Karina B. Sterman is a partner in the Litigation and Employment Law Departments of ECJ. A published author and frequent guest speaker on employment law and intellectual property matters, Karina maintains a Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of AV Preeminent. She has also been recognized by her peers for many years as a Rising Star and most recently as a Super Lawyer in the Field of Employment Law, as published by LOS ANGELES magazine.
A creative and ardent advocate for her clients, Karina defends companies in class action lawsuits as well as in single plaintiff discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and other lawsuits. Karina also defends companies in administrative proceedings in front of the EEOC, Department of Labor, California Labor Commissioner and others.
Karina has significant experience in “behind the scenes” counseling on wage and hour and other employment law compliance, drafting employment related documents, and participating in business minded employment strategy to avoid litigation and costly long-term mistakes.
Karina also builds Trade Secret and Intellectual Property protection plans for companies to maximize the value of their investment in their intellectual property.
Areas of Practice
- Employment Class Action and Single Plaintiff Defense Litigation
- Appellate Litigation and Support
- Trade Secret Litigation and Trade Secret Protection Plan Design
- General and Complex Business Litigation
Representative Defense Matters
- Obtained full summary judgment win for a Southern California parts manufacturer in a wrongful discrimination and harassment case which resulted in award of costs for the employer.
- Defended and tried on behalf of several Beverly Hills luxury retail companies in multi-party employment contract lawsuit and won full defense jury verdict.
- Obtained summary judgment win for California professional services company in a complex sex harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit.
- Negotiated numerous speedy and very favorable class action settlements for hospitality and restaurant employers in complex, multi-location wage and hour lawsuits in which hourly workers alleged failure to pay wages and overtime.
- Obtained full summary judgment win for international manufacturing company in reverse discrimination and wrongful termination case brought by two managers.
- Participated in numerous “behind the scenes” counseling of employers in lawfully and strategically responding to employment complaints for harassment, discrimination, and wrongful retaliation with full satisfaction to employer and no compensation owed to employee.
- University of Southern California Law Center, Los Angeles, California, 1997
Law Journal: Review of Law and Women’s Studies Journal, Staff Member
- University of California at Los Angeles, 1993
Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
Honors: Dean’s List
Honors: Golden Key Society
Major: English Literature
- University of Exeter, Devon, England
Guest Speaking Engagements
- Hiring Mistakes You’re Making and How to Stop Them for Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance
- Implementing a Trade Secret Protection Program for Bridgeport Continuing Education
- Don’t Waste Time and $$ on a Bad Mediation: How to Maximize Success in Mediation for Beverly Hills Bar Association
- Social Pressure: When is Employee Speech on Social Media Too Much? for West LegalEdcenter
- Litigating Discrimination & Harassment Claims for Bridgeport Continuing Education
- Introduction to Trade Secret Law and What Every In-House Counsel Attorney Needs to Know about Trade Secrets for Bridgeport Continuing Education
- Motion for Summary Judgment and Dispositive Motions for Bridgeport Continuing Education;
- Exempt v. Non-Exempt Employee Audits for the Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA);
- Sexual Harassment Training (compliant with CA mandatory training requirements) for numerous private organizations;
- New Employment Laws for 2010 for the California CPA Education Foundation;
- Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law for the Los Angeles County Bar Association;
- Enhancing Your Balance Sheets: Protecting Your Trade Secrets for Executive Forums;
- Managing Medical Leaves for California Employers for the California CPA Education Foundation
- Employment Law Essentials for the Small Business Owner for the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE);
- Understanding the Paid Family Leave Act for the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce;
- The Hiring Process for The Retail Council.
- California Forms of Jury Instruction on Trade Secrets (co-author), California Forms of Jury Instruction, Mathew Bender & Company, Chapter 44, May 2008 (attorney practice section of the Judicial Council Publication, recommended for use by all Superior Court judges throughout the State of California)
- “Evolving Employment Law” chapter in The Impact of Recent Regulatory Developments in Employment Law, Aspatore Books, 2009
- “Optimizing Employee Training To Account For Cultural Differences,” Author, Corporate Compliance Insights, September 4, 2009
- “Civil Procedure: High Court Case Summaries,” Co-author, West Group
- Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, Contributor
- “Employers Beware: The Threat of Nationwide Class Actions,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 6, 2011
- “U.S. Supreme Court Works Its Magic On Class Actions One Case At A Time, But Offers No Magic Bullet For Employers Just Yet,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, August 2011
- “Written Statement Required at Time of Hire,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, December 2011
- “Top Twenty Hiring Mistakes,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, April 2012
- “To Party or Not to Party? That is the Holiday Question,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, December 2012
- “Pregnant With Practical Possibilities,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, March 2013
- “’We won! Wait, no we lost!': The Narrative Arc of a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, April 2013
- “Don’t Have Rules and Policies Unless You Are Prepared to Discipline Those Who Break Them,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, August 2013
- “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Controversial Supreme Court Ruling Brings Employers Back to Original Guidelines About Arbitration Agreements,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, November 2013
- “Got Class? Wage and Hour Class Actions in a Post-Brinker World,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, February 2014
- “Pre-Hire Peril: Avoid Self-Sabotage Through Background Checks,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, April 2014
- “The Supremes Sing Out About Control: It is the Primary Test for Deciding Whether a Worker is an Employee or an Independent Contractor,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, July 2014
- “Titles Matter for Books, Not for Employers (or, How to be Jointly Liable as an Employer Even if You’d Rather Not Be,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, October 2014
- “An IIPP? What’s an IIPP? It’s something confusing that oughtn’t be!,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, December 2014
- “A New EEOC Task Force for Strategies to Prevent and Correct Harassment in the Workplace is Being Created: This is an Opportunity for Employers to Implement Proactive Measures Now that Will Save them Money Later.,” Employment Law Reporter, Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, March 2015
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association
- California Bar Association
- Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA)
- California Women Lawyers
- National Employment Law Council
- Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
- ProVisors (Professional Association of Trusted Advisors)