Joseph H. Sheppard, 89, a partner in the Washington law firm of Haynes & Miller for the past 23 years, died of an internal hemorrhage Wunday at Doctors Hospital here.

Mr. Sheppard began his legal career in 1920 after earning a law degree from the old Washington College of Law. He was an attorney with the Department of Labor's old immigration division before joining the Department of Justice in 1922, where he was chief trial attorney in the court of claims division.

In 1956, Mr. Sheppard became a partner with Haynes & Miller. Althought he had been semiretired since 1965, he remained a consultant with the firm and was working one day a week at the time of his death.

Mr. Sheppard was born in Chester, Pa., and grew up there and in Baltimore.

A veteran of World War I, he received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered while serving in the Army's motor transport corps in France.

He lived in Chevy Chase and was a member of the Columbia Country Club there. He also was a member of the American Bar Association and Lebanon Lodge No. 7 of the Masons.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Gertrude Dale Sheppard, of the home; a daughter, Marilyn Drewry, of Huntington, N.Y., and three grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society or to the National Epilepsy Foundation.