Venable Expands Its Product Liability and Mass Torts Group in Its Chicago and Los Angeles Offices

4 min

Washington, DC (Sept. 07, 2022) – Venable LLP is expanding its Product Liability and Mass Torts team with the addition of John Roberts, a partner in its Chicago office, and Karen Firstenberg, a partner in its Los Angeles office. In addition, Eva Fitzhugh, a paralegal, joins the Los Angeles office and Rita Mansuryan, an associate, will join the Los Angeles office as well.

Jason Rose, a co-chair of Venable's Product Liability and Mass Torts Group, said, "John and Karen exemplify the type of talent we are looking for as we expand our team and our capabilities into more diverse areas of product liability litigation to meet our clients' needs. We look forward to working with them and integrating them into the mix."

"We are thrilled to welcome John and Karen to Venable and to our product liability team. Their addition will not only diversify our practice, but further solidify our presence in Los Angeles and expand it to Chicago, a long-standing life sciences hub and the home of some of our most valued clients. John and Karen's success in the courtroom also deepens our bench of proven products trial lawyers," said Kathleen Hardway, a co-chair of Venable's Product Liability and Mass Torts Group.

Mr. Roberts helps an array of clients by providing strong representation on and experienced insight into product liability, commercial litigation, insurance recovery, and regulatory compliance matters. He has experience serving as national litigation counsel for a leading window manufacturer, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, consumer products manufacturers, and numerous industry-leading financial services companies in their defense against products liability matters, class actions, and other commercial disputes, including breach of contract actions. He has also successfully represented numerous healthcare providers—including medical equipment suppliers, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician practices—in the recovery of tens of millions of dollars in claims from insurance companies. He counsels public and private healthcare entities on regulatory, transactional, and administrative matters, including Stark Law; federal and state fraud and abuse laws; developing compliance programs for HIPAA and state confidentiality laws; state licensure statutes; certification of need for acquiring, constructing, and financing healthcare facilities and or/major medical equipment; payor and managed-care contracts; and healthcare recoupment and reimbursement.

Mrs. Firstenberg provides strategic counsel to life sciences companies on product liability, toxic torts, and compliance matters. She represents pharmaceutical, biotech, materials science, and medical device manufacturers, designers, and distributors, including Fortune 500 and 300 companies. She has led nationwide mass tort drug and device litigation in both state and federal courts, winning favorable jury verdicts in multi-million-dollar claims. She strategically handles every aspect of litigation, including claim assessment, depositions, expert discovery, first-chair trial work, and more. She works closely with clients to develop and execute strategies to achieve client goals.

"John and Karen are exactly the type of excellent lawyers and principled individuals serving world-class clients that we are looking for to expand and build upon Venable's already strong reputation as a leading firm and a great place to work," said Mike Morkin, Venable's new partner-in-charge of Growth and Expansion.

Commenting on the group's move to Venable, Mr. Roberts said, "One of the main reasons we moved to Venable is that the firm is known for its strong product liability and mass torts capabilities, which will provide the platform we need to expand our business. Not to mention that the firm has truly smart, good, and talented individuals, whom we look forward to working and collaborating with."


Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC that serves as primary counsel to a worldwide clientele of large and mid-sized organizations, nonprofits, high-net-worth entrepreneurs, and other individuals. With more than 850 professionals across the country, including in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, the firm strategically advances its clients' objectives in the United States and around the globe. Venable advises clients on a broad range of business and regulatory law, legislative affairs, complex litigation, and the full range of intellectual property disciplines. For more information, please visit