A founding member and Chairman of the Board of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Norm is nationally recognized for his extensive experience in real estate law, commercial transactions and public policy advocacy. Resident in the firm’s Denver office, his policy practice spans the economic spectrum, extending to telecommunications, financial services, tax and health care interests.

Mr. Brownstein has helped dozens of major organizations and corporations successfully develop and execute myriad legislative and regulatory strategies, including Apollo Global Management, Ardent Healthcare, Western Union, Caesars Entertainment, Federal Express, Ares Management, Guggenheim Partners, Neiman Marcus, Simon Properties, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Real Estate Roundtable, Comcast, Intelsat, the National Cable & Telecommunications, T-Mobile and the Vector Group. He has overseen the development and implementation of strategy for such complex matters as: 

  • Obtaining the inclusion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of the cancellation of indebtedness income tax deferral 
  • Obtaining a 5-year carry back for net operating losses
  • Obtaining on behalf of a public REIT a provision in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 shortening the required holding period necessary to avoid the imposition of a corporate level tax on the "built-in gains" upon the sale of property. As a result, the client is able to sell non-strategic assets in 2010 and 2011 acquired as part of a larger corporate acquisition without incurring a corporate level tax on the sale of the assets.
  • Expanding telecommunications law to permit satellite companies to re-use their spectrum to transmit communications via terrestrial wireless facilities
  • Amending the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to eliminate frivolous lawsuits against private contractors working on behalf of hundreds of America’s district attorneys
  • Obtaining approval of the AT&T-Bell South transaction before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Helping obtain approval of the Toshiba-Westinghouse and CVS-Caremark mergers
  • Retrieving a satellite license after the FCC revoked the license from a satellite company
  • Representing the cable industry in successfully protecting the local franchising approval process

In light of these and many successes in other legal areas, the National Law Journal named Norm one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” and Norm was named as one of Lawdragon's 500 Top Leading Lawyers in America.  He has also been included in the Best Lawyers in America and Colorado Super Lawyers. Active in community affairs, Norm is involved in many activities on behalf of the University of Colorado and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where he is currently vice president. He is presently a director of National Jewish Health and a trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Norm is a past presidential appointee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council (1996-2006).

Mr. Brownstein has received many awards and recognitions during his career. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Humanitarian Award, the President’s Award and the Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service from National Jewish Health, the Talmud Leadership Award from AIPAC, the Distinguished Service Award from ArtReach, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Colorado School of Law. In addition, he was awarded the Mizel Museum’s Community Cultural Enrichment Award,  the University Medal from the University of Colorado, Business Leader of the Year from Jewish Family Service of Colorado and the University of Colorado Law School William Lee Knous Award.

In 2012, Norm was included, with 88 other distinguished American Citizens who have influenced American Public Policy, in the "Network" a permanent display at the Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.

Since founding the firm in 1968, Norm's strategic vision has helped build a three-man partnership into the powerhouse law firm it is today, with nearly 250 attorneys and legislative consultants in offices across the country.

Representative Matters
  • Led the team for a major corporate client during a very intense period of crisis management when the company was under scrutiny from the Congress, including Hill outreach and extensive hearing preparation. This resulted in two successful hearings on Capitol Hill.

  • Represent several gaming entities regarding federal gambling policy.

  • Successfully lobbied the NY Governors Office and state legislature to defeat a proposed budget measure that called for the revocation of a foreign tax credit treaty exemption. The measure would have raised billions by imposing a double tax on global companies paying taxation abroad with countries under an existing treaty.

  • Brownstein successfully advocated against AT&T’s proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile for an informal coalition of companies seeking to preserve a competitive mobile wireless marketplace. AT&T abandoned the planned acquisition in December 2011.

  • Brownstein worked closely with industry leaders, House Committee on Ways and Means members, Senate Finance Committee members and the Joint Committee on Taxation to solve existing barriers to foreign capital. The firm represented a large coalition, leading industry trade groups to introduce bills significantly modifying provisions of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA).

  • Helped pass cancellation of indebtedness income legislation in the 2010 stimulus bill.

  • Spearheaded a successful negotiation involving a telecommunications company and two federal agencies resulting in a favorable outcome for the client, thereby preserving its business model.

  • Helped large homebuilders in their goal of passing reform of net operating loss tax legislation.

  • Brownstein, along with a coalition of businesses, successfully convinced Congress to pass legislation granting a five-year carry Back for net operating losses. This provision helped Fortune 50 companies to redirect billions of dollars for investment and job creation.

  • Led a large coalition of diverse companies and industries to pass a temporary provision in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that allows for a ten year deferral of cancellation of indebtedness income. The first five years will be tax free, with ratable payments in each of the last five years. This provision will apply to debt for cash, equity or other debt, and should prove to be an important tool for companies that need to restructure debt in the midst of this severe economic down turn.

  • Helped physician owned hospital retain its governing structure in health care reform.

  • Amending the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to eliminate frivolous lawsuits against private contractors working on behalf of hundreds of America’s district attorneys.

  • At the FCC, worked successfully to overturn a bureau level decision eliminating a client's satellite license authorization and obtain a favorable decision from the Commission reinstating the license.

News & Events

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Board of Directors, National Jewish Health

Board of Trustees, Simon Wiesenthal Center

Former Director, Denver Symphony

Former Director, Rose Medical Center

Former Honorary Director, ArtReach Foundation

Former Honorary Director, Boys’ Club of Metro Denver

Former Presidential Appointee, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, 1996-2006

University of Colorado, numerous activities on behalf of the university

Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 1968, University of Colorado Law School
  • B.S., 1965, University of Colorado
  • Colorado

William Lee Knous Alumni Award, University of Colorado Law School

National Law Journal's 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America

Best Lawyers in America, Denver Lawyers of the Year, Government Relations, 2016

Best Lawyers in America

Honoree, THE NETWORK: Portrait Conversations

Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service, National Jewish Health

Colorado Super Lawyers, Top 100 in Colorado, 2012-2015

Colorado Super Lawyers, 2006-2009, 2011-2016

Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Colorado School of Law

Distinguished Humanitarian Award, National Jewish Health

Distinguished Service Award, ArtReach

Lawdragon 500, Leading Lawyers in America

Mizel Museum’s Community Cultural Enrichment Award

President’s Award, National Jewish Health

Talmud Leadership Award, American Israel Public Affairs Committee

University Medal, University of Colorado

5280 Top Lawyers, Government Relations, 2015-2016

Zeff Award, Jewish Family Service of Colorado, 2013


American College of Real Estate Lawyers

American Bar Association

Colorado Bar Association

Denver Bar Association