Joseph J. DeSanctis Partner

T: 202.601.1588


Joseph J. DeSanctis is a litigation attorney with over 25 years’ experience advising on a wide array of corporate litigation matters, ranging from complex litigation to crisis management and class action settlements.  He has high-level experience as a partner with a top global litigation law firm, as in-house counsel for a Fortune 1000 company, and as senior counsel in Executive Branch departments and on U.S. Senate staff.  Mr. DeSanctis has expertise in providing advice on crisis communications, risk management, and defense litigation strategy in the context of high-stakes litigation, and a reputation for being a trusted advisor, combining finely-tuned judgment with solutions-oriented, high-quality legal advice. 

Most recently, Mr. DeSanctis was a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he served as counsel in a broad range of litigation matters, including long-term representation related to a major oil spill defense, in which he successfully limited liability advising on crisis management, risk mitigation, and crisis communications.  While at Kirkland he also served as national client counsel in major asbestos litigation, providing oversight of an asbestos defense docket consisting of hundreds of state court cases.  He also has served as lead counsel in several market conduct insurance class action matters.

Prior to Mr. DeSanctis’ time at Kirkland, he was chief deputy General Counsel at the Knights of Columbus, whose Fortune 1000 insurance operation is one of the largest in the nation. He advised the CEO and other officers, the board of directors, and company managers regarding the full range of the company’s litigation and related public relations and media matters.  Prior to joining the Knights, Mr. DeSanctis served as senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, providing legislative counsel regarding constitutional issues, crime, immigration, the courts, and administrative law.  Among his achievements in this role, he led the successful effort to secure key funding for computerized law enforcement technology and provided substantive legal analysis and counsel regarding judicial appointments and sensitive, related matters.

Before joining the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. DeSanctis served as an attorney with U.S. Department of Justice, in both the Civil Rights Division and the Office of Legislative Affairs.  While at the Department of Justice, Mr. DeSanctis was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Service.

901 15th Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005  |  Phone: 202.737.7777
Photo of Joseph J. DeSanctis

Practice areas


  • Washington, D.C.


J.D. - Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, OH

M.A. - American History, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

B.A. - English and History, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA