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Member Directory

Mark L. Venardi

Venardi Zurada LLP
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Mark L. Venardi
Venardi Zurada LLP
Walnut Creek,

Mark Venardi was born in 1962 in Seattle, Washington. He was raised in Peoria, IL, a Midwest blue collar town. He enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and proudly served from 1980 through 1985. He spent the first two years on a sea going tug performing search and rescue and marine law enforcement from the Grand Banks to the Windward Passage aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa, which was the Coast Guard vessel that performed the rescue in "The Perfect Storm." During this time period Mark sailed the Eastern seaboard in boats from 37 feet to 205 feet. He then served two years in Southeast Alaska aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Planetree, a 180 foot tender, which generally patrolled Southeast Alaska, but also included a voyage from Alaska to Hawaii and back. Mark spent his last year at Group Seattle performing search and rescue. Upon receiving an honorable discharge as an E-5 from the United States Coast Guard, Mark worked for approximately one year on the Chevron offshore oil platform Hermosa, off Point Conception, California.

It took Mark a bit to settle down in life for reasons that we will not elaborate on here, but it has been full steam ahead from the day Mark decided to become an attorney. Mark earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991 and his J.D. in 1994 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. During law school, Mark was the Co-Chairperson of the Moot Court Competition Committee, a recipient of the Outstanding Oral Argument Award, Snodgrass Competition, and a member of the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Review. He also served as a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Charles Legge, United States District Court Northern District of California. Mark graduated from law school in 1994, and was admitted to the California Bar in December 1994.

After graduating from law school Mark became an associate at Cox Wootton, Griffin & Hansen for four years before he joined Haight, Gardner Holland & Knight in 1998. Mark made Partner at the end of his 6th year of practice at Holland & Knight LLP, multinational law firm with over 1,000 attorneys. Since 2004 Mark has represented people instead of large corporations. Mark continued his rapid rise to the top after switching sides to represent deserving members of the community. Mark is one of a select few graduates of Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyers College which is the most demanding and prestigious trial lawyer training program in the country. In 2013, his peers recognized him as a Top 100 Trial Attorney as selected by the National Trial Lawyers, which is an invitation only organization, his peers recognized him as one of the Best Attorneys' in the Bay Area in 2012 and 2013 as featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal, Superlawyers magazine selected Mark and recognized him with the prestigious Superlawyers award for Northern California in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (only top 5 percent of attorneys are selected), his peers have awarded him with a Martindale Hubbell "AV" Preeminent Rating since 2004, and he has tried multiple cases to verdict and received multiple verdicts in excess of $1,000,000, which entitles him to be a member of Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization that is made up of less than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers.

Mark has been a noted speaker on a number of legal topics, including continuing legal education seminars.

Mark's other activities include having fun with and sharing adventures with his family including: boating, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, camping, road biking, mountain biking, surfing, sailing, fishing and scuba diving.

Areas of Practice

Auto Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Boating Accidents
Trucking Accidents
Personal Injury
Wrongful Death
Maritime Personal Injury
Employment Law
Whistleblower Protection Cases
Wage and Hour
Severance Agreements
Employment Agreements
Executive Compensation
Insurance Bad Faith
Select Commercial and Intellectual Property Disputes on Contingency Fee

Bar Admissions

California, 1994
All State Courts within California
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
U.S. District Court Northern District of California
U.S. District Court Central District of California
U.S. District Court Southern District of California
Mark has also litigated cases "pro hac vice" or as a guest attorney in New Hampshire, Arizona, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyers College, studied trial skills over a 5 year period and graduated from the Trial Lawyers College in August, 2013
Pepperdine University, Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, became a certified mediator upon completion of required coursework in 2012
University of San Francisco, patent law class. Earned an A in class.
University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
J.D. - 1994
Honors: Snodgrass Award for Best Oral Argument
Honors: Chairman, Moot Court Competition Committee
Law Review: University of San Francisco Maritime Law Review, Member, 1994
University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California
B.A. - 1991
Major: Political Science

Published Works

Author, "To Arbitrate or Not", Silicon Valley Business Weekly, 2001


Speaker, "A Primer on Maritime Law", Young Barristers' Division Admiralty Committee, 1995
"Investigating Personal Injury Claims", California Association of Private Investigators, 1996
"California Lawyer Roundtable Discussion on Employment Law", 2002
"Employment Related Records in California", Lorman Education Services, 2003
"Employment Related Records in California", Lorman Education Services, 2004

Honors and Awards

Top 100 Trial Attorneys, The National Trial Lawyers, 2014
Northern California Superlawyers, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
Best Attorneys in Bay Area 2012 and 2013
"AV" rating from Martindale-Hubbell
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Lifetime Member
Recipient, Outstanding Oral Argument Award, Snodgrass Competition, 1993

Professional Associations and Memberships

Consumer Attorneys of California
American Association of Justice
San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
National Employment Lawyers Association
California Employment Lawyers Association
Contra Costa County Bar Association, Board Member Employment Law Section 2011, 2012, 2013
Young Barristers' Division Admiralty Committee, Chairman, 1996
American Bar Associations, Member
State Bar of California, Member

Past Employment Positions

Cox Wootton, Griffin & Hansen LLP, Associate 1994-1998
Haight, Gardner Holland & Knight LLP, Associate 1998-2000
Holland & Knight LLP, Partner 2001-2004
United States Coast Guard, 1980-1985

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