Still in his 40s, David Steerman is already one of the leading matrimonial lawyers in the five-county Philadelphia area. He's newly named head of the family law department of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg, and is recognized by clients and peers as a standout among a new generation of skilled attorneys in the field. Steerman, many lawyers say, brings to the profession the traits of the best family lawyers: He is ultra-perceptive of people, and an articulate and skilled litigator respected by adversaries, judges and other court personnel he regularly appears before. Peers say Steerman is prepared and organized, with a steadiness, confidence and professional ambition that does not offend. Steerman is every bit a Philly-area product - he grew up in Gladwyne and attended Episcopal Academy and Harriton High School before going on to Penn and later Temple Law. To some extent he was steeped in the law from an early age: His father, William Steerman, built a successful independent personal-injury practice and remains well known and respected in the region. In his second year of law school the younger Steerman took a Family Law course that "really sparked my interest", and with an undergraduate degree in Psychology, "family law seemed like the right field of practice." After law school Steerman accepted a clerkship with William Witten Vogel, President Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas in Norristown, and later joined respected matrimonial lawyer Arlan Mintz Kardon. The Steerman/Kardon partnership prompted some head scratching among those who knew them: "We have completely different exteriors and styles. I'm somewhat reserved, and Arlan can come across as the complete opposite. Despite our outward differences we often shared the same view and approach to handling our client's issues. We hit it off and over our many years together clearly impacted each other's style." Steerman says his approach to his family law practice has evolved over the years, but his basic tenets have remained constant: "Know the law, practice with passion and compassion, and honor and give and receive respect to and from all those involved." Steerman says he remains true to these values, whether it's in the courtroom, or outside of it. As he says, "It's about advocating for my clients and always being mindful that the decisions they are making are personal, some of the toughest they will ever have to make and decisions that may have the longest lasting consequences." Steerman's current firm, too, with its strong Tax, Estate & Trust and Commercial Litigation practices, affords Steerman's clients "an unusually holistic approach" in family law matters. Steerman, now 48, earned his high profile in the profession quickly; he writes and speaks widely on divorce and other family law issues, and has already assumed key positions in the Philadelphia divorce bar, including Chair of the Bar Association's Family Law Section. (See Affiliations.) A weekend runner and avid gardener, Steerman lives on the Main Line with his wife of 24 years. David and Rachel Steerman have two teen-age daughters.