Life Sciences 2018: Product Liability Analysis

In this section we highlight 298 standout practitioners from 162 law firms with a proven track record defending product liability claims for major clients across the life sciences sector. Those included are widely recognised as the world’s foremost experts at handling mass tort claims, class actions suits and product recall actions. 

These leading lights in the sector are drawn from 29 countries, with those based in North America accounting for 66 per cent of our total listings. Elite law firms headquartered in the US boast a strong presence in our research this year, with Reed Smith, Shook Hardy & Bacon and Hogan Lovells all vying for poll position. Sidley Austin and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer also impress, achieving nine inclusions apiece.



Thought Leaders
1. Mark Cheffo Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, New York
2. Craig Thompson Venable LLP, Baltimore
3. Christy Jones Butler Snow LLP, Jackson
4. Tripp Haston Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham
5. Quentin Urquhart Jr Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore, New Orleans
6. Gordon McKee Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, Toronto
The Thought Leaders are those individuals who received the highest number of nominations from peers, corporate counsel and other market sources this year. Our research has identified them as being truly outstanding practitioners and the very best in their field.

Leading Firms

 Who's Who Legal does not list law firms, only individual lawyers. The leading firms are those in each region whose listed practitioners received the most total nominations in our research.

Elite global law firm REED SMITH boasts the strongest presence in the region, with 11 top-tier product liability specialists highlighted.
The “excellent” Michael Brown is a leading trial lawyer who draws effusive praise from commentators for his expertise in a range of matters including mass tort litigation, class actions and multi-district litigations.
Thomas Yoo from the firm’s California offering is a key figure in the market. He regularly represents major clients in the life sciences sector in regional and national litigation.
Barbara Binis excels on the product liability defence stage and is particularly well regarded for her experience representing high-profile pharmaceutical and medical devices companies.
Stephen McConnell wins praise for his strategic approach to handling multifaceted product liability litigation, most notably for his work on the transvaginal mesh lawsuit.
In Washington, Eric Alexander impresses peers with his long-standing reputation in the life sciences sector. He frequently acts for pharmaceutical and medical devices companies in complex product liability litigation.
James Beck is a noted figure in the sector who is regarded as a leading expert when it comes to overseeing complex mass tort claims in the life sciences sector.

Ten leading lights at SHOOK HARDY & BACON garner recognition for their expertise handling class actions and complex litigations.
Michelle Fujimoto has “an excellent reputation” and is widely respected in the field. One impressed commentator effuses: “She is a favourite among experts.”
Scott Sayler is a “superb strategist”, according to sources who admire the “skilful way he works with company witnesses when preparing them for deposition”.
Matthew Keenan is a well-known figure at the firm after more than 32 years. He is described as “a fantastic lawyer” by respondents.
As a former clinical pharmacist, Madeleine McDonough is a favourite among sources in the pharmaceutical sector, who appreciate her extensive industry knowledge.
Eric Anielak ranks prominently for his pharmaceutical and medical devices litigation practice, receiving wide-ranging endorsements for his excellent performance as national coordinating counsel in the pelvic mesh litigation for Boston Scientific Corp.

SIDLEY AUSTIN also impresses, achieving nine nominations this year across its offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New Work and Newark.
Sara Gourley from the firm’s Chicago offering is internationally recognised as “a leader in the market”, thanks to her “terrific” understanding of multi-jurisdictional coordination and defence of class actions.
Maja Eaton ranks prominently for her top-tier product liability practice, receiving wide-ranging endorsements for her expertise of mass tort litigation involving medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
The “outstanding” Debra Pole is widely regarded as “one of the country’s most talented trial lawyers”, thanks to her vast experience handling complex product liability litigation proceedings.
In New York Heidi Levine wins praise for her “excellent judgement and unbeatable management of major litigation strategies”.
Elizabeth Curtin is a prominent player in the life sciences market with a strong background advising and defending clients in a range of complex litigation matters.

American law firm GORDON & REES is well regarded in the product liability defence arena and sees five top-tier practitioners recommended for inclusion.
The “exceptional” Laura De Santos is described as “a top-tier trial attorney” by commentators who admire her excellent work handling serious injury claims.
Nancy Erfle is a clear leader in the field who has acted in a range of notable mass tort cases for key clients in the pharmaceutical sector.
With more than 20 years’ experience, Jeffrey Lilly is a long-standing fixture in the market who receives endorsements for the breadth of his expertise in the area.

VENABLE is home to four leading practitioners in the field.
Thought Leader Craig Thompson ranks among the very elite of practitioners in our research, with one impressed commentator describing him as “one of the best lawyers in the country”.
The “excellent” Bruce Parker is a “top-notch” litigator who has defended some of the world’s most high-profile pharmaceutical companies in complex product liability litigation.
Paul Strain has worked in the sector for more than 30 years, earning him a reputation as a leading practitioner in the space.
Jason Rose is a celebrated litigator who is highly regarded by sources thanks to his excellent work defending major pharmaceutical and medical devices companies.

Top Canadian business law firm BLAKE CASSELS & GRAYDON also achieves four nominations.
Sources describe Gordon McKee as “a standout trial lawyer”, adding that he is “one of the very top Canadian product liability defence lawyers”. He is the top-rated Canadian practitioner in this chapter this year.
James Sullivan is lauded as “the dean of the British Columbia product liability and class action bar” according to one impressed source.
Catherine Beagan Flood receives international acclaim for her vast knowledge of class action and tort law. She is highly praised by one peer as “an exceptional strategist”.
Jill Lawrie is “an outstanding lawyer” who acts for clients in a range of areas, including the medical devices, pharmaceuticals and food sectors.

Practitioners at GOLDMAN ISMAIL TOMASELLI BRENNAN & BAUM are extensively experienced defending pharmaceutical and medical devices companies in high-value product liability lawsuits. This year, three leading lights at the firms are recognised for their excellent work in the area.
“Leading trial lawyer” Tarek Ismail enjoys a fantastic reputation in the market thanks to his extensive experience handling high-profile cases in the pharmaceutical and medical devices arena.
The “excellent” Shayna Cook is highly thought of by sources and is well known for her expertise handling complex multi-district litigation proceedings.
Joe Tomaselli Jr is recommended for his top-tier work in the product liability arena, standing out for his vast experience litigating in class actions and mass tort claims for major clients in the pharmaceutical sector.

Leading dispute resolution firm QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN boasts two excellent practitioners in this space.
Sources “wholeheartedly endorse” Mark Cheffo as “a talented leader and very impressive practitioner”. He is widely considered to be “one of the best lawyers in Canada” for product liability and mass torts litigation.
Sheila Birnbaum has a strong reputation in the market and is regarded as “the go-to lawyer” for complex product liability mandates by peers thanks to her “superb industry knowledge”.

Other Leading Individuals

We highlight individuals at other firms who also scored very highly in our research.


The “outstanding” Sérgio Pinheiro Marçal at PINHEIRO NETO ADVOGADOS is described as “an excellent strategist and litigator” who has “great experience handling complex product liability matters”.


Peter Pliszka at FASKEN is “extraordinarily good”, according to sources, who describe him as being “very well regarded and an all-round great lawyer”.

“Top-notch” lawyer Mary Thomson at GOWLING stands out in the international market, with one impressed commentator noting: “She’s my first choice for complex litigation issues.”


Christy Jones at BUTLER SNOW is “a recognised leader in the field”, according to impressed commentators, who describe her as “one of the top litigators in the US”.

“Phenomenal lawyer” Tripp Haston of BRADLEY ARANT BOULT CUMMINGS is a highly respected practitioner who wins praise for his “extensive experience and great client manner”.

Quentin Urquhart Jr at IRWIN FRITCHIE URQUHART & MOORE is a favourite among clients who appreciate his extensive trial experience and deep industry knowledge.

Lyn Pruitt of MITCHELL WILLIAMS SELIG GATES & WOODYARD is “a really fantastic trial lawyer”, say impressed sources who praise her ability to easily navigate highly technical mandates.

The “exceptional” John Beisner of SKADDEN ARPS SLATE MEAGHER & FLOM is “one of the top US class action lawyers”,  according to one impressed source. He is renowned in the market as “an expert when it comes to class action and complex litigation”.

Sources call Donald ("Fritz") Zimmer Jr at KING & SPALDING “one of the greatest lawyers in the US for product liability matters”, adding that he is “very wise, articulate and dependable”.

Douglas Marvin at WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY is “a brilliant strategist” who stands out for his excellent advisory work in the field.

David Dukes of NELSON MULLINS RILEY & SCARBOROUGH is “a fantastic practitioner” who focuses his first-class practice on product liability issues related to pharmaceutical and medical devices.
James F Rogers is one of the leading names in the product liability market with more than 25 years’ experience defending pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Diane Sullivan at WEIL GOTSHAL & MANGES is a distinguished practitioner with a wealth of experience handling high-profile class actions for major clients.

Philip Beck at BARTLIT BECK HERMAN PALENCHAR & SCOTT is a leading practitioner with a renowned dispute resolution practice. Sources describe him as “a great trial lawyer” who “remains one of the top people in this space”.

Amy Sherry Fischer of FOLIART HUFF OTTAWAY & BOTTOM is widely recognised as a leading product liability expert and is particularly well regarded for her “superb client skills”.


Thought Leaders
1. Ina Brock Hogan Lovells International LLP, Munich
2. John Meltzer Hogan Lovells International LLP, London
3. Isabel Foley Arthur Cox, Dublin

Leading Firms

International powerhouse HOGAN LOVELLS has an excellent reputation in this space thanks to its global reach. Ten leading individuals from offices in Germany, France, England, Netherlands, Belgium and Italy are listed this year.
Ina Brock tops our European research this year and is named as a Thought Leader. She is “an excellent litigator” who “effortlessly grasps complex scientific and medical issues” according to impressed sources.
Fellow Thought Leader John Meltzer is widely recommended for his “comprehensive knowledge of the sector”, with one source effusing that he is “the best at life science product liability law in the UK”.
The “excellent” Sebastian Lach is a key name in the market who is renowned for his excellent work handling complex international product safety and product liability proceedings.
Christian Di Mauro is “a top-tier product litigator” who impresses peers and clients with his smooth style of delivery.
In Paris, Cécile Derycke is “an outstanding practitioner and trusted adviser” who is widely recommended for her skilful handling of complex mandates.
Francesca Rolla from the firm’s Milan office is a seasoned product liability specialist who has more than 25 years’ experience litigating in product liability matters in the life sciences sector.
Thomas Rouhette impresses market commentators with his skilful handling of multi-jurisdictional disputes for national and international clients in a range of industry sectors.

ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLER also performs well in the European market, with four outstanding practitioners highlighted for their expertise.
Ian Dodds-Smith is a big name in the life sciences market and is “clearly deserving of inclusion”, note interviewees, thanks to his “unparalleled knowledge in this area”.
Adela Williams stands out for her substantial experience representing pharmaceutical and medical device companies in product liability litigation.
Tom Fox impresses commentators with his strong litigation practice and wins praise for his expert handling of international product safety and product liability cases.
Alison Brown is a leading product liability specialist who has represented defendants in some of the largest group action claims brought in the UK.

Other Leading Individuals


Jacques-Antoine Robert of SIMMONS & SIMMONS has “a strong focus on the life sciences sector” and is “very well known in the market” thanks to his “incredible experience and exceptional abilities”.

Alain Gorny at SEA AVOCATS SELAS is an experienced litigator who is recommended for his top-tier work in the product liability arena. He particularly stands out for his expertise handling cases relating to the pharmaceutical sector.


Henning Moelle at TAYLOR WESSING is internationally regarded as “a great lawyer with a stellar reputation in the market”. One peer effuses that he is “always very pleasant to work with”.


The “outstanding” István Varga at KNP LAW NAGY KOPPANY VARGA AND PARTNERS is renowned for his leading international dispute resolution practice.


Isabel Foley at ARTHUR COX is “a standout lawyer” who boasts an excellent reputation in the market as an authority on product liability and safety issues.

Roddy Bourke at MCCANN FITZGERALD is “a renowned practitioner” who is in high demand. He possesses more than 25 years working in the product liability and product safety arena.


The “exceptional” Alessandro Giorgetti of STUDIO LEGALE GIORGETTI is “top-drawer” according to one international commentator. He is particularly well regarded for his work for medical devices companies.


The “excellent” Ewa Rutkowska at KIESZKOWSKA RUTKOWSKA KOLASINSKI is a highly respected practitioner who sources describe as “a leader in this area”.


Francisco Javier Carrión at EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND is “a very experienced litigator” who impresses market commentators with his “excellent” work in the field.


Helen Waxberg at MANNHEIMER SWARTLING ADVOKATBYRÅ is widely recognised as a leading product liability expert, most notably when it comes to the highly regulated pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and food industries.


Sources “can only recommend” Philippe Ducor of DUCOR LAW / HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY who is one of the most sought-after practitioners in this area thanks to deep industry knowledge.

Rest of the World 

Thought Leaders
1. Colin Loveday Clayton Utz, Sydney
2. Greg Williams Clayton Utz, Sydney
3. Ron Peleg Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal Law Offices, Ramat Gan

Leading Firms

Leading Australian law firm CLAYTON UTZ is a major player in the Asia-Pacific market and is described as “the best law firm for class action defence” in the region. This year, five individuals from the firm are highlighted.
The “spectacular” Colin Loveday is a global Thought Leader in the product liability space and is “very well regarded on an international scale”. Sources comment: “He is top-notch in Australia with tremendous expertise. He is very pleasant to work with, wise and skilful.”
Greg Williams is commended by sources as being an “excellent, smart and sophisticated” practitioner who “knows his jurisdiction inside out”. He is an experienced litigator who is a specialist when it comes to handling large-scale class actions in the pharmaceutical sector.
Ross McInnes impresses commentators with his world-class litigation practice and is widely recognised for his “deep industry knowledge and excellent client service”.
Andrew Morrison is “a very skilful and talented lawyer” who is highlighted for being “particularly good working with multinational clients”.
The “extraordinarily good” Stuart Clark AM has a long-standing reputation as a leader in the field and is warmly described as “a great lawyer with an open-minded approach”.

MEITAR LIQUORNIK GEVA LESHEM TAL LAW OFFICES offers “Israel’s finest products team”, achieving two recommendations this year.
The “excellent” Ron Peleg is one of Israel’s foremost life sciences specialists, winning praise from sources for his “efficient and highly professional approach”.
Israel (Reli) Leshem is a top litigator who is considered “the best in Israel on product matters” by one impressed commentator.

Other Leading Individuals


The “brilliant” Peter O'Donahoo at ALLENS is “absolutely deserving of inclusion” thanks to his extensive experience advising and defending product claims for major clients in the life sciences sector.

New Zealand

Robert Gapes at SIMPSON GREEN is “the go-to practitioner in New Zealand” for defending major corporations on product claims in a range of industry sectors, including medical devices, food and beverages and pharmaceuticals.

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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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