Kara Thorvaldsen Partner




Kara Thorvaldsen practices in the areas of appellate work, professional liability, intellectual property, class action defense, and insurance and reinsurance defense. She has a track record of success in defending professionals, including attorneys, real estate agents and brokers, and insurance agents and brokers. In many cases, Kara has been able to obtain summary judgment or voluntary dismissals for her clients.

Kara has defended trademark, copyright, and unfair competition claims in the federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including claims brought by a fortune 500 company against a small business, and an international trademark and copyright dispute. Kara achieved a dismissal of claims brought against an Internet security company that it had damaged a consumer’s home computer, defusing the threat of a consumer class action. Recently, Kara achieved a favorable resolution for an international client in which a number of plaintiff companies alleged that the client’s consumer review website was operated in a biased manner that favored certain businesses over theirs, resulting in reputational and financial harm to their businesses.

Kara has successfully handled appeals in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals and Supreme Judicial Court, and has argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kara serves as a senior editor on the CGL Reporter editorial board. Written by members of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section, the CGL Reporter is a monthly publication that provides annotations of the most critical insurance cases involving general liability and other business related policies.

Areas of Focus

Admiralty & Maritime
With a certificate in Admiralty and Maritime Law from Tulane Law School, Kara has a solid background in the complex procedural and substantive issues that arise in this highly specialized area of law. Kara has defended marine insurers in coverage disputes and litigated maritime personal injury claims, including actions brought under the federal Limitation of Liability Act.

Kara has successfully handled appeals in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals and Supreme Judicial Court, and in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second circuits. Kara has exceptional research, analytical and writing skills and is a highly effective oral advocate. Her ability to review a record to identify appealable issues and her familiarity with the specialized area of appellate practice and procedure make her an invaluable resource to parties considering the availability and advisability of pursuing an appeal.

Class Actions
Kara has experience defending class actions in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts, taking a proactive approach to defending these complex and potentially high-exposure cases. From targeted motions to dismiss, strategic early settlements, carefully staged discovery, and zealous advocacy against class certification to support of meritorious defenses, Kara is able to provide valuable insight and guidance as to strategic options for the defense of class actions, and successfully implement those strategies to further the client’s legal and business objectives.

Commercial Litigation
Kara regularly defends clients in disputes involving use and ownership of intellectual property, unfair competition, breach of contract, director and officer liability, and shareholder issues.

In the area of employment law, Kara serves private- and public-sector employers in all aspects of federal and state employment discrimination laws. She handles cases arising under state and federal fair employment practices statutes and has appeared before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and in state and federal court in defense of these claims.

Federal Litigation
Kara has significant experience defending federal statutory claims, including claims under the Lanham Act, Copyright Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act and RICO, whether brought as individual or class claims. Kara specializes in balancing aggressive defense of these claims with the objective of achieving efficient and cost-effective resolutions. Kara also has experience in defending constitutional and civil rights claims, including police misconduct and due process and equal protection claims in state and federal court.

Insurance Coverage
Kara regularly provides coverage opinions and represents first- and third-party insurers in coverage and bad faith actions. She also has experience in defending ERISA cases. Kara has successfully represented insurers on appeal in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second circuits.

Intellectual Property and Internet Law
Kara has had significant experience in defending cases involving allegations of trademark and copyright infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, theft of trade secrets and related state law claims. Kara also has experience in litigating before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in opposition and cancellation proceedings. In addition to advising clients regarding litigation, she is able to provide counsel regarding trademark and copyright registrations, licensing agreements and intellectual property audits.

Professional Liability
Kara has extensive experience defending professionals, including attorneys, real estate agents and brokers, and insurance agents and brokers. Working closely with her clients to understand their professional and personal objectives, Kara is able to assist them in resolving disputes while protecting their reputations and businesses with a minimum of disruption. Kara has achieved great success in favorably resolving professional liability claims via summary judgment motions, directed verdicts and jury trials.

Pro Bono
Kara has been the coordinator for Wilson Elser’s Boston office pro bono efforts since 2007. During that time, she has worked with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project, which provides representation to low-income survivors of domestic violence in family law matters, and with KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), which provides representation to undocumented juvenile immigrants. Attorneys from the Boston office have represented numerous KIND clients, assisting them in establishing legal status in the United States, safe from abuse, neglect and gang violence in their countries of origin.