Steptoe has a strong tradition of pro bono representation and takes seriously the obligation set forth in the Code of Professional Responsibility to provide free legal services to those in need.
Our organizational structure includes a Public Service Counsel—an attorney whose full-time responsibility is to oversee our Public Service Program, including the development and staffing of pro bono matters within the firm. Our Public Service Counsel also represents the firm in the pro bono legal community, actively working with the District of Columbia Bar and various public interest organizations to broaden the scope of pro bono representation by the legal community.
Our Public Service Committee develops policy for our pro bono practice and reviews and evaluates proposed and ongoing pro bono activities. Participation in the Public Service Program by Steptoe attorneys is broad-based, and cases are staffed by partners and associates from all of our practice departments. Many of our attorneys initiate projects in areas in which they have a personal or professional interest. Our program is also enriched by the fact that attorneys from differing practice areas often work collectively on pro bono matters, bringing their varying perspectives and experience to the case. In addition, the firm offers a series of speaker forums and arranges for training in a wide spectrum of pro bono activities.
Additionally, Steptoe has a “Loaned Associate Program” through which the firm sends a volunteer associate to work on a full-time basis for a six-month term at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. The program is continuous, with a new associate assuming the caseload of the returning associate at the completion of the term. Through this program, the Legal Aid Society is able to increase its annual caseload significantly. Washington attorneys and staff also participate in a school partnership program with a local public elementary school. We provide educational assistance, mentoring, and enrichment activities as well as in-kind support through book, clothing, and holiday gift drives.
Steptoe's Washington office also offers second-year summer associates the opportunity to work with an area public interest organization through out Summer Public Service Program.