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Culture & Diversity

Our attorneys, technical specialists and professional staff alike have consistently voted us a top workplace because of our unique and friendly law-firm culture.

We believe that community and culture are as integral to our continued success as is the depth of our legal knowledge and technical expertise. This is why we pride ourselves being a different kind of law firm, one dedicated to the well-being of our entire team. 

The Sterne Kessler Culture 

We are proud to be one of the most highly regarded intellectual property specialty law firms in the world, and we recognize that it is the talent and dynamism of each individual at Sterne Kessler that makes that possible. With that in mind, we have cultivated an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and intellectually stimulating with just the right touch of fun and exuberance.  And we’re honored that our attorneys and staff have voted Sterne Kessler as a Washington Post “Top Workplace” for four years running. 

“On one side it's a group of highly intellectual scientists, but at the same time it's a very down to earth place.” 
-2017 Chambers Associate survey response

We’ve Got Awesome Space (and Coffee!)

In addition to great people, our work environment is one of the highlights of coming to the office. Our renovated and architecturally heralded space located in the former Greyhound Bus Terminal is situated in the heart of Downtown D.C.. Our office features contemporary design and an open floor plan with modern, yet comfortable furnishings that are complemented with lots of widows to let the sunshine in. 

Coffee Bar Menu

And of course, there is our very popular barista bar and game room, where you can drop in for a custom made hot or cold coffee or tea-based beverage, or you can opt to fill your cup from the water tower that features an infused flavor every day. Oh, and we like cookies and donuts too! Our hospitality team likes to surprise us with fresh baked cookies from time to time, and there is a “donut drop” once a month for everyone to enjoy. 

We Appreciate our Staff!

We like to express our appreciation to our outstanding staff all year long with events like our director-hosted Valentine's Day luncheon, but just to make sure everyone is formally thanked for their contributions to the firm’s success, we celebrate “Staff Appreciation Week” annually. There is a theme, such as “world of thanks,” weaved through a series of events culminating with an awards banquet where milestone anniversaries and the “Department of the Year” are recognized. 

What Our Associates Have to Say…

Our associates participate in annual, anonymous surveys administered by The Vault and Chambers Associate, and they consistently give the firm high marks for work-life balance, culture, quality of work, training and diversity. We believe those aspects of work-life are important, and we strive to maintain an environment where our attorneys can thrive. Learn more about what our associates think about working at Sterne Kessler by viewing our Vault  (2017 and 2018) and Chambers Associate profiles.

Holidays, Hikes, & More

At Sterne Kessler we like to have a little fun in and outside of the office. There are social gatherings throughout the year, from a semi-annual crab feast and a firm night at a Nationals game in the summer, to an ugly sweater contest and a spirited holiday party in December. For the adventurous, we arrange a hiking day trip in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains every other year to enjoy the fresh air, the challenge, and the camaraderie. Other events range from Diversity Committee-sponsored “getting to know you” panels to creatively themed gatherings featuring delicious food and entertaining activities. 

Community Engagement

Through the firm’s charitable committee, Sterne Kessler makes financial contributions to multiple organizations in the Washington metropolitan area over the course of the year. Members of the committee seek input from the firm community to identify organizations to sponsor, and members of the firm extend their own financial support to causes via payroll deduction.  

We’ve Got Heart!

For well over a decade, Sterne Kessler has supported the annual Lawyers Have Heart race to benefit the American Heart Association. Each year, the firm participates as a sponsor and fields a team of walkers and runners, including attorneys, staff, and members of their families. Another enthusiastically supported program that occurs annually is the Salvation Army's “Angel Tree” toy and clothing drive. For more than 20 years, individuals and department teams have “adopted” children and/or families during the holiday season providing them with books, toys, clothes, outerwear, shoes, and gift cards for food and other necessities. The buzz of activity as the donations are gathered, sorted, organized, and delivered gets the holiday season off to a great start!

Pro Bono

Additionally, pro bono legal services are an important aspect of our community engagement efforts. In March 2012, Sterne Kessler formally launched its Intellectual Property and Human Rights Pro Bono Practice under the vision and leadership of Director Jorge A. Goldstein, Ph.D. Unlike traditional pro bono practices, Sterne Kessler's program integrates legal concepts from the areas of IP law with economic, social, and cultural human rights to empower disenfranchised and impoverished communities seeking to promote their economic and social development by leveraging their IP assets. We invite you to learn more about this award-winning pro bono initiative and our other pro bono work.

Diversity at Our Firm

At Sterne Kessler we strive to maintain a dynamic and energetic workplace that is reflective of our global client base and the diverse cultural mix of the greater Washington, D.C., area in which we live and work. In doing so, we place a premium on talented lawyers and staff, irrespective of their race, gender, religious views, sexual orientation, or other personal attributes. 

Here, diversity is about understanding one another and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating differences. Our work reflects the broad array of ideas and experiences that characterize our social, cultural and intellectual world. We encourage everyone at the firm to identify, develop, and leverage their unique strengths.

In recent years, the firm has been recognized by Law360 as one of the top 100 firms for minority attorneys and one of the top 50 firms for minority equity partners, as well as one of the top five firms for Asian-American attorneys. National Law Journal has recognized Sterne Kessler as one of the firms with the most diverse partnership in the Washington metropolitan area.

Diversity Committee 

Our steering committee focused on diversity is charged with furthering Sterne Kessler’s vision of diversity and inclusion. The committee is comprised of employees from every sector of the firm, including staff, attorneys of all levels, our managing director, and one of our founding directors, Rob Sterne. The committee supports several  initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion, including recruiting and mentoring, programs for career development and advancement, and targeted outreach and affinity groups. The committee also sponsors internal events ranging from celebrating National Diversity Day with a series of events to hosting cultural events and bringing in guest speakers.  

Programs & Sponsorships

Internal diversity programs include INSPIRED - by the women of Sterne Kessler, a women's affinity group that hosts periodic roundtables and topical discussions. The firm also partners with and sponsors a number of organizations that promote diversity across our local, legal, and technical communities. Among the bar associations in which we are active in membership, sponsorship and in-kind support are: the National Bar Association, the Women's Bar Association of DC, Women in Bio, American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division, and the South Asian Bar Association of DC.

Further, we are engaged as members and sponsors of several organizations dedicated to supporting the legal community, including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance and ChIPs . Focusing on the next generation of lawyers and IP professionals is also a part of our focus. The George Washington University 1L Diversity Spring Internship and a Howard University College of Pharmacy Diversity Internship are just two examples of programs the firm as supported to offer students direct exposure to the practice of law, including hands-on experience working with our attorneys and professional staff.

How About You?

Interested in opportunities to join the firm and enjoy Sterne Kessler’s dynamic culture? Please visit our Careers page.