Steptoe & Johnson is among the NLJ's Top 250 law firms, with offices in Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. With roots dating back nearly a century, the firm has a long history of success based on focused client service and congenial working relationships within the firm. Steptoe & Johnson attorneys enjoy an environment of teamwork, collegiality, and a sense of partnership that is passed on to the clients of the firm, who benefit from focused, personal attention.
Steptoe & Johnson’s summer associate program is designed for both first and second year law students, and historically has been one of the largest in the region, with 15 to 25 associates hired each summer.
Experience has shown the firm that the summer program works best for both the firm and the students when associates are not restricted to a particular area of practice. The firm therefore designs the program to expose associates to different practice areas throughout the summer. Summer associates also can expect to participate in various types of legal projects, such as assisting attorneys with trial preparation and witness interviews, drafting motions and pleadings, preparing written discovery, and crafting technical legal documents.
Naturally, legal research and writing will be a substantial portion of the experience, but just as the firm’s lawyers do not spend all of their time in the library, neither do the summer associates. One of the philosophies behind the summer program is that associates should come away with a better understanding of what the practice of law really entails on a day-to-day basis. The firm makes a conscientious effort to expand the experience to include attendance at depositions, trials, client conferences, motion hearings, mediation sessions, real estate or commercial transaction closings, and other events of practical interest.
Although Steptoe & Johnson expects summer associates to be self-motivated and exercise independent judgment as much as possible in completing assignments, firm lawyers encourage associates to consult freely with their supervising attorneys. Program leaders assign each associates two attorney mentors – one general mentor, and one mentor dedicated to helping the associates improve legal research and writing skills. Over the course of the summer, the firm’s informal but professional working and social environment provides law associates with the opportunity they need to get to know Steptoe & Johnson, and to become acquainted with the surrounding community.
Compensation during the summer is $1,250 per week for second year associates and $1,000 per week for first year associates. To maximize the benefits of the summer program, the firm asks that law associates spend at least 10 consecutive weeks at Steptoe & Johnson, and arrange for any extended breaks or vacation to take place before or after the program.
Entry level associates
Steptoe & Johnson offers associates a broad range of hands-on experience that contributes to each individual’s development as a lawyer. As associates with the firm, new lawyers are given the opportunity to work directly with clients early in their careers, pursue crucial training options, and form valuable mentoring relationships.
Steptoe & Johnson’s need for associates varies from year to year. However, the firm is always interested in enthusiastic, energetic, and eager law students as they make decisions pertaining to their legal careers. Steptoe & Johnson’s lawyers come from the most prestigious law schools in the nation, including:
- College of William & Mary
- Georgetown Law Center
- George Washington University
- Harvard Law School
- Ohio State University
- Penn State Dickinson School of Law
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Kentucky
- University of Louisville
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Richmond
- University of Tennessee
- University of Virginia
- Vanderbilt University
- Wake Forest School of Law
- Washington & Lee University
- West Virginia University
In all associate hiring decisions, recruiting committee members consider the full range of an applicant's qualifications, with particular emphasis on traits that demonstrate legal ability, commitment to professional achievement, and compatibility with the firm culture. Key factors include the following:
- Demonstrated aptitude and achievement
- Demonstrated verbal and writing abilities
- Law school grades
- Extracurricular activities
- Undergraduate education and accomplishments
- Work experience
In addition, the recruiting committee considers factors that demonstrate personal maturity, initiative, adaptability, good judgment, and a sincere interest in the professional and personal aspects of membership in a firm. Because the firm maintains close working relationships with clients, attorneys, and judges in many communities throughout the region, a potential associate must be able to deal personably and effectively with others on a daily basis.
The annual salary for new associates is one of the highest available in the region. The firm reviews each associate’s salary on an annual basis.
Steptoe & Johnson also offers a competitive benefits package, which includes a 401(k) plan and term life, long-term disability, medical, and AD&D insurance, as well as a flexible spending plan. As to professional benefits, Steptoe & Johnson provides its associates with liability insurance and reimbursement for mandatory bar association dues, approved continuing legal education expenses, and other practice-related obligations. Associates also are encouraged to take approximately two weeks of vacation each year.
Employment for new associates typically begins in September of each year. The firm pays recent law school graduates a one-time summer stipend, currently $6,000, to cover moving costs, living expenses incurred while studying for the bar examination, bar review courses and application fees.
Steptoe & Johnson understands the importance and necessity of adding seasoned practitioners to its legal staff. In recent years, Steptoe & Johnson has hired between 20 and 30 experienced lateral attorneys annually in offices throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia In addition, the firm hires full or part time staff associates to meet specific needs of the firm.
For more information pertaining to lateral openings, contact the firm’s Director of Attorney Recruiting to inquire about available opportunities.
Steptoe & Johnson recruits highly motivated individuals with top credentials and skills to join the firm. Although positions are not posted regularly, resumes and inquiries may be sent at any time. On occasion, a job opening will be highlighted in this section to expand the firm’s search for the most qualified individual.
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