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Mark Venardi

Mark Venardi Partner

Mark Venardi's Results

$7.125 Million

Settled for $7,125,000

Our client was an 80 year-old passenger in a tender vessel. The vessel rose quickly on a wave and fell quickly causing our client to suffer a spine fracture that required a two-level fusion surgery.

$4.9 Million

Licensing Agreement Termination

Arbitration Award: $4.9 Million | ABC Corp v. XYZ Corp. Defendants

ABC Corp v. XYZ Corp. Defendants, a publicly traded company, terminated a licensing agreement with our client and nearly forced our client into bankruptcy, which is why they could not afford to pay an attorney on an hourly basis. We were the third attorneys on the case. Defendants offered $900,000 on the first day of arbitration and asserted that, if we did not accept it, they were going to prove that our clients were crooks. We rejected the offer and obtained an arbitration award for $4,900,000.

$4.8 Million

Settled for $4,800,000

Our client was a hard-working father who lost his livelihood in an instant when he suffered a major injury and amputation to his leg. We uncovered evidence of the Defendant’s failure to follow basic safety rules. Along with our team of highly qualified experts, we thoroughly explained every aspect of how our client, his wife, and his kids’ lives were changed forever by this tragedy.

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“Every day I think about where I’m from and how it has felt in my own life to have people care, so I am committed to helping people from all walks of life receive justice for their injuries.”

Mark Venardi, the senior founding member of the Venardi Zurada Law firm, was born in 1962 in Seattle, Washington but was raised in Peoria, Illinois; a Midwest blue-collar town in a hardworking Italian family of 3 boys. After high school Mark followed his passion for service and the sea and enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, where he proudly served our country from 1980 to 1985.

Life at Sea

During his military career at sea, Mark was assigned an incredible variety of challenging tours. From working on a sea-going tug performing search and rescue and marine law enforcement to sailing the Eastern seaboard in boats ranging from 37 to 205 feet. His early years were spent sailing from the Grand Banks to the Windward Passage on the famed Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa, the Cutter that later performed the rescue in the movie “The Perfect Storm.” From the Tamaroa he then sailed the seas of Southeast Alaska aboard the Coast Guard cutter Planetree, a 180-buoy tender, a tour that also included a round trip voyage from Alaska to Hawaii. Mark’s final year in the Coast Guard was spent back in search and rescue at Group Seattle and it is from there that he received an honorable discharge in 1985 from the USCG as an E-5.

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Law School

After serving our country and a short stint on an oil platform, Mark decided to pursue a career in law. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991 and his JD from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1994. During law school, Mark was the Co-Chairperson of the Moot Court Competition Committee, a recipient of the Snodgrass Competition Outstanding Oral Argument Award, a member of the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Review, and served as a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Charles Legge, United States District Court Northern District of California. Mark was admitted to the California Bar in December 1994.


After graduating law school Mark worked as an associate at Cox Wootton, Griffin & Hansen before joining Haight, Gardner, Holland & Knight in 1998. Mark made partner at the end of his 6th year of practice at Holland & Knight LLP, a multinational law firm with over 1,000 attorneys. In his first years of practice, one of the managing partners regularly shared his short mantra, “Be somebody.” Those words stuck with Mark and while he loved his early years of practice, he found himself wanting to do more. In 2004 he struck out on his own, deciding to serve people instead of corporations. Even with the huge move to the other side, there was no hiccup in Mark’s rapid rise to the top, and he has been serving members of the community with compassion and dogged determination ever since.

Areas of Practice

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

Honors and Awards

  • Northern California Superlawyers, 2009-2024
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100, 2013-2023
  • Best Attorneys in California, 2012-2023
  • 2023 California Top 100 Verdicts
  • “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, 2001-2024
  • Top 10 Best of the Best Attorneys for Personal Injury, 2022
  • America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigator, Northern California, 2017, 2021
  • Lawyer of Distinction, Personal Injury Law, 2020
  • 10 Best Attorneys as Published By the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, 2019
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 25 Brain Injury Trial Lawyers, 2019
  • Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Lifetime Member since 2007
  • America’s Top 100 Attorneys Lifetime Achievement
  • Recipient, Outstanding Oral Argument Award, Snodgrass Competition, 1993
  • Top 100 JuryVerdicts All Practice Areas 2023
  • AV Rating 2021
  • AV Rating 2021


  • Mark is one of the select few graduates of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College, the most demanding and prestigious trial lawyer program in the country.

  • National Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization has recognized Mark as a Top 100 Trial Attorney from 2013-2024, in 2012 and 2013 his peers recognized him as one of the Best Attorneys in California as featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal. From 2009-2024 Super Lawyers magazine selected and recognized Mark with the prestigious Super Lawyers award for Northern California (only the top 5 percent of attorneys are selected).

  • From 2004-2024, his peers have awarded him with a Martindale Hubbell “AV” Preeminent Rating.

  • Throughout his career, Mark has also tried multiple cases to verdict and received multiple verdicts more than $1,000,000, entitling him to be a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization made up of less than 1 percent of US lawyers.

What Drives Him

When you ask Mark where he gets his drive from, he is quick to cite the example of his mother who was struck with illness at an early age and has lived her life without complaint. Her strength is one of the reasons he believes in being self-disciplined, dedicated, and above all positive. Mark is passionate about caring for people and does much of what he does to ensure that he will create a legacy of working for justice. Mark knows that the people who seek his counsel are living through the worst times of their lives, and it matters to him that those he helps have faith in him and know he can be trusted. Mark will take risks for you, he will fight for you, and he won’t give up until you are satisfied.

Mark is most proud of how he has helped clients in need, his friendships, the dedication he and his employees have to each other, and his family. Together, they enjoy anything waterborne including power boating, surfing, sailing, wake surfing, wakeboarding, fishing, and scuba diving. They also love camping, road biking, mountain biking, and his most competitive sport of all, Scrabble, which he regularly (and happily) loses to his wife, Shelley, who has lit his way for over 30 years.

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

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
  • 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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