Sarah Sternlieb joined HSG as an associate in 2016. She is a former law clerk to the Honorable Jill A. Pryor of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and a former intern for Judge Timothy C. Batten of the Northern District of Georgia. Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and appeals. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in cases at all levels of the court system, on subjects including consumer protection, contract disputes, antitrust, patents, securities, and civil rights. Before her legal career, Sarah was a criminal investigations analyst for the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
What’s the most challenging experience you’ve had at HSG?
My first deposition was with a very difficult witness. I was prepared substantively, but I wasn’t expecting the witness to be extremely cagey and evasive, including for non-objectionable biographical and background questions (so much so that even the court reporter said she’d never seen such a difficult witness!). I had to quickly recalibrate and move away from the comfort of my pre-written questions and prepared exhibits. Instead, I started with more general questions and funneled down to anything I could get out of her, and I tried to attune myself to how she was responding to certain questions. I ultimately obtained some useful admissions, but it also taught me the importance of being flexible in my deposition style and responding to the individual witness.
What’s the most interesting case you’ve worked on at HSG?
I was recently appointed counsel to represent a Muslim prisoner who requested a vegan diet to accommodate his religion. The vegan meals the prison provided were improperly prepared and nutritionally inadequate, causing him to suffer pain and weight loss that required medical treatment. He alleges that the inadequate provision of vegan meals was a substantial burden on his religious practice and violated his First and Eighth Amendment rights and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The district court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and my client appealed the case pro se to the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit determined oral argument is necessary and appointed me counsel to re-brief and argue the case.
When you’re not practicing law, what’s your favorite pastime?
Spinning! My favorite right now is Flywheel. I became a group exercise instructor in college, and I have been obsessed with fitness classes since then. Although I don’t teach anymore, I enjoy going to a variety of classes every week.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
The only sport I am good at is croquet. I came in second place in a tournament at Oxford University during my study abroad.
Graduated From: Emory University School of Law (Class of 2013)
Accolades: Order of the Coif; Executive Managing Editor, Emory Law Journal