Berk, Steven N.
Appointed: September 2, 2016
The investiture of Judge Steven N. Berk will take place on Friday, September 2, at 4pm in the atrium of the Moultrie Courthouse.
Judge Berk was born in Lincolnwood, Illinois. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with university honors, in Economics and History from Washington University in St. Louis in 1981 and a Master of Science Degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1982. Judge Berk received his Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Boston College Law School in 1985 where served as the Managing Editor of the Law Review.
Upon graduation from law school, he moved to Chicago, where he was employed as an associate at the law firms of Isham Lincoln and Beale, and Jenner & Block, specializing in commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense. In September of 1989, Judge Berk moved to Washington, DC to accept a position in the General Counsel’s Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. While there he primarily prosecuted cases against accountants practicing negligently before the Commission.
In 1990, Judge Berk was sworn in as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Upon joining the office, Judge Berk worked in the Appellate Division where he argued more than a dozen cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. He served in the Misdemeanor, Felony Trial, Grand Jury, and Federal Economic Crimes Section. In total, he tried approximately 25 cases to a jury. While in the Economic Crimes Section he received an award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his successful prosecution and conviction of eight individuals for fraud against a District of Columbia based pension fund.
In 1995, Judge Berk returned to the law firm of Jenner & Block and was elected to the partnership in 1996. His practice focused on federal court civil litigation. During this time, Judge Berk spent thousands of hours, pro bono, leading a team of attorneys in an historic fair housing case involving the discriminatory conditions and practices of Miami, Dade County’s public housing projects. After over a decade of litigation, Judge Berk and his team were able to steer the case to a successful resolution.
In 2000, Judge Berk left the practice of law and became the founder of an Internet start up, iHappen that developed an early social networking site. Despite the company’s innovative applications, operations were ceased in 2003. Judge Berk returned to the practice of law, eventually opening his own firm in 2009 (Berk Law PLLC) where he focused his practice on consumer class action litigation and the representation of whistleblowers. In his class action cases, he successfully litigated and resolved complex nationwide claims against Fortune 500 companies, including Honda, Dell, Sony, Ford, HP and Brunswick.
Throughout his career Judge Berk has been an active volunteer in his community and at the Bar. From 1993 to 2000, he volunteered as a docent and transcriber of survivor histories at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 2006, he and his sons started a hockey club for children with special needs, including autism. The club (the Cheetahs) after a decade continues to grow and serve the needs of hundreds of families. At the District of Columbia Bar, Judge Berk has served as the Chairman of the Judicial Evaluations Committee, a twice-elected member of the Board of Governors and the Treasurer.