Steptoe & Johnson Reviews

Updated June 26, 2015
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Roger E. Warin
16 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. Humane, collegial law firm

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Litigation Associate
    Current Employee - Litigation Associate

    I have been working at Steptoe & Johnson full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    As an associate with insight into a number of Am Law 100 firms, Steptoe was an unusually pleasant place to work. Make no mistake, this is still a major law firm--the hours, stress, and office politics can go off the charts. But for its environment, the firm is a leader in terms of quality of life inside the office.

    Compensation was in line with other DC firms. Associate salaries seemed typical, if marginally more compressed in upper bands than some competitors.

    Cons

    Management is fairly loose, resulting in some off-the-wall departments, partners, and offices. Associates' experience will depend greatly on exactly whom they work for and with. Some groups will have a very different experience. Very small bonuses compared to NY firms.


  2. Typical Law Firm

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Steptoe & Johnson

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Compensation was competitive. Had a great manager until that person moved on. Received bonuses when part of major projects.

    Cons

    Staff morale. Overworked and no backup for some positions. No incentive to stay long-term since it gives the impression that all it wants to do it cut expenses and not reward staff. Not a whole lot of career opportunities. Just a bunch of talk but not a lot of action.


  3. Associate who jumped off a sinking ship.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC

    I worked at Steptoe & Johnson

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    People are laid back and friendly.

    Cons

    Big change from lifestyle firm to a daily grind firm, but with below market pay. I've heard that has recently changed.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to remaining associates when others start leaving.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Steptoe is full of great people but the work is drying up

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Steptoe & Johnson full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Very friendly and considerate colleagues (partners and associates)
    Decent firm culture (happy hours, committees, etc.)
    Great location (Dupont Circle)
    Work-life balance (better than most BigLaw firms)

    Cons

    Assignment process is opaque
    Can be difficult to find a place in the firm (again, due to opaque assignment process)
    Many partners have left recently and taken work with them

    Advice to Management

    Help match associates to particular partners and groups to facilitate assignment process. Many associates felt like they were floundering and never knew where their next assignment was coming from or were overwhelmed with work from various partners, none of whom coordinated with the others


  6. Helpful (1)

    sinking ship

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Steptoe & Johnson full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Location - Dupont Circle is a good place work. Very accessible to other locations throughout the city. Lots of good restaurants.
    Cafeteria provides breakfast and lunch. Food is good and prices are very reasonable.
    Quiet work spaces.

    Cons

    Lack of communication among management to support staff.
    Managers are inept and power-hungry. Very little communication and very little room for advancement within the firm. Very little professional development opportunities as managers want you chained to your desk.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Mentor your junior level staffers. Give them opportunities to grow. Give staff responsibilities that are listed in their job descriptions. Be honest about the firm culture - that it is very stratified and not a diverse culture.


  7. Fast growing company which is on the move

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Steptoe & Johnson

    Pros

    This is a really fast growing title practice and the firm is really are trying to maintain a family friendly culture.

    Cons

    Because of the huge rapid growth the firm is going through some growing pains as it tries to sort out software and management issues


  8. Helpful (1)

    Great employee benefits, zero opportunity for career growth

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Steptoe & Johnson full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great employee benefits. Work environment amongst the non-mangerial staff is great. Work-life balance is great, usually never have to worry about work outside of the office.

    Cons

    Very little to no career advancement.
    Management seems to be based off of tenure instead of performance base.
    Employee morale is lowered because of reduction in force.

    Advice to Management

    Redo the organizational structure to allow for career advancement(monetary and job title wise) for non-managerial staff.


  9. Steptoe

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Steptoe & Johnson

    Pros

    Amazing culture, pay, and managers

    Cons

    Legal recruiting assistant position has a lot of tedious clerical work.

    Advice to Management

    Empower more significant projects to this position


  10. Quality people and a collegial atmosphere

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Marketing Specialist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Steptoe & Johnson (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working with really smart and interesting people, in an atmosphere that is, for the most part, collegial. If attuned to it, there is a great opportunity to learn many new things.

    Cons

    There is a marked divide between attorneys and staff, the latter being seen as a "drain on resources" and expendable. Not a great chance for career-development in the non-lawyer positions, and in some departments, there is higher-than-usual turnover. Also, the firm in old-school in relation to utilizing new technology to faciltate working from home, and other work-life balance issues.

    Advice to Management

    Times are tighter, but consider staff contributions a little more as you asses the bottom line.


  11. Helpful (1)

    An old school firm with many worthy experts and a few kooks

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Management in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Management in Washington, DC

    I worked at Steptoe & Johnson full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The lawyers at Steptoe are top notch and truly some of the best in the world. Their International practices, especially in the areas of Sanctions, FCPA, Cybersecurity, and Trade are incredibly well regarded for good reason. The IP practice, especially in IP litigation and Section 337 litigation is equally stellar. Lawyers are very committed to their clients and work incredibly hard to help them and provide strong proactive advice.

    Cons

    Many of the practices exist in silos and don't collaborate or work well together. Associates get little help and are really left to sink or swim unless a partner takes an interest and actively champions their work, which is much less common than it should be. Negative, even crazy personalities are tolerated and, although most people are quite nice, the few bad apples are not checked as long as they are making numbers. The chairman is an old gasbag more interested in parties and his own practice than running the firm. Staff are treated as tolerated peons and given no real say in anything, no matter how senior.

    Advice to Management

    Break the silos, engage professional staff and actually consider that they might have some good advice to offer.



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