Steptoe's continued success depends on ensuring that the diverse experiences of all of our attorneys contribute both to the first-class work that we do for our clients and to the congeniality of our workplace. Excellence in the practice of law knows no racial, ethnic, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, religious, or other such boundaries. This conviction is reflected in our motto: Strength In Diversity.
We are dedicated to maintaining our long-standing efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and promote lawyers from diverse backgrounds and to weave their experiences along with those of other attorneys into the fabric of the firm. We are keenly aware that our diversity and inclusion efforts are not just about the firm. They are about our clients, our communities, and the profession as a whole.
Steptoe's Diversity Committee reflects a broad cross-section of the firm. We have three affinity groups: Multicultural Attorneys at Steptoe (MAS), the Women’s Forum, and the LGBT Forum. MAS meets regularly to discuss matters related to retention and advancement, as well as professional and business development. The Women’s Forum hosts networking events at various partner homes and sponsors discussions on how to succeed at Steptoe and work-life issues. Steptoe’s LGBT Forum brings together LGBT attorneys and allies.
To assist the firm with its diversity and inclusion efforts, in 2011 Steptoe constituted an external Diversity Advisory Board (DAB). The mission of the DAB is to serve as a conduit through which Steptoe can import current information on innovative inclusion strategies, business trends, and challenges in the legal market, as well as to ensure accountability and to advocate for Steptoe's success. The general counsel of one of the firm’s major clients chairs the DAB, and its membership includes a former associate general counsel of a major corporation, as well as high-level officials of leading national and international corporations and nonprofits, a law school dean, and a noted author. Steptoe's leadership confers with and has adopted DAB recommendations.
As a firm, Steptoe strives to differentiate itself not only by delivering the highest-quality legal services to our clients, but also by accomplishing that goal with a talented, creative, diverse, and engaged team of professionals. Steptoe is widely recognized as a democratic, collegial firm. Our goal is to provide all lawyers at all levels the opportunity to participate in the life of the firm and its decision-making process.
Steptoe lawyers and professionals come to the firm with a wide range of skills, diverse backgrounds, and unique perspectives. The firm supports career paths that enhance and maximize individual and team strengths, in the long run as well as the short term. We strive to create an environment in which all of our lawyers and professionals can develop professionally and actively participate in the development of a diverse, inclusive, and productive workplace community.
Steptoe’s leadership engages with all lawyers and continues to search for new ways to include more diverse lawyers and professionals in the operation and success of the firm. This democratic approach to decision-making requires energy and patience, particularly as the firm has grown to more than 500 lawyers and professionals in ten offices around the world. And while the economic downturn of the past few years has lessened the overall number of hires and promotions the firm has made, it has not weakened Steptoe’s commitment to hire, retain, develop, and promote talented and diverse professionals.
Honors & Recognition
- Steptoe was awarded the "Thomas L. Sager Award" by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) for demonstrating sustained commitment to improving the hiring, retention and promotion of minority attorneys. (2014)
- The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), a division of Working Mother magazine, and Flex-Time Lawyers named Steptoe as a "Best Law Firm for Women." (2012, 2011, 2009, 2008)
- MultiCultural Law magazine recognized Steptoe in its “Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity.” (2012, 2010-2007) In addition, the firm has been recognized in three specialized categories in 2012: "Top 50 Law Firms for Associates," "Top 100 Law Firms for Women," and "Top 25 Law Firms for African-Americans." The publication also ranked Steptoe in the "Top 25 Law Firms for Native Americans." (2009, 2006)
- Steptoe was awarded the “Law Firm Diversity Recognition Award” by Chevron Law Function. (2011, 2009)
- Steptoe was selected as a recipient of the inaugural “MCCA Innovator Award” in 2011, which was presented to US in-house legal departments, law firms, bar associations or legal organizations that have led the way with innovative best practices to assist diverse lawyers. Steptoe’s Diversity and Inclusion Client Interview Project was recognized with this honor.
- Steptoe was recognized as a "Top 10 Family-Friendly Firm" by Yale Law Women in 2010. The firm was applauded for its achievement in gender parity in partner promotions in 2013.
- Women 3.0 magazine, a sister publication to MultiCultural Law, recognized Steptoe as one of the “Top National Law Firms for Women.” (2008)
- Women’s Law Association at Harvard Law School Study, “Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think About Their Firms,” ranked Steptoe 12th among the "Top National Law Firms for Women" and in the top 10 for Washington, DC. (2006)
- Minority Law Journal ranked Steptoe 13 out of the "Top 25 Law Firms for Disabled Americans" and 13 out of the "Top 25 Law Firms for Native Americans." (2006)
- "White Men Are Key to Inclusion," Thoughtleaders, Diversity Journal, November 2010
- History in the Making, Sandy Chamblee, Chief Diversity Partner, ponders the inspiring words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama.
- "Time to Call in One of Us," How one firm named a practicing partner to implement its diversity plan, Legal Times, October 2008
- Steptoe Names Chamblee First Chief Diversity Partner
- A victory led by David Bodney and Peter Kozinets of Steptoe's Phoenix office reflects the firm's core values of diversity and inclusion. The team persuaded the Arizona Attorney General's Office to issue a Reasonable Cause Determination favored by our clients, two members of the Phoenix Country Club, a century-old fixture in the city's social and business life, that the Club's policy excluding women from the men's grill constitutes unlawful sex discrimination. Women at the club are barred from dining in the grill room where business negotiations commonly take place and deals are struck. They are instead relegated to a far inferior ladies' grill. The women, as well as some men, who criticized the policy were sent harassing e-mails and heckled on the fairway. The case was featured in an article that ran in The New York Times on June 28, 2008.