Rathke, Sarah K.

Sarah K. Rathke


Sarah Rathke is a trial lawyer whose practice focuses on defending and pursuing the interests of manufacturers throughout the country. Sarah has argued and tried cases on behalf of national and multinational corporations in forums throughout the US. Her skills include a deep understanding of the process of bringing highly engineered products to market, and conveying that understanding to judges and juries. Sarah’s expertise crosses industries, but she has a particular focus and experience in representing and defending manufacturers in the medical, pharmaceutical and automotive industries, having tried numerous mass tort and product liability matters to judge and jury. She is a co-author of a 2016 book aimed at mitigating the risk of manufacturing litigation titled, Legal Blacksmith: How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes.

Sarah has gained a reputation as an accomplished trial attorney. In 2012, she was one of three lawyers nationwide appointed to the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's (NITA) Next Generation faculty. She has lectured on trial advocacy at the Cleveland Marshall School of Law. She was named an Ohio Super Lawyers "Rising Star," an honor given to the top 2.5 percent of Ohio lawyers age 40 or under, eight times. Sarah has also been named as a Benchmark Litigation "Future Litigation Star" for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Sarah also has an active sports practice. Her representations include athletes, sports agents and teams. Her sports-related litigation victories include the representation of NBA superstar LeBron James.



  • University of Michigan, J.D., 2001
  • Georgetown University, B.A., 1998


  • Ohio, 2001


  • U.S. Dist. Ct., N. Dist. of Ohio, 2001
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., S. Dist. of Ohio, 2003

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Sarah serves as Chair of the Board of Advisors of the American Constitution Society, Northeast Ohio chapter, an organization dedicated to expressing and advancing a progressive approach to the law and politics.
  • Sarah is a member of the board of directors for the Cleveland International Film Festival, an annual film festival based in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Sarah served for several years as a trustee of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. The CMBF is actively engaged in and funds numerous community programs, including the 3Rs program ("Rights, Responsibilities, Realities") administered in the Cleveland public schools.
  • Sarah has been a member of the planning committee of the Cleveland United Way's 2014-2016 Rock the Catwalk event, an event dedicated to funding the initiatives of the United Way's Women's Leadership Counsel.
  • Sarah sat on the advisory board of the Friends of Max Hayes High School, a nonprofit organization that promotes the mission of the Max Hayes Career & Technical High School in Cleveland, a public high school that educates and trains high-quality manufacturing sector employees.
  • Recognized as a Future Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2015-2018
  • Named an Ohio Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” an honor given to the top 2.5 percent of Ohio lawyers age 40 or under, eight times

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  • Author, "A BigLaw Ladies' Guide to Becoming a 1st-Chair Trial Lawyer," Law360, October 2017.
  • Author, "How Big Firms Can Foster, Develop Female First-Chair Trial Lawyers," Corporate Counsel, September 2017.
  • Quoted, "3 Key Lessons for Legal Departments from Hobby Lobby's Settlement," Corporate Counsel, July 2017.
  • Co-author, "Big Data, Big Benefits – And a Ton of Risk for Your Supply Chain Contracts," IACCM, May 2017.
  • Interview, "Channel Marketing: It's Not Sold Until It's Sold at Retail," Talking Cloud, April 2017.
  • Speaker, "Conscious Supply Chains, Ensuring Conflict-Free, Harmonious, and Ethical Supply Chains," Conscious Capitalism Annual Conference, April 2017.
  • Presenter, Colorado Manufacturing Awards, April 2017.
  • Speaker, Meeting for International Association for Contract and Commercial Management, March 2017.
  • Interview, "New Supply-Chain Insights, New Supply-Chain Lawsuits," SmartIndustry, November 2016.
  • Presenter, "Emerging Trends," SEC Hot Topics Conference, November 2016.
  • Speaker, "Driving Innovation in Supply Chain Relationships and Contracts," IACCM 2016/2017 Americas Conference, October 2016.
  • Presenter, "International Compliance Requirements of the Global Marketplace," St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, October 2016.
  • Presenter, "How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes," EFMA Annual Conference on Supply Chain Risks and Emerging Markets, October 2016.
  • Book review, "Legal Blacksmith: How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes," Spend Matters, July 2016.
  • Presenter, "Reducing Liability Risks," SC Tech Conference and Expo, July 2016.
  • Presenter, "Negotiating Long-Term Requirements Contracts with Suppliers," Clear Law Institute, June 2016.
  • Interview, "Interview With The Authors of Legal Blacksmith," Buyers Meet Point, June 2016.
  • Author,"6 Tips for Solving Supply-Chain Problems Before They Become Crises," Chief Executive, May 2016.
  • Presenter, "Reducing Legal Risks," Canadian Institute's 6th Conference on Supply Chain Management, May 2016.
  • Interview, SupplyChainBrain Podcast, March 2016.
  • Quoted,"New Federal Law Cracks Down on Child and Forced Labor," Corporate Counsel, February 2016.
  • Co-author,"Complying with Transparency Requirements in Procurement and Avoiding Legal Pitfalls," ACC Docket, January/February 2016.
  • Book review, "Contracts that underwrite relationship harmony," SCM World, January 2016.
  • Quoted, "Slavery Labels Sought for U.S. Goods as SEC Reporting Law Mulled," Chicago Tribune, December 2015.
  • Quoted, "These Lawyers Want Slave Labor Warnings on Your Cat Food," Bloomberg Business, December 2015.
  • Interview, "New U.K. Law Turns Up Heat on Human Trafficking Transparency," Compliance Weekly, September 2015.
  • Interview,"California Transparency Act Lawsuit Could Be First of Many," Inside Counsel Magazine, September 2015.
  • Interview, "Supplier Relationship Management: 10 Ways to Build Strong Bonds with Vendors," Vend Blog, September 2015.
  • Presenter, "Supply Chain Disclosure Risk - A 30-Minute Boot Camp," Squire Patton Boggs webinar, September 2015.
  • Interview, "Complaints Targeting Companies For Slave Labor Use May Be Start of a Trend," Daily Journal, September 2015.
  • Author, "Closing Arguments in Complex Cases," ABA's The Woman Advocate, August 2015.
  • Author, "The Legal Side of Achieving Visibility in the Supply Chain," ISM, August 2015.
  • Author, "Supply Chain Dispute Resolution in the US," Practical Law, July 2015.
  • Co-author (with Simon Garbett), "Doing Business with the USA," Operations Management, June 2015.
  • Interview, "Squire's Rathke co-leads Venture to trial win," Inside Counsel Magazine, June 2015.
  • Interview,"Chain of Ethics," Inside Counsel Magazine, May 2015.
  • Interview, "What OEMs need to know about reshoring manufacturing and their supply chains," B2B News Network, April 2015.
  • Interview, "Lessons from an Apple Supplier Debacle," Supply Chain Brain podcast, March 2015.
  • Interview, "Buyer Beware," Florida Business Observer, March 2015.
  • Interview, "Forging an Ethical Supply Chain," Inside Counsel Magazine, March 2015.
  • Interview, "How to Hammer out Supply Chain Disputes," Inside Counsel Magazine, March 2015.
  • Presenter, The Importance of Verdict Forms to Trial Strategy, DRI Women in the Law Annual Conference, February 2015.
  • Author, "Presenting Technical Information to the Factfinder," DRI Publication, The Voice, February 2015.
  • Interview, "How climate change will affect supply chain management," B2B News Network, February 2015.
  • Co-author (with Simon Garbett), “Three Legal Challenges When Dealing with U.S. Suppliers,” Supply Management, February 2015.
  • Interview, "Legal Advice; Developing Successful Supply Chain Relationships," Talking Logistics podcast, February 2015.
  • Interview, "Avoiding and Defending Supply Chain Disputes," The Core Business Show with Tim Jacquet, January 2015.
  • Interview, "Legal Eagle and the Coach," January 2015.
  • Author, "Discovery and the Complex Supply Chain Dispute," DRI Publication, The Business Suit, December 2014.
  • Author, "The Rise of Women Trial Lawyers," For the Defense (DRI Publication), April 2014.
  • Co-author, "Sixth Circuit Update," The Business Suit (DRI Publication), February 2014.
  • Author, "Toward a More Rational and Cost-Effective Corporate Litigation Philosophy," Cleveland Bar Journal, November 2012.
  • Co-author, "Presenting Bankruptcy Concepts To Juries," The Bankruptcy Strategist, October 2011.
  • Author, "Serving Non-US Civil Defendants With Process; There May be An Easier Way," Cleveland Bar Journal, November 2007.