Joe Petrosinelli is the Chairman of Williams & Connolly and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is also Co-Chair of the firm’s Products Liability practice group. Joe has tried numerous civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts, has been lead counsel in several significant U.S. and international arbitrations, and has represented clients in litigation and investigations matters in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Joe’s civil practice focuses on products liability, mass tort/class action, and complex commercial litigation. He has represented manufacturers and suppliers of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, industrial equipment, military hardware and technology, and various other products in litigation and arbitration matters across the United States and internationally. He also has represented various companies in large contract and other commercial disputes.
In his government investigations and criminal defense practice, Joe represents clients in a wide variety of matters, including federal grand jury proceedings, trial and appellate work in federal and state courts, and international or cross-border investigations. He has defended both individuals and corporations against allegations of mail and wire fraud, false claims, government contracts fraud, FCPA violations, public corruption, healthcare fraud, and securities violations. He and two of his partners successfully represented the petitioner before the U.S. Supreme Court in Cleveland v. United States, 531 U.S. 12 (2000), a leading case on the interpretation of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes.
Joe has been recognized or ranked in numerous legal publications, including Benchmark Litigation (“2018 Product Liability Attorney of the Year,” 2019 and 2021 “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America,” and 2016-2022 “Litigation Star” in products liability), Chambers USA (listed as recommended for product liability and mass tort, nationwide, 2017-2022), The Legal 500 (leading lawyers in product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, 2017-2022), Who’s Who Legal (named in Life Sciences and Product Liability Defense categories), Washingtonian magazine (Washington’s Top Lawyers, 2017, 2020), Washington D.C. Super Lawyers (in civil litigation: defense), and other publications. In January 2020, Joe was recognized as “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer for his representation of Pfizer in federal multidistrict litigation involving Viagra, where the court granted Pfizer’s motion to exclude plaintiffs’ causation experts. In the 2020 edition of The Legal 500, Joe was described as “one of the best lawyers in the country, particularly in MDLs, coordinated proceedings and class actions.”
Joe has also been involved in the firm’s sports law practice, and has represented athletes, professional clubs, and club executives in litigation and contract matters.
Joe was born and raised in Rhode Island. He received his B.A. from Brown University in 1988 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991. He joined Williams & Connolly in September 1991. In addition to his current tenure on the firm’s Executive Committee, he previously served on that Committee from 2005 to 2009. For many years, Joe has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches a course in trial practice focused on expert witnesses.