Karen McCartan DeSantis 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 currently teaches as a Visiting Faculty member in Notre Dame Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program and also teaches in Catholic University of America’s trial advocacy program.


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 School for Girls

Past Chair, Board of Trustees, Norwood School

Founding National Steering Committee, "ND Women Connect": Notre Dame Alumnae Initiative

Founding Co-Chair, D.C. Kirkland & Ellis Women's Leadership Initiative

Completion of Georgetown University’s Intensive Program in Bioethics (2008)


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1989, District of Columbia
  • 1986, Ohio (inactive)


  • Notre Dame Law SchoolJ.D.

    White Scholar

    Editor-in-Chief, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy

    Edward Barrett Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy

  • Princeton UniversityA.B.