Karen M. Firstenberg



Karen Firstenberg is a strategic partner for life sciences companies in product liability and compliance matters. She represents pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device manufacturers, designers and distributors, including Fortune 500 and 300 companies.

Product Liability & Mass Tort Litigation

Karen has led nationwide mass tort drug and device litigation in both state and federal courts, winning favorable jury verdicts in multimillion-dollar claims. She strategically handles every aspect of litigation, including claim assessment, depositions, expert discovery, first chair trial work and more. Focused on clients’ business objectives, Karen has successfully pursued arbitration and mediation to achieve client goals.

Karen has defended medical devices ranging from surgical robots and ortho-biologics to pain pumps and prosthetic devices, as well as intra-operative warning devices, lasers, medical durable equipment and more.

Product Counseling & Compliance

To prevent litigation and enforcement, Karen advises on FDA compliance issues for medical device products. She assesses and drafts 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 multimillion-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.

Personal Interests

When she isn’t analyzing product liability cases, Karen stays active by hiking and swimming. She enjoys cooking and exploring new travel destinations with her husband, two children and the family dog, Tulie, a golden retriever.


Bar Admissions


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


Case Western Reserve University School of Law
J.D. Dean's List, with concentration in Business, Internet Law Journal (chief managing editor) (2002)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.A. in International Politics (1999)

Ohio State University
B.A. in Political Science and History, cum laude, with distinctive honors (1995)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • Recall Efforts – When the FDA Comes Calling: Best Practices When Your Company’s Product Is Recalled
    Speaker and Author, Stericycle Annual Presentation, July 2019
  • Perspective on Training and Monitoring a Pharmaceutical and/or Medical Device Sales Force
    Co-author, Defense Research Institute, July 2017
  • Sales Representatives: Greatest Asset or Biggest Liability?
    Author, American Bar Association, February 27, 2016
  • Overview and Update — Reporting Requirements for Attorneys, Insurers and Self-Insureds Under the Medicare Recovery Act
    Speaker and Author, DRI Annual Meeting, September 2015
  • Chapter 18: Defenses and Cross Complaints
    Consultant, Neighbors Disputes: Law and Litigation Treatise, Continuing Education of the State Bar of California, 2013

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

  • Holocaust Survivor Reparations Project

Professional Associations

  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) — Product Liability and Litigation Sections
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association 
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association


  • California Super Lawyers — Rising Star, 2009-13
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