Meet Our Attorneys
Evan K. Thalenberg
Founder and Attorney
Mr. Thalenberg was raised in New York and obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He subsequently graduated from the University of Baltimore Law School in 1986 while obtaining numerous awards including the American Jurisprudence Award for outstanding work in law school.
Mr. Thalenberg, and his firm, has obtained over $500,000,000.00 in verdicts and settlements for clients and is a Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has been widely recognized for his innumerable multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Mr. Thalenberg was awarded the Maryland Association for Justice Advocacy Award for outstanding trial work and has lectured on trial law techniques and efficacy to state and national groups including, but not limited to, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the Maryland Bar Association and others. Mr. Thalenberg has, on request, appeared as a guest expert on radio and television stations throughout the country for law and toxic tort related issues.
He is admitted to practice in Maryland, District of Columbia, U.S. District Court (Maryland) and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals as well as the Supreme Court of the United States.
Cara L. O'Brien
Ms. O’Brien has dedicated her legal practice for almost a decade to representing and advocating for children that have been poisoned by lead-based paint.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Ms. O’Brien attended Loyola University Maryland and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, summa cum laude, with a major in economics and minor in mathematics in 2004. She attended the University of Maryland School of Law and received a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, in 2007. After graduation, Ms. O’Brien served as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Stephen M. Waldron in the Circuit Court for Harford County.
Ms. O’Brien has successfully represented hundreds of individuals injured through the negligence of owners and operators of residential properties in Baltimore City and the surrounding areas. She has also represented clients at the appellate level.
Over the years, Ms. O’Brien has litigated numerous cases and obtained millions of dollars for her clients. With the team at Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A., she has successfully tried multiple cases to verdict on behalf of her clients. Ms. O’Brien was selected to the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, an honor bestowed upon only 2.5% of Maryland’s lawyers. She is also a member of the Maryland Association for Justice, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and the Baltimore City Bar Association. Ms. O’Brien has been invited to speak and has presented at national lead litigation conferences over the years.
Ms. O’Brien loves coming to work each day to achieve justice for her clients. Ms. O’Brien enjoys learning about her clients as well as staying up to date on the current legal and medical issues affecting her cases. Her compassionate yet aggressive approach to her cases allows her to obtain the best possible outcome for each client and build relationships with her clients that often continue after the case is resolved.
Ms. O’Brien is involved in several community groups and associations and was involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake as a mentor for over 7 years. Ms. O’Brien serves on the Board of Directors for Community Law in Action, a non-profit organization that develops young people to be leaders and participate in the process of positive community change. She also serves on the Peer Review Committee for the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland.
Ms. O’Brien resides in Baltimore City with her family and enjoys taking advantage of all of that the city has to offer. When she is not aggressively fighting on behalf of her clients, she enjoys running, yoga and spending time with her family and friends.
Ms. O’Brien is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
Jessica L. Phillips
Ms. Phillips has focused her legal practice over the years on complex civil litigation, representing plaintiffs in personal injury and toxic tort matters.
Born in Maryland, Ms. Phillips attended High Point University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in 2008. While at High Point University she was a member of the Alpha Delta Omega Honor Society, was on the Dean’s List and received the Shelton Family Scholarship. She attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and received a Juris Doctor degree in 2011.
Over the years, Ms. Phillips has litigated numerous cases and obtained millions of dollars for her clients. She has successfully tried three cases to verdict with the firm’s team, the total amount being in excess of $7,000,000.
Ms. Phillips was selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2016 and 2017. Only 2.5 percent of Maryland’s attorneys who are 40 years old or younger, or in practice 10 years or less, receive the Rising Star distinction. She is an Associate Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. She is also member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Ms. Phillips takes pride in being a member of the team at Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A. She is a fearless and compassionate advocate on behalf of her clients. Her practice is marked by her dedication, passion, tenacity, attention to detail, and steadfast focus on achieving the best outcome for her clients.
Ms. Phillips is licensed to practice law in Maryland, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and California.
Avalon S. Brandt
Ms. Brandt has focused the last 16 years of her legal practice years on complex civil litigation, representing plaintiffs in brain injury cases resulting from childhood lead poisoning. In 2002 she was co-counsel in a lead poisoning case in which the Plaintiff was awarded $4,100,000. In 2003, she was co-counsel in a lead poisoning case in which the Plaintiff was awarded $2,700,000. Ms. Brandt has also represented clients in family law and criminal defense cases.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Ms. Brandt attended The University of Maryland and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1988. She attended the University of Maryland School of Law and received a Juris Doctor degree in 1994.
Over the years, Ms. Brandt has litigated hundreds of cases and obtained millions of dollars for her clients. She is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. She is dedicated to getting the best result for her clients and is known for her sincerity, tenacity, and dedication to her clients. Her practice is marked not only by her professional expertise, but also her unfettered desire to help make life better for her clients.
Ms. Brandt is involved in several community groups and associations. Since 2008 she has been on the Board of Directors for L.I.F.E. Incorporated (“Living In a Free Environment”), a non-profit organization which provides housing, employment and social activities for adults who have disabilities.
Ms. Brandt lives in Baltimore and is an avid sports fan who loves football and basketball.
Ms. Brandt is licensed to practice law in Maryland and has been admitted Pro Hac Vice in Illinois and South Carolina.
Matthew B. Thompson
Mr. Thompson began his litigation career in the real estate and bankruptcy fields before shifting to complex civil litigation, where he now represents plaintiffs in catastrophic injury matters that include victims of lead paint poisoning.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland and a Loyola Blakefield graduate, Mr. Thompson attended the University of Virginia where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011. Mr. Thompson received his Juris Doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2014.
Mr. Thompson has worked to develop strong relationships across the Baltimore community throughout his personal life and professional career with a focus on advocating on the behalf of others. He is deeply invested in the success of the City of Baltimore and its citizens. Through his work at the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A., Mr. Thompson is able to give a voice to the injured and is passionate about obtaining the best outcome for his clients.
In addition to his work advocating on the behalf of injured plaintiffs, Mr. Thompson is certified in mediation.
Mr. Thompson is an avid golfer, enjoys live music, and resides with his wife in North Baltimore.
Mr. Thompson is licensed to practice law in Maryland.
Robbie J. Leonard
Mr. Leonard has spent over a decade fighting for justice in Baltimore City courtrooms. First, as an Assistant Public Defender, where Mr. Leonard tried well over one hundred cases. Then, in civil litigation where he has represented children who have been poisoned by lead-based paint.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Leonard graduated from Towson University in 2003 with a degree in Political Science. He attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and received a Juris Doctor degree in 2007. During law school, Mr. Leonard got a head start on trial practice as a Rule 16 Student Attorney with the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore City.
Mr. Leonard was promoted to Assistant Public Defender upon graduation from law school. He was known as a fearless trial lawyer who zealously advocated for his clients in district, circuit and juvenile courts. Mr. Leonard also worked on the Public Defender’s government relations team to explain to the Maryland Legislature how proposed laws can impact all of us.
Since 2012, Mr. Leonard has successfully transitioned to civil litigation where he has won several million-dollar verdicts on behalf of lead-poisoned children in Baltimore. His courtroom success has motivated insurance companies to settle dozens of cases without the need to go to trial. Mr. Leonard was selected to the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, an honor bestowed upon only 2.5% of Maryland’s lawyers. He is also a member of the Maryland Association for Justice, American Association for Justice, and the Baltimore County Bar Association. Mr. Leonard also serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Legal Studies department at the Community College of Baltimore County.
Mr. Leonard is an active member of his community. He serves on the Baltimore County Board of Parks and Recreation to make sure that our kids enjoy the same opportunities that he had growing up. Mr. Leonard has also served as Chair of the Baltimore County Democratic Party, was an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and was a member of the Electoral College.
Mr. Leonard is licensed to practice law in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. He is also licensed in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
E. Cody Sametshaw
Mr. Sametshaw began his litigation career in the medical malpractice field, where he worked on complex and long-term medical issues affecting injured plaintiffs, before changing his focus to helping individuals injured by lead paint as children. Mr. Sametshaw is committed to ensuring that his clients are made as whole as possible following injuries caused by the negligence, thoughtlessness, and carelessness of others.
Raised in Cooper City, Florida, Mr. Sametshaw attended the University of Florida, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science. Mr. Sametshaw went on to attend the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 2014. In 2017, Mr. Sametshaw was appointed to the Maryland State Bar Association’s Publications Committee.
Mr. Sametshaw’s legal work on behalf of injured plaintiffs stems from his passionate belief that everyone deserves every opportunity to reach their full potential. Outside of his work of those injured by negligence, Mr. Sametshaw volunteers with projects addressing the challenges faced by homeless veterans of the U.S. military; urban agriculture; and environmental quality and public health.
Mr. Sametshaw enjoys running in Maryland’s state parks and Baltimore City, and cooking at home with his wife and daughter.
Mr. Sametshaw is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.