Firm Story

Our Story

Steve Berman co-founded Hagens Berman in 1993 after his prior firm refused to represent several young children who consumed fast food contaminated with E. coli. In that case, Steve and the firm proved that the deadly food poisoning was the result of Jack in the Box’s cost-cutting measures along with gross negligence. He was further inspired to build a firm that fought for the rights of those most vulnerable to corporate wrongdoing. Berman’s innovative approach, tenacious conviction and impeccable track record have earned him a distinguished reputation and numerous historic legal victories that have transformed the landscape of plaintiffs’ rights. He is considered one of the nation’s most successful class-action attorneys.

Hagens Berman began as a small but determined group of nine attorneys, occupying a marginal space in downtown Seattle. The firm quickly rose to prominence thanks to its all-or-nothing attitude; when faced with a sweeping case of corporate fraud or negligence, Hagens Berman’s legal team has always stepped into the ring. Our belief that corporations should be held to the law has always been our North star.

Hagens Berman was one of only two private law firms in the United States to help bring medical cost recovery actions against the well-funded tobacco industry with state attorneys general government tobacco law enforcement. Steve Berman served as special assistant attorney general for the states of Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington and in prosecuting major actions against Big Tobacco. In November 1998, the initial proposed settlement led to a multi-state settlement requiring the tobacco companies to pay the states $206 billion, and to submit to broad advertising and marketing restrictions – the largest civil settlement in history.

Decades later, the firm has grown, and so has our fighting spirit. Hagens Berman continues to take on cases that impact the public and effect change. Our internal drive to make the world a better place has earned us years of success – something we can share with the millions of plaintiffs we’ve represented. Bloomberg called the firm "one of the preeminent class action firms in the U.S." and its managing partner has been coined "a heavy hitter," for bringing big cases.

Hagens Berman focuses on litigation that has the biggest impact both in obtaining recovery for plaintiffs and informing the future. In 2004, the firm culminated a class action filed on behalf of Hungarian holocaust survivors who had thousands of family heirlooms and personal property stolen or mishandled in the aftermath of World War II.

The firm also broke ground in the fight for the rights of student-athletes. Steve served as lead counsel in a class action seeking to protect NCAA athletes in all sports against concussions and head injuries, and was also lead counsel and trial counsel in a case challenging the NCAA’s collusion in refusing to allow college-athletes to receive scholarships amounting to the full cost of attending school. Both of these cases settled to reshape the landscape of college sports.

Hagens Berman takes on first-of-their-kind lawsuits because we believe in fighting to make a difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable.