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Despite a successful lawyer career, Kimberly Steuterman constantly asks herself what she wants her life to look like. The director and senior counsel at Charter Communications brings years of private practice and in-house experiences to the American telecommunications and mass media company, and she has been asking herself the same question since early in her career.
“Early in my career, I didn’t see too many women who I admired both in their career and in their personal life,” says Steuterman, a mother of three. “It’s challenging to build a legal career while also trying to maintain a life outside of work. I felt like I never had a good idea of what that looked like. I realized pretty quickly that I was going to have to be my own example.”
Steuterman’s approach to balancing competing priorities in her career and at home has been less about work/life balance and more about work/life integration. She says the endeavor has been as rewarding as it has been difficult and has provided her an opportunity to maintain an open mind and constantly reflect on where she wants to be in the future and how she wants to get there—a reflective process she urges young attorneys to prioritize, too.
“People always ask, ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years?’” she explains. “But when they ask, most think career wise. I would challenge others and myself to ask, ‘Where do you see yourself holistically in ten years? What’s your day to day like? What’s your family like? What kind of community things can you be involved in and how do those things work together?’ Look at the big picture.
“As lawyers,” she continues, “we can be very myopic and only think of the task at hand about how we’re going to handle this issue or win this case. But you can’t lose the forest through the trees.”
Steuterman’s interest in law stemmed from a high school English teacher who gave her a solid foundation in writing. When she got to college, she wasn’t sure what she wanted do, but her talent for English eventually made law school a natural next step after receiving her undergraduate degree from the College of Charleston. Though she didn’t have any lawyers in her family, she received more legal exposure through internships.
“I learned about being motivated, being hardworking, and advocating for people at a personal injury firm,” Steuterman reflects.
After law school, she went on to work for Helfrey, Neiers & Jones, managing all aspects of litigation including research, drafting, arguing dispositive motions, and witness preparation in addition to defending depositions for several years. There, she got more hands-on experience and continued to hone her legal skills.
That experience paved the way for a role at Stinson Leonard Street LLP, where she took on a wide range of clients from individuals to privately held enterprises to international corporations. She practiced complex commercial litigation with a focus on school funding litigation, contract, and closely held business disputes. It was another eye-opener for Steuterman.
“It was truly a luxurious way to practice,” she recalls. “I was coming from this small firm, with these small clients who basically wanted to do the bare minimum to a big firm with million-dollar cases and clients who were willing to pay us to chase down every last detail.”
In 2016, she decided to move in-house at a specialty insurance company, where she managed company litigation and provided legal support to claims, finance, credit risk, premium audit, and risk control business units. The highlight of this role was managing an eight-week jury trial on a bad faith insurance case, resulting in a complete defense verdict.
Those experiences prepared Steuterman for her role at Charter Communications, where she takes pride in her team and the work they do.
“Our team is really good at recognizing all of our various strengths and weaknesses. Everybody works differently and everybody thrives differently, and that’s really important to utilize for the overall success of the group,” she says. “It’s easy in a big corporate job to wonder how meaningful your work is. I like to think about building relationships with my coworkers. How can I provide support so that they can achieve their business and personal objectives, while also mitigating the overall risk to the company?
“It often comes together in a deal that involves a piece of litigation, a business deadline, and a contract renewal—those projects are fast-paced and thrilling to work on,” she continues. “But at the end of it, when I think about the relationships I’ve developed over the life of the project, those are what make me the most proud.”
Charter Communications By the Numbers
- Services more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand
- $54 billion in annual revenue (2022)
- Nearly 500 million IP devices connected to its network
- 14.9 million video subscribers
- 8.8 million voice subscribers
- 6 million mobile lines
- More than 800,000 miles of network infrastructure
Source: Charter Communications
Kimberly Steuterman’s Career Timeline
- 2004: Graduates College of Charleston an English and communications degree
- 2005: Works as a law clerk for Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson
- 2007: Obtains law degree from St. Louis University School of Law and works as an attorney for Helfrey, Neiers & Jones
- 2013: Becomes an attorney for Stinson Leonard Street LLP
- 2016: Becomes staff counsel for Safety National
- 2020: Hired as a senior manager and counsel for Charter Communications
- 2022: Promoted to director and senior counsel
“Kim brings her sharp intelligence and decisive manner to every issue. And she does it all with a wry sense of humor. As outside counsel, you can’t ask for anything more.”
—Saul Shapiro, Partner
“Kim is diligent, whip-smart, and delightful. She is able to develop and execute creative and strategic solutions for the company when faced with some of its toughest problems.”
—Margaret Allen and Penny Reid, Partners