J. StephenPoor


Comfortable off the beaten path, Steve helmed the firm through our Lean revolution, and is now focused on our client-facing technology strategy which includes robotics, AI, and cognitive computing.

More About Steve

"Seyfarth is a place," Steve says, "where people roll up their sleeves and find a better way to get things done." Often, that quest for a better way veers off the beaten path. Steve is perfectly comfortable with that—and so is the organization he led for 15 years. Under Steve's leadership, the firm pioneered the application of Lean Six Sigma in legal service delivery and the development of Seyfarth's award-winning client service model.

As chair emeritus of Seyfarth, Steve serves as an advisor to the firm's leadership and as an executive sponsor of strategic initiatives focused on innovation and growth. During his tenure as chair, he led the transformation of Seyfarth into an international law firm at the forefront of innovation, and oversaw the growth of the firm from nearly 500 lawyers to more than 850 lawyers around the globe.

Steve began his career with Seyfarth as an employment lawyer, with particular depth in trial work and in ERISA litigation. A member of the firm's Executive Committee since 1998, Steve served as the chair of the Labor & Employment department from 1994 to 1998, as managing partner from 2001 to 2013, and as chair from 2001 to 2016.

In recognition of his innovation work, Steve was named the 2011 Legal Innovator of the Year by the Financial Times, as well as one of Law360's Most Innovative Managing Partners in 2012. In 2016, Steve received the prestigious Flex Leader Award from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, which is awarded annually to a general counsel or law firm chair who promotes a more diverse and inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. He was honored for his demonstrated leadership, dedication and tireless efforts to ensuring that flexibility policies at Seyfarth are a part of the firm's culture.

Steve is a frequent speaker on topics relating to the legal services industry, including law firm management, partner compensation systems, change management in the law firm environment, current and future trends in corporate legal buy, and the application of Lean principles to the practice of law.

"Clients don't hire lawyers to solve legal problems. They hire us to solve business problems rooted in the law. The delivery of legal services must include people with depth in technology, process, and change."
  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law

    With honors
    Order of the Coif

  • BS, Indiana University

    Phi Beta Kappa

  • Illinois
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • US District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • US District Court, Northern District of Illinois