Steve Urbanczyk defended companies in major complex civil litigation matters for nearly 40 years, before transitioning to Senior Counsel. In 2010, Steve was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and served as Chair of the College’s Complex Litigation Committee in 2018-2020.
Steve has served as national trial counsel in the nationwide defense of mass tort litigation involving pharmaceuticals (Prempro, Norplant), biologics (vaccines), medical devices (silicone breast implants), appliances (coffeemaker fires), and agricultural equipment (tractor fires). Steve led trial teams to defense verdicts in the first bellwether Prempro trials, and has directed and participated in the trials of pharmaceutical cases in several state courts. In state and federal courts around the country, he also has tried or been involved in the trial preparation of claims arising from alleged securities laws violations, alleged federal banking regulatory violations, oil and gas drilling accidents, the alleged contamination of food products, and other matters involving antitrust law, commercial fraud, medical malpractice, international trade, and other general commercial law issues.
Steve has been nationally ranked in the area of products liability in Benchmark Litigation and listed as a "Life Science Star" in LMG Life Sciences. In a 2012 article about the firm’s products liability practice, LMG Life Sciences noted:
“Another extremely talented and experienced litigator with the firm is Stephen Urbanczyk. Peers compliment Urbanczyk for his “deftness in the courtroom and his tactics in defending his clients.” With cases representing pharmaceutical drugs such as Prempro . . . and Norplant . . . Urbanczyk is extremely well versed in dealing with complex mass tort claims relating to the industry.”
Born in Buffalo, New York, Steve grew up in a Navy family, mainly in New England and the Washington, D.C. area. He received his B.A., cum laude and with honors, from Holy Cross, in 1971, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School, in 1974, where he was Managing Editor, Stanford Law Review. Steve clerked for Judge Irving Hill of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California before joining the Office of the Solicitor General, where he argued four cases before the Supreme Court, winning unanimous reversals each time. He joined Williams & Connolly in 1978.
Steve has served on Williams & Connolly’s Executive Committee and as chair of the firm’s Hiring Committee. He also has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Holy Cross College, was the first chairperson of the Board of Directors of Covenant House Washington, and has served on the Board of Trustees of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He was Commodore of the Chesapeake Yacht Club in 2021.
Though all cases vary and none is predictive, Steve’s experience includes:
- Representing a major pharmaceutical company as part of its “virtual law firm” in an MDL products liability matter, primarily responsible for preparing company witnesses in a foreign country
- Representing directors and officers of a failed bank against claims by the FDIC, shareholders, creditors and the SEC
- Conducted independent internal investigations for a Fortune 500 company regarding possible tax fraud and for a national charitable organization regarding allegations about its CEO
- Represented a major defendant in the Deepwater Horizon Litigation
- Represented a major U.S. company alleged to have contaminated a U.S. crop with unapproved GMO materials
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
"National Litigation Star," Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2020
"Local Litigation Star," Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2018
“Life Science Star,” LMG Life Sciences, 2012-2017
"Top Lawyer Hall of Fame," Washingtonian magazine, 2022
“Washington’s Top Lawyers,” in the category of Civil Defense, Washingtonian magazine, 2017-2018
"Washington’s Best Lawyers," Washingtonian magazine, 2004-2015
Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America ®, 2006-2021
“Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Lawyer of the Year,” The Best Lawyers in America ®, 2017
Other Government Service
Assistant to the Solicitor General, United States Department of Justice, 1975-1978