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. The associates at Steptoe & Johnson perform cutting-edge work on key legal issues while maintaining a good work-life balance and a reputation for keeping kindness at the forefront.

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

Kindness is key for those looking to join Steptoe’s team, but the firm also values diverse candidates with relevant work experience. Steptoe is a friendly place, and the firm supports this culture by funding social events, although many associates also regularly interact outside the office. Associates are kept up to date on firm health and finances, although transparency into promotion can be somewhat murky. Partners are respectful and treat associates as colleagues and associates appreciate this collaborative relationship. The firm imposes a 2,000 billable-hour requirement that associates find reasonable and a workflow coordinator ensures a fair distribution of work. Compensation is in line with the market, and associates find this to be generous, however there is some gripe abou...

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

  • “The firm supports firm culture by providing funds for afterhours socializing. The firm also provides funds for affinity group activities. The pandemic has changed the nature of day-to-day atmosphere significantly, but the firm does provide a number of virtual events and small in-person events when appropriate.”
  • “Lawyers socialize out of the office, and we all get along very well. At firm events, everyone tends to stay late because we're still enjoying catching up with one another. The partners treat associates as colleagues rather than underlings and make an effort to get to know the associates on a personal level.”
  • “I'm at Steptoe for the culture. Associates from my class are still among my closest friends, but even outside of that friend group, Steptoe is a consistently welcoming, friendly place. An example of Steptoe's culture is that when associates go to a happy hour, they go out of their way to invite people who aren't as social or have recently lateraled.”
  • “We try to socialize fairly regularly, even throughout the pandemic. Examples of events over the last year have been virtual trivia night, virtual escape room, happy hours, and a holiday party.”

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


  • “Steptoe looks for talented people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences who are enjoyable to work with. Steptoe has a very collegial atmosphere and maintaining that pleasant work environment is a priority.”
  • “I think the firm looks for personality and relevant work experience. Generally, I think we are looking for grounded and down-to-earth candidates with a positive attitude and sense of humor. If I had to pick a word we are looking for, I would pick ‘kind.’ Most Steptoe people are kind, hardworking people—and that's what I think they are looking for.”
  • “My group is looking for people who have a good understanding of science because I work in patent litigation.”
  • “Excellent grades are a must.”

Perks & Benefits