Life Sciences: Product Liability 2019

This year’s guide to the leading practitioners in the life sciences - product liability space sees 297 individuals highlighted for their impressive work across a range of mandates arising from medical device, pharmaceutical and biotech-related issues.


The Global Elite 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 truly outstanding practitioners and the very best in their field.
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.

North America

Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. Donald F Zimmer Jr  King & Spalding LLP, San Francisco
2. Gordon McKee  Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, Toronto
3. Sara J Gourley  Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago
4. Mark S Cheffo  Dechert LLP, New York
5. Bruce R Parker Venable LLP, Baltimore
6. Mary M Thomson Gowling WLG, Toronto
7. Lyn P Pruitt  Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC, Little Rock
8. Tripp Haston  Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Birmingham

Leading Firms

Sidley Austin

A leading firm in the North American region, with nine practitioners highlighted in this year’s guide.
Sara Gourley is “a very solid practitioner” who peers note is “well connected in the defence community”. She is highlighted as a Global Elite Thought Leader for her experience on medical device litigation, and named as “one of the top-notch and most experienced lawyers in the USA”.
Maja Eaton is an outstanding individual who wins much admiration from practitioners in the space. She is particularly well known for her expertise in toxic tort litigation.
Debra Pole is leading name an excellent practice that sees her involved in a range of issues, including MDL and class actions arising from the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors.
Eugene Schoon has a commanding reputation in the north American market with sources crediting him with a deep understanding of class actions and multi-district litigation arising from the pharmaceutical sector.
Elizabeth Curtin maintains a stellar practice and wins plaudits from peers across the region for her expertise on nationwide product liability disputes.
The “very wise, responsive and capable” Heidi Levine draws high praise for her wide-ranging experience handling mass tort litigation arising from pharmaceutical drugs.

Shook Hardy & Bacon

This powerhouse in the product liability space wins nine listings from across its US offices this year.
Michelle Fujimoto is an individual who “enjoys a top-tier reputation” in the market for her superb knowledge of matters as diverse as dietary drugs, contraceptives and allergy medications.
Madeleine McDonough "has experience across the field" and is a "well-known lawyer in the space" who stands out for her ability when working with pharmaceutical clients.
Scott Sayler continue to impress in our research and receives much applause from peers for his proficiency in disputes involving pharmaceutical and biotechnology products.
Eric Anielak is a widely recognised figure in the market with a solid reputation for multi-district disputes. His practice features a wealth of knowledge and experience in medical device disputes.
Matthew Keenan earns plaudits from respondents to our research for his wide-ranging experience in the field of life sciences product liability disputes, providing particular strength on pharmaceutical litigation.
Alicia Donahue is a well-established figure in the US market with commentators praising her excellent work on medical device disputes.

King & Spalding

Six outstanding individuals from this global firm receive listings in our guide this year.
Donald Zimmer Jr is “undoubtedly the leading counsel in the life sciences area”, comments one interviewee. A “very wise, articulate and extremely sharp” practitioner he is cited as “one of the greatest lawyers in the US” for pharmaceutical and medical device disputes.
Chilton Davis Varner is a highly thought of individual who is described by one respondent as “the dean of the defence bar”. She is “an excellent trial lawyer” with “an incredible reputation” for class action defence.
The “very bright” Lana Varney maintains a stellar reputation in the market with sources highlighting her broad knowledge of the medical device sector.
Mark Brown is “particularly strong on FDA work” according to observers familiar with his work, and he earns widespread praise in our research this year.
Andrew Bayman is “a superb lawyer with great contacts” according to commentators who describe him as “a fantastic lawyer”, most notably for multi-district litigation in the pharmaceutical sector.
Peter Strotz is “a fantastic trial lawyer” who is cited as “very smart and thorough-minded on all the details of a case”. His “very collaborative” approach to nationwide pharmaceutical disputes continues to win him support from peers.

Tucker Ellis

Tucker Ellis sees eight of its highly impressive individuals nominated to this year’s guide.
Sherry Knutson is lauded as “one of the best products attorneys out there”, by commentators. She is complimented for her ability as both a trial attorney and coordinating counsel on medical device and pharmaceutical litigations.
James Mizgala is “particularly good on scientific matters” according to respondents to our research. His practice sees him represent numerous major pharmaceutical companies, offering deep expertise on toxic and mass torts.
Mollie Benedict is an impressive practitioner with a go-to practice that sees her engaged in multi-district litigation arising from the medical device sector.
Michael Zellers is “fantastic to work with” according to sources who highlight his “very active practice” in the field of medical device disputes.
K Michele Anderson is “a wonder lawyer” who stands out in the market for her wide-ranging insight into the product liability space, including deep expertise on multi-district medical device and drug-related litigation.

Gordon & Rees

An eminent force in the market with five listings in our guide.
Nancy Erfle is “one of the best” in the field, noted by peers to possess “a tonne of trial experience” on matters including mass tort claims in the pharmaceuticals sector.
Dominic Campodonico has a commanding presence in the market with peers quick to highlight his “excellent work in the space”. His practice sees him engaged on issues in the pharmaceutical sector, including notable experience as settlement counsel in connection with mass torts.
Laura De Santos is a “really good” and distinguished name in the field with strong experience in medical device and pharma-related cases.
Lauded by commentators as “a dean of the product liability defence bar”, Jack McCowan Jr is further recognised as a “very experienced and smart practitioner” with superb insight into medical device and drug liability litigation.
Jeffrey Lilly continues to impress in our research for his impressive ability on nationwide disputes arising from the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon

This full-service firm sees five practitioners highlighted in our guide.
A Global Elite Thought Leader in the space, Gordon McKee has “an international profile that goes far beyond Canada”, according to peers. An “unbelievable diligent and organised professional” and a “great practitioner”, he excels on class actions in the space.
James Sullivan QC is “an excellent litigator” who respondents to our research “think very highly of”. His practice features a wealth of experience on domestic and international disputes in the pharmaceutical sector.
Jill Lawrie is “a wonderful lawyer” who garners much adulation from observers in the space this year. She is “a go-to individual” for matters arising issues such as negligent design failure to warn.
Catherine Beagan Flood is a distinguished name in the region who is named by respondents as “an excellent strategist”, and also elicits praise for her deep experience of class actions in the pharmaceutical sector.

Other Leading Individuals


At Gowling WLG, the “impressive” Mary Thomson is described as “one of Canada’s top-notch lawyers”. She is adept on mass tort litigation and is “one of the first choices for complex litigation in the jurisdiction”.


King & Spalding’s Global Elite Thought Leader Donald Zimmer Jr is “undoubtedly the leading counsel in the life sciences area”, says one interviewee. He is “one of the greatest lawyers in the US for product liability disputes in the life sciences space” according to another peer.

Dechert is home to Mark Cheffo who sources state is “a first-rate practitioner, particularly when it comes to scientific hearings”. Observers state that “his smooth style enables him to take the other side’s case apart”.

Venable’s Bruce Parker is a Global Elite Thought Leader and “a specialist in the field” according to peers who highlight him as someone who is “very experienced and knowledgeable, with particular expertise in epidemiology”.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough’s David Dukes has "excellent trial skills" and is "always in demand". His practice features a wealth of ability on medical device litigation.

Greenberg Traurig’s Lori Cohen has "tonnes of trial experience" and is "very well reputed for her trial skills" according to peers.



Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. John Meltzer  Hogan Lovells LLP, London
2. Thomas Rouhette  Signature Litigation Paris, Paris
3. Ina Brock  Hogan Lovells LLP, Munich
4. Cécile Derycke  Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris
5. Ian Dodds-Smith  Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, London

Leading Firms

Hogan Lovells

A leading firm in the region with nine inclusions in our guide this year.
John Meltzer is lauded by one peer as “the best life sciences product liability lawyer in the UK”, a view reflected in his status as a Global Elite Thought Leader. According to other sources, Meltzer is “extremely experienced and a lawyer you can really trust”.
Ina Brock is “a top-notch lawyer” who is praised as “one of the best in her field in Germany”. She handles many high-profile international, high-stakes cases and is celebrated as “a leading adviser in her jurisdiction”.
Cécile Derycke is commended as “an excellent practitioner whose professional advice you can rely on”. She has a superb understanding of the French market and is adept on medical device issues.
Elisabethann Wright is a go-to name in the space with respondents to our research giving strong praise to her stellar performance on medical device and pharmaceutical disputes.
Sebastian Lach is “an experienced and skilled lawyer” who market sources state is “great to work with”. He is particularly adept on such matters as multi-jurisdictional pharmaceutical liability claims.
Christian Di Mauro is “a leading practitioner in the country” according to one source this year. He runs “an excellent practice” that sees him engaged in health damages claims relating to drugs and medical devices.
Francesca Rolla is a distinguished name in the Italian market with a stellar reputation for her work on emerging products in the space including digital health, as well as medical device and drug litigation.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

This firm maintains a large footprint in the region, receiving three listings this year.
The “terrific” Ian Dodds-Smith wins plaudits from across the region for his work in the field, with a plethora of interviewees citing him as “one of the leading lights in the area”. He has near-unmatched experience in medical device and pharmaceutical liability disputes.
Adela Williams is an extremely well-known name in the UK for medical device and drug disputes, providing clients with a wealth of experience on domestic and Europe-wide litigation.
Tom Fox is a prominent figure in the market with a celebrated practice that sees him engaged in such issues as group litigation defence in the pharmaceutical sector.

Other Leading Individuals


Signature Litigation Paris’ Thomas Rouhette is a Global Elite Thought Leader in the field with “a tough style that is very effective” according to observers. He is active on matters across the space, with particular expertise on cross-border litigation.

Jacques-Antoine Robert of Simmons & Simmons is a top-drawer individual with an eminent practice that sees him widely recommended again this year for his work on pharmaceutical disputes.
Alexandre Regniault has a “well-reputed practice” in which he is frequently engaged on disputes and investigations relating to the medical device and pharmaceutical sectors.


Taylor Wessing’s Henning Moelle is a “very experienced lawyer” who is “great to work with” according to peers. He has a “tremendous clientele” and a practice that combines both product liability law and regulatory expertise.


At Arthur Cox, Isabel Foley is “an excellent lawyer” who leaves clients “impressed by her clear and practical advice” on a range of complex and technical mandates involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices.


Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal’s Ron Peleg is “the top name in Israel” according to one peer. He provides clients with “very timely advice” on a range of issues in the field, and is said to “know his way around the courts well”.
Israel (Reli) Leshem “simply owns the market” according to one interviewee. Sources state that “there really is no other team in Israel worth considering”, with Reli providing “excellent” advice on class actions in the pharmaceutical sector.



Global Elite Thought Leaders
1. Colin Loveday Clayton Utz, Sydney
2. Greg Williams  Clayton Utz, Sydney
3. Peter O’Donahoo  Allens, Melbourne

Leading Firms

Clayton Utz

A market-leading force in the region with five outstanding practitioners included this year.
A Global Elite Thought Leader in the field, 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.
Greg Williams is credited as being "very comprehensive, articulate and smart on tactics". He "knows the jurisdiction upside down" and is "very capable on cross-border litigation".
Andrew Morrison is “excellent on complex product liability matters”, according to sources, offering clients a winning combination of deep experience and strong litigation skills.
Stuart Clark AM is “one of the top lawyers in field” and is credited as “a leading practitioner in Australia”. His “very well-regarded” practice sees him engaged in class actions across a number of sectors.
The “excellent, smart and sophisticated” Ross McInnes draws effusive praise from respondents to our research this year for his stellar work on class actions arising from drug liability claims.

Other Leading Individuals


Allens’ Peter O’Donahoo is “a spectacular lawyer” who wins plaudits from around the globe for his overall excellence in the product liability space. He has over 30 years’ experience handling some of the most complex matters in the area.

New Zealand

Simpson Grierson’s Robert Gapes is described by one impressed source as “the go-to man in New Zealand”. His acclaimed practice sees him involved in a range of product liability issues in the field of life sciences.


Sources are “impressed” by Benjamin Gaw of Drew & Napier and note his “excellent knowledge of the area” and his “thoroughness and attention to detail”. He is “great at building relationships between” teams, report peers.


Latin America

Leading Individuals

Sérgio Pinheiro Marçal of Pinheiro Neto Advogados is a “well-known litigator” and national leader in the life sciences sector who is highlighted as being “very knowledgeable on the topic” of product liability.
Camila Martino Parise is a “very business-oriented” lawyer who has a “really good capacity to connect with all areas” of life sciences law.

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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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