Practice Areas

Civil Litigation

We are well known, well regarded and highly effective in the courts.

At Stein Sperling, we are trial attorneys who enjoy the challenge of the courtroom.

The attorneys who make up our Civil Litigation practice are experienced and well tested, representing clients at the federal and state levels in trial and appellate courts, as well as before administrative agencies and boards of appeal. When other avenues to resolve a dispute have failed, we are prepared to aggressively pursue judicial relief in the courts or defend any claims brought against our clients.

As litigators who have earned a reputation for creative and effective representation, we tailor our strategies to both our clients' needs and the changing dynamics of each case. Our attorneys work closely with clients to define the "end goal" so as not to unnecessarily prolong litigation. It is an approach that defines success not only as coming out on top, but doing so in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible.

We strive to be the most prepared litigators in the courtroom. Our attorneys consider every fact and facet of a case when designing clients' litigation strategies and approaches. We communicate very closely with our clients and each other in order to establish a sound base of knowledge, efficiently allocate resources and quickly respond to new developments in clients' cases. Our focus on preparation plays a major role in Stein Sperling's successful trial record handling fact-driven cases in complex civil litigation matters.

Business Disputes

Stein Sperling’s proactive approach strives to put our clients in a position of strength when business and commercial disputes arise. We help them weigh the pros and cons of alternative dispute resolution options available, including mediation and arbitration. If pre-suit negotiations fail, our experienced team of litigators and business attorneys work closely together to aggressively pursue judicial relief in the courts or defend any claims brought against our clients. As we assist business owners and individuals in resolving disputes, we allocate our resources efficiently while maintaining focus on our clients’ goals and objectives.

We have substantial experience with many types of business disputes, including ownership disputes, transaction disputes and derivative actions. Ownership disputes occur when owners, directors and officers of a business disagree with regard to operations or the terms of an agreement among them. Transaction disputes relate to the purchase or sale of a business entity and often encompass issues such as contracts, leases or joint venture agreements. Derivative actions involve claims against directors and officers brought on the business’s behalf by a key stakeholder to pursue what he or she believes is in the entity’s best interest. Our attorneys are adept at representing clients on either side of these disputes, setting reasonable expectations and aggressively pursuing our client’s position. In addition, we are able to assist clients in the enforcement of commercial collections, including the garnishment of bank accounts or wages and the placement of liens on property.

Often central to these disputes are business tort and fraud claims or breach of contract claims. Our attorneys have a depth of experience asserting and defending these claims for clients. In the case of business torts and fraud, we work closely with clients to analyze the facts of their cases and develop a sound basis to advocate for, or defend against, accusations of misrepresentation or interference. When breach of contract claims are brought by or against our clients, our attorneys carefully analyze the terms of the agreement and alleged violations to design an effective strategy for success.

Stein Sperling attorneys are well versed in pursuing emergency injunctive relief for clients whose business interests are under threat. Through temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, we take aggressive action to assist clients whose matters cannot withstand the traditional due process timeline.

Technology and Intellectual Property Disputes

Stein Sperling attorneys are capable and experienced in handling technology and intellectual property controversies as they relate to business ownership and transactions. We assist clients with disputes involving intellectual property licenses and license agreements, as well as patent infringement, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, unfair competition and privacy. Previous enforcement and defense of such claims affords us a valuable two-sided perspective of case strategy in the technology and intellectual property arena.

Our approach to representing clients in technology or intellectual property disputes involves helping them understand the claims they are asserting or defending against, depending on the client’s position in the dispute. Often, this means sorting out and explaining issues of ownership, liability and licensing. Working side-by-side with our clients, we devise a dispute resolution strategy with our clients’ goals in mind and maximizing efficiency in the process. Whether negotiations occur in alternative dispute resolution venues, such as mediation and arbitration, or through litigation, our attorneys are adept at articulating the technological and other complexities of our clients’ cases in a way that can be easily understood by mediators or facilitators, as well as judges and juries in state and federal courts.

Employment Disputes

Stein Sperling’s litigation team, in conjunction with our employment law attorneys, regularly assists business owners and individuals with disputes in employment-related matters, including claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and wage/hour claims. Our attorneys regularly enforce and defend breach of contract claims arising from alleged violations of restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements and other employment agreements. We also are well versed in employment claims brought before federal, state and local administrative bodies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

For each of these matters, our team of litigators works closely with our employment law attorneys to devise strategies to protect our clients’ rights and achieve their goals. To that end, and before forming a case strategy for any employment dispute, we build a depth of knowledge about our clients’ organizations, their culture and how their employees, managers and owners interact. Based on this knowledge, we work side-by-side with clients to set manageable expectations to achieve their goals, whether through litigation or through mediation and arbitration.

Learn more about our employment law practice.

Real Estate Disputes

As part of any real estate transaction, Stein Sperling’s attorneys work with clients to limit their exposure to legal and financial liabilities. When controversies arise, our real estate attorneys are able to call on our experienced team of litigators to advise buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants on the best course of resolution as the conflict evolves. Our team is comprised of negotiators, mediators, arbitrators and trial attorneys, all of whom have experience handling commercial and residential real estate contract disputes, commercial landlord-tenant disputes, title and boundary disputes, as well as disputes among property owners. When necessary, they aggressively prosecute and defend our clients’ interests in federal and state trial and appellate courts.

Our attorneys also are highly experienced in construction lien and payment disputes, including mechanics’ liens, as we have represented general contractors and subcontractors for many years. We handle matters related to construction contract disputes and collections, ensuring our clients understand their legal rights to seek and collect payments owed to them for labor, equipment or materials. As part of this process, we keep our clients informed of important statutory deadlines affecting their rights to collect payments or assert claims against adverse parties in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia courts. Our experience representing contractors and subcontractors in this arena gives us added insight when representing property owners from the other side of such disputes.

Tax, Estate and Trust Litigation

Stein Sperling’s tax attorneys are highly experienced in helping individuals and businesses plan ahead to avoid tax controversy. Notwithstanding, we have handled numerous IRS audits and investigations of individuals and businesses, advising these clients through administrative appeals as well as litigation when needed. Our clients rely on our experience handling disputes related to income taxes, sales and use taxes, ad valorem taxes and estate taxes. In criminal tax investigations and proceedings, our tax attorneys team with our experienced trial attorneys as these matters require the combined talents and experiences of both practice areas.

Learn more about our Tax Law practice.

In the area of estates and trusts, Stein Sperling attorneys value advanced planning to address the intricacies of carrying out clients’ wishes, or those of their loved ones, upon death. We carefully anticipate possible points of interpersonal and financial conflict through both the planning and administration processes. These can include issues of competency, undue influence or questionable changes to estate planning documents.

When disputes arise, our estates and trusts attorneys work side-by-side with members of our firm’s experienced litigation team to represent trustees, executors and beneficiaries in probate and trust administration matters, as well as contested and uncontested guardianships and caveat proceedings. We are therefore able to initiate and defend claims of the estate or trust, as well as executors and trustees representing those entities. Our attorneys are well versed in representing beneficiaries of estates and trusts in their disputes with other heirs or in claims of alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

Learn more about our Estates and Trusts practice.

Local Counsel Services

Stein Sperling offers other law firms, as well as in-house counsel, a sophisticated familiarity with local, state and federal courts in the Washington metropolitan area. Our services extend beyond baseline administrative support to include advice on and implementation of case strategies. As local counsel in cases scheduled for trial in our vicinity, we bring to bear our in-depth knowledge of the local courts for our clients. We allow clients to capitalize on our experience with local jury pools, jury instructions, judicial assignments and procedural issues. This experience is the result of the frequency with which we deal with these issues as we represent our own clients in local venues.

In establishing a local counsel relationship with a law firm or company, we offer guidance on commercial litigation matters resulting from business, technology and intellectual property, employment and real estate disputes. We also can assist in matters involving individuals faced with local estate or tax controversies. In all cases, we connect all clients with a senior member of our litigation team who also is an accessible point of contact for each matter. We structure our local counsel services to suit the needs of the firms and companies requiring them and provide efficient and reliable client service that is a hallmark of our firm’s local presence.

E-Discovery Services

Stein Sperling’s litigation team is well versed in complying with, enforcing, and properly handling electronic discovery (“e-discovery”), a real and substantial issue for many disputes litigated through the court system as well as administrative or regulatory bodies. We assist clients in assessing the benefits and expense of e-discovery in the context of their cases, as well as their individual and business goals.

As an increasing amount of documentary evidence is obtained through e-discovery, Stein Sperling helps clients anticipate areas of exposure in their own body of evidence, as well as that of opposing parties in their dispute. Our attorneys stay current on the evolving case law concerning retention and spoliation of evidence as they relate to e-discovery. We also maintain relationships with outside vendors specializing in e-discovery whose tools allow us to efficiently preserve, review and produce electronic and hard-copy documents as efficiently as possible. This enables our attorneys to readily advise clients on responsible strategies for responding to discovery requests.

E-discovery necessarily involves responsibilities and potential exposure for parties to a dispute. Proper handling of e-discovery related issues has some common elements for all clients, as well as unique issues for each individual client. Stein Sperling assists clients in implementing policies for retention, storage, periodic destruction when permissible, and extraction of electronic documents and data. For these services, our litigation team works closely with our firm’s business law department, as well as its employment law department.