Southern California. He served also on the Board of Trustees of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from 2006-2009, Interim Music Director of Faith Lutheran Church (Redmond, WA) and is a professional musician.