Steptoe & Johnson's expansion happening 'naturally'

By Chris Dickerson | Sep 19, 2007

Kenneth J. Barton, Jr., at helm in Martinsburg office.

H. Tony Stroud, at helm in the Columbus office.

CLARKSBURG – One of the state's largest law firms just keeps growing.

In recent months, Steptoe & Johnson has announced the opening of a new office in Columbus, Ohio, and the relocation of its Martinsburg office.

And more growth might be on the way.

"We're looking to become more regional," CEO Robert M. Steptoe Jr. said.

Opening the Columbus office happened almost naturally, Steptoe said.

"We were doing a lot of work in Ohio, especially out of our Huntington and Wheeling office," he said. "And we have 12 to 15 attorneys licensed in Ohio. It just made sense.

"And it made sense to be in Columbus. We do a lot of energy work, and we thought we needed to have a presence in Ohio, in Columbus."

H. Tony Stroud is the responsible member of the three-attorney Columbus office.

The change in the always-growing area of Martinsburg and the Eastern Panhandle occurred out of necessity.

"We outgrew our old location," Steptoe said. "We have 13 attorneys there now, and we'll soon have 15 there. We couldn't remodel or reconfigure the old location."

The new location on Edwin Miller Boulevard has easier accessibility to Interstate 81 and surrounding accommodations and commercial institutions. The new location features the latest technologies, which the firm says will benefit clients through improved service and responsiveness.

"Our new office is not only housed in a prime location, but it is outfitted with integrated audio-visual capabilities as well as wireless Internet access," Steptoe said. "This is an ongoing effort to provide our clients with the best possible legal services, especially in a region with so many diverse industries and businesses."

Kenneth J. Barton Jr. is the responsible member of the Martinsburg office.

Steptoe said more growth for the firm is possible.

"We're looking to become more regional as our energy practice continues to grow," he said. "One of our strategies is to be as close to our clients and corporate headquarters as we can be.

"We're very heavily focused on energy work, so I think we'd have to look at expanding into Kentucky and Virginia."

Steptoe & Johnson is a corporate defense firm with particular strengths in energy, labor and litigation supporting over 30 areas of practice. The firm is comprised of more than 185 lawyers and nearly 300 support staff in seven locations throughout West Virginia and Ohio.

Steptoe also said 52 Steptoe & Johnson attorneys were just named to the Best Lawyers list, 50 of those practicing in West Virginia offices.

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