Steptoe & Johnson LLP at a Glance


  • “Friendly partners”
  • “Exciting projects”
  • “Team atmosphere”


  • “Lack of transparency”
  • “Lower bonuses”
  • “Needs a nicer headquarters building in DC”

The Buzz

  • “Great culture”
  • “Energy”
  • “Good but regional”
  • “Stodgy”

About Steptoe & Johnson LLP

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 litigation and evolving Internet law, including "open Internet" policies, privacy, law enforcement and cybersecurity. 

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, who had a way with people and politics.

It was Johnson's inclination for politics that helped pave the road for the future Steptoe & Johnson. Johnson agreed to serve as Assistant Secretary of War in FDR's cabinet in 1937. When he was done, he stuck around the capital and established the firm's Washington, DC presence in 1945. The Colonel didn't waste time diving back into politics, though-he accepted a position as Harry Truman's secretary of defense not long after setting up shop in DC.

In 1980, the West Virginia and DC offices of the firm split in two, creating a name confusion that persists even today-Steptoe & Johnson LLP, which goes by Steptoe, is not to be confused with the still-in-existence Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in West Virginia. With offices throughout the U.S. as well as in London, Beijing and Brussels, the former now has more than 500 attorneys-roughly 300 of whom are located in the DC office.


Steptoe & Johnson LLP is known for its white-collar criminal defense practice, and partner Reid Weingarten is a major player in this area. During his illustrious career, he has represented several high-profile individuals including Enron Corporation's chief accounting officer, Richard Causey; WorldCom chief executive, Bernard Ebbers; Secretary of Commerce, Ronald H. Brown; Secretary of Agriculture, Michael Espy; former Teamsters president, Ron Carey; Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; and film director Roman Polanski. 

Steptoe's international trade group is similarly well-regarded. The group recently represented SKF Inc. in a long-running anti-dumping suit and the government of China in its first-ever case as a complainant before the World Trade Organization.

Rubbing Elbows

Steptoe, like many DC firms, has seen both Beltway business people and politicos come through its doors. Among the firm's alumni are BET's CEO Debra L. Lee, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, and President Truman's Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson. Boasting government experience, the firm's roster includes attorneys who formerly served under the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, and Treasury; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the FBI; the FTC; the IRS; the National Security Agency (NSA); the US Senate Banking and Finance Committees; and the Office of the Vice President. The firm is also home to former members of the House and Senate to round things out.


May 2015

New Pals in Palo Alto

Steptoe expanded the capabilities offered in its Palo Alto office with the arrival of four lawyers. Joining the firm as a partner is Laurie Edelstein, whose broad practice focuses on commercial litigation, along with energy litigation, government investigations and regulatory enforcement proceedings and white-collar criminal defense.  Also joining Steptoe's Palo Alto office as of counsel are Sarah Jackel and Margaret "Meg" Pirnie Kammerud and associate Seth Sias.  Both Ms. Jackel and Mr. Sias focus their practices on commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense, while Ms. Kammerud focuses her practice on intellectual property. 

April 2015

Who's Bad?

Steptoe's Century City and Phoenix-based litigation team won in federal district court decision granting National Union's motion for summary judgment in a coverage/bad faith action brought by Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company.

March 2015

Litigators in the Land of Lincoln

Steptoe has expanded its Chicago office and bolstered its commercial litigation and toxic tort litigation practices with the addition of seven partners. The group is led by noted litigators Michael Dockterman and Robert Shuftan, who have decades of first-chair trial experience before federal and state courts across the country.

February 2015

Breathing Easy

On February 13, a New Jersey federal judge ruled in favor of Sandoz and other defendants, finding that a patent for sterilizing the Asthma drug in dispute was invalid as obvious.  The case dates back several years, when AstraZeneca filed patent infringement suits after Sandoz and other parties filed ANDAs with the FDA to make generic versions of Pulmicort Respules, a drug that generated $5.6 billion in sales in the United States between 2000 and 2004.

U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb ruled the defendants had proved that there were multiple techniques for sterilization known in the prior art, thus rendering the patent obvious.  Steptoe partner Taras Gracey, who is based in the firm's Chicago office, leads the Steptoe team representing Sandoz in this case.

February 2015

Big Win for Big Oil

A New York federal court blocked Venezuela's attempt to reverse the ex parte recognition of a $1.6 billion arbitral award in favor of ExxonMobil.  The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the state's petition to vacate judgment from last year that had recognized the award in an ex parte proceeding. In October 2014, ExxonMobil obtained the award from an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) tribunal, the World Bank's international arbitration court.  The day after the ICSID award, Steptoe, on behalf of ExxonMobil, converted the multi-billion dollar award into a federal court judgment in an ex parte proceeding in the Southern District of New York.  Venezuela then applied to vacate the judgment on the ground that the ex parte procedure was improper.  In a 50-page opinion, the court denied the motion and adopted every critical argument advanced by Steptoe.

December 2014


The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Rich Verma as the new United States ambassador to India, the first Indian-American to step into that role.  Mr. Verma's nomination by President Obama was confirmed by the full Senate during a voice vote December 9.

Mr. Verma most recently served as a senior counselor at both Steptoe and the Albright Stonebridge Group.  His government service includes positions in the State Department as an assistant secretary of state, in the Senate as the senior national security advisor to the majority leader and in the House of Representatives where he worked for the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee.  Mr. Verma previously practiced at Steptoe as a partner.

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Steptoe & Johnson LLP

1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-1795
Phone: (202) 429-3000
Fax: (202) 429-3902


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chair: Philip R. West
  • Hiring Partners: Kendall Enyard and Patrick Linehan
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 479

  • Employment Contact
    R. Thomas Rodriguez
    Director, Attorney Services & Legal Recruiting
    Phone: (202) 429-8036
    Fax: (202) 828-3661

  • Base Salary
    Washington, DC
    1st year:  $160,000
    Summer associate:  $3,075/week

  • Summer Associate Offers

    9 of 13 (2014)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Transactions & Tax
    Commercial Litigation & Arbitration
    Intellectual Property
    Professional Liability
    ERISA, Labor & Employment
    Complex Commercial Disputes
    Regulation, Enforcement & Public Policy
    Telecom, Internet & Media
    Government Investigations & Enforcement
    Government Affairs & Public Policy
    International Regulation & Compliance
    International Trade & Investment
    Government Contracts

Major Office Locations

  • Washington, DC (HQ)
  • Century City, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • London
  • Brussels
  • Beijing
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