Alumni Spotlight

Steven Salky

Current Position: Senior Counsel at Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right and Urban Affairs

Firm Background: Partner, June 1984 – December 2019

Steven Salky, a widely recognized litigator and trial lawyer, retired from Zuckerman Spaeder in 2019 to pursue a career in nursing and is attending nursing school. Steve spent 35 years as a partner at the firm, where his practice focused on white collar criminal investigations, securities enforcement actions, complex civil litigation, and Congressional investigations. He was frequently sought out by clients for his track record in obtaining winning results, both in and out of the courtroom.


Steve has long maintained an active pro bono practice, including after his departure from the firm. In 2021, he was honored with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee (WLC) Alfred McKenzie Award for his relentless efforts to secure pro bono counsel and train attorneys to represent federal inmates in compassionate release cases under the First Step Act at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since December 2020, Steve has served as Senior Counsel for WLC, where he provides advice and counsel on criminal justice issues.

How did your work at Zuckerman Spaeder prepare you for your current role? 

I had a long, successful career at the firm, where I practiced civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, and did regulatory work. I enjoyed it a lot but was ready to move on to another activity. I decided to go to nursing school as a second career and had to start by completing my prerequisites. My father was a doctor and I have three children in healthcare, and I thought I should work in the healthcare space before it was too late. My experience transitioning to nursing school has confirmed that it really is never too late to learn something new. I am having a great time. What I learned as a lawyer at Zuckerman Spaeder was to think independently, be creative, and not to just do things the way they had always been done. Those skills and that approach have prepared me for my nursing program, which is designed to prepare people to be leaders in the nursing community. 
I also keep up to date on legal issues. After leaving Zuckerman Spaeder, I continued my work developing the Compassionate Release Clearinghouse and served as Senior Counsel to the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. I continue to practice law and work as of counsel at my daughter’s firm, Lyons & Salky Law, LLP.