Washington, D.C. (June 13, 2018) – Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox received positive reviews from editors and the firm’s associates in the 2018 Chambers Associate guide, one of the leading U.S. legal career guidebooks. The editorial content for the Chambers Associate guide is based upon in-depth telephone interviews with thousands of junior associates on the topics that matter to them most including: the quality of the type of work they perform; their level of responsibility; their firm’s culture; personal career development opportunities, diversity and inclusion; and more.

In the firm overview, the editor’s note, “These self-proclaimed ‘nerds’ have a knack for all things IP. DC-based Sterne Kessler is full of science and engineering whizzes who are also legal masterminds (over 50 of its professionals have earned PhDs in these areas).”

The Chambers Associate publication features quotes from associates about their work life. Following are highlights of what Sterne Kessler associates had to say about various aspects of their experience at the firm.

The Work

  • When it comes to work assignments, Sterne Kessler associates said, “the directors of each group will meet and talk about workloads. It balances the work among associates and levels the playing field – there’s no unhealthy competition or ‘me vs. you’ going on.”
  • Associates also pointed out that they often receive weighty assignments from the litigation team: “I’ve drafted motions to dismiss for Patent Office litigation cases. The partner was reviewing it but I was the architect of the document, which allowed me to see the bigger picture – it’s much more meaningful and enjoyable.”
  • When drilling down to work within specific practice areas, associates noted, on the patent prosecution side, “You’re evaluating how strong a patent is by taking all of the institutional knowledge we have to make sure it doesn’t fall into the same trap that other patents did – it helps broaden your understanding of the law and sharpens your ability to spot relevant issues for the client.”
  • Work in the biotechnology and chemical practice group can be technical, but rewarding associates said, “We deal with pharma-related inventions, mostly compounds, formulations and chemical entities. I have clients ranging from a couple of guys making investments up to global pharma companies.”
  • Regardless of the practice group, associates agreed that “people are encouraging and have a lot of time for us – they’re willing to stop what they’re doing to help you understand what needs to be done and not make you feel stupid…. They always welcome questions, suggestions and challenges – we have our opinion and we are encouraged to voice disagreement. There’s an emphasis on positive engagement.”

The Training

  • Associates felt prepared for the work ahead and noted that the initial two-week training period was “extensive: some of it involves getting familiar with the computer systems, but we also get an introduction to patent prosecution, a session on how to draft applications, and trips to the Patent Office and the Federal Circuit to witness oral arguments at court. It’s great for hands-on observational training.”

The Culture & Diversity

  • Many sources interviewed for the guide noted that Sterne Kessler “feels inclusive and very accepting.” They went on to praise the events organized by the firm’s diversity committee pointing out that, “They put a lot of energy into it: we had a person of color from NASA come to speak to us a couple of months ago, and we had an HR representative from Google come to speak to us about inclusion.” There is also a sense of work/life balance, many noting that the firm is “very family-oriented… Occasionally we’ll go out for drinks, but most often I’ll head home to be with the family.”

Sterne Kessler’s full profile in Chambers Associate is available here. The directory’s full rankings can be accessed here.

About Sterne Kessler
Founded in 1978 and based in Washington, DC, Sterne Kessler is dedicated exclusively to the protection, transfer, and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Our team of attorneys, registered patent agents, students, and technical specialists include some of the country’s most respected practitioners of intellectual property law. Most of our professionals hold an advanced level degree, including nearly 50 masters degrees and 50+ with a doctorate in science or engineering — credentials wide and deep enough to fill the faculty of a science-oriented university.