Participating Offices

Read more information about our summer associate programs in the following offices:

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.


Work Assignments
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.

Social Events
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 & Legal Recruiting, R. Thomas Rodriguez, at 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.