Steve Nissen is Senior Vice President of Legal & Government Affairs at NBCUniversal. In that capacity, he is primarily responsible for developing and coordinating for the company a comprehensive state and local government agenda, including anti-piracy, intellectual property protection, tax, digital, broadcast, film production, land use and government compliance. In addition to his responsibilities at NBCUniversal, Mr. Nissen is currently Chair of the Board of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and the Central City Association, and is Immediate Past Chair of FilmLA. He also serves on the Executive Committees of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA), Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, where he was honored as Chamber Board Member of the Year for 2013.
Prior to joining NBC Universal, Mr. Nissen was a partner in the national law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips from 2002 to 2008, representing a wide range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit entities. His practice focused on litigation, land use, nonprofit governance, government affairs, and administrative law work. Mr. Nissen’s most recent tenure at the Manatt law firm was his second stint at the firm, having also practiced law as a partner there in the 1980’s.
In early 1999, Mr. Nissen became a senior official in the Administration of California Governor Gray Davis. Nissen served as the Governor’s Interim Staff Director, as Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and as Senior Special Assistant for Innovation in Government. In those capacities, he oversaw statewide initiatives involving technology, land use, government efficiency and environmental matters, and organized the Governor’s Summit on Philanthropy. In addition, Mr. Nissen chaired the Energy Reliability Task Force and the e-Government Task Force, and served as the Governor’s liaison to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Hate Groups, chaired by former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and former California Governor George Deukmejian.
Before joining the Governor’s staff, Mr. Nissen was Executive Director of the State Bar of California, taking charge in the midst of a political crisis which arose when the Bar lost its legislative funding. He worked closely with then Governor Pete Wilson’s office, the California Legislature and the state Supreme Court to restore funding, while at the same time streamlining the Bar to make it more efficient and effective for the state’s consumers of legal services. Prior to his position at the State Bar, Mr. Nissen was Executive Director of Public Counsel Law Center, which he built into the largest pro bono law firm in the United States, and for which he was often recognized, including being honored as Southern California’s Professional in Philanthropy, as well as by the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California and the Association of Corporate Counsel. Under his leadership, Public Counsel built a staff of over 40 and a cadre of 10,000 volunteer attorneys providing more than $200 million worth of legal services to disadvantaged children, the elderly, low-income families, and nonprofit organizations.
Mr. Nissen has continued his commitment to the underprivileged by serving as 2009-2010 Co-Chair of the California Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, as a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, and as a Board Member of Public Counsel Law Center. In recognition of his lifetime commitment to service, in 2014 Nissen received the Outstanding Achievement in Public Affairs from the Public Relations Society (PRism award).
Mr. Nissen gained his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his law degree from U.C Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law.