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Elizabeth E. Stern is One of the Nation’s Most Influential and Successful Immigration and Employment Lawyers

published June 17, 2013

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( 99 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
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Personal Life

Elizabeth Stern is One of the Nation’s Most Influential and Successful Immigration and Employment Lawyers
Elizabeth Espin Stern is the managing partner of Baker & McKenzie's Washington, D.C. office and head of the firm's Global Immigration and Mobility Practice Group. She has twenty-seven years of experience advising companies on HR and mobility matters as well as U.S. and global immigration issues. She is consistently ranked as a leading business immigration attorney by The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Who's Who Legal, Chambers USA, Chambers Global, and by local and national publications. Mrs. Stern frequently writes and speaks about global immigration policies.


Mrs. Stern focuses on matters that are unique to dynamic commercial entities with a global work force, helping companies establish management and global compliance programs to move their professional and executive work forces around the world. She is also knowledgeable about global transactions and HR issues, including visas, compliance and work permits and how immigration matters interface with tax, corporate formation, export controls, data privacy, compensation and benefits, employment, and anti-bribery and anti-corruption regulation. The attorney advises multinational companies in a variety of industries, including multimedia and telecommunications, defense, and IT.

Over the years, Mrs. Stern has been honored with several awards. She was named "DC Young Lawyer of the Year" and "Immigration Lawyer of the Year." Mrs. Stern has also been recognized as a "Washington Top 30 Lawyer."

Mrs. Stern, a daughter of an Ecuadorian diplomat, was born in Chevy Chase, MD, and raised in Washington D.C. She stated, "I will forever value the tutelage from my exposure to international diplomacy." Mrs. Stern graduated with a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Political Science and a minor in French from the University of Virginia. She also earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She speaks fluent English and Spanish and she is conversational in French.

Mrs. Stern is married to her husband, Michael, who is a brilliant lawyer and the leading national expert on congressional ethics. The couple has two sons, Alex and David. Their children are beautiful, kind, and have keen wits and agile minds.

When Mrs. Stern isn't working, she enjoys reading great literature, political history, or management. She loves to cook aromatic and delicious meals for her family and friends. She also enjoys listening to music and watches cooking or singing competitions with great judging panels.

Mrs. Stern is currently reading Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? and Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen's Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.

Mrs. Stern's Successful Law Career

Does Mrs. Stern have a most memorable law school experience? "I broke my leg jogging and I was enrolled in a tango class with my small group at the same time, and on one occasion I danced with my dad with a full-blown cast. I believe you have to savor life even in adversity, so this is a moment I remember."

The attorney was asked if she received any awards or participated in any internship that influenced her decision to go into the law. Mrs. Stern said, "I was a legislative intern on Capitol Hill in my 2nd year of college. It inspired me to learn more about the role of the law in society."

Why did Mrs. Stern decide to become an attorney? "I liked the idea of combining entrepreneurial initiative with a legal career."

What is the best part of her job? "Pursuing new, innovative ways to provide great service to clients, with a smart and committed group of my peers."

What is Mrs. Stern known for professionally? What does she have a knack for? "Building a successful global immigration practice. I have a knack for understanding client needs and market trends, and aligning our business of law to match these."

What area of the law is the attorney most passionate about? "Immigration. Diversity of people enriches our culture."

Is there an area of practice Mrs. Stern would like to develop further into? "I am interested in areas that impact the movement of people, such as worksite compliance, data privacy, and executive remuneration."

In regard to her strengths she acknowledged:

"I'm an engaged and dedicated leader, I'm an effective advocate for my clients, I recognize and support top talent, and I recognize the value of rational optimism. And I am highly intuitive. Thus, I often think in reverse from many attorneys-who analyze and critique first, before they reach their conclusion. I intuit the conclusion on the front end, and then test it with analysis, consultation, and evaluation. Until people know me, that immediate instinct can give them the misimpression that I'm done, decision made ? and it can seem inconsistent that I begin the close analysis after that first thought."

So what does Mrs. Stern think about the legal field today? What would she change about it? "It's exciting and challenging as the field is changing, adapting to globalization, economic trends, heightened enforcement across areas, and a mobile workforce. I'd build stronger project management and business training designed specifically for professional service firms."

If she weren't a lawyer, what would Mrs. Stern probably be doing? "Either journalism or executive leadership consulting for women."

What motivates Mrs. Stern to be an attorney everyday? "Great ideas to mobilize new service options; driven, talented thinkers who have total integrity."

How does Mrs. Stern want to be remembered? "As a person who was generous, loving, filled with faith, and willing to listen and laugh."

Mrs. Stern's Mentors and Mentoring Others, Pro Bono Work, Non Profit Organizations and Vision for the Future

Does Mrs. Stern have a mentor? "I have had many mentors, and still rely on consultation and dialogue with people I respect to guide key decisions. I believe in shared wisdom."

Is she a mentor? "Yes, both on my immigration team and in our firm. I greatly enjoy mentoring talented people that are team oriented."

Does Mrs. Stern handle pro bono work? "I typically have at least a few individual immigration cases, which stems from the experience in 1987 working on legalization cases and HIV waiver policy, which led me to become interested in the commercial aspects of immigration law."

When asked about her additional volunteer work, the attorney replied, "I have a fairly full schedule in my management and practice roles, so I volunteer within my firm to mentor and coach talented people, as noted above, and to develop leadership opportunities for women and minorities."

Is Mrs. Stern involved with any non-profit organizations? "Yes, I am a huge fan of The Nature Conservancy, which I have worked with for many years."

Mrs. Stern shared her vision for the future. She claimed:

"Law firms that develop service offerings that are not bound by traditional practice group lines, but instead respond to real-world problems of major companies will be most successful, but need to be prepared that not all offerings will succeed on the first round. Similarly, these successful firms will need to be attuned to their work force - easing the way work is produced, leveraging technology and global resources - and developing cultures of trust and loyalty by earning it, not expecting it. Motivational interactions and inspiration will be key to get the best out of good people - law firms traditionally build smaller teams but a core set of values across the enterprise can remind the corps of people that they belong to a great firm, with a great mission."

What is Impossible for Mrs. Stern to Give Up and Her Goals

What would be impossible for Mr. Stern to give up? "Freedom to try new things - I have to work in an entrepreneurial, motivated environment."

Goals? "Personally, I would like to discover what I am contributing in my later phase in life. I would also like to give as much as I can to my family, friends, and individuals around me, despite how hectic my schedule is."

published June 17, 2013

By Follow Me on
( 99 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.