Martijn Steger on Seeing Through Others' Eyes

In the upcoming issue of Ohio Super Lawyers & Rising Stars, due out in January, Martijn Steger explains the philosophy that helped him build an international practice in an unlikely place: Columbus, Ohio. Steger is chair of international business at Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, where he has worked for more than a quarter-century.

When Steger began his career, some scoffed at the idea of practicing international law in Columbus. But Steger was determined, and found a firm--the one where he remains today--that was willing to give him a chance.

Steger grew up in a multicultural environment, with a Dutch mom and an American dad, who started their family while living in Indonesia. The young Steger could speak three languages. But the mindset that led to a global career path, Steger says, sprang from his parents' and granparents' advice on "how to look at the world through other people's eyes."

Steger remembers his Dutch grandfather taking him one summer to see a sign on his hometown's civic building. It read: "Listen to both sides."

"If my family had a motto, that would be it," notes Steger. "That's how I look at the world. I have my own biases, but everyone else has their own as well. I need to be able to look at things through their eyes."