Katherine A. Vaky focuses her practice on multidistrict litigation, including high-profile crisis litigation matters, particularly mass tort and product liability. With her strong knowledge of federal civil procedure and jurisdictional and constitutional law, Katherine has represented corporate clients throughout the litigation process, and has played key roles in litigating some of the most significant crisis and mass tort litigation matters in the country in recent years.
Katherine was part of a team that represented a global pharmaceutical manufacturer in nationwide prescription opioids litigation. In addition to providing key litigation support to several state teams simultaneously at all stages of litigation, Katherine led the associate team during trial in an action brought by the City and County of San Francisco seeking billions in remedies against the company. In this role, Katherine assisted in executing the trial strategy adopted by the entire joint defense group.
Prior to leading the associate trial team in San Francisco, Katherine drafted key sections of a closing trial brief and aided in the preparation of closing arguments in a similar action brought by the State of California that secured the first defense trial victory in national prescription opioids litigation and proved to be a decisive trial ruling in which the court adopted several of the arguments Katherine assisted in drafting and developing.
Katherine’s oral advocacy skills began prior to her legal career when her three-person team won the national championship in the 2017 Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court competition. Katherine individually won “Best Oral Advocate in the Championship Round.”
Beyond her trial work, Katherine is a subject-matter authority in federal jurisdiction with a focus on abstention doctrines. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, teaching a course on federal courts. She has been published in the Washington University in St. Louis Law Review. Katherine was a panelist at a federal civil procedure–focused CLE event alongside members of the federal judiciary and fellow Pittsburgh practitioners.
Embracing her specialties of federal jurisdiction and strong legal writing, Katherine’s pro bono practice centers on representing nonprofit clients through amicus briefs that advocate for immigrant rights in the administrative processes.
Before entering private practice, Katherine clerked for Chief Judge Mark R. Hornak in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Judge Robert L. Wilkins in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, 2017, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
DePauw University, 2014, B.A., Political Science, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Clerkship to Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2019 - 2020)
Clerkship to Chief Judge Mark R. Hornak of the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (2017 - 2019)
Awards and Affiliations
Recommended, Dispute resolution: Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, The Legal 500 US (2023)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Insurance, Law360 (2020)
National Champion and Best Oral Advocate in the Championship Round, Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition, 2017