On June 6, 2020, Celeste Brecht was recognized among Law360’s Rising Stars for 2020 in the Product Liability category. This award honors attorneys under 40 whose legal accomplishments transcend their age. After carefully reviewing more than 1,300 submissions, Law360 selected the winners based on their career accomplishments in their respective disciplines. Celeste was one of just five attorneys selected in the product liability category and one of only three defense attorneys.
The following is an excerpt from a profile of Celeste published as part of Law360’s Rising Stars series:
While the multidistrict litigation over Merck's Zostavax vaccine is arguably the biggest case currently on Brecht's plate, the Venable attorney points to her earlier work on a case involving Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax as "one of the most pivotal" of her career.
Brecht said the experience marked the first time she was part of a trial team on a case with a national profile. And not only did she win at trial — she successfully defended the jury verdict on appeal as well.
"It changed the trajectory of my career," Brecht said. "After that case and trial, I started to get more work in that context of working in California coordinated litigations that were part of broader national litigations."
Celeste became an equity partner in 2019, and in 2020 she was named co-chair of Venable's California Litigation Group, which includes 50 attorneys in offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She is also an accomplished first-chair trial lawyer who has led and been a member of multiple trial teams in state and federal courts, has successfully argued before the California Courts of Appeal, and has obtained favorable jury verdicts and results in a variety of administrative forums.
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