In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.
|THE INTERNATIONAL WHO’S WHO OF PRODUCT LIABILITY DEFENCE LAWYERS 2011|
|Most highly regarded individuals|
|Sheila Birnbaum||Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom LLP, New York |
|Christy Jones||Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens & Cannada PLLC, Ridgeland, Mississippi |
|Harvey Kaplan||Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP, Kansas City |
|David Dukes||Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Columbia, South Carolina |
|Diane Sullivan||Dechert LLP, Princeton |
|Bruce Parker||Venable LLP, Baltimore |
|James Campbell||Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy PC, Boston |
|Gordon McKee||Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, Toronto |
|Stuart Clark||Clayton Utz, Sydney |
|Ian Dodds-Smith||Arnold & Porter LLP, London |
Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP leads our international research once again, with more nominees than any other firm. A total of 15 practitioners are selected in this edition from five offices in the US and England. Harvey Kaplan is a “dean of the bar”, his pharmaceutical-related expertise is “second to none” as he has won defence verdicts in cases involving personal injuries alleged to have been caused by drugs and devices such as the Cu-7 IUD, the Dalkon Shield IUD and the FenPhen diet drug combination. The firm’s Kansas City office is outstanding, with seven further partners featured, including Marie Woodbury (feted for her “first-class strategic thinking”), the highly rated William Sampson and the “brilliant” Gary Long, chair of the firm’s global product liability group. Victor Schwartz in DC is “universally respected”, and the firm earns two further listings in California. Michelle Fujimoto is “a pleasure to work with”, and described as “very talented and really understands a client’s issues.” Frank Rothrock is recognised for his experience across a range of fields. The Miami office fields two extremely well respected local leaders, and the firm’s expertise extends to England where Simon Castley “has probably got my clients out of more problems than anyone I know” and Mark Tyler is recognised for his product liability and health and safety work.
Hogan Lovells increases its presence to nine lawyers across six countries. The firm is particularly strong in London, where John Meltzer heads the firm’s international product liability network and is recognised for the quality of his product safety advice and his liability defence work. Rod Freeman is in demand from clients across a range of industries and has experience of cases relating to pharmaceuticals, asbestos, tobacco, cosmetics, automotive equipment and electronic products. The firm also performs well on the continent, where Ina Brock leads the German product liability practice and also co-heads its international life sciences practice group. She is “one of Europe’s leading experts” in the eyes of our sources. Thomas Rouhette in Paris is recommended for his disputes practice, while Francesca Rolla gives the firm a presence in the upper reaches of the Italian research. Further afield, Allan Leung in Hong Kong is head of the dispute resolution practice in Asia and is well-known for his products work, while James Hourihan is of counsel to the Washington DC office and is “hugely experienced”.
Reed Smith LLP also increases its presence in this edition with seven nominees overall. The firm is particularly strong in California, where Michael Brown co-chairs the multi-disciplinary life sciences health industry group and has a “stellar reputation”. James Wood is renowned for his expertise relating to product recalls, while Steven Kohn is a “first-class litigator”. In London, Paul Llewellyn heads the UK product liability group and is recommended for his dispute resolution and regulatory work.
Kaye Scholer LLP sees six of its partners selected for inclusion this year. Four are based in New York, with Jay Mayesh described as a “formidable trial lawyer” who has represented clients such Baxter Healthcare, Pfizer and DaimlerChrysler. Steven Glickstein is chair of the product liability and counselling department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on life sciences-related matters. In Los Angeles, Pamela Yates is well-respected for her “tenacious and effective” defence of mass tort claims, and in DC William Hoffman is “extremely good”.
Gordon & Rees LLP performs particularly well in this year’s research, with six partners nominated. Jack McCowan and Stuart Gordon have been recognised by our publication in previous editions as leading experts in California, and the firm’s profile is much enhanced by the addition of four further nominees who joined the firm in Texas in March 2011. Kenneth Ferguson is managing partner of the new Austin office and “a real star”, and Laura De Santos is “extremely well-regarded”.
Five nominees are included from Sidley Austin LLP, with the Chicago office particularly strong. Sara Gourley is “one of the best in the world” for pharmaceutical, medical device, and blood products liability litigation, while Michael Davis was praised for his “impeccable judgment”. The firm can also boast one of the top lawyers in California in Debra Pole, practice group leader for the products liability and mass torts practice in Los Angeles.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP gains five inclusions this year. David Dukes is one of the most highly regarded individuals in our research worldwide, and “the most talented lawyer I’ve ever worked with” in the words of one source. Stephen Morrison also stands out for his courtroom expertise, and has tried more than 240 cases to jury verdict, and argued more than 60 appeals, including an argument before the US Supreme Court. Richard North from the Atlanta office is one of the leading specialists in Georgia.
Williams & Connolly LLP is one of the leading firms in DC with five nominees selected. Heidi Hubbard is rated highly across the full range of product liability work, while Joseph Petrosinelli is a “fantastic litigator” who has represented manufacturers of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, equipment, and other products in cases across the US and worldwide.
Sheila Birnbaum is co-head of the mass torts and insurance litigation group at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, and the most highly nominated individual in this year’s research worldwide. “She has a major reputation”, built on her work for clients such as State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Dow Corning Corporation and Aventis Crop Science. Described as “second to none in terms of strategy”, she is universally commended as a “delight to work with”. Her fellow practice group co-head John Beisner is very well-regarded in DC, and has defended major US and international corporations in more than 600 purported class actions.
Christy Jones of Butler Snow O’Mara Stevens & Cannada PLLC is “the first name clients look to instruct”, and has represented clients including Merck & Co and Baxter Healthcare Corporation. She is one of the leading experts in the research overall, and “it is difficult to think of anyone better in the US, or worldwide for that matter.” Alongside her, Lee Davis Thames is widely recommended and has tried more than 200 trials to verdict.
Diane Sullivan of Dechert LLP’s Princeton office is “right up there in terms of quality”, and appears in our listing of the leading practitioners in the world. In recent years she has secured defence verdicts for clients such as Philip Morris USA and AstraZeneca, and in 2005 she served as lead trial lawyer and earned the first victory for Merck & Co in the legal battle over Vioxx.
Bruce Parker is one of three nominees to feature from Venable LLP and another to feature in our list of the practice area’s finest practitioners. Described as “absolutely top-notch”, he is recognised for his pharmaceutical and medical device product liability litigation and has represented clients such as LabCorp, Goodyear and Johnson & Johnson. Clients also declared themselves to be “big fans” of Paul Strain, who has successfully argued cases in the US Supreme Court, Federal Circuits and state high courts.
Lawyers from Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy PC appear four times in this year’s edition, with James Campbell picked out for his “phenomenal track record” that includes trying over 75 cases to verdict. Richard Campbell is deemed “outstanding” by our sources, and is nationally recognised as lead trial counsel for one of the commercial airlines in the litigation pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York arising out of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
The contingent from Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP swells to four in this edition, all from the Denver office. Malcolm Wheeler is “one of the real stars in this sector”, and John Trigg is “absolutely top-notch”.
Chilton Davis Varner at King & Spalding LLP is a “wonderful lawyer”, and garnered praise from fellow practitioners and clients alike: “she really did an excellent job for us”. Three further colleagues appear, including the highly rated Donald Zimmer.
Clayton Utz is one of the world’s leading firms with five nominees in our research, including Stuart Clark, the most highly nominated lawyer in Australia. The owner of an “absolutely stellar reputation”, respondents are “happy to recommend him without hesitation” Colin Loveday is “very well respected” for class action defence, and Jocelyn Kellam was repeatedly commended to researchers.
Ian Dodds-Smith leads a quartet of Arnold & Porter lawyers in this year’s book. Head of the firm’s European product liability practice group, he has represented clients such as Bayer, Du Pont, Schering and Wyeth and is “one of Europe’s premier product liability specialists.”
Gordon McKee of Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP is once again the most highly regarded lawyer in our Canadian research, and is selected alongside three colleagues from the firm. He is “absolutely top of the list” for clients, and “universally respected” by fellow professionals.