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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Colin Loveday

Colin Loveday

Clayton UtzLevel 151 Bligh StreetSydneyAustralia2000

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Colin Loveday is cited as “a brilliant, thoughtful, calming presence” in disputes. “One of the best of the best”, he is “on everyone’s shortlist around the world”, say peers.

Questions & Answers

Colin Loveday is one of the leaders of the Clayton Utz class actions team and head of the national product liability group. Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia’s product liability laws and the majority of products class actions. His defence work includes a variety of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, complex consumer products and financial services claims. Colin has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US, Canada and Europe developing international defence strategies.

What inspired you to focus your practice on product liability defence matters?

I was initially inspired by the clever people in product design, particularly in the life sciences sector. I recall speaking to these people and thinking to myself, “How incredibly clever of you to think of that.” They possess skills above and beyond mine. Over time, I observed the advances being made, particularly those driven by technology, and became fascinated not only in those advances but also the challenging interface with international regulatory regimes and the impacts of the rate of change driven by technology. The risk assessment calculus in product design and the interplay with legal liability is something that has always fascinated me in all product liability defence matters.

How have the nature of class action proceedings evolved in Australia since you first began practising?

There was a time when class actions were conducted and defended by a relatively small number of practitioners who appeared regularly before a relatively small number of judges. Certain efficiencies were achieved as a result. The past 15 years has seen the introduction of a large number of litigation funders and a resultant increase in the number of legal practitioners both prosecuting and defending class actions. This has led to some unfortunate outcomes.

The other major change is the commencement of what I regard as opportunistic claims – claims commenced after regulatory action. They rarely achieve much in the way of a “return” to group members and are inconsistent with my notion of the objectives of class actions.

What do you enjoy most about working in the life sciences sector?

All of our life science clients are focused on positive patient outcomes and safety. Safety and product efficacy is at the heart of everything they do and every decision they make. It is inspiring. The life sciences sector also attracts really clever and committed people. It is always a delight to work with such people.

What are the main challenges currently facing product liability defence lawyers in Australia and how do you ensure your team is well prepared to tackle them?

Risk assessment is at the heart of product liability defence. However, risk is a concept that appears to be poorly understood. We regularly have to defend claims where a claimant will say words to the effect that they were warned of the risk but never told that the risk would fall in for them. Thus, the proper explanation of risk, incidence and relative risk, and how these concepts are to be interpreted when considering legal liability, are skills that our team is continuing to refine.

Where, in your opinion, does the future of product liability defence in Australia lie?

In Australia we have developed a culture of “blame and claim”. The capacity for consumers to disown responsibilities and blame others constantly amazes me. There is also an expectation of perfection in terms of product design and performance. This is understandable but unobtainable in those business sectors where some form of risk associated with products is inevitable, whether it be safety or financial risk. Defending clients in such sectors is the future of product liability defence.

You have been practising with Clayton Utz for almost 30 years – what is it about the firm culture that you most enjoy? 

I am privileged to work in a group that attracts some very talented people. It is easy to encourage such talent and a delight to foster. The resultant synergies creates an environment that still makes me skip to work – at least, most of the time.

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Find something that you enjoy doing; enjoy the intellectual challenge; and engage with your clients to better understand their objectives.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

It is not exactly an achievement but over the years I am extremely grateful for the international network of lawyers I have worked with come to call both colleagues and friends. Managing international litigation for clients with the help of colleagues who you trust and admire is a very good reason to skip to work.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Colin Loveday is a consummate expert in handling large-scale class action proceedings for clients across a range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, utilities and medical devices.

Questions & Answers

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims. His defence work includes a variety of regulated products and services, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in North America and Europe, developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

What did you find most challenging about entering practice as a litigator?

The focus of my early formal education encouraged telling the examiner everything I knew about a topic. It took me quite some time to acquire the skill of getting across volume and detail, but then distilling my thoughts to identify what really matters. Most litigation involves a mountain of detail – but what really matters can often be reduced to two or three sentences and a handful of documents.

How do you seek to coordinate multinational claims and develop international defence strategies?

Ensuring that everyone in the team has a keen appreciation of the timing and drivers in other jurisdictions, and then the right platform to communicate same. Constant communication is key, because the pace of litigation and procedural steps differ markedly around the world.

What concerns and opportunities do clients in the manufacturing and pharmaceuticals industries currently face?

The concerns are managing consumer/customer expectations where there is a poor understanding of the important difference between relative safety versus absolute safety. Too many times I have heard claimants say that they knew there was a risk (of an adverse outcome), but they did not appreciate the risk would fall in for them. We live in a world where absolute safety or a risk-free return is expected, but is rarely achievable. The opportunities exist for those who have a keen understanding of risk in all its many facets – including taking risks by embracing technology and consciously taking steps to evolve.

How has the approach of regulators to corporate investigations evolved in recent years?

The approach of regulators has become more international, both in terms of coordination and communication – no doubt as a consequence of the ever-increasing global economy. Further, increasing expectations of regulators by governments has also led to increased scrutiny and demands upon corporations.

What impact do you see third-party litigation funders having on class action proceedings in the future?

Third-party litigation funding is a major driver in class action activity in Australia. With over 20 third-party litigation funders active in the Australian market, there is competition to be the “first to file” and we have seen numerous instances where multiple class actions have been commenced in respect of the same issue.

What are some of the challenges that technology brings to a litigation practice?

Technology is both a benefit and a burden. We are able to deliver superior legal services to clients thanks to technology. But at the same time the courts sometimes have unrealistic expectations in terms of what technology can realistically deliver. The crushing burdens of documentary discovery under absurd time limits is but one example.

Looking back over your career, what is the most memorable case you have been a part of?

I have been extremely fortunate to have been involved in a number of cases where I have worked with clever lawyers in multiple jurisdictions and with international expert witnesses. While inevitably stressful at times I learned a great deal in terms of the law, legal procedure and fascinating areas of scientific research. The latter tends to be a little more constructive than litigation, which helps to provide a little balance. I have also made some lasting friendships.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in litigation?

I would encourage any young lawyer to pursue a career in litigation, provided they: are up for the intellectual challenge of finding ways to resolve difficult problems; like to unpick the complex, then find ways to present clever and compelling arguments; and are not afraid of a bit of hard work, but with the comfort of knowing that they will be proud of the work done at the end of the day.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Colin Loveday is "the industry leader" in the Australian market, and "brings a lot of experience, authority and charm to the table". He is "highly experienced in cross-border litigation".

Biography

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims.

Over the past two decades, Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia's product liability laws and in the majority of class actions and mass tort cases in this area. His defence work includes a variety of prescription products and medical devices, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. Colin is internationally recognised for his work in the field of drug and device litigation. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US and Europe developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

Colin also has a special interest advising manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical device clients on regulatory requirements, clinical trials, labelling and advertising issues, product recalls and hazard alerts, and priorities management issues. He practised as a barrister in New South Wales between 1985 and 1990, when he became a partner at Clayton Utz.

Colin is on the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a member of the Australian Product Liability Association and the Defense Research Institute, and is former chair of the product law and advertising committee of the International Bar Association.

Litigation 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Colin Loveday is highly commended by market sources who single him out as one of the leading commercial litigators in the region.

Biography

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims.

Over the past two decades, Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia's product liability laws and in the majority of class actions and mass tort cases in this area. His defence work includes a variety of prescription products and medical devices, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. Colin is internationally recognised for his work in the field of drug and device litigation. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US and Europe developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

Colin also has a special interest advising manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical device clients on regulatory requirements, clinical trials, labelling and advertising issues, product recalls and hazard alerts, and priorities management issues. He practised as a barrister in New South Wales between 1985 and 1990, when he became a partner at Clayton Utz.

Colin is on the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a member of the Australian Product Liability Association and the Defense Research Institute, and is former chair of the product law and advertising committee of the International Bar Association.

Product Liability Defence 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

The “excellent” Colin Loveday is a “fabulous attorney” and “a leading light in this field”. Sources note, “He works on the highest-profile matters in product liability litigation internationally.” 

Biography

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims.

Over the past two decades, Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia's product liability laws and in the majority of class actions and mass tort cases in this area. His defence work includes a variety of prescription products and medical devices, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. Colin is internationally recognised for his work in the field of drug and device litigation. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US and Europe developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

Colin also has a special interest in advising manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical device clients on regulatory requirements, clinical trials, labelling and advertising issues, product recalls and hazard alerts, and priorities management issues. He practised as a barrister in New South Wales between 1985 and 1990, when he became a partner at Clayton Utz.

Colin is on the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a member of the Australian Product Liability Association and the Defense Research Institute, and is former chair of the product law and advertising committee of the International Bar Association.

National Leader

Australia - Life Sciences 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Colin Loveday is a titan of the life sciences sector. He is renowned for his remarkable knowledge of class actions. 

Biography

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims.

Over the past two decades, Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia's product liability laws and in the majority of class actions and mass tort cases in this area. His defence work includes a variety of prescription products and medical devices, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. Colin is internationally recognised for his work in the field of drug and device litigation. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US and Europe developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

Colin also has a special interest in advising manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical device clients on regulatory requirements, clinical trials, labelling and advertising issues, product recalls and hazard alerts, and priorities management issues. He practised as a barrister in New South Wales between 1985 and 1990, when he became a partner at Clayton Utz.

Colin is on the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a member of the IADC, the Australian Product Liability Association and the Defense Research Institute, and is former chair of the product law and advertising committee of the International Bar Association.

Australia - Litigation 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Colin Loveday enjoys a stellar reputation for his extensive commercial litigation experience and his niche in product liability claims. 

Biography

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims.

Over the past two decades, Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia's product liability laws and in the majority of class actions and mass tort cases in this area. His defence work includes a variety of prescription products and medical devices, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. Colin is internationally recognised for his work in the field of drug and device litigation. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US and Europe developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

Colin also has a special interest in advising manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical device clients on regulatory requirements, clinical trials, labelling and advertising issues, product recalls and hazard alerts, and priorities management issues. He practised as a barrister in New South Wales between 1985 and 1990, when he became a partner at Clayton Utz.

Colin is on the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a member of the IADC, the Australian Product Liability Association and the Defense Research Institute, and is former chair of the product law and advertising committee of the International Bar Association.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Colin Loveday is a distinguished litigator, renowned for his outstanding expertise in class action proceedings involving complex consumer product claims.

Biography

Colin Loveday is a senior partner in the Clayton Utz product liability and class actions group. He is an experienced trial lawyer with particular expertise in the defence of class actions and complex commercial disputes. He has worked extensively with defence lawyers in other jurisdictions in the coordinated defence of multinational mass tort claims.

Over the past two decades, Colin has been intimately involved in the development of Australia's product liability laws and in the majority of class actions and mass tort cases in this area. His defence work includes a variety of prescription products and medical devices, infrastructure failures, financial products and other consumer products. Colin is internationally recognised for his work in the field of drug and device litigation. He has worked extensively with in-house counsel and lawyers in the US and Europe developing international defence strategies and working with international expert witnesses.

Colin also has a special interest in advising manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical device clients on regulatory requirements, clinical trials, labelling and advertising issues, product recalls and hazard alerts, and priorities management issues. He practised as a barrister in New South Wales between 1985 and 1990, when he became a partner at Clayton Utz.

Colin is on the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a member of the IADC, the Australian Product Liability Association and the Defense Research Institute, and is former chair of the product law and advertising committee of the International Bar Association.

Features by Colin Loveday

Product Liability Defence 2018: Roundtable

Product Liability Defence 2018: Roundtable

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