Sara J. Gourley

Gourley, Sara J.


Chicago +1 312 853 7694

One South Dearborn
Chicago, Illinois 60603
+1 312 853 7694

Admissions & Certifications

Sara J. Gourley


SARA GOURLEY is a litigation partner in the Chicago office and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Sara has substantial experience in pharmaceutical, medical device, and blood products liability litigation. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of pharmaceutical and medical device defense, especially multi-jurisdictional coordination and defense of class actions. Sara is currently lead counsel for Takeda Pharmaceuticals in the on-going MDL and related state court litigation regarding ACTOS including serving as trial counsel in the first related case to go to trial in state court. She has served in leading defense roles for clients in many of the pharmaceutical industry’s most significant litigation. She is also national counsel for a producer of blood products in AIDS and Hepatitis C litigation.

Sara is consistently recognized for her products liability work by the industry’s leading ranking publications including Chambers USA, LMG Life Sciences, Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation, The International Who’s Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, and The Best Lawyers in America among others. Sara was named a thought leader in the inaugural Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders 2017 guide. This edition brings together the top 10 best performing lawyers from each of its 35 practice area editions. Sara was also named “Product Liability Lawyer of the Year” at the 2016 Who’s Who Legal Awards. She was also named for product liability in the 2016 Who’s Who Legal: Life Sciences edition which recognized her as a “seasoned specialist in pharmaceutical and medical device liability claims and class actions.” Chambers USA has quoted industry insiders who have lauded Sara as a “strategic thinker” and “extremely knowledgeable.” In 2015, Chambers USA recognized Sara in its Tier One category for her work in Product Liability, and she is listed on the “Spotlight Table” for the Product Liability: Pharmaceutical category. The Legal 500 US 2015 recommended her as a leading lawyer in Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Consumer Products. Sara was named to The National Law Journal’s 2015 list of “Outstanding Women Lawyers,” joining 75 of the “most accomplished female attorneys” who represent “excellence in private practice, corporate counsel work, public interest representation, legal education and the judiciary.” Benchmark Litigation also recognizes Sara as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation.

Sara speaks frequently on topics relating to the defense of product liability claims. Recent presentations include: “Approaches to Causation in Mass Torts,” “Transnational Product Liability Problems” and “The Role of Litigation in Regulating Drug Safety.” Sara also presented a paper to the Shanghai FDA on “Adverse Drug Reactions: A Discussion of United States and International Compensation Schemes,” published a 2012 update on U.S. product liability law and a chapter on “Emerging Issues for Products Manufactured Overseas” which was published in the fall of 2009.

Sara is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), Defense Research Institute, and a Member of DRI’s Drug and Medical Device Steering Committee.

Sara received her J.D. (Law Review) from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1980 and her A.B. (cum laude, with honors in English) from Ripon College in 1977. Admissions include: Illinois; various U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. District Courts.

Memberships & Activities
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Member of DRI’s Drug and Medical Device Steering Committee
News & Achievements