Product Liability Defence 2016: Analysis

This year over 500 practitioners are recognised from over 250 firms across 36 countries. In this section we highlight the individuals and firms that stand out as among the most highly regarded in our global research.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Quentin Urquhart Jr Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore, New Orleans
Bruce Parker Venable, Baltimore
David Dukes Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
Christy Jones Butler Snow, Jackson
Edward Sledge III McDowell Knight Roedder & Sledge, Mobile
Chilton Davis Varner King & Spalding, Atlanta
Donald Zimmer Jr King & Spalding, San Francisco
Lyn Pruitt Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard
Rest of the World
Colin Loveday Clayton Utz, Sydney
Gordon McKee Blake Cassels & Graydon, Toronto
Thomas Rouhette Hogan Lovells, Paris
Stuart Clark Clayton Utz, Sydney
Rod Freeman Hogan Lovells, London
Peter Pliszka Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Toronto
Roddy Bourke McCann FitzGerald, Dublin
Alessandro Giorgetti Studio Legale Giorgetti, Milan

Shook Hardy & Bacon once again leads our research with 20 practitioners recommended for inclusion. Scott Sayler has almost 30 years of litigation experience, representing product manufacturers and other defendants involved in products liability and commercial litigation. His “fearsome reputation” makes him a “first choice” for many. William Sampson is “highly esteemed” by peers for his defence of product liability claims in state and federal courts throughout the US across the manufacturing industry. Walter Cofer is a “widely renowned” trial lawyer, having defended clients including Philip Morris and Lorillard throughout the US. Eric Anielak has represented clients including Bausch & Lomb, Bayer and Pfizer in state and federal courts across the country, garnering praise for his “ability to get the judge to see things his way”. In Irvine, Michelle Fujimoto has decades of experience in complex products liability, toxic tort and mass tort litigation. Her “encyclopaedic knowledge” of drugs and medical device products makes her “invaluable” to life clients in these sectors. Frank Rothrock has practised in national mass tort litigation for over three decades at the trial and appellate levels, defending prosthetic heart valves, orthopaedic appliances, contraceptive devices, pharmaceuticals and heart-lung machines. Florida-based Kenneth Reilly is “well known” for his defence of class actions against the tobacco industry while William Geraghty has “impressively” and successfully defended in high-stakes commercial and product liability cases. Madeleine McDonough in Washington DC chairs the firm’s pharmaceutical and medical device litigation division, and has earned an “unrivalled reputation” for her work on life sciences, food and cosmetics cases. Robert T Adams in Missouri is “preeminent”, having first-chaired over 40 jury trials in several federal and state courts.

The firm’s non-US based practitioners also gain significant recognition. In London, Gregory Fowler is managing partner and boasts “wide reaching experience” in the management and litigation of individual product liability claims. He has been involved in mass tort litigation in state and federal courts throughout the United States and in Asia, Australia, Latin America and Western Europe, and is praised for his “international outlook”. Simon Castley advises clients across the UK, Europe and the US on litigation and liability regulation, marketing and advertising. Alison Newstead handles a variety of UK and multinational claims and regulatory issues across Europe and is praised for her “personable manner” and “bespoke solutions”. The “brilliant” Sarah Croft defends clients in product liability litigation and group actions in the UK and in a number of European jurisdictions, particularly in the pharmaceutical and medical device sector.

Hogan Lovells this year garners an outstanding 18 recommendations for product liability work across 10 offices. The London office is particularly strong, with John Meltzer consistently recognised as a “pre-eminent name in the market”. He has acted for clients in the life sciences, electronic, chemical and tobacco industries. Rod Freeman garners praise from clients for his international practice, “detailed approach” and “extensive expertise”. In Paris, Thomas Rouhette is head of the French dispute resolution practice and regularly represents French and international clients in aviation, automotive and consumer goods related liability cases. Munich-based Ina Brock co-heads the firm’s global life sciences industry and regularly acts on pharmaceutical and medical device product liability issues and disputes and is a “strong force in the market” according to peers.

The firm also has a strong showing in Asia. Eugene Chen in the firm’s Shanghai office is one of a few US-trained litigators based in the country full time. He is greatly experienced in representing clients from across Asian and the US in product liability disputes, and is noted for his “terrific foresight”. In Hong Kong, Patrick Sherrington is the firm’s regional managing partner for Asia. His experience of all forms of injunctions and pre-emptive remedies makes him a “valuable asset to clients”.

The firm’s US offices also field a number of top names. Lauren Colton in Baltimore focuses on life sciences product liability and is a “fantastic litigator” who is “always willing to go the extra mile for clients”. In Washington DC, James Hourihan is a “leading name” in mass and toxic tort litigation involving chemicals, drugs and medical devices, and is an “expert problem solver”. Barry Thompson in Los Angeles focuses his practice on defending food, drug, and health-care products and is well known for his “enviable client list”.

Eight of our recommended lawyers hail from Reed Smith. Michael Brown is the former chair of the firm’s multidisciplinary life sciences health industry group, which comprises over 250 professionals. He boasts “impressive” litigation and trial experience and is a “leading figure” in the sector. Colleen Davies has a “strong” civil litigation practice, focusing on product liability cases in the life sciences field. Stephen Scheve has 34 years of experience in the sector, and is commended for his “great track record” and “vast experience”. The “sharp-minded” Michael Scott has tried dozens of cases before juries in state and federal trial courts and has also argued many cases in state and federal appellate courts.

Gordon & Rees also garners eight recommendations in this year’s research, proving them to be “on of the leading firms in the US” in the sector. Jack McCowan Jr in the firm’s San Francisco office has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical, medical device and other product liability litigation, and is a “frontrunner” in the market. Nancy Erfle focuses on the defence of pharmaceutical and medical device, automotive, agricultural chemical and aviation manufacturers involved in commercial disputes and is “a great weapon to have in your arsenal”. Laura De Santos is based in Houston, where she represents pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer in serious injury cases. Founder of the firm Stuart Gordon has tried more than 50 jury and non-jury cases and is a “dean of the product liability bar in the US”.

Sidley Austin this year garners seven inclusions across three US based offices, with its Chicago headquarters producing six recommended lawyers. Sara Gourley is an expert in life sciences product liability litigation who impresses with her “great prowess” and is a “powerhouse of knowledge”. Maja Eaton is “extremely active” in pharmaceutical and medical device mass torts, and is “very well thought of by all in the market”. Eugene Schoon is “among the top players” at the Chicago bar, and is highlighted for his “invaluable sector experience”. Kara McCall garners praise for her “solutions-oriented approach” and “quick grasp of complex issues”. In Los Angeles, Debra Pole has a “commanding presence in court” and is someone clients “would go back to again and again”. Rebecca Wood in Washington DC has an “excellent style of delivery” and is able to “make even the most complex matters seem simple”. Heidi Levine in New York is a "dynamic" practitioner who "can always be counted on for her wide-ranging expertise and clear advice".

Once again this year we recommend six market-leading lawyers from King & Spalding. In Atlanta, Chilton Davis Varner is a leading name in our research and boasts an “unrivalled reputation” in the market, with her expertise in product liability matters “unmatched” according to peers. W Randall Bassett is a "seasoned expert" who is recommended by clients for his "commercial outlook". Donald Zimmer Jr is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office and another leading name in our research, where he is lauded for his “bespoke solutions” and “technical expertise”.

Greenberg Traurig also achieves six recommendations. Lori Cohen is a “great name in the market”, commended for her “insightful solutions” and “technical expertise”, while Ginger Pigott has an “encyclopaedic knowledge” and “gets to the heart of the issue” on her cases.

Clayton Utz is the home of five leading lawyers from our research, including two of the most highly regarded practitioners in the world. Colin Loveday is “internationally recognised as a leading practitioner”, with “one of the most prestigious practices outside the US”. His work in defending class actions and in complex litigations is “legendary”. Stuart Clark is “one of Australia’s most experienced litigators” who offers clients a “fantastic service” and “unbeatable expertise”. Andrew Morrison in Melbourne is “internationally renowned”, his work remains “consistently excellent” and he provides “great guidance” and “strategic advice”. Greg Williams in Sydney is “an excellent litigator” with “a strong grasp of complex issues”, whose cases have stretched across a number of industries and included large-scale class action cases. Ross McInnes’ work on mass consumer disputes has earnt him a reputation as a “commercially engaged” and “expert” lawyer.

Elsewhere in Australia, Amanda Turnill at Baker & McKenzie in Sydney is recognised for her “in-depth knowledge” of her practice, and is “sought after” for her “specialist expertise”.

Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford also achieves two listings in its Florida offices. The firm’s managing partner Dennis O' Hara, who divides his time between Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables, is "esteemed" by his clients, and is considered "one of the best minds" in public liability. His clients have included AIG Aviation, Allianz Aviation and XL Aerospace, and he has also served as counsel for NutriSystem, Inc. Jordan Cohen in Fort Lauderdale is a "great litigator" who has acted on behalf of leading international and regional companies.

At JunHe Law Offices two leading practitioners are recommended. Honghuan Liu is considered by her clients to be one of the “top practitioners” in Mainland China, and Xi Zhou is a “key player” who “delivers workable solutions”.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin also garners two recommendations. Peter Pliszka in Toronto has “enviable experience” in the sector, having represented clients before all levels of court in Ontario and other Canadian provinces, and before the Supreme Court of Canada. Also in Toronto, Steven F. Rosenhek is a "one of the very best" product liability defence lawyers in Canada, and is a "dynamic and effective litigator".

Many of our leading practitioners hail from across the US. Quentin Urquhart Jr of Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore is a “standout” in the market thanks to his “phenomenal” defence of individual and class action cases against pharmaceutical, medical device and electrical manufacturers. Venable’s Bruce Parker is a product liability and toxic tort “guru” who impresses clients by “always giving 110 per cent”. David Dukes from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough boasts an “impressive roster of clients”, and is “highly recommended” for his “creative solutions”. Christy Jones from Butler Snow has “some of the widest experience in the market”, having served as national trial counsel numerous product liability cases. At McDowell Knight Roedder & Sledge, Edward Sledge III is a “one in a million” trial lawyer with a “national reputation for excellence” as a litigator and trial lawyer. At Williams Montgomery & John, founding partner C Barry Montgomery is a "highly respected" and "prolific" lawyer who has tried more than 150 jury trials to verdict across the United States. Lyn Pruitt at Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard is a “dream to work with”, impressing clients with her “approachable nature” and “ability to solve any problem”. In New Orleans, Ernest Gieger at Gieger, Laborde & Laperouse has "an impressive range of experience" and a reputation for being "cool under pressure". Cary E Hiltgen at Hiltgen & Brewer is a “seasoned expert” who “knows his craft”, having represented corporate entities both nationally and internationally. James Campbell at Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy PC takes a “thorough approach”, and has a reputation as an “experienced and diligent” lawyer.

Standout names outside the US include Gordon McKee of Blake Cassels & Graydon. He focuses his practice on defending class actions and serious product liability claims for clients in the medical and consumer goods markets, and is the “go-to guy” for many in Canada. At McCann FitzGerald, Roddy Bourke is “head and shoulders above the rest” at the Irish bar, with a particular expertise in product recalls. Alessandro Giorgetti at his own firm is a “force to be reckoned with”, and is “known across Europe and beyond”. His “dedication to client needs” and “specialist experience” make him a “clear choice” for clients.

Ghyo-Sun Park at Shin & Kim provides "sought after advice" and is considered a "premier" figure in product liability litigation.

From Gowlings, Mary Thomson boasts an “enviable reputation” according to peers, and is “well known” for her “business-oriented advice”.

Christian Bouckaert at Bouckaert Ormen Passemard in Paris is a “great legal mind” who possesses “incredible abilities” when dealing with cases.

In Japan, Junichi Ikeda at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu is “quick and decisive”, and considered “invaluable”.

Pieter Conradie at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is lauded for his “impressive abilities” and “prestigious record”, which places him “among the top players in the field”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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