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May 23, 2023 News

Berger Montague Announces the Addition of Eight Lawyers to Join Its Employment, Consumer Protection, and Environmental Law Groups

Berger Montague is now powered by 89 attorneys across seven offices in the United States and Canada, having experienced considerable growth in 2023.

Philadelphia, PA / May 23, 2023 / Adding to its premier capabilities, Berger Montague, a complex litigation powerhouse, is pleased to announce the addition of eight new trial lawyers to the firm. Berger Montague is now 89-lawyers strong across seven offices and expects to reach the 100-lawyer threshold before year-end. Driving the firm’s growth-plan is the high demand for the firm’s services in its many practice areas and the desire of lawyers across the country to join an organization that truly values excellence in client service, high ethical standards, aggressive pursuit of client-interests, top-level performance, and camaraderie. The formula is straightforward, says firm Chairman Eric Cramer, “We hire the best people, provide them the resources necessary to succeed, coordinate around a common mission of seeking justice on behalf of consumers, workers, businesses, and citizens, and foster a culture of teamwork in the service of winning on behalf of our clients. So long as we keep these principles top of mind, we will continue to grow and thrive as an institution.”

Highlighting the new additions to the firm are Janet Varnell and Brian Warwick, award-winning trial lawyers located in Tampa, Florida, who have worked alongside Berger Montague lawyers on numerous matters in the past. The firm has also added other top-notch legal talent, including Mark B. DeSanto, Mariyam Hussain, Zachary M. Vaughan, William A. Walsh, Olivia Lanctot, and Sonjay Singh. In all, the eight new attorneys, whose backgrounds are described below, will help drive the continued success of Berger Montague and its ability to achieve groundbreaking results for its clients.

Janet Varnell has spent her career fighting on behalf of consumers, workers, and businesses. Janet is the current Vice President and future President of Public Justice Foundation, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to justice for all. Ms. Varnell is also on the Partners Council of the National Consumer Law Center in Washington, D.C., one of the nation’s leading consumer advocacy organizations. She has earned a national reputation as a champion and defender of consumer rights, having been recognized as the 2019 Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year from the Florida Bar, the 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Public Justice Foundation, and the 2009 “Consumer Advocate of the Year” by Consumer National Association of Consumer Advocates. For the past 25 years, Ms. Varnell has focused on appellate work as well as consumer protection, wage and hour, product liability, antitrust, civil rights, securities fraud, and environmental litigation. She has been appointed as lead or co-lead counsel in more than sixty class actions certified in federal or state courts across the nation that have, collectively, resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars for her clients and the class members they have represented. Ms. Varnell will be joining Berger Montague as Of Counsel.

Brian W. Warwick is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s top consumer rights lawyers, having secured victories before the U.S. Supreme Court, including protecting the right of consumers to file class actions in state courts. In 2018, he was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation alongside Ms. Varnell, in recognition of the team’s work in protecting consumers from the payday loan industry in the class action Inetianbor v. CashCall, a case that resulted in one of the largest consumer recoveries in Florida’s history. He has also been a member and speaker of the National Association of Consumer Advocates since 2001 and a member of the Public Justice Foundation since 2009. Mr. Warwick will be joining Berger Montague as Of Counsel.

Mark B. DeSanto is joining Berger Montague as Senior Counsel in the Consumer Protection Department and comes to the firm with nine years of class action experience, including in consumer protection, securities fraud, ERISA, employment, automotive defect, data breach, privacy, and various types of defective product matters. Mr. DeSanto has helped recover more than $305 million for consumers, pension participants, investors, and employees. In 2023, Mr. DeSanto was named to the Legal Intelligencer’s “Lawyers on the Fast Track” list, and in every year since 2018 he has been selected by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers as a Rising Star.

Mariyam Hussain is joining Berger Montague as Senior Counsel in the Employment Law Department and will focus primarily on wage-and-hour class and collective actions arising under state and federal law. Ms. Hussain has represented thousands of workers nationwide in public, non-profit, and private sector capacities for over a decade, having received her JD and BA from DePaul University College and her MA from the University of London.

Zachary M. Vaughan is joining Berger Montague as Senior Counsel in the Consumer Protection Department where he will focus on litigation matters involving financial and credit reporting practices. He has represented corporate and individual clients in a wide variety of matters, including consumer class actions, securities class actions, RMBS lawsuits, contract disputes, bankruptcy litigation, and partnership disputes. Mr. Vaughan formerly worked as a litigation associate at a large national law firm and an international plaintiffs’ firm.

William A. Walsh is joining Berger Montague as Senior Counsel in the Environmental & Public Health Department and brings over 30 years of litigation and trial experience to the firm. Mr. Walsh is a seasoned environmental litigator, having acted on behalf of states and municipal water providers in actions against polluters for groundwater contamination, particularly MTBE and PCE-related lawsuits. He also represented a community impacted by PFOA contamination in its aquifer and represented thousands of individuals in toxic tort cases, including those involving PFOA and Roundup. Prior to joining Berger Montague, he was part of the environmental team at a major plaintiffs’ law firm in Manhattan for 16 years.

Olivia Lanctot is joining Berger Montague as an Associate in the Employment Law Department. Ms. Lanctot was formerly an associate at a well-known New Jersey law firm where she focused on employment and education law. She received her law degree from William & Mary Law School, during which time she also worked as a law clerk, assisting employees in matters before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Merit Systems Protection Board. 

Sonjay Singh is joining Berger Montague as an Associate in the Consumer Protection Department. Mr. Singh graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law where he was named the Eisenberg Scholar, a scholarship given yearly to the outstanding student in civil litigation, and he received the Trial Program Award for excellence in advocacy. Prior to joining Berger Montague, Mr. Singh gained trial experience at a well-known Washington D.C. personal injury law firm, where he worked on medical malpractice, defective premises, and other tort cases. He also worked for a Pennsylvania class action firm where he represented clients harmed by defective products, institutional abuse, data privacy failures, and other corporate misconduct.

Berger Montague PC is a national, full-spectrum plaintiffs’ law firm that litigates complex civil cases and class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States. For 53 years, Berger Montague has played lead roles in consequential, precedent-setting cases and has recovered more than $36 billion for its clients and the classes they have represented. A pioneer in the use of class actions in antitrust and securities litigation, the firm has since expanded into consumer, employment, environmental, and insurance litigation. Today, Berger Montague has more than 85 lawyers across seven offices, including its headquarters in Philadelphia, as well as offices in Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Toronto. 

Media Contacts:

Caroline Cornell

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Melania Stepanenko

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