Richard Sternberg

Metropolitan Washington Law Consortium, PLLC
  • Real Estate Law, International Law, Probate...
  • District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia
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Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

The Law Offices of Richard S. Sternberg is dedicated to the principle that bigger is not always better. Instead, it rests on a tradition that actually antedates the rise of the “mega-firm”-the solo practice. Emulating a country lawyer in a big-city environment allows Mr. Sternberg to provide more individualized service to his clients, and, at the same time, pursue more collegial relations with other members of the Bar. Since 1984, Mr. Sternberg has dedicated his practice to representing individuals and smaller businesses. For those corporate clients who have larger needs, he is affiliated with the Metropolitan Washington Law Consortium, PLLC. The larger affiliation allows you to benefit from a close relationship with your lawyer, but it allows easy connection to specific expertise and more economic approaches to handling easier day-to-day matters requiring competence with a lighter hand on the billing rates. If your matter requires multiple areas of practice and a limited practice, such as tax or immigration law, Mr. Sternberg can get you to the lawyers he knows to be the best through MWLC.

Practice Areas
  • Real Estate Law
  • International Law
  • Probate
  • Business Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
    Contingency fees available in accident cases and, even, some international, real estate, and probate matters.
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Even in business matters, ask about the 50/50 program for discounted legal fee rates as low as $150/hour.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
District of Columbia
District of Columbia Bar
4th Circuit
D.C. Circuit
Federal Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Managing Principal/CEO
Metropolitan Washington Law Consortium, PLLC
- Current
Managing principal/CEO
Law Offices of Richard S. Sternberg
- Current
I've practiced as a solo from the beginning and will until the end. Sometimes, there have been some very talented lawyers around me, as well.
Member, rising to CEO
The Washington Law Group, P.C.
Center for International Legal Studies
Honorary Fellow (2002) | International Business Law
Republished in Kitzbuehel, Luxembourg, NY, and Baltimore
Honors: Honorary Fellow
Activities: Delivered paper: "Securing Investments from Foreign Sovereigns— Protecting Foreign Assets Using U.S. Law"
Georgetown University
J.D. (1983) | Law
Honors: cum laude
University of Pennsylvania
M.A. (1977) | American Political Science
Honors: magna cum laude
Activities: Pi Sigma Alpha, University Television, concurrent B.A.-M.A. in four years.
University of Pennsylvania
B.A. (1977) | Political Science
Honors: magna cum laude, honors in major.
Activities: Pi Sigma Alpha, University Television, Combined B.A.-M.A. in 4 years magna cum laude.
10.0 Superb
Hon. Fellow
Center for International Legal Studies, Austria
Best Lawyers in Virginia
Virginia Business Magazine
AV Rating
Professional Associations
Virginia State Bar
- Current
District of Columbia Bar
- Current
Maryland State Bar
Chairman, International Law Committee
Articles & Publications
“Securing Investments from Foreign Sovereigns—Protecting Foreign Assets Using U.S. Law.”
Republished in Kitzbuehel, Luxembourg, NY, and Baltimore
“The Jewish Roots of English Property Law.”
The Conveyancer & Property Lawyer, Issue 1 (2016)
Collections 101 for Campaign Professionals
Campaigns and Elections, February, 2007
“Third World Government Contracting.” November-December, 2005.
l.i.n.k, issue 30,
International Business Law Bulletin, March-April, 2003
“Negotiating Commercial Leases.”
Business Properties, 1990
Speaking Engagements
International Commercial Transactions, Continuing Legal Education (MICPEL), Columbia, Maryland
Maryland State Bar Association
Reviewed international commercial transaction issues with a panel of other international law practitioners.
Websites & Blogs
Mr. Sternberg's Web Site
Legal Answers
483 Questions Answered

Q. Great grandmother's property going into lien foreclosure in 2 wks. If I pay taxes, can I sell the property.
A: There are steps between the taxes being due and a foreclosure sale, but those steps vary by jurisdiction. The short answer is that paying the taxes does not buy the title for you. Unless the actual title owners agree, it buys you nothing but a dubious claim for contribution, and that is limited if you are not a current owner or occupant. You could bid at the tax auction, if that is the stage you are at, and buy the tax certificate (or whatever that is called in your jurisdiction). That could eventually lead you to title without the liens of the prior lawyer or any claims by the heirs. You might be willing to bid more than the commercial investors buying such properties at auction, because you have been inside and know the value of this house. But, you have no special status in that merely because you are a descendent of the title owner. What you need to do is get to a lawyer for a consult immediately to determine the status of this property, the liens on the property, and whether there is a strategy for you to get consent of your relatives or permission of a court handling a reopened probate to sell the property.
Q. Is it worth pursuing a buyer who defaulted on a residential sale 2 days before closing after removing all contingencies?
A: You should get a contract review to determine the damages available under your contract. In some, the damages are limited to the earnest money deposit and moat of that goes to the realtor. In others, you can force performance or collect substantial damages. The contracts are not all the same, and the terms matter.
Q. Hello. We terminated our contract with previous realtor. Within the extension time of 180 days for that contract...
A: You need to review the listing agreement. The current standard MAR contract included a clause that eliminated the commission claim of the prior realtor once a replacement realtor was signed as agent. Another form I recall seeing only applied that after the term of the original listing contract expired. If I recall correctly, prior common law was more complex and the agent entitled to the commission was the one who met a complex standard as procuring cause of the sale. If the contract is written more favorably to the prior agent, you might wind pop paying two commissions. A careful reading of the contract is required.
Q. Are seller financing and lease option agreement contracts are legal in the state of Virginia?
A: Lawyers don’t “approve” contracts. They review and advise their clients on the legalities of their dealings. After the advice, the contracting parties remain responsible for their choices, though they might have a claim against the lawyer if his advice was malpractice. If what you are doing amounts to real estate or mortgage brokerage without a license, you can’t do it without a license. You should retain counsel and review both the plan and the contracts. Generally, the parties can contract as they please unless they can’t. You might not be allowed to earn a fee on the deal without a license unless you are truly acting on your own behalf as an investor.
Q. Probate law for Virginia. Do I need to hire an attorney to collect what I was owed by the estate?
A: You need to file and pursue a claim timely or it is lost forever. The deadlines are strictly enforced. The effect is complete. I know if no basis for you to collect attorneys fees for pursuing your claim. You need to consult with counsel immediately.
Q. Our condo was listed for 325k, we were offered 332k by a military couple. We took their offer.
A: You need to read the contract, but I believe the VA rider is conditioned on the VA appraisal.
Q. My house shares a chimney&both sides need to be fixed to correct water leak the other house is rental & no contact info
A: It seems weird to me that you can't track down the owner of the other property to resolve this. The name of the record owner is a matter of public record both at the Recorder of Deeds and, less accurately, at the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. Then, running a search on the Internet costs between $10 and $25. If you need someone with more experience reading those reports, that will obviously be more expensive, and if you need a private investigator to run what is called a 'skip trace,' that will also be more expensive. But, finding the owner is a manageable problem. Resolving the problem with a lawsuit using in rem jurisdiction against a party you haven't found will be much more expensive, and I can't imagine the judge would make you prove you had tried to find the owner before agreeing to enter a default.
Q. Hi, if I want to evict my month to month tenant who won’t leave but pays, do I have to keep making repairs before court
A: You need to consult with a local lawyer, because county and city codes matter in landlord-tenant. Then, the lawyer needs to read the lease with particular attention to the Holding Over and Notice clauses. In Virginia, the lease will be read fairly strictly as written unless it violates local landlord-tenant law. If we assume the lease says that you must give 60 days notice, then you must give 60 days notice, unless the lease is no longer in effect. Virginia does not require judicial action for tenant eviction, but you are playing a very high stakes game if you evict him in retaliation for enforcing his rights to a habitable home. Your best choice is to review the facts and the lease with a lawyer in a private consult. Your cheapest choice is to fix the window and door.
Q. my brother and I took the part of my dads half of my grandmother property my brother recently passed away.
A: Get a lawyer. File a Petition for Sale in Lieu of Partition. Generally, the court will allow the fees as well as contribution for utilities to be reimbursed to you from the proceeds of the sale. As long as your title to the property is clear and the property cannot be partitioned, there are no real defenses, though Montgomery County has required me in the past to jump through the hoops as if it was a foreclosure. In the end, you get paid, the bills get paid, the lawyer gets paid, and you don't have the damage of unpaid taxes and utility bills.
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