Green Hexagons

Summer Associates

Starting your career and interested in IP? Consider our summer associate program and find out what life is like for entry-level attorneys at Sterne Kessler.

The Sterne Kessler summer associate program is a primary source of our entry-level attorney class each year. The program provides assignments, evaluations, trainings, and team structure, all designed to reflect what life is like for entry-level attorneys at Sterne Kessler.

Our goal with our summer associate program is to provide each participant with the opportunity to gain a familiarity of the firm's practice group structure and performance expectations, while delivering an engaging experience that includes skill building, enhancing technical experience specific to IP and professional networking — along with memorable social events. At the conclusion of the program, student associates and the firm can determine if Sterne Kessler is a good long-term fit for the participant.

Professionals at Sterne Kessler

Program Overview

Sterne Kessler’s summer associate program not only provides our incoming class with challenging responsibilities and opportunities but also allows them to experience our collegial firm culture. From week one, summer associates work closely with directors and associates on real client work. They have opportunities to meet with clients, attend workshops/trainings, and actively participate in monthly practice group meetings. The program also provides mentoring and coaching, in addition to having mid-point and end-of-summer evaluations, allowing our summer associates to see how they have progressed. We take pride in our firm culture and have been recognized for 10 consecutive years by The Washington Post as a “Top Workplace.” In addition to engaging in client work, our summer associates participate in an array of firm social activities and fun group outings, enjoy our fully staffed barista bar, and make use of our skee ball and air hockey games in our lunchroom.

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 (201720182019, and 2020) and Chambers Associate profiles.

  • “There’s a lot of appreciation for the variety of backgrounds people bring, which affects how people interact – I have friends at all levels of the firm.”
  • “Lots of the patents we handle are filed in China and Europe, so we’ll develop the US strategy then work with foreign associates to make sure it’s aligned across the globe. I like getting to see different views of the law!”
  • “Directors often show concern for me as a person. I’ve had offers from other firms which pay more but I just don’t want to leave Sterne Kessler.”

      - Associate comments, Chambers Associate 2021

A Day in the Life of an IP Attorney

What does an IP attorney do? Read first-hand accounts of what a day in the life of a Sterne Kessler attorney is like by viewing Q&As from the annual Vault Practice Perspectives Guide featuring Sterne Kessler associates and directors. In 2017, Director Michelle Holoubek remarked, "Being at a firm whose attorneys have such a diversity of technical backgrounds means that we get to work with companies that are at the forefront of changing the world around us." In the year prior, Director Debs Sterling noted, "Practicing law requires similar skills as science — good research and creative problem solving." See the full Q&As, including associates perspectives — 2016 and 2017.

How to Apply

We begin recruiting for our summer associate program at the Loyola Patent Interview Program in Chicago each year. We encourage students interested in IP law to participate in the program. Student registration occurs the winter prior to the event, and students should check with their career services office about participation after the first semester of law school. In addition to meeting candidates at the Loyola program and at on-campus interviews at select universities, we review applications submitted in response to our current openings which are posted here, along with more information on our application process, our benefits and our training.


Applicants who need assistance submitting an application for employment to Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC, may contact us at 1.202.371.2600, or through our TTY line at 1.202.772.8948, or at (legal positions) or (administrative positions). It is our policy to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities with advance notice of need. Sterne Kessler is an equal opportunity employer. 

Get in Touch

If you have questions about Sterne Kessler's summer associate program after reviewing all of the information provided here, please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email at