Firm History


Philip P. Steptoe and Louis A. Johnson established the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Due to its centralized location and variety of manufacturing, banking, mineral, and service-related industries, Clarksburg proved to be an ideal base of operations. Steptoe & Johnson soon became prominent in the fields of banking, insurance, litigation, mineral, oil and gas, and public utility law.


Steptoe & Johnson opened an office in the State capital of Charleston, which facilitated the expansion of the firm’s practice before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, its interaction with numerous West Virginia regulatory agencies, and its involvement in various legislative activities.


The firm launched its Washington, D.C. office.


Steptoe & Johnson’s three offices employed 175 attorneys and more than 300 support personnel.


The firm separated into two firms, with the founding firm remaining a West Virginia partnership called Steptoe & Johnson (now Steptoe & Johnson PLLC), and the DC-based firm being called Steptoe & Johnson Chartered (now Steptoe LLP). Steptoe & Johnson’s two West Virginia offices employed 34 attorneys. The firm soon opened an office in Morgantown, West Virginia, and then affiliated with Avey & Steptoe, a prominent Martinsburg, West Virginia firm with almost 50 years of experience in the general practice of law.


Steptoe & Johnson PLLC continued to grow, with 91 attorneys at the beginning of the decade. The firm continued its expansion by adding an office in Wheeling, West Virginia.


At the dawn of the new century, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC employed 126 attorneys. In September 2003, the firm opened a new office in Huntington, West Virginia, at the encouragement of existing clients. Four years later, Steptoe & Johnson opened the Columbus, Ohio, office, expanding its presence as a regional law firm with particular strengths in energy, labor and employment, litigation, and business.


In January, Susan S. Brewer succeeded Robert M. Steptoe, Jr., as the CEO of the firm. Brewer was the first female managing member of a major West Virginia law firm. Under her direction, the firm opened an office in Lexington, Kentucky in June of the same year, adding an eighth location to its impressive resume.


In August, the Clarksburg office relocated to a new building in Bridgeport, West Virginia.

In September, the firm established its Pennsylvania presence when Meadville-based Culbertson, Weiss, Schetroma & Schug P.C. joined with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. In September 2010, Carpenter Lane LLC joined the firm, adding five additional attorneys to the Columbus, Ohio office.

In December, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC expanded to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, opening an office in the Southpointe Business Park.


In January, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC opened its Canton, Ohio, office and in March 2013 the firm opened an office in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, Texas.

In May, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC opened its Denver, Colorado, office. In the same month, Robert M. Steptoe, Jr. published “Firmly Rooted: The First 100 Years of Steptoe & Johnson,” a book written as part of the firm’s centennial celebration.


In September, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC opened its Louisville, Kentucky office.


In October, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC closed its Canton, Ohio, office and consolidated the Canton personnel into other existing office locations.


In July, Christopher L. Slaughter succeeded Susan S. Brewer as the CEO of the firm. The firm opened a third office in Pennsylvania, located in downtown Pittsburgh, in October 2020.


In August, the firm opened three new offices in Texas located in Dallas, San Antonio, and Collin County. This represents the firm’s largest geographic expansion to date.


In June, the firm expanded to Oklahoma with the opening of the Oklahoma City office.


Today, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC has grown to over 400 attorneys and other professionals supported by approximately 300 additional staff working in 18 offices in seven states. The firm is nationally recognized for its strengths in energy law with more than a century of know-how in the areas of business, labor and employment, and litigation.

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