Katie Steefel

Katie Steefel

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Law

Legal Externship Program


Externships, Criminal Law

Professional Biography

Katie Steefel is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Law in the Sturm College of Law's Legal Externship Program. She teaches seminars in the Externship Program and a course titled Appellate Criminal Law.  Her research focuses on criminal law, constitutional law, and professional identity formation.

Before joining Denver Law, Steefel worked as a public defender in the appellate division of the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. She represented indigent defendants convicted of felonies throughout Colorado. She obtained reversals of convictions for numerous clients and brought a client-centered approach to her work. Prior to her time as a public defender, Steefel worked as an associate attorney at the criminal defense and civil rights firm Johnson & Klein, PLLC, where she represented clients in federal and state court in trial and appellate proceedings. Steefel also served as a law clerk for Justice William Hood on the Colorado Supreme Court.

Steefel is a graduate of the Sturm College of Law, where she was a Chancellor's Scholarship recipient. As a student, she received numerous academic and leadership awards and was selected by National Jurist magazine as one of the Law Students of the Year. She also served as the Symposium Editor for the Denver Law Review and hosted the symposium titled “Justice Reinvestment: The Solution to Mass Incarceration?” Steefel received a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She studied international politics with a focus on Latin American Studies.

Steefel is a member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association’s Spanish Speaking Lawyers Committee. Before attending law school, Steefel lived and worked in Santiago, Chile. In her free time, Steefel enjoys playing soccer, running, and spending time with her family.

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Featured Publications

From Whiteboard to Statement of Principles: The Development of the Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place, and Law’s Principles, 101 DEN. L. REV. (2024) (forthcoming)

Uniting the Head, Hands, and Heart: How Specialty Externships Can Combat Public Interest Drift, 25:2 CLINICAL L. REV. 325 (2019) (peer reviewed law journal of NYU Law), co-authored with Alexi Freeman

The Pledge for the Public Good: A Student-Led Initiative to Incorporate Morality & Justice in Every Classroom, 22 WASH. & LEE J. CIV. RTS. & SOC. JUST. 49 (2016), co-authored with Alexi Freeman

Pro Bono, Public Interest and More: A Look at a Student-Led Initiative to Elevate the Public Good at Denver Law, THE DOCKET, Dec. 2016-Jan. 2017, at 26, co-authored with Alexi Freeman