Sterne Kessler is an intellectual property law firm located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Our team consists of 150 attorneys from diverse backgrounds, with over 50 of our professionals holding Ph.D.s in science and engineering. Our attorneys are particularly noted for their technical expertise, industry experience, and litigation prowess. Additionally, we get to work on matters involving cutting edge technologies and legal issues demanded by a broad range of innovative individuals and companies. Some of our clients include Apple, Adidas, Google, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Have a Great Summer with Us!

We offer an immersive summer associate program. Our summer associates get to attend and participate in depositions, draft legal documents, conduct legal research, participate in client calls and meetings, attend hearings, and contribute to our firm’s successful pro bono practice. Summer associates also increase their knowledge of intellectual property law by attending a comprehensive orientation program where they learn directly from our attorneys and professionals about the intricacies of patent prosecution and litigation. Summer associates receive substantive feedback on their work throughout the summer program, culminating in thorough formal evaluation meetings. Here’s what some of our former summer associates have said about their summer experience with Sterne Kessler:

"From my first networking event with Sterne Kessler, I knew I had found a boutique patent firm that I wanted to work for. My summer associate experience reinforced this decision: I made strong friendships with my fellow associates (we still talk daily) and received challenging projects (including publishing a law review article on an ITC case). The summer program was a nice balance between specific practice-group activities and firm-wide annual events to meet the entire D.C.  office."  - Kathleen, 2L.

“I chose Sterne Kessler’s summer program because I believe that the firm is innovative and a leader in IP law. I was also intrigued by the firm’s reputation for providing great mentorship and learning opportunities to summer associates and junior associates. The firm exceeded my already high expectations by providing me tons of learning experiences, mentorship, and guidance. The recruiting team held weekly meetings with me to ensure that I was getting the experiences I desired, the attorneys went above and beyond in providing feedback to me after each and every project I completed, and the firm organized additional training sessions throughout the summer to further enhance our learning and growth. I could not have imagined a better summer experience.” - Kyle, 1L.


Our Culture is Pretty Awesome

While our summer associates work hard, they get to experience our awesome culture. There are ample social and networking opportunities arranged throughout the summer. In previous years our summer associates have attended D.C. United games, taken in a unique view of the D.C. monuments by sailing around the Potomac, attended dinners hosted by directors, and participated in cooking classes, among other things. In order to create a meaningful summer program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm switched gears to plan and execute a comprehensive virtual summer program that also included virtual social activities, such as: cooking classes, trivia nights, happy hour socials, coffee chats, and game nights. Our summer associates gave a big thumbs up about the program. They were excited that they were able to connect with our attorneys and staff through virtual meetings, and everything from onboarding, training, client meetings, and assignment feedback was conducted using various virtual technology tools.

We're Award-Winning in IP!

Sterne Kessler is the 4th largest IP specialty firm in the United States. We are a Chambers USA “Band 1” firm, leading in patent preparation and prosecution (and the only firm in D.C. to snag that recognition). In 2020, the firm was named the “Inter-Partes Review Firm of the Year” and earned the “Hatch-Waxman Impact Case of the Year” award by LMG Life Sciences. Additionally, the firm was recognized as the 2020 “PTAB Firm of the Year” by Managing Intellectual Propery Magazine.
Our leading IP litigation practice was ranked Tier 1 by Best Lawyers in 2020. The team practices before various District Courts, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, as well as before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Diversity & Inclusion is Valued and Demonstrated 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.


The firm is recognized in Law360’s “Diversity Snapshot” report for 2020. Based on a survey of over 300 United States law firms, Sterne Kessler ranked fourth for overall diversity and in several specific categories among “Firms with 101 – 250 Attorneys.” In the categories for “Minority Attorneys” and “Minority Equity Partners,” the firm was ranked second and fifth.
We pride ourselves in our inclusive culture and work environment, and because of this our employees have ranked us as a Washington Business Journal “Best Place to Work” eleven times, and a Washington Post “Top Workplace” every year since its inception in 2014.