Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

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Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
No. of offices 15
No. of attorneys More than 300
Date founded 1913
Company type PLLC

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is a national Energy law firm in the U.S. with 15 offices in Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.[1] It is ranked by Energy Law 360 as the 12th largest energy firm in the nation with over 300 lawyers in 40 practice area.[2] The firm offers legal services to energy producers throughout the U.S.

The firm has particular strengths in energy law, labor and employment law and litigation[3] and has been top-ranked by Chambers USA in the areas of Corporate/Commercial, Litigation/General Commercial, Real Estate, Natural Resources and Labor & Employment.[4] The firm was also ranked in the 100 largest U.S. practices in the areas of employment, energy, and insurance.[5][6][7]

The firm celebrated its 100th anniversary on September 13, 2013.

Philip P. Steptoe[edit]

Born in 1877 in Brandy Station, Virginia, Philip P. Steptoe was the son of an Episcopal minister. He graduated from Virginia Law School in 1902 and soon became known as one of the leading chancery lawyers in West Virginia. Possessing a "keen analytical mind and sense of equality", Steptoe was considered quiet, reserved and very scholarly.

Louis A. Johnson[edit]

Louis Arthur Johnson was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1891. He was a heavyweight boxer and wrestler, graduated from Virginia Law School and traveled to West Virginia to launch his legal career. Known as "The Colonel", Johnson was a dignified, outgoing man. He served as the Assistant Secretary of War under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was the Secretary of Defense under the President Harry S. Truman.[8]


The origins of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC date back to 1913. The firm was established in Clarksburg, West Virginia by Philip P. Steptoe and Louis A. Johnson, graduates of the University of Virginia Law School. The two men met when Johnson, preparing to take his first case before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, sought a mentor and approached Steptoe, an established attorney ten years his senior, who had a 'fine reputation as a low-key, methodical, and scholarly attorney.' They took an immediate liking to one another, complemented one another and attracted prominent clients. In 1980, there was an amicable separation of the Washington and West Virginia offices. As a result of this separation, the founding firm became known as Steptoe & Johnson PLLC and the D.C office formed the new Steptoe & Johnson LLP.


Philip P. Steptoe and Louis A. Johnson established the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson in Clarksburg, West Virginia, due to its centralized location and variety of manufacturing, banking, mineral, and service-related industries; Clarksburg proved to be an ideal base of operations. Steptoe & Johnson soon became prominent in the fields of energy, banking, insurance, litigation, mineral real estate, and public utility law.

The 1920s

The firm continued to grow and in 1928, Steptoe & Johnson opened an office in the State capital of Charleston, which facilitated the expansion of the firm’s practice before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, its interaction with numerous West Virginia regulatory agencies, and its involvement in various legislative activities.

The 1940s

In 1945, the firm opened its Washington, D.C. office. Initially specializing in post-war governmental regulation, the firm rapidly expanded its national practice in many substantive areas.

The 1950s & 60s

The firm acquired major national and international clients in airline, energy, railroad, banking, insurance, steel & chemical manufacturing, publishing, and public finance sectors.


Steptoe & Johnson continued to grow, and its three offices employed 175 attorneys and more than 300 support personnel. The Washington office grew to be one of the five largest in the District of Columbia in the 1970s.

The 1980s

In 1980, the firm divided into two separate law firms – one in West Virginia and one in Washington, D.C., - each continuing its practice under the Steptoe & Johnson name. The Washington office became Steptoe & Johnson LLP. The founding partnership of Steptoe & Johnson continued its practice in the Clarksburg and Charleston, West Virginia offices and now is known as Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. In 1988, the firm opened an office in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The 1990s

In 1990, Steptoe & Johnson acquired Avey & Steptoe, a prominent Martinsburg firm with almost fifty years of experience in the general practice of law. The firm continued its expansion by adding an office in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1994.

The 2000s

In September 2003, the firm opened an office in Huntington, West Virginia. The decision to move to Huntington came at the encouragement of clients and allowed the firm to continue to expand the practice in southeastern Ohio. In 2007, Steptoe & Johnson opened its first regional office in Columbus, Ohio, thus expanding its presence as a regional law firm with particular strengths in energy, labor, litigation, and business. In January 2009, Susan S. Brewer succeeded Robert M. Steptoe, Jr. as the CEO and managing partner of the firm while becoming the first female managing member of a major West Virginia law firm. Under her direction, the firm opened an office in Lexington, Kentucky in June 2010, adding an eighth location.

The 2010s

In August 2010, after 97 years in its original location, the firm’s Clarksburg office was moved to the newly erected Steptoe & Johnson office building in the White Oaks business park in Bridgeport, West Virginia. In September 2010, Steptoe & Johnson acquired the energy practice group of the western Pennsylvania firm of Culbertson, Weiss, Schetroma and Schug, P.C. (CWSS), opening its first Pennsylvania office and its ninth regional office. In October 2010, Steptoe & Johnson acquired the Columbus based firm of Carpenter Lane and integrated their litigation and business practices into its Columbus office. In December 2010, the firm opened its tenth office, and its second office in Pennsylvania. The office, located in the Southpointe Business Park in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, was opened to serve the needs of the burgeoning Marcellus shale gas industry. In 2013, Steptoe & Johnson opened their Canton, Ohio office and their second location in The Woodlands, a planned business community in the Houston, Texas area.


Steptoe & Johnson PLLC has 15 offices in the continental U.S.:[9]

  1. Bridgeport, West Virginia
  2. Canton, Ohio
  3. Charleston, West Virginia
  4. Columbus, Ohio
  5. Denver, Colorado
  6. Houston, Texas
  7. The Woodlands, Texas
  8. Huntington, West Virginia
  9. Lexington, Kentucky
  10. Martinsburg, West Virginia
  11. Meadville, Pennsylvania
  12. Morgantown, West Virginia
  13. Canonsburg/Southpointe, Pennsylvania
  14. Wheeling, West Virginia
  15. Louisville, Kentucky

General Timeline[edit]

  • 1913 Steptoe & Johnson founded in Clarksburg, West Virginia
  • 1928 Charleston, West Virginia office opened
  • 1945 Washington, DC office opened
  • 1980 Firm amicably splits into two separate firms (Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Steptoe & Johnson LLP)
  • 1988 Morgantown, West Virginia office opened
  • 1990 Martinsburg, West Virginia office opened
  • 1994 Wheeling, West Virginia office opened
  • 2003 Huntington, West Virginia office opened
  • 2007 Columbus, Ohio office opened
  • 2009 Lexington, Kentucky office opened
  • 2010 Meadville, Pennsylvania office opened
  • 2010 Southpointe, Pennsylvania office opened
  • 2010 Relocation of Clarksburg office to Bridgeport, WV
  • 2011 Houston, Texas office opened
  • 2013 Canton, Ohio office opened
  • 2013 Houston, Texas "Woodlands" office opened
  • 2013 Denver, Colorado office opened


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  8. ^ Louis A. Johnson
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