PK Law’s 2016 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is honored to have twenty- five of its attorneys selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers Magazine’s top attorneys in Maryland for 2016.

PK Law’s 2016 Super Lawyers are

  • Steve A. Allen – Business Litigation
  • James R. Benjamin, Jr. – Environmental Litigation
  • Robert S. Campbell – Business Litigation
  • Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Gregory K. Kirby – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Thomas D. Kohn – Business Litigation, Business/Corporate
  • Patricia McHugh Lambert – Business Litigation
  • Michael E. Leaf – Real Estate
  • Natalie C. Magdeburger – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Mairi Pat Maguire – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Mark D. Maneche – Business Litigation
  • Edmund J. O’Meally – Construction Litigation
  • Lisa Y. Settles – Employment & Labor
  • Leslie R. Stellman – Schools & Education, Employment & Labor
  • Catherine W. Steiner – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice, Health Care
  • Thomas Zagami – Business Litigation
  • Drake Zaharris – Business Litigation, Business/Corporate, Construction Litigation


PK Law’s 2016 Rising Stars are

  • David A. Burkhouse – Employment & Labor
  • Brian M. Cathell – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Chantelle M. Custodio – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Cheryl A. Jones – Estate Planning & Probate
  • Talley H-S Kovacs – General Litigation
  • Kimberly Longford – Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice – Defense
  • Kimberly H. Neal – Business Litigation
  • Andrew G. Scott – Schools & Education
  • Aiden F. Smith – Criminal Defense

Only 5 percent of the lawyers in Maryland are identified as Super Lawyers by their peers and through the independent research of Law & Politics. PK Law has been honored over the past years to have numerous members and associates named as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

We congratulate these attorneys as this shows their dedication to PK Law clients and professionalism within the legal field.

PK Law Receives Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces Honor for 2015


For the fourth year in a row, PK Law was selected one of the Baltimore Sun’s Top 100 Workplaces.  

The selection was based on information gathered from surveys taken by the firm’s employees.  The survey solicited information about work/life balance, managers, pay and benefits, where the company is headed, execution, connection and engagement.  PK Law was among an impressive group of companies and was one of only three law firm’s among the 100 workplaces for 2015.

PK Law Recognized in Benchmark Litigation as One of Maryland’s Leading Litigation Firms

PK Law has been recognized in Benchmark Litigation as a recommended firm for litigation in Maryland for 2016. PK Law is one of only 14 Maryland firms selected as a recommended or highly recommended firm for litigation in Maryland.

In addition, Steve Allen was selected a Benchmark Local Litigation Star for 2016 in the areas of Criminal, General Commercial, Professional Liability and White Collar Crime.

Below is the PK Law profile on the Benchmark Litigation website:
Pessin Katz Law joins the list this year after receiving high praise from clients and competitors throughout Maryland. Its nearly 50 attorneys, half of whom are litigators, represent businesses and entrepreneurs, individuals, institutions, insurers, medical professionals, and health care facilities. “Steven Allen is the person I’d go to,” says an adversary, elaborating that Allen is ruthless in fighting the government for people in need of legal assistance. He has more than three decades of experience that emphasizes commercial, general litigation, and criminal defense. A client unabashedly says, “I have known these attorneys for many years, and they are highly qualified experts in their areas of expertise.” In a recent case, Allen represented the former President of Bradford Bank when a complaint was filed against it in connection with the failure of the bank, which was taken over by the FDIC in 2009. Natalie Magdeburger is probably the best trial attorney I have ever seen – and I have been involved in litigation for over 30 years! We definitely will continue to use the firm. We use a number of other excellent firms, but I think the Pessin Katz medical malpractice team is one of the best.” Magdeburger represented Johns Hopkins in a case in which the plaintiff accused the client of knowingly exposing her and her family to an unnecessary risk of lead-based paint and dust during her residence at a residential property in Baltimore. She secured a victory for the client when the Court granted summary judgement in favour of Johns Hopkins on all accounts.

What is Benchmark Litigation?
Benchmark exclusively covers the litigation market. The original publication, Benchmark Litigation—the definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys—is the only publication to focus exclusively on US litigation. The results of Benchmark Litigation stem from the culmination of a six-month research period where researchers conduct extensive interviews with litigators and their clients to identify the leading litigators and firms. During these interviews, researchers examine recent casework handled by law firms and ask individual litigators to offer their professional opinions on peers.
Firms cannot pay to be recommended for the guide. Instead, firms have been independently offered the opportunity to take a professional listing regardless of editorial content. Recommendations are based on interviews with the nation’s leading private practice lawyers and in-house counsel.

In an effort to provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage of the litigation market, listings are done on a national and state level.

Will the “Yates Memo” Impact Maryland State Prosecutions?

According to the Maryland Constitution Art. V,

“SEC. 3. (a) The Attorney General shall:

(1) Prosecute and defend on the part of the State all cases pending in the Appellate Courts of the State, in the Supreme Court of the United States or the inferior Federal Courts, by or against the State, or in which the State may be interested, except those criminal appeals otherwise prescribed by the General Assembly.

(2) Investigate, commence, and prosecute or defend any civil or criminal suit or action or category of such suits or actions in any of the Federal Courts or in any Court of this State, or before administrative agencies and quasi legislative bodies, on the part of the State or in which the State may be interested, which the General Assembly by law or joint resolution, or the Governor, shall have directed or shall direct to be investigated, commenced and prosecuted or defended.

(3) When required by the General Assembly by law or joint resolution, or by the Governor, aid any State’s Attorney or other authorized prosecuting officer in investigating, commencing, and prosecuting any criminal suit or action or category of such suits or actions brought by the State in any Court of this State.

(4) Give his opinion in writing whenever required by the General Assembly or either branch thereof, the Governor, the Comptroller, the Treasurer or any State’s Attorney on any legal matter or subject.”

On September 9, 2015, U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Sally Quillian Yates issued a memo to all United States Attorneys with subject “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing” (the “Yates Memo”).  In the document she states that a “working group” within the Department of Justice: “…identified areas in which it can amend its policies and practices in order to most effectively pursue the individuals responsible for corporate wrongs.”  The document emphasizes that in both criminal and civil matters the focus of investigations and prosecutions should be “…on the responsible individuals, recognizing that holding them to account is an important part of protecting the public fisc in the long term.”  In essence, focus on holding individuals responsible for corporate wrongdoing.

Under authority of the Maryland Constitution provision quoted above, the Maryland Attorney General may conduct criminal and civil prosecutions.  According to the Maryland Manual the Maryland Attorney General’s Criminal Division may investigate a broad range of criminal acts: “Crimes by State employees, fraud against the State, multicounty frauds, public corruption, and criminal violations of State tax laws are the focus of the Division. The Division also investigates and prosecutes white collar crime, gun trafficking, insurance fraud, and multi-jurisdictional crimes. Moreover, the Division assists state’s attorneys when they need additional resources or special expertise in a complex criminal investigation.”  The Criminal Division uses five main units to accomplish these tasks:  Environmental Crimes, Firearms Trafficking, Gang Prosecution, Insurance Fraud and Medicaid Fraud.  Civil matters are handled through the Civil Litigation Division.

In the Environmental Crimes Unit, criminal prosecutions may be conducted both against corporate entities and individuals.  The Unit may also work in conjunction with federal prosecutors to enforce federal statutes regarding environmental matters in tandem with state laws and regulations.

If followed by the Maryland enforcement units, the Yates Memo may shift enforcement focus away from corporations and towards individuals.  This may particularly be the case where federal and state laws might intersect such as in the environmental or health care areas.  Attorneys representing alleged wrongdoers in such cases may attempt to provide information on behalf of corporate or entity clients only and shield individuals.  For that, they may request consideration for “cooperation” in the case.

So, what does the Yates Memo say concerning the focus on individuals in “white collar” criminal investigations?  It cites the following points with respect to U.S. Justice Department investigations:

(l) In order to qualify for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide to the Department all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the misconduct.

(2) Criminal and civil corporate investigations should focus on individuals from the inception of the investigation.

(3) Criminal and civil attorneys handling corporate investigations should be in routine communication with one another.

(4) Absent extraordinary circumstances or approved departmental policy, the Department will not release culpable individuals from civil or criminal liability when resolving a matter with a corporation.

(5) Department attorneys should not resolve matters with a corporation without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases, and should memorialize any declinations as to individuals in such cases.

(6) Civil attorneys should consistently focus on individuals as well as the company and evaluate whether to bring suit against an individual based on considerations beyond that individual’s ability to pay.


The Yates Memo makes two very clear points regarding the factors mentioned above, particularly as relate to items 1 and 4.  The first is that to obtain any leniency for corporate misconduct there must be full disclosure of information from the inception of an investigation and while it is ongoing.  That includes all information on individuals involved in the matter regardless of their standing within the corporate structure.  The second point which the factors underscore is that a corporate settlement agreement may not include a release of culpable individuals unless it is approved by superiors in the Department (the “extraordinary circumstances” reference, in essence).

In those cases in which the U.S. Department of Justice and Maryland Attorney General’s Office share a community of interest, it is not farfetched to imagine the core principles of the Yates Memo being applied to Maryland investigations.  Although it is a federal pronouncement, the document may have a significant impact on the conduct of Maryland criminal and civil matters.

For more information on the Yates Memo and its application to Maryland criminal and civil cases please contact a litigation attorney at PK Law.  He or she may provide insight into the course of an investigation and individual exposure in cases of corporate wrongdoing.

PK Law Attorneys have experience defending individuals and corporations in False Claims Act matters.  Contact PK Law Members, Steven Allen and Elliott Petty for additional information. 


This information is provided for general information only.  None of the information provided herein should be construed as providing legal advice or a separate attorney client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney of your choice about your particular situation. While PK Law has taken reasonable efforts to insure the accuracy of this material, the accuracy cannot be guaranteed and PK Law makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy.


9 Pessin Katz Law Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers® in America List

Towson, MD– Pessin Katz Law (“PK Law”) is pleased to announce that 9 lawyers have been named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. “Best Lawyers is the most effective tool in identifying critical legal expertise,” said President and Co-Founder Steven Naifeh. “Inclusion on this list shows that an attorney is respected by his or her peers for professional success.” Lawyers on the Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

The following attorneys have been named to the 2016 Best Lawyers in America list:

Steven A. Allen: Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar, Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Drake Zaharris: Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law

Edmund J. O’Meally: Education Law

David N. Pessin: Sports Law, Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television, Entertainment Law – Music

Patricia McHugh Lambert: Insurance Law

Mairi Pat Maguire: Insurance Law, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Catherine W. Steiner: Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants

Natalie C. Magdeburger: Professional Malpractice Law, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Dino La Fiandra: Land Use and Zoning Law

We congratulate these attorneys as this shows their dedication to PK Law clients and professionalism within the legal field.