Attorney Steven Lewicky is a founder and partner at Lewicky, O'Connor, Hunt & Meiser, LLC, in Fulton, Maryland. A top-rated attorney with more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Lewicky focuses his practice primarily on business transactions and litigation, business and corporate law, government contracts, employment litigation defense, general commercial litigation, commercial real estate transactions and litigation, and other business-related matters.
Throughout the course of his career, Mr. Lewicky has gained invaluable experience that makes him well-suited to handle the needs of business owners. Before establishing his own practice, Mr. Lewicky was a partner with several prominent Maryland law firms, and he also served as general counsel to a number of startups and technology companies in Silicon Valley.
Flexible and versatile, Mr. Lewicky delivers unmatched counsel and support to companies of all sizes in a variety of industries, with a particular emphasis on helping emerging small- and mid-sized companies plan and organize properly in order to increase their chances for success. A small business owner himself, Mr. Lewicky fully understands the unique challenges and struggles businesses and company owners face, and he provides the same level of dedicated support as in-house counsel without the accompanying costs.
A 1983 graduate of Knox College, Mr. Lewicky obtained his Juris Doctor from American University Washington College of Law in 1987 and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland in 1998. He is currently licensed to practice in Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as before the U.S. District Courts for the District of Maryland and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Highly active in his legal community, Mr. Lewicky is a member of several local, state and national bar associations, and he has written extensively and conducted lectures across his region on a number of legal topics. He is also involved with several civic organizations throughout Howard County, including his local chamber of commerce, and he holds an AV-Preeminent peer-review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell for his exceptional legal abilities and impeccable ethical standards.
*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.
Business Litigation, Business/Corporate, Employment Litigation: Defense, Government Contracts, General Litigation, Real Estate: Business
Business Formation and Planning, Business Organizations, Condominiums & Cooperatives, Contracts, Employment Discrimination, Employment Law - Employer, Limited Liability Companies, Litigation, Non-Compete Agreements, Partnership, Retaliation, Trade Secret, Wrongful Termination
- 20% Business Litigation
- 20% Business/Corporate
- 20% Employment Litigation: Defense
- 20% Government Contracts
- 10% General Litigation
- 10% Real Estate: Business
First Admitted: 1987, Maryland
Professional Webpage: https://lohmlaw.com/team/steven-lewicky/
- People that cannot afford to retain an attorney, or don’t wish to pay substantial attorneys’ fees, sometimes ask lawyers whether they can help with drafting court papers or with preparing a court argument, for the un-represented party to then present himself or herself in court. While the person making the inquiry may not realize it, this presents a number of ethical concerns for the attorney, and for the legal system. The so-called “ghost writing” of court papers by attorneys on behalf of pro se litigants has received increasing attention in recent years, and some observers see it as a partial solution to the high cost of legal services. The Journal of the American Bar Association published an article this month suggesting that some jurisdictions are become more accepting of the practice. The fact remains, however, that most jurisdictions in the United States take a dim view of attorneys ghost writing court papers for non-lawyer litigants. The state bar for each state creates ethical rules that bind attorneys practicing in that state, and these ethical rules vary on issues of ghost writing and the “unbundling” of legal services. Different court systems also may have their own rules regarding the practice. The Federal court system, for example, has a well-established hostility to ghost writing by attorneys. In Federal court practice, anonymous drafting of pleadings by attorneys for pro se litigants, without the attorney signing the pleadings, can result in suspension or disbarment from practice before the court. Almost ten years ago, the American Bar Association published a formal ethics opinion approving the practice, however. This ABA opinion is not binding on state bar associations, though, and the state authorities that actually regulate the profession generally have been far less open to the practice. The term “ghost writing” refers to an attorney representing a pro se litigant, informally or otherwise, and preparing pleadings, motions, or briefs for the litigant that the assisting lawyer does not sign. The Federal courts have expressed great concern about this practice, because the attorney seeks to remain anonymous and therefore potentially outside the professional, ethical, and substantive obligations that are imposed on members of the bar when they sign a court pleading. Courts can view this as a deliberate evasion of the attorney’s ethical obligation to the court. When an attorney signs a court submission, he or she is thereby representing to the court that there are grounds to support the assertions made in the submitted paper. The practice of ghost writing frustrates this obligation by keeping the identity of the attorney who drafted the paper anonymous. In addition, courts often give liberal interpretation to papers filed by self-represented parties, and allowing pro se litigant to benefit from this latitude while actually receiving counsel from an attorney is a disadvantage to an opposing party that may not have the benefit of a ghost writing. Some courts have also viewed ghost writing as a misrepresentation by the attorney, which violates an attorney’s professional responsibility to be candid with the court. Several years ago, Maryland court rules were amended to expressly permit attorneys and clients to contractually agree to a “limited appearance” by the attorney. In a limited appearance, the attorney agrees to appear in a court proceeding for the client only for a limited, well-defined aspect of the case. For example, a client could retain an attorney to represent the client only in the child support aspect of a family law action, but not in the property aspects of the divorce proceeding. The limited appearance must be for a discrete matter or judicial proceeding, and the notice of appearance filed with the court must be accompanied by an Acknowledgment of Scope of Limited Representation signed by the client, specifying the scope of the limited appearance. This rule does not condone ghost writing by attorneys in Maryland state courts, but it has moved the Maryland bar some distance down the road toward acceptance of unbundled legal services., May an attorney help a self-represented party write court papers or prepare a case for trial?, General Public
- The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) updated its official FAQs on March 9, 2018, to guide Maryland employers in implementing the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (the so-called “Paid Leave Law”). Since February 11, 2018, Maryland employers have been required to provide “sick and safe” leave benefits to their employees under this new law. Companies with 15 or more employees must provide paid leave to their employees. Companies with fewer than 15 employees need only provide un-paid leave. The new DLLR publication provides guidance on calculation of the 15-employee threshold, sick and safe leave accrual and tracking requirements, permissible uses of earned sick and safe leave, employer verification of sick and safe leave use, rehire requirements, and specific categories of employees. Here are a few of the new items clarified in the DLLR publication:Does an employee need to give prior notice to the employer before using sick and safe leave?DLLR says that, if the need for sick and safe leave is foreseeable, an employer may require its employees to provide up to seven days of notice before taking leave. If the need to use leave is not foreseeable, the employee must provide notice as soon as possible.Can an employer designate different methods of accruing sick and safe leave for different types of employees?Yes. DLLR says that “an employer could front load leave to full time employees but provide that part-time employees earn leave on an accrual basis.” DLLR recommends that such a policy be in writing and clearly communicated to all employees. Such a policy must be applied consistently with regard to each type of employee.Do paid holidays count toward earned sick and safe leave? Can an employee accrue earned sick and safe leave while using PTO?The new guidance directs that an employer cannot deduct holiday hours from an employee’s earned sick and safe leave if the employer’s business does not operate on those holidays, and the employer provides paid time off for those holidays. If an employer’s business operates on holidays and employees work or are expected to work on holidays, however, the employer may deduct from the employee’s accrued sick and safe leave if the employee takes a leave day and does not work on the holiday. The law does not require that an employee accrue sick and safe leave while using paid time off.What happens in weeks where an employee occasionally works less than 12 hours in a week?An employee that normally or customarily works less than 12 hours a week is not covered by the law. However, if an employee customarily works 12 or more hours per week but on an isolated week works less than 12 hours, those hours would still count toward the employee’s sick and safe leave.How does an employer handle the accrual of earned sick and safe leave if the employer advances the leave time at the beginning of the year and the employee is not hired at the beginning of the designated benefit year?If an employer advances sick and safe leave time on January 1st and an employee is hired later during the year, the employer must ensure that the employee earns sick and safe leave in an amount equal to or greater than the leave provided for under the earned sick and safe leave law, until the beginning of the next benefit year.Does earned sick and safe leave count toward the fringe benefit amount on a Maryland prevailing wage project?DLLR says that paid sick and safe leave may be credited toward the fringe benefit requirement on a Maryland Prevailing Wage project.What pay rate should an employee working on a Maryland Prevailing Wage project be compensated when using earned sick and safe leave?DLLR says that earned sick and safe leave should be compensated at an employee’s standard rate of pay, at the same rate the employer compensates employees for other paid fringe benefits, State of Maryland Issues Guidance on the New Paid Leave Law, Employers & Employees
- Digital privacy rights have received more attention since it was revealed that the voter profiling firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to personal data of millions of Facebook users. This prompted the European Union to establish some of the toughest online privacy regulations in the world. Even companies outside Europe must comply with the E.U.’s new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) if their web presence extends into Europe. Facebook, for example, announced in April that it will offer the privacy controls required under the GDPR to all Facebook users, not just Europeans. The State of California also recently enacted the Consumer Privacy Act, A.B. 375, which is modeled on the GDPR. The California Consumer Privacy Act is set to take effect January 1, 2020, giving citizens an array of new rights, and more control over how their data is used. California consumers will have the right to request deletion of personal information, to opt out of the sale of personal information, and to access personal information in a “readily usable format” that enables transfer to third parties without hinderance. It also makes it more difficult to share or sell data related to children younger than 16. This California law will have an impact outside of that State, because it will apply to any legal entity that (i) does business in California, (ii) is operated for the profit or financial benefit of its owners, (iii) collects consumers’ personal information and determines the purpose and means of processing such information, and (iv) satisfies at least one of the following three conditions:* Has an annual gross revenue of over $25 million* Alone or in combination, annually buys, receives, sells or shares for commercial purposes the personal information of $50,000 or more consumers, households or devices, or* Derives 50% or more of it’s annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information The California law will force companies meeting the minimum size threshold to be transparent about how they use consumer data. These companies will have to obtain permission before using targeting ads based on personal information that they’ve received, such as a person’s job, education, or the websites and apps used by the person.Many companies that use or gather consumer data, from retailers to cellular network providers to internet companies, have at least some California customers. Companies large enough to be subject to the new law must bring their systems and websites into compliance, and ensure that their processes are robust enough to take action in response to consumer inquiries and requests., Could the European GDPR or the new California Privacy Act affect your business?, Business
- A limited liability company (LLC) is a “pass-through” entity for tax purposes, once properly registered with the IRS, and is the preferred form of business entity for many small and mid-size companies. Forming an LLC in Maryland is a straightforward process. A person authorized to do so by those persons forming an LLC files signed articles of organization with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). Articles of organization in Maryland need only contain the name of the new LLC, the address of its principal office in Maryland, and the name and address of its resident agent. Articles of organization may also include other provisions, as long as they are not inconsistent with law. For example, articles of organization can provide that the authority of individual members to act for the LLC, solely by virtue of their being members of the LLC, is limited. Although establishing a Maryland LLC by the filing of articles of organization is relatively easy, one of the advantages of using the LLC form of business entity is flexibility in structuring governance of the entity. The “ground rules” for operating a particular LLC are set forth in the LLC’s operating agreement – a document that plays a role similar to that of bylaws for a corporation. Maryland law does not even require an LLC to have an operating agreement, but any LLC having more than a single member should have a well-drafted and thoroughly considered operating agreement. (In some cases, single-member LLCs should have a written operating agreement, as well). Working with an experienced attorney to draft the right operating agreement for an LLC is a sound investment. Lawyers that have practiced in this area for any length of time will have stories of inadequate operating agreements that clients pulled together informally, or using ill-fitting examples found on the internet, to the later regret of the LLC’s members. Creating a solid, written operating agreement for an LLC, especially at or near the time of its formation, can head off a lot of problems later. The subjects that can be covered in a written operating agreement are too numerous to be addressed in this article, but one significant matter to be included in an operating agreement for a multi-member LLC is the designation and powers of a “manager” for the LLC. Unless otherwise provided in an operating agreement, each member of a Maryland LLC would have the power to bind the LLC in the ordinary conduct of its business. Unless the articles of organization place limits on the authority of members to act for the LLC, each member of a Maryland LLC has apparent authority to execute any document in the name of the LLC. Instead of operating under these default arrangements, members of a Maryland LLC will wish to clearly designate, in a written operating agreement, who is to serve as the manager of the LLC, and provide clear delineation of the manager’s authority to act for the LLC, along with the limits on that authority. Unlike LLC statutes in other states, the Maryland LLC Act does not use the term “manager.” The Act does not establish statutory duties or a standard of care for members, managers, or other agents of a Maryland LLC, but court decisions during the past ten years suggest that a manager of a Maryland LLC owes the LLC, and its members, the common law duties of an agent. Courts have further suggested that this imposition, by default, of agency liability on managers can be altered or expanded by the LLC’s operating agreement. Another reason to have a written operating agreement, therefore, is to expand, alter, or clarify the manager’s duties to other members. There are many good reasons for early-stage and other companies to seriously consider choosing an LLC as a legal entity. Forming an LLC in Maryland is relatively easy, but thinking through whether the company should have a written operating agreement, and the terms of any operating agreement, is an exercise in which an experienced business attorney will add real value., Early-stage companies look to the LLC form of business entity, Business
- Masters of Business Administration -- Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, 1998
- Bachelors of Arts - Knox College, Galesburg, IL, 1983
- Present Member of the James Macgill American Inn of Court in Howard County., 2019
- Present Member of the District of Columbia Bar, 2018
- Present Member, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
- Present Member of Howard County Bar Association, 2018
- Present Member of the Maryland Bar, 2018
- Present Member, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 2015
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Member
- Present Member, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Office location for Steven Lewicky
8115 Maple Lawn Blvd.
Fulton, MD 20759