Richard Sternberg

Metropolitan Washington Law Consortium, PLLC
  • Real Estate Law, International Law, Probate...
  • DC, 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
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
429 Questions Answered

Q. What happens if one of the witnesses to a holographic will dies before the person who wrote the will?
A: If it was executed correctly, it's a self-proving will signed by two or three witnesses before a notary public, and it is no problem at all. If the testator went the lawyer-free way, Virginia Code § 64.2-403(B) provides that: "A will wholly in the testator's handwriting is valid without further requirements, provided that the fact that a will is wholly in the testator's handwriting and signed by the testator is proved by at least two disinterested witnesses." So, if the will cannot be proved by at least two disinterested witnesses, then the Virginia Code § 64.2-403(C) provides that: "A will not wholly in the testator's handwriting is not valid unless the signature of the testator is made, or the will is acknowledged by the testator, in the presence of at least two competent witnesses who are present at the same time and who subscribe the will in the presence of the testator. No form of attestation of the witnesses shall be necessary." Both parties, the proponent of the will and anyone hurt by the will as compared to their intestate or prior will provisions should get counsel, which will cost much, much more than a proper drafting.
Q. Can heirs of an original owner claim a portion of land which was reserved from a deed conveying the balance of the land?
A: Of course, the heirs can claim title. In most circumstances, I would then reiterate the teachings of a professor of mine from Penn, and I'd say that any idiot can make a claim if they have a pen, paper, and the filing fee. Usually, prospective clients want to know if they can win, and can be a different question. In this case, however, making the claim may be quite effective, particularly if the objective is to ensure that the respect due to a family gravesite is protected. The chances of being able to re-take and build on or otherwise profit from the recovered 70' X 70' site is much more remote, but a credible demand from a lawyer who appears ready to file suit might be quite sufficient incentive to adjust the behavior of the current owners. Before anyone can really answer your question, a lawyer needs to read the grant and the reservation and then research how adverse possession affects the case. I strongly suspect that adverse possession does not apply since the subsequent possessors seem to miss all of the key elements. If adverse possession and laches do not apply, the title might well revert to the grantor.
Q. Can attorney represent trust & mortgage servicer.Does servicer respond to summons or can trustee answer both summon com
A: It depends on whether the defendants have a potential or actual conflict of interest, which most often arises if their positions are contradictory, such as where one of them wants you to lose and the other wants you to win or when one impleads for damages from the other for your claims. If you think you are going to take on U.S. Bank and Ocwen simultaneously pro se, you must be planning to lose, right? Do I guess correctly that this is a foreclosure defense, and both Ocwen and US Bank seek to have your rights foreclosed and for a judgment against you? If so, a conflict of interest would be fairly rare.
Q. In Maryland, our mother died intestate. My brother and I are co-representative of estate. How to resolve disagreement ?
A: Get counsel. File petition to list and sell house in the form of Sale in Lieu of Partition.
Q. When putting in an offer on a home as the buyer is it my responsibility to give a dollar amount for closing costs in Va
A: No, your offer should simply describe your offer in sufficient detail to be unambiguous. The allocation of closing costs is adequately described in every standard local or state contract form I have seen, though there are often other provisions that should be changed, such as extraordinary protections of the realtors providing the form.
Q. I am a trustee on a property that's in pre foreclosure. I would like to buy the home. Trust doc says we can buy and sell
A: Your facts are dripping in self-dealing and breach of fiduciary duties, and the claim that one trustee stole funds while the other stole the property are just oozing from your question. The notion that trust instructions give you the power to buy and sell does not mean that you can buy and sell to your own account. You *desperately* need to review the facts privately with a lawyer, and you are flat out nuts if you provide any more facts on an open web forum.
Q. I rent a apartment in Norfolk, VA. My lease is up Feb 28, 2018.
A: Virginia courts are most likely to enforce leases exactly as they are written. You may, however, need to defend your position in court, and that may cost more than the amount in dispute. Most of the cases before the judge will have little or no defense, and there will be a large number of cases, so it will be incumbent on you to stand out from the crowd. The best way to accomplish this is to be prepared with a lawyer at the hearing with your arguments and evidence ready to go. If you are going to have a lawyer then, you might save money by retaining the lawyer from the start. The landlord, upon realizing that the case will be defended professionally, may back down. You might even get lucky, and the lease may shift the burden for legal fees, in which case your lawyer will be paid by money that would have gone to rent. If you do need counsel in the Norfolk area, I may be able to make a referral.
Q. Can a Lien be placed if insurance company paid for services. The only outstanding amount is the copay.
A: Liens can be complicated, and lay people often misunderstand them. If you are asking whether you can be obligated in a lien to pay a judgment or some other debt that authorizes a lien on something specific, the answer is yes. There is no way to evaluate whether a lien has been perfected from the information you provided.
Q. If my lease is up on January 26th and the rental office has not sent a renewal notice to me, do I have to pay February
A: The answer depends on what the lease says as to whether you can depart the lease on January 26th with no further obligations. If you are asking whether you may stay as a free permanent guest of the landlord because he fails to produce a renewal timely, that also depends on the lease, but it is rather unlikely.
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Contact & Map
Maryland Main Office
6509 Persimmon Tree Road, Suite 100
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Toll-Free: (888) 541-4020
Telephone: (202) 530-0100
Fax: (888) 363-7299
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Telephone: (202) 530-0100
Fax: (888) 363-7299