Karen McCartan DeSantis is a litigation partner in Kirkland's Washington, D.C. office. She concentrates on complex, commercial litigation in defense of Fortune 500 companies, with a focus on product liability and mass tort litigation, including the development and implementation of national defense strategies for clients. She has vast experience in the preparation and cross-examination of expert witnesses in epidemiology, toxicology, medicine, engineering, and other scientific disciplines. Karen has a wide range of trial, arbitration, general litigation, negotiation and counseling experience in a variety of commercial and class action litigation matters including not only product liability matters but also RICO, securities, antitrust, constitutional, employment and ERISA litigation, as well as government enforcement actions.
Karen received her A.B. degree from Princeton University and her J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame, where she was Editor in Chief of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, a White Scholar, and the recipient of the Edward Barrett Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. She currently teaches as a Visiting Faculty member in Notre Dame Law School's Trial Advocacy Program and has served as an Instructor/Judge in Georgetown Law School's Mock Trial Program.
Lead trial counsel in litigation defending former officers of one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S. against unprecedented claims of personal liability for debts of a bankrupt corporation and won complete verdict for all officers.
Counsel for BP America, Inc. in defense of civil litigation brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, numerous plaintiffs, and several states seeking recovery from BP for injury and costs allegedly attributable to the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
Counsel for Constellation Energy Group in multidistrict shareholder and ERISA litigation regarding significant decline in Constellation's stock price in the midst of contraction of the global credit market and additional economic factors.
Counsel for ABB entities in defense of litigation concerning the United Nations Oil-For-Food Program and claimed transactions with the Government of Iraq.
Counsel for Brown & Williamson in the defense of litigation brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, several states, and several foreign countries seeking recovery from the tobacco industry of medical and economic costs allegedly attributable to cigarette smoking.
Counsel for NL Industries in the defense of litigation in several states seeking recovery from the lead pigment industry of medical and economic costs allegedly due to ingestion of lead-based paint.
Trial and coordinating counsel for General Motors in defense of product liability lawsuits throughout the United States.
Memberships & Affiliations
Board of Trustees, University of Notre Dame
Visiting Faculty, Notre Dame Law School Intensive Trial Advocacy Program
Princeton University Schools Committee
Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education ("ACE") Advisory Board
Board of Trustees, Washington Middle School for Girls
Immediate Past Chair, Board of Trustees, Norwood School
Founding National Steering Committee, "ND Women Connect": Notre Dame Alumnae Initiative
Member, Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute for Bioethics; 2008 Completion of Institute's Intensive Program in Bioethics
Founding Co-Chair, D.C. Kirkland & Ellis Women's Leadership Initiative