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Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen

Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen has more than twenty-six years of civil litigation experience throughout the State of Maryland in both state and federal courts. She primarily defends nurses, doctors, veterinarians, dentists, healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, mental healthcare workers, urgent care facilities and nursing homes in medical malpractice matters; professional liability and tort claims; disciplinary actions before various regulatory boards and hospitality enterprises in premises liability matters.

What motivated you to shift your career from healthcare to law?

It was almost accidental. While teaching nursing at the college level, the school dean encouraged all professors to pursue a doctorate degree. After considering a variety of PhD and Doctorate of Nursing programs, – I realized that the curriculums did not interest me at all. My response to this dean was “I love what I do and understand your emphasis, but I am not passionate about studying healthcare further.” She suggested I consider attending law school or earning a doctorate in health policy. After investigating both, I decided to enter law school with absolutely no intention of practicing law. However, I learned to love the discipline so much, it eventually became my new career. That was 30 years ago.

How does your healthcare background assist you now?

I practiced as a bedside nurse and then taught nursing for more than 12 years. I think my background clearly offers an advantage particularly because, when defending doctors, I am required to visit hospitals and read medical records constantly. I was immediately able to decipher the abbreviations and the medicine more quickly than other young associates early in my career. For many of the providers that I represent, it gives me important credibility because they know I’ve been there and I understand what they are going through. I am viewed as a peer.

Describe the best part of your day.

Clearly working with clients. I have the benefit of working with facilities and providers that I really care about their well-being and their practices. I love meeting with them and learning their goals so we can achieve these through litigation. I also enjoy educating my clients about the legal process, which is extremely important. Doctors, many times, have a particularly difficult time accepting that you just cannot wave a magic wand and make litigation go away. You need to teach them to remain patient.

What makes a great attorney?

Someone that can examine a legal problem and find solutions to the problem that are cost-effective. This means not simply performing needless tasks that do not help advance a solution. Compromise is also important. A good attorney compromises with the other side without damaging their client’s position.

How does the environment at PK Law help you?

This is the third law firm where I have worked and it is by far the largest. PK Law offers many resources including information technology, human relations and marketing departments which have all helped me grow my practice and service my clients.

Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is the ninth largest law firm in the Baltimore area and has been serving clients for thirty years. PK Law maintains full-service offices in Towson, Columbia, and Bel Air and is comprised of more than 50 lawyers, paralegals and law clerks. Practice areas include corporate law, real estate, zoning, education law, estate planning, elder law, labor and employment, litigation, insurance law and medical malpractice defense. For additional information, visit Contact Joan Cerniglia-Lowensen at or 410.339.6753