Moira Kim Penza
Moira Penza is a Partner at Wilkinson Stekloff. She is first and foremost a trial lawyer with a record of success leading and winning high-stakes civil and criminal cases.
Moira recently served as trial counsel for Altria Group, Inc. in an administrative proceeding before the FTC related to its minority investment in JUUL, where she led the preparation and examination of Altria’s science witnesses. Moira is also representing Altria in consumer protection, personal injury, private antitrust suits arising out of the same investment. Previously, Moira served as co-lead trial counsel for defendants Warner Chilcott and Watson (then-owned by Allergan) in an $8 billon federal antitrust class action arising out of allegations of anticompetitive conduct related to an oral contraceptive, which settled days before Moira was set to deliver the opening statement for less than 5% of the claimed damages.
Before joining the firm, Moira served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she led numerous criminal investigations and prosecutions involving both white collar and violent crime. Notably, Moira’s groundbreaking prosecution and trial conviction of Keith Raniere—the leader of a purported self-help group NXIVM—generated worldwide media attention and has been credited with paving the way for other sex trafficking prosecutions against powerful individuals.
Moira has been widely recognized for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Law360 in the prestigious “Trials” category, honored by Bloomberg Law in the inaugural edition of its “They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40” list, and named to Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 list, the profile of which described her as, “a canny legal strategist” who can “go for the jugular when necessary.” Clients and colleagues have praised Moira for her “ingenuity, creativity and doggedness.” Moira is also regularly called upon by media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, BBC, PBS, NPR, and Reuters for her legal analysis.
Moira began her career at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where she handled product liability, mass tort, securities, and other complex litigation matters and helped secure favorable results, including trial victories, for a broad range of clients across industries.
- Trial counsel for Altria Group, Inc. in an administrative trial related to the FTC’s challenge of Altria’s $12.8 billion minority investment in JUUL Labs. Obtained a full dismissal of claims against Altria by the FTC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge. Also currently representing Altria in antitrust and consumer protection claims pending in the Northern District of California related to the JUUL Labs investment, including in upcoming bellwether trials.
- First chair for the government in United States v. Raniere, a six-week federal criminal trial involving charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. After less than four hours of deliberations, the jury returned a conviction on all counts.
- Trial counsel for Kynetic and Michael Rubin in an action by the founders of the flash sale site, Rue La La, alleging that the company and its CEO conspired with eBay to deprive them of the value of their company, resulting in a complete defense verdict.
- Represented Philip Morris USA in a consumer class action involving Light cigarettes and multi-billion-dollar damage claims, including developing a comprehensive strategy for jury selection. After the first trial resulted in a hung jury, prepared witnesses and helped develop strategy for the successful retrial.
- Represented Pfizer in multi-district litigation regarding the hormone therapy medication Prempro, including identifying and preparing medical experts, resulting in multiple complete defense verdicts after trial.
- Represented the NFL in concussion-related litigation and its landmark class action settlement.
Moira served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 2015 to 2019. In that capacity, she prosecuted complex criminal cases involving racketeering, financial fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, public corruption, sex trafficking, violent crimes, and narcotics offenses. Moira also served as Human Trafficking Coordinator for her office and handled several successful appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Throughout her career, Moira has demonstrated a commitment to public service, including maintaining a robust pro bono practice while in private practice. Moira’s pro bono work included serving as trial counsel for restaurant workers who had been sexually harassed by their former employer. Following a federal bench trial, the court awarded compensatory and punitive damages.