Embrace Equity - Soviet refugee found her legal passion in a new promised land

February 14, 2023Media Mention
The Primerus Paradigm

Karina Sterman, employment partner and chair of the Primerus Women Lawyers Section, was featured in the Winter 2023 edition of The Primerus Paradigm. The feature shares the story of how Karina's family immigrated to the United States in April 1980 — an opportunity they received through a national lottery. Her journey through law school and the early parts of her career are also discussed, including advice she wishes she would have received as a young lawyer.


"It was inculcated in me," she says. "You stand up for people. You stand up for yourself. You don't let people walk all over you. You don't pick fights, but you don't shy away from fights."

"Education was really the only thing we had," says Sterman. "They were constantly trying to teach me something."

She encourages young attorneys to not always look for wrongs, to give people a break and to remember that not everyone comes from the same background or culture.

"I could have benefited from active mentorship," she says. "All younger attorneys can benefit from active mentorship. Somebody who reaches out proactively. I'm a strong proponent of that."

"As long as we can keep talking, we can find some reminder that we are both human beings and our dispute is not about ourselves individually and that's really, I think, the kind of mentoring all lawyers need - that it's not about themselves," she says. "It's about representing your clients and the interests of your clients."