DC-based Steptoe & Johnson is drawn to candidates with clerkship or government experience, and the right personality is a must. The firm is dedicated to associate development, with early opportunities for challenges and genuinely invested partners. Today, the firm serves as counsel to a number of blue-chip clients and is routinely ranked among the top firms for international trade, insurance, tax, intellectual property, energy, white-collar criminal defense, and the ever-evolving arena of internet law.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)

250 - 500


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



No. of Summer Associates (2021)

26 total (19 2Ls; 7 1Ls)


Base Salary

Washington, DC:

Vault Verdict

Steptoe values factors including clerkship or government experience and personality fit, and it will look beyond T14 schools to find candidates that check the boxes. The culture here is kind, cordial, and inclusive from the top down. Associates can choose how social they want to be; aside from a few firm-sponsored events, get-togethers tend to be organized by associates. Partners are respectful, reasonable, and invested in associate development. Transparency is an area of critique, as associates feel they don’t have enough insight into decisions, especially those regarding promotions and compensation. The billable-hours requirement of 2,000 hours seems high to some, while others find it entirely reasonable. The bigger complaint is around bonuses, which trend below market. The work...

About the Firm

Steptoe & Johnson LLP got its start representing the airline industry, as well as pipelines, railroads, and foreign companies whose assets had been seized during World War II. Today, the firm serves as counsel to a number of blue-chip clients and is routinely ranked among the top firms for international trade, insurance, tax, intellectual property, energy, white-collar criminal defense, and the ever-evolving arena of internet law. 

Cavaliers Unite

In 1913, Philip Steptoe and Colonel Louis Johnson, both graduates of the University of Virginia School of Law, combined forces to form Steptoe & Johnson in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The match verged on cliché: a pairing of the introverted Steptoe with the extroverted Johnson, adept at politics and people. Johnson ag...

Associate Reviews

  • “Everyone treats each other professionally and cordially. Partners I have worked with are generally respectful of an associate’s time and workload. My practice group never fails to show our paralegals appreciation for their invaluable work.”
  • “Steptoe has a very inclusive culture. There aren't too many official events, but the attorneys interact after hours frequently.”
  • “Overall, Steptoe has a culture of respect and professionalism. Given the pandemic, it's been harder than usual to get attorneys to interact outside of working hours, but even then, in my experience, that was not the expectation. The firm recognizes that people have lives outside of work that take precedence, so it's more of an informal thing; associates can get together as they please, but they're not required to do so for the most part. Day to day, Steptoe is a pretty normal place to work. For the most part, people treat this as a job and not a lifestyle. Everyone is respectful, courteous, and generally friendly, including to staff.”
  • “Associates are frequently good friends with each other and frequently get together after work and on the weekends to hang out. Day to day, the atmosphere is very friendly with a good working relationship between attorney and staff.”

Diversity at Steptoe & Johnson LLP

"Steptoe's continued success depends on ensuring that the diverse experiences of all of our lawyers contribute both to the first-class work that we do for our clients and to the congeniality of our workplace. Our lawyers and professionals come to the firm with a wide range of skills, diverse backgrounds, and unique perspectives. We support career paths that enhance and maximize individual and team strengths through a refined process for staffing client matters. We strive to create teams with a diverse balance in which all of our lawyers and..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “Strong writing and analytical skills are required; the best candidates are also kind, genuine, and friendly people that would contribute to the firm's strong, positive-working-environment culture.”
  • “The firm is as competitive of many of the similarly ranked firms on Vault's list. Steptoe is not exclusively hiring every person who graduated summa cum laude from a T14 school; they do hire qualified individuals who are a ‘personality fit’ for the firm and the particular office. Journal and clerking experience are both plusses as well. As far as I can tell, the firm does not have guidelines for interviewers.”
  • “The firm tends to hire from T14s or people with strong government experience.”
  • “I was hired as a senior associate. This means that practical experience, prior employers, specialized skills, post-graduate studies, references, and publications have all played a much bigger role than diplomas or networks.”

Perks & Benefits