Karen M. Firstenberg

Karen Firstenberg

Karen Firstenberg provides strategic counsel to life sciences companies on product liability, toxic torts, and compliance matters. Karen 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. Karen works closely with clients to develop and execute strategies to achieve client goals.

Karen has defended medical devices ranging from surgical robots and ortho-biologics to pain pumps and prosthetic devices, surgical mesh, toxic tort as well as intra-operative warning devices, lasers, medical durable equipment, and more. To prevent litigation and enforcement, she also advises on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance issues for medical device, Material Safety Data Sheets, and other regulatory products. Karen also regularly advises clients on Medicare compliance and reporting issues. In addition, Karen has ample experience assessing and drafting company policies and procedures for FDA and statutory compliance.

In addition to complex product liability claims, Karen litigates class actions, contract issues, unfair business practice claims, medical malpractice, and personal injury litigation. She has won defense verdicts on multi-million-dollar claims and summary judgment rulings and has served as first chair in binding arbitrations. Karen is particularly skilled in offensive discovery, counseling clients on how to identify facts supporting potential claims, and defenses.




  • J.D. Case Western Reserve University School of Law 2002
    • Dean’s List
    • Chief managing editor, Internet Law Journal
  • M.A. International Politics Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1999
    • The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation for Excellence in Graduate Students Award
  • B.A. Political Science and History cum laude, with Distinctive Honors Ohio State University 1995
    • National golden Key Achievement Award 
    • Alpha Lambada Delta Scholar 
    • Letter of Commendation from Ohio State Legislature 

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, Product Liability Section, Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Member, Litigation Section, Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, Beverly Hills Bar Association 


  • Legal 500, Dispute Resolution - Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action - Defense: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, 2024
  • Super Lawyers, Rising Star, California, 2019 – 2013


Pro Bono

  • Karen has provided pro bono legal services to the Holocaust Survivor Reparations Project