Summer Associate Program
The summer associate program is one of the most important elements of the firm's recruitment effort. If you receive an offer to join us as a summer associate, we have made an initial judgment that you can make a valuable contribution to the firm's practice. A significant portion of our associate hiring each year comes from the summer associate group of previous years, and a very high percentage of our former summer associates who enter private practice return to the firm.
We make every effort to give our summer associates a rounded view of Washington law practice. Summer associate assignments are designed to provide a variety of substantive work and the broadest possible exposure to our lawyers. In order to help ensure that these assignments match the work preferences of our summer associates, they select the majority of their projects from an on-line database that contains a variety of assignments from all areas of the practice. The remaining projects are assigned with the goal of exposing our summer associates to the diversity of our practice and meeting the firm's needs.
Professional Training and Evaluation
Over the summer, we keep a special on-line database of trials, arguments, depositions, negotiations, and other legal activities in which the firm is involved, and we encourage summer associates to attend as many of these events as possible. We host weekly seminars that cover the firm's organization, its practice, and other matters of topical interest, with presentations by speakers both inside and outside of the firm. We also try to give our summer associates direct exposure to those institutions that make Washington unique: the Supreme Court, Congress, and the executive agencies.
It is our intention that each summer associate will be a better lawyer after spending a summer with Steptoe & Johnson LLP. To this end, we pay careful attention to the evaluation process. The summer associate's advisor provides a comprehensive review of the SA's first project before the work product is submitted. The first and all subsequent assignments will be discussed with the summer associate by at least one of the attorneys who supervised the project. In addition to this ongoing feedback, the Chair of the Summer Program Committee conducts a mid-term and exit review with each summer associate. Professional training is a year-round process at Steptoe. Summer associates are invited to all professional training programs offered during the summer, but some programs, such as practical tips from associates are planned exclusively for the benefit of summer associates.
It is important to us that we get to know our summer associates not just within the office environment, but also in more informal settings. To that end, we sponsor a varied program of events, ranging from sailing to theater parties, at which summer associates have the chance to get acquainted with firm attorneys as well as with one another. Our most popular events include a day of sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, bicycle tours of Washington, events at the firm's suite at the Verizon Center, the annual Shakespeare in the Park picnic and performance, and a night of baseball to see a Nationals game.
DC Summer Associate Public Service Program
In 1990, Steptoe created a program to enable several of its DC summer associates to spend a portion of the summer working for a public interest organization in Washington. The Steptoe Summer Public Service Program is a significant component of the firm's robust and well-established pro bono practice, and provides a chance for second-year law students to directly experience working in the public interest community. The program is by no measure a substitute for any of the firm’s ongoing pro bono work. All summer associates, including those participating in the program, are encouraged to become involved in pro bono cases while at the firm.
The program is designed to accommodate as many as seven participants. Each spends a minimum of eight weeks of the summer working at Steptoe, followed by four weeks with a public service group of interest to him or her. Steptoe pays one-half the firm’s regular weekly summer associate salary for each of those four weeks. Participants are employed by the public interest organization under the same terms and conditions that apply to its other summer law clerks, and have the same experiences, including workload, supervision, evaluation and the type of projects offered. The firm encourages participants to remain connected to the firm during those final four weeks by attending firm social events, seminars, training programs, etc.
The list of organizations that have taken part in the program covers a broad spectrum of public needs and approaches to public service. If, however, a student desires a placement at an organization not on the list, the firm is happy to discuss whether that organization is a good fit for the program and whether appropriate arrangements can be made.
During previous summers, Steptoe DC summer associates have worked at the offices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AYUDA, Inc., ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, Capital Area Immigrant Rights’ Coalition, Center for Individual Rights, Center for Justice and International Law, Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect, EarthJustice, Global Rights: Partners for Justice, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Institute for Justice, Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, National Democratic Institute, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, Native American Rights Fund, Neighborhood Legal Services, Oceana, The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, The State and Local Legal Center, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Washington Legal Foundation, and Women Empowered Against Violence.
Participants in the program will be selected early in the new year. In the event the number of summer associates interested in participating exceeds the program's capacity, the participants will be selected by lottery. Once the participants are selected, the firm will provide information to assist students in finding compatible placements.
Inquiries regarding the details of the program should be addressed to the firm's Director of Attorney Services and Legal Recruiting, Rosemary Kelly Morgan, at 202 429 8036 or to the firm’s Public Service Counsel, Barbara Kagan, at 202 429 6258.
Split Summer Policy
We extend offers for the entire summer and strongly discourage split summers. Requests by second-year associates to split the summer are reviewed by the chair of the Hiring Committee on a case-by-case basis. Requests may be granted, but only for those who can spend a minimum of seven weeks at the beginning of the summer with Steptoe & Johnson LLP. We do not permit split summers for first-year summer associates.
Since opening in 1987, Steptoe's Phoenix office has expanded its practice significantly and currently has approximately 40 attorneys. The Phoenix office has a broad-based practice, including commercial litigation, labor and employment, insurance coverage and bad faith, appellate advocacy, media and communications law, state and local taxation, business transactions, and real estate development and finance. In addition to Arizona matters, Phoenix attorneys are involved in regional and national cases, frequently working closely with other offices.
Steptoe in Phoenix is neither a free-standing branch operation nor merely an extension of the firm's original Washington base. The office manages its own representations and staffing requirements but also is closely involved in the work of the firm as a whole, and each of the firm’s practice groups transcends individual offices. Phoenix partners serve on the firm's Executive Committee and on the committee that recommends the election of new partners and of counsel.
Associates joining the firm in Phoenix can expect to deal with a variety of matters and work in more than one practice group. Given the office's size, associates have the opportunity to rapidly assume substantial responsibilities. Phoenix associates have access to the firm's extensive research and in-house training resources, and receive detailed annual evaluations to assist them in understanding their strengths as well as areas that require additional attention.
Summer Associate Program
The Phoenix office operates its own summer program for law students interested in practicing on a national level while living in the Southwest. The summer program is designed to allow our lawyers, staff and the summer associates to know each other as people, to permit us to assess how the student would fit into our practice, and to give the student an accurate sense of what it is like to be a lawyer in our office. We offer summer associate positions only to the number of students that we intend to hire as associates the following year; as a result, we are able to evaluate summer associates on their individual merits, rather than as competitors for a limited number of spots.
How You’ll Get Here
Members of the Phoenix Recruiting Committee interview at law schools within the state, and rely on our colleagues in our East Coast offices to interview at additional schools. Those schools and our visiting dates are listed in this website under On-Campus Interviews. We encourage those interested in the Phoenix office to sign up for interviews at campuses out-of-state and indicate their interest in the Grand Canyon State. Please bring a transcript and writing sample to your interview. If you are attending a school at which Steptoe does not interview, you may send us a cover letter, resume, transcript, and writing sample directly.
We bring back a select group of students for in-office interviews. We don’t want you to be surprised: there will be four half-hour, two-attorney interview sessions, one of which will focus on the subject matter of your writing sample.
How Long You’ll Stay
As a closely-knit office, we believe that it is very important for us to know our summer associates extremely well before making offers of associate positions. We therefore extend offers for the entire summer, which usually means about ten weeks starting in late May.
The Work You’ll Do
We try to give summer associates a true sense of what it is like to be an associate by giving them real assignments that associates would otherwise do. Attorneys submit requests for assistance to our Summer Associate Committee. One member of that committee acts as gatekeeper in distributing the work, thereby ensuring that the assignments are appropriate and that summer associates work with several attorneys on a variety of projects in a range of practice areas. If summer associates have specific interests that we can accommodate, we try to do so in a manner consistent with these goals. In the end, that is in both the summer associates’ and the firm’s best interests.
We encourage (and even strong-arm) attorneys into giving summer associates constructive feedback on their work. The Summer Associate Committee also appoints for each summer associate a specific attorney who will review all of that summer associate’s work and provide additional feedback. The Chair of the Recruiting Committee conducts a mid-summer review and final review for each summer associate as well.
The Things You’ll Learn
In addition to formal assignments, we make special efforts to ensure that summer associates learn the way lawyers learn: by seeing lawyers in action. We encourage our attorneys to bring summer associates with them to trials, hearings, arguments, depositions, and other proceedings. We also include summer associates in our in-house training programs and conduct special programs for the summer associates. In addition, each of the Phoenix summer associates spends a week working in our Washington office and meeting our East Coast colleagues.
We plan a variety of formal and informal social events for summer associates, from large group lunches to small dinners at someone’s home. In the past, entertainment has included Diamondback games at Chase Field (which is across the street from our office); museum trips; cooking classes; and a movie night at the home theater of one of our partners. Then, of course, there are the weekly attorney lunches and the monthly all-Phoenix (lawyers and staff) lunches where we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
Commitment to Equal Opportunity
Steptoe strives to make a reality of its strong philosophical commitment to equal opportunity. The firm is a charter signatory to the Policy Statement Regarding Minority Hiring and Retention of the District of Columbia Conference on Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession. The firm has a Diversity Committee and engages in a variety of outreach programs in an effort to attract minority candidates. The firm also has a high percentage of women attorneys.
Pro Bono and Community Activities
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.