Sara Reynolds Steppe was born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where she graduated cum laude from high school (Laurel School) in 1978. Ms. Steppe received her B.A. from Northwestern University with honors in 1982, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985. She spent her junior year in college studying in Paris, France, at L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques, where she received an honorary degree in Political Science.
Ms. Steppe has practiced real estate law for nearly 30 years. Ms. Steppe’s experience extends to the full range of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, joint ventures, construction and development, financing, real estate investment trusts, 1031 exchanges, condemnation and land use, and the workout of distressed properties, as well as general corporate and partnership law. She has served as an expert witness in real estate related lawsuits.
Ms. Steppe served for five years as General Counsel, Senior Vice President, and Secretary of Spieker Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust that was merged into Equity Office Properties in 2001. She ran Spieker’s quarterly Board of Trustees meetings, and was responsible for securities compliance and reporting, as well as oversight of the Company’s outside legal counsel. Additionally, she worked directly with the human relations department, and also served on the management committee at Spieker Properties.
Prior to joining Spieker Properties in 1996, Ms. Steppe was a real estate partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Los Angeles, California, having previously been a real estate partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. She was a member of the real estate group at both firms.
Following the merger of Spieker Properties into Equity Office Properties in 2001, Ms. Steppe and the other members of the legal department at Spieker Properties formed SSL Law Firm LLP, a woman-owned law firm based in San Francisco, California, that now has over 26 lawyers, making it the largest woman-owned firm in the United States according to The Recorder. SSL Law Firm specializes in commercial leasing and other real estate transactions. Although she has retired from the firm, Ms. Steppestill consults on client development matters.
Ms. Steppe served on the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Real Property Law Section for several years, and also formerly served on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Law Section. She has been a frequent speaker and author on a variety of real estate law topics. Ms.Steppe is currently serving on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University Law Center. She is also active with the Northwestern University alumni and parents’ association. Volunteer activities at her children’s school (Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton) have included: serving as President of the Parents Association Board, fundraising co-chair for the school’s annual Fashion Show, chairing the Annual Fund (helping to achieve 100% parent participation both years she was chair–which at the time was unprecedented for the school), helping with the school’s Capital Campaign, forming a Fine Arts Boosters Club, and chairing a fine arts committee on behalf of the Director of Schools. She also has served on the Board of Directors of the Basic Fund, an organization that provides scholarships to private schools for inner-city children, and she chaired the Basic Fund’s Program Committee. She has tutored high school and middle school students in East Palo Alto, and does pro bono work for charter schools.
Her favorite activities include fly fishing with her husband, Steve Steppe, in Sun Valley, Idaho, and playing the piano, singing and golfing with her three daughters, ages 25, 23 and 18.