Steptoe & Johnson LLP at a Glance


  • “Diversity of projects”
  • “Great clients”
  • “People keep work in perspective here”


  • “Compensation below market”
  • “The stress”
  • “Lack of transparency”

The Buzz

  • “DC insiders”
  • “International experts”
  • “Vicious”
  • “White shoe”

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, and white-collar criminal defense litigation.  

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.


January 2014

New Firm Leader
Phil West assumed the leadership of Steptoe, becoming chair of the firm's executive committee on January 1, 2014.  He succeeded Roger Warin who served as chair for a decade and was named chair emeritus.  Mr. West heads the firm's tax group and has been actively involved in Steptoe's management over the past decade, and he has served on the firm's executive committee.  From 1997-2000, Mr. West served as the Treasury Department's international tax counsel.

Trio of Partners Open Palo Alto Office
Steptoe expanded its presence on the West Coast and its growing national intellectual property practice by opening an office in northern California.  The launch of the new Palo Alto office was spearheaded by William F. Abrams, a noted patent litigator with significant first-chair trial and appellate experience, who joined the firm in January 2014 as managing partner of the Palo Alto office.  Sanjeet Dutta joined him as a partner in the new office.  As part of the expansion of the firm's litigation practice, Boyd Cloern joined as a partner in Steptoe's Washington office.

February 2014

Smartphone Success
Steptoe scored a significant victory for Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Huawei Device Co., Ltd., Huawei Device USA Inc. and Futurewei Technologies, Inc. (Huawei) at the International Trade Commission.  In another episode of the "smartphone wars," Steptoe argued that Huawei did not infringe asserted claims of Technology Properties Limited's microprocessor patent.  Following a seven-day hearing, an ITC administrative law judge issued an initial determination in favor of Huawei.  After granting a partial review, the ITC issued a final notice affirming the initial determination, closing the investigation and clearing Huawei of any violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

December 2013

Antitrust Achievement
Steptoe successfully represented Rockwell Collins, Inc. through a nearly four-month investigation with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division clearing Rockwell Collins's purchase of ARINC, Inc. from the Carlyle Group, at a cost of $1.39 billion.  Rockwell Collins is a leading supplier of aviation electronics and communications equipment and ARINC is a leading supplier of communications, engineering and systems integration solutions for the aviation and rail industries.  The investigation was also reviewed by the competition agencies of Germany and Spain, and inquiries about the transaction were made by the Brazilian competition authority.

November 2013

Case Dismissed
Steptoe obtained a dismissal of all claims against former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch in a securities fraud class action against HP and its executives that was brought by investors in the wake of HP's $8.8 billion write-down related to its $11 billion acquisition of Autonomy.  HP had attributed more than $5 billion of the write-down to alleged accounting irregularities at Autonomy, and the plaintiffs alleged that Dr. Lynch had violated sections of the Securities Exchange Act and SEC Rule 10b-5.  The judge found that the plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to establish that Dr. Lynch made any false or misleading statements.

October 2013

Keeping the Lights On
Steptoe continues to help Southern California Edison (SCE) in its decade-long effort to recover damages related to the California power crisis of 2000, which resulted in the largest regulatory litigation in the history of the electric power industry, a $750 million settlement with Powerex Corp., approved by FERC resolving longstanding claims by the California parties that Powerex manipulated electricity markets during the crisis.  To date, Steptoe has helped secure about $5 billion in settlements.

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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: Roger E. Warin
  • Hiring Partners: Jim Moorhead and Meredith Rathbone
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 509

  • Employment Contact
    Rosemary Kelly Morgan
    Senior Director of Attorney Services & Recruiting
    Phone: (202) 429-8036
    Fax: (202) 828-3661

  • Base Salary
    Washington, DC
    1st year:  $160,000
    2nd year: $165,000
    3rd year:  $175,000
    4th year:  $190,000
    5th year:  $210,000
    6th year:  $225,000
    7th year:  $240,000
    8th year:  $255,000
    Summer associate:  $3,075/week

  • Summer Associate Offers

    12 of 12 (2013)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust & Competition
    Complex Litigation
    Corporate, Securities & Finance
    Environment & Natural Resources
    ERISA, Labor & Employment
    Government Affairs & Public Policy
    Government Contracts
    Insurance & Reinsurance
    Intellectual Property
    International Arbitration International Regulation & Compliance
    International Trade & Investment
    National & Homeland Security
    Securities Enforcement
    Telecom, Internet & Media
    White-Collar Criminal Defense

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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