||Government Investigation / Fraud & Abuse
||Competition and Antitrust|
|Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott
||Arnold & Porter
||Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton|
|Butler Snow O’Mara Stevens & Cannada
||Covington & Burling
||Covington & Burling|
|Faegre Baker Daniels
|Goodell Devries Leech & Dan
||Morgan Lewis & Bockius
|Shook Hardy & Bacon
|Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom|
|Williams & Connolly|
|Arnold & Porter
||King & Spalding
||Arnold & Porter|
|Covington & Burling
||Latham & Watkins
||McDermott Will & Emery
||Morgan Lewis & Bockius|
||Ropes & Gray
||Ropes & Gray|
||Weil Gotshal & Manges|
|Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore
||White & Case|
|King & Spalding
||Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati|
|McDermott Will & Emery
|Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough|
|Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell|
Product liability attorneys have had to deal with a more orderly plaintiff's bar than they've seen in the past. "They are more organized," explains one attorney. "They are more aggressive at the beginning, have better funding, and are better at processing claims."
This is forcing defendants in the product space to come up with new strategies in the courtroom for their clients. "We have to be more creative during trials," one attorney expresses. One thing in the defendant's favor is the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding preemption. "By eliminating preemption as a viable claim, plaintiffs need to have a different plan of attack," explains one lawyer.
Additionally, some attorneys mentioned that their adversaries have developed better software to manage cases. "They are much more aggressive with developing and building software to search for phrases," says a partner. "They make significant investments so they can process these documents quickly. "The e-discovery process is becoming a significant factor in determining the outcome of cases in the industry. By having advanced research software, law firms have a leg up on the competition. "It is extremely vital to one's success in the courtroom," says one practitioner.
Arnold & Porter
Industry juggernauts such as Wyeth, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sanofi-Aventis are among the impressive roster of clients Arnold & Porter represents in product liability litigation. With a specialty in pharmaceuticals, it is no wonder why these life science giants turn to Arnold & Porter for their litigation expertise. The firm is highly regarded by its peers as "one of the most knowledgeable and capable product liability teams out there."
Anchoring the firm's pharmaceutical product liability team is former head of the firm's litigation group Peter Grossi. For over 10 years, Grossi served as national counsel for Wyeth in its diet drug litigation and continues to work heavily with pharmaceutical companies, gaining a reputation as one the industry's leaders. One competitor states, "[Grossi] is a very serious worker, which allowed him to become so good at what he does…. [he's] an all-star in pharmaceutical product liability litigation."
The firm also boasts a fantastic government investigation / fraud and abuse practice, largely based out of the firm's Washington, DC office. Kirk Ogrosky has handled a number of qui tam cases on behalf of pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Ogrosky joined the firm in 2010, after being the head of healthcare fraud in the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice. Baruch Weiss focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities fraud, off-label investigations, and FCPA-related issues.
Finally, the firm's antitrust practice "is fabulous" according to peers. Kenneth Letzler, one of the preeminent practitioners in the area, has handled a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology cases.
Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott
Litigation boutique Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott is extremely involved with pharmaceutical product liability litigation, notably in several high-stakes product litigations including the Vioxx litigation for Merck, as well as the Baycol litigation for industry heavyweight Bayer. "They easily have one of the most skilled group of attorneys, especially with regard to the product liability space," one competitor states.
A founding partner of the firm, Philip Beck is highly regarded by his contemporaries as "perhaps the best litigator in the country, has been in this field for so long, and has built one of the strongest reputations in the industry." Beck was lead counsel in the aforementioned Vioxx and Baycol litigations, and has represented Bayer on other occasions, including litigation involving the Yaz and Yasmin birth control medication against claims that it caused blood clotting.
While Beck is the most recognizable name from the firm, partner Adam Hoeflich is thought of by peers as "a master courtroom strategist who has done a ton of high-quality work in the industry." He has done a lot of work involving both Merck and Bayer and is quickly becoming a well-known name within the industry.
It is easy to see the positive impact the firm is making with its clients. One client praises the firm's work stating, "They are perhaps the best group of trial attorneys that I have ever worked with and am happy that I have the opportunity to do so."
Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens & Cannada
"Without a doubt, a product liability team that is as good as any litigation team in the country," is how one competitor describes the group at Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens & Cannada. As a litigation boutique, Butler Snow is accustomed to dealing with high-stakes work and uses its unique courtroom capabilities to help clients deal with product issues. The firm is highly regarded for its work as national counsel for Merck regarding the Fosamax cases.
The chair of the firm's entire litigation department, Christy Jones, is a product liability leader within the life sciences community. Colleagues see Jones as "a leading light and an exceptional trial attorney whose work speaks for itself." Jones was lead counsel for Merck in the Fosamax litigation in New York, and has done work for other big clients such as GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson. With a team of Jones and two other Life Science Stars, Orlando "Rod" Richmond and Lee Davis Thames, Butler Snow has three top-of-the-line product liability attorneys making a significant impact in both the pharmaceutical and medical device markets.
Clients are extremely impressed and satisfied with the high level of work that the firm does for them in the product space. "They really are among the best in the business," one client raves. "All of their attorneys are so accomplished and they continue to churn out a great legal product for our company."
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has a first-rate antitrust and competition practice led David Gelfand and George Cary, both based out of the firm's Washington, DC office. Both are active, providing antitrust counseling for some impressive M&A deals.
In February 2011, Gelfand helped DSM, a global life sciences company based in the Netherlands, with its acquisition of Martek, a leading US producer of nutritional health and wellness products. The deal was worth $1.1 billion. In the past, Gelfand worked on the GlaxoSmithKline merger with Stiefel, a deal valued at up to $3.6 billion.
Cary had a busy year in 2011. He counseled Axcan Holdings, a pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, in its $583 million acquisition of Eurand, a global pharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands. He was also antitrust counsel to Dow AgroSciences in connection with its supply and distribution arrangement with Syngenta relating to crop protection products.
Cary also advised Medtronic in its $800 million acquisition of Ardian, a California-based developer of catheter-based therapies to treat hypertension and related conditions. The firm also provided M&A guidance on that deal. On the litigation front, Cary has represented GlaxoSmithKline in a series of cases challenging enforcement of its patents in the past.
Covington & Burling
One of the most prominent firms in the pharmaceutical product liability space is Covington & Burling. Peers deem the firm as a group of "superb product litigators who are always up to the task of taking on the toughest cases." Recently, the firm served as counsel for clients such as Merck, Hoffman-LaRoche and AstraZeneca, displaying their immense amount of activity within the industry.
Chair of the Products Liability and Mass Tort practice group, Mike Brock, is revered by colleagues for his "outstanding work and presence in the courtroom." He was lead defense counsel for Merck in their Fosamax litigation, which resulted in a defense verdict for the company, and was also lead counsel for Merck's Vioxx litigation in Kozic v. Merck & Co., Inc. Brock is known around the industry for his experience as a former star on the University of Alabama football team, playing under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Clients rave about the firm's work in the product space, exclaiming, "they have excellent trial attorneys and consistently do an outstanding job for us."
Beyond product liability issues, the firm is well-equipped to handle the most challenging antitrust and government enforcement issues. Ethan Posner, co-chair of Covington's White-Collar Defense and Investigations and Pharmaceutical Litigation & Investigations practice groups, has handled a number of OTC product recalls. He also served as lead counsel in False Claims Act litigation, including United States ex rel. Duxbury v. Ortho Biotech Products and United States ex rel. Rost v. Pfizer.
Industry powerhouses GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Merck, and Wyeth are all clients of Dechert's product liability team. Dechert and its clients have been working together for nearly two decades and the firm uses its experience to help clients deal with product-related matters. Competitors see the firm's team as "highly competitive and more than capable of handling 'bet the company' litigation."
One of the firm's practice group's leaders is partner Fred Magaziner, an experienced attorney who peers see as "a legend in the industry and one of the hardest-working attorneys in the country." Magaziner has done work for the firm's clients, as well as being the chief talent partner at the firm, looking to recruit the next best product liability attorney in life sciences. Hope Freiwald and Ezra Rosenberg bolster the firm's litigation team, making it one of the most impressive groups in the country.
Dechert's antitrust and competition practice is tops in the industry and clients can call the firm for creative solutions to complex problems. Led by co-chair of the antitrust/competition group and co-chair of the life sciences practice, George Gordon, the firm's antitrust group is known for top-flight litigation talent.
Gordon was lead counsel for Medela, a breast pump and post-natal supply manufacturer, regarding In re Baby Products Antitrust Litigation, based out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Gordon also guided Elan, a neuroscience company, through antitrust multidistrict litigation within the District of Columbia alongside indirect purchaser class actions in the state of California.
Faegre Baker Daniels
At the start of 2012, Baker & Daniels merged with Faegre & Benson, a firm known for its product liability practice group, creating the new firm Faegre Baker Daniels. With this merger, "one of the best product teams in the industry," according to peers, now represents a new name but continues to do the same high-quality product liability work within life sciences. The firm has represented household industry names such as Eli Lilly, Boston Scientific, and AstraZeneca.
Considered by many to have "helped establish certain aspects of products liability litigation strategy," legendary partner Joseph Price is still actively practicing within the field. With four decades of experience, Price has seen the industry evolve from within the courtroom. He has done notable work for clients like the 3M Company concerning breast implant litigation. Currently, Price is the multidistrict litigation liaison for Pfizer on its Mirapex drug litigation, a medication that helps treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Goodell Devries Leech & Dan
Well-known litigation boutique Goodell Devries Leech & Dan is among the leading product liability firms, specializing in medical devices while doing some pharmaceutical work as well. Among the firm's list of clients is Pfizer, a life sciences powerhouse and a good representation of the type of work the firm does in this space. "Because they put so much emphasis on litigation, the firm is able to compete in the courtroom with anyone in the industry," notes one competitor.
Charles Goodell, one of the firm's founding partners, is recognized for his work by his peers in the industry. They believe Goodell to be "a megastar in the courtroom and one of the best at working directly with his clients." He has been working with Pfizer and Bayer since the mid-1980's, litigating numerous product liability cases on behalf of those hefty companies. Currently, Goodell is doing product work for AztraZeneca as part of its national litigation team concerning the medicine Seroquel, defending it against claims that it causes the development of diabetes.
The firm recently gained a notable lateral hire in the form of former Dechert product liability chair Robert Limbacher. Colleagues see Limbacher joining Goodell Devries as, "a significant addition to an already impressive practice group as Robert is a major player within the industry." While he was with Dechert, Limbacher was at the forefront of product litigation for Amgen regarding prescription anemia medication, as well as litigation on behalf of Pfizer on issues relating to hormone therapy medications.
Greenberg Traurig uses its resources as a full-service firm to offer clients an extraordinary product liability practice in life sciences. "They have great leadership in their product practice," notes one colleague. "Their in-trial experience and guidance throughout the entire process is among the best in the industry." By having practice groups focused on the life sciences industry, Greenberg is able to pull different attorneys together to assist its product team in almost any given case.
Lori Cohen is the firm's chair of the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Health Care Litigation Group. She is recognized by her peers as "one of the best product attorneys and one of the best leaders in the business." Cohen has a large amount of experience working in mass tort litigations, including work for firm client and industry powerhouse Medtronic.
Product liability litigation is one of Hogan Lovells' strengths and is considered by contemporaries as "one of the most impressive litigation departments in the industry." The firm has played a large role in the Vioxx litigation for its client Merck, helping defend it in product cases all over the country.
Partner Barry Thompson plays a vital role in the Vioxx litigation for the firm and has been very active in the product space including defending Wyeth over disputes regarding its DTP vaccine. Thompson, who came to Hogan after being the vice chair on the litigation side of Reed Smith's Life Sciences Health Industry Practice Group, is seen by colleagues as "a great young attorney who does such outstanding work in the field." He continues to be involved in high-profile product litigation, as Thompson is also a part of Wyeth's defense team over their controversial drug, "Fen-Phen."
Hogan has a top-tier government investigations practice. "One of the best litigators you will find out there," says one peer about Stephen Immelt, global co-head of Hogan Lovells' Litigation, Arbitration and Employment practice, which focuses largely on representing pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Immelt has roughly 20 years of experience representing companies under a number of federal and state laws governing fraud and abuse.
Immelt is joined by Virginia Gibson and Jonathan Diesenhaus. "They are both phenomenal lawyers with backgrounds in government, and have developed a lot of work with life sciences clients," says a competitor about the duo.
Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore
The product liability practice at Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore is considered by contemporaries as "one of the best courtroom, trial firms in the industry." A Louisiana-based firm, Irwin Fritchie is located in one of the most active jurisdictions regarding life sciences cases. The firm does most of its industry-related work with pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
One of the founding members of the firm, James Irwin, is recognized by his colleagues for his "outstanding work in the field and is a leader in the industry." With over three decades of experience in the industry, Irwin is well-versed in dealing with any obstacle a client may face in the courtroom. Along with Quentin Urquhart, who practitioners see as "a great trial strategist," Irwin is building one of the most distinguished product liability practices in the industry.
Sporting one of the deepest benches in life sciences product liability is full-service firm Kaye Scholer. Competitors recognize "the breadth of talent and knowledge that the firm can give to any client in the product space," and the firm's product liability group prides itself on performing in high-stakes, life science related litigation.
The firm is part of Pfizer's legal alliance but is appointed with the task of representing the company for some of its highest selling and world-famous pharmaceuticals. Last year, the firm successfully represented Pfizer and gained a favorable summary judgment in a case regarding Viagra where the plaintiff claimed that consumption of the drug led to a hemorrhagic stroke.
Heading up that team was practice co-chair Lori Leskin, who attorneys view as "a great attorney and such a pleasure to work with." Lori is also co-chair of the American Bar Association's Products Liability committee, as well as co-chair of its pharmaceutical subcommittee. Both Leskin and partner Arthur Brown co-head the practice group. They are leading the firm's product team in the right direction which continues to make a drastic impact on the industry.
Another member of that Viagra litigation team is partner Steven Glickstein, who has been practicing in the product field with the firm for nearly three decades. "He is such a pleasure to work with and a marvel to watch in the courtroom," remarks one peer. Currently, Glickstein is national counsel for Boston Scientific and its medical device litigations.
On the antitrust front, Saul Morgenstern, co-chair of the firm's antitrust practice group, has counseled a number of pharmaceuticals in the past. He recently cleared a deal for Novartis in the therapeutic space.
King & Spalding
King & Spalding boasts one of the most highly regarded product liability practices in both the pharmaceutical and medical device fields. "They are exceptional and have a couple of the best courtroom performers I have ever seen," exclaims one competitor. The firm has experience defending clients such as GlaxoSmithKline in multidistrict litigation proceedings in both individual and class action lawsuits involving over 3,000 plaintiffs.
With over 30 years of courtroom experience, Chilton Varner is one of the most well-respected attorneys in the product liability field. "She has such a unique and impactful presentation style," one attorney remarks. "Chilton has a tremendous presence and is in command of her clients' needs." This past year, Varner tried and won a bellwether case on behalf of Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax and also serves as co-lead counsel for another multidistrict litigation for Merck.
King & Spalding also has a premier fraud and abuse practice, which complements their extraordinary FDA talents. Gina Cavalier, Mark Jensen , and Wick Sollers all garner respect from peers in the space. Sollers, the firm's managing partner of the Washington, DC office, is currently representing an international pharmaceutical in an off-label criminal and civil matter being conducted by the Boston US Attorney's office.
Latham & Watkins
With DC-based Daniel Meron accompanied by Katherine Lauer in San Diego, and David Schindler in Los Angeles, Latham & Watkins has a powerful bicoastal government investigation practice. Lauer, global co- chair of the firm's Health Care and Life Sciences Practice, is currently representing a national provider of mobile diagnostic services in False Claims Act litigation, involving allegations of illegal kickbacks and Medi-Cal pricing violations.
Meron joined the firm after serving as General Counsel for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is currently the global co-chair of the Latham & Watkins' Health Care & Life Sciences Practice Group. Meron regularly represents Takeda, and this past year advised them in an action before the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) regarding to a cost reporting methodologies.
McDermott Will & Emery
The national product liability practice at McDermott Will & Emery is very active within life sciences. The firm currently serves as national counsel on the significant Fen-Phen pharmaceutical litigation, concerning the side-effects of an anti-obesity supplement. Competitors see McDermott as "a top-notch and top-flight product liability litigation firm," and the firm's continued activity in this space reaffirms its standing within the industry.
Peers acknowledge Michael Pope, head of the firm's International Product Liability Practice Group, as "an attorney who has to be recognized for his outstanding work in the field." Pope is currently representing Syngenta, an agri-business company using research to create sustainable agriculture, in two class action suits in the Central Illinois jurisdiction.
McDermott also boasts a well-known healthcare fraud and abuse practice with Glenn Engelmann and T Reed Stephens. Engelmann formerly worked at AstraZeneca as a member of the executive leadership team and has roughly 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Stephens is known by contemporaries as "very solid and a very good lawyer."
Morgan Lewis & Bockius
Another component of the firm's ability to handle a product's life cycle is the powerful fraud and abuse team at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which offers life sciences clients five extraordinarily talented stars. Kathleen McDermott, a former Assistant US Attorney and DOJ Health Care Fraud Coordinator, has handled pertinent industry issues for over two decades. Competitors highlight her experience in enforcement actions and qui tam litigation.
McDermott is joined by Eric Sitarchuk, based out of Philadelphia and has experience as an Assistant US Attorney. "I've worked with Eric," says one competitor. "He's an able lawyer with a terrific demeanor and a great approach." In the past, Sitarchuk negotiated on behalf of a biotech pharmaceutical manufacturer for a $425 million global, civil and criminal settlement involving alleged illegal off-label marketing. He also regularly handles FCPA and False Claims Act litigation.
Scott Memmott came to the firm from Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal (now SNR Denton) in 2009 and was previously the vice-chair of that firm's national healthcare practice group. Memmott has experience as lead counsel and has previously served in the civil division of US Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Memmott is joined by Howard Young in DC who adds a wealth of experience on the service side to the Morgan Lewis team.
Handling the firm's antitrust capabilities is Stephen Paul Mahinka. Competitors note he has a unique practice that delves into FDA work in addition to his antitrust practice and that he can see problems from a financial perspective.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
"The firm has to be acknowledged for its product liability team," raves one competitor about the product litigation group at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. The firm has a national e-discovery practice as part of its product liability group, often serving as national counsel for pharmaceutical companies exclusively for e-discovery to go along with their litigation practice.
The team secured a defense verdict for Pfizer regarding a claim that one of the company's hormone therapy medicines resulted in a woman getting breast cancer. Part of that litigation team was partner David Dukes, who is also the chair of the Products Liability group at the firm. Dukes, who has done a lot of work for Pfizer in the hormone therapy field, is seen by colleagues as "a special attorney who is among the best in the field and must be mentioned with the best in the business."
Nixon Peabody boasts one of the most experienced product liability practices in life sciences. The firm is well-known for its high-stakes complex mass tort litigation work for Fortune 500 companies in the pharmaceutical and medical device fields. One peer notes, "They are one of the most active firms in the product [liability] space."
Heading up the firm's national practice group is partner Joseph Ortego. Recognized by competitors as "one of the best trial attorneys in the industry," Ortego is very involved with startup companies, counseling them with both pre-trial issues, as well as litigation matters that may arise during a product's life cycle.
In addition, clients are extremely happy with the work that Nixon Peabody is doing for them in the product liability field. One client exudes, "They do very high-quality work and have been doing such work with us for a long period of time."
By successfully representing life sciences companies such as Medtronic and Wyeth, Reed Smith is reinforcing its standing as one of the top product liability litigation firms in the country. In the 2010 Bagumyan v. Medtronic case, the firm upheld summary judgment claims against Medtronic over faulty medical device claims. Colleagues agree that the product team at Reed Smith is "a group of tremendously hard-workers who have put in the due diligence to become among the best in the business."
After joining the firm in 2003 as part of the Crosby Heafey Roach & May merger, partner Michael Brown plays a vital role in a lot of Reed Smith's product liability matters. "Michael does great work," one peer notes. "He truly is one of the best in the field." Some of Brown's work includes representing Medtronic in several medical device cases. Currently, he serves as the national coordinator and trial counsel on behalf of C.R. Bard in the In re Kugel Mesh Hernia Repair Patch Litigation, one of the preeminent multidistrict litigation cases.
Another extremely active partner at the firm within life sciences is David Stanley. Stanley also joined the firm through the 2003 merger with Crosby and is recognized by his contemporaries as "one of the hardest-working attorneys out there." He is known for his work with St. Jude Medical with regard to claims against their mechanical silzone-coated heart valve products.
Ropes & Gray
"I really like and admire people at Ropes & Gray," says one peer about the outstanding government investigations team at the firm, led in part by Colleen Conry, co-leader of the firm's Government Enforcement group. Conry is based in Washington, DC and previously served as senior litigation counsel in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division in the United States Department of Justice, where she handled a number of high-profile white-collar cases.
Conry is backed by a powerful group in Boston. Brien O'Connor, who competitors call "terrific," spent a few years as chief of public corruption and special prosecutions for the US Attorney's Office. Recently, O'Connor led a team that defended Massachusetts-based Stryker Biotech against felony charges alleging the company had defrauded physicians and hospitals. The case settled part-way through the examination of the first witness. All felony charges were dropped against the medical device manufacturer and the company pled to one misdemeanor count.
Joan McPhee and a team of Ropes & Gray attorneys recently helped IASIS Healthcare secure a victory in a qui tam lawsuit in the US District Court of Nevada. McPhee, like many of her colleagues, also served in the US Attorney's office. She is joined by Eve Brunts, also located in Boston, who regularly assists life sciences clients with a range of counseling, including compliance advice and assessment. Additionally, she has assisted her colleagues with government investigations by providing pricing and reimbursement advice.
Sedgwick's product liability group in the life sciences industry is seen by competitors as "a complete team of litigators who clients believe in to meet their objectives." Sedgwick's national profile is growing immensely by serving as national coordinating counsel for clients, as well as regional counsel near the San Francisco-based firm. The firm has done work for companies such as Merck in its Vioxx litigation, as well as several other areas of the industry including orthopedic bone screws and prescription pain medication.
As the managing partner in the Dallas office, partner Alan Vickery is responsible for coordinating a great amount of the firm's product work coming out of that region. A colleague commends Vickery's work in the field, stating, "He is really someone I would trust to be able to handle almost any work a client could throw at him." He has extensive experience working in pharmaceutical litigation on products like antidepressants and weight-loss medication.
Another standout in the firm's product group is attorney Kevin Dunne. "Kevin does superb work and is as proficient a product attorney as I have ever seen," exclaims one peer. With industry juggernaut Genentech on his client list, Dunne is making an imprint on the industry with his work in the product liability field. Along with partners Michael Healy and Ralph Campillo, the product group at Sedgwick is loaded with courtroom talent that rivals any other firm in the industry.
Shook Hardy & Bacon
With a reputation as a litigation powerhouse, it is no accident that Shook Hardy & Bacon is seen by its peers as "without a doubt one of the best product liability practices and are titans in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries." The firm has forged relationships with important companies in the field like Ell Lilly, a client since the mid-1970's. Part of the firm's success stems from their resources, including over 125 research experts with industry-related backgrounds that can advise litigators on technical issues arising during a case.
Harvey Kaplan is one of the most well recognized and highly regarded names throughout the industry. "Among the leaders in the product field and a legend in the courtroom" is how colleagues describe Kaplan's experience working within life sciences. Kaplan earned the title of chair emeritus of the firm's pharmaceutical and medical device litigation group for his several decades of outstanding work in the product space. Kaplan is known for his work with the Dalkon Corporation regarding its Dalkon Shield contraceptive device.
One partner at the firm with a long list of clients who are household names in the industry is Gene Williams. Williams is recognized by his contemporaries for his "superb product liability work for over a decade." Williams' client list includes pharmaceutical giant Takeda and medical device power Johnson & Johnson.
Shook Hardy's product team is garnering rave reviews from clients it has done work for in the past few years. One client exclaims, "They are so talented at what they do, and I am more than comfortable going back to them with product liability work."
Sidley Austin sports one of the largest product liability practices in the industry with over 125 attorneys devoted to product litigation, helping support its impressive standing within the life sciences arena. "Their group is run so well, and they take the steps necessary to help their client with product issues," commends practitioners about how the firm's practice group is structured and implemented.
Coordinating the firm's product team are three stars: Michael Davis, Debra Pole, and Sara Gourley. Davis, who is head of the firm's practice group, is seen by peers as "extremely intelligent and is highly respected within the community." Pole earns similar praise. "She is outstanding to work with and a whiz in the courtroom," remarks one rival about Pole's work in the product liability space.
And clients are pleased with the work the firm is doing in the product space. "They really help you manage things and issues as they come and can help you out down the road," compliments one client.
In addition to the firm's outstanding product liability team, one of Sidley's greatest strengths in the life sciences sector is its government investigation team. Led by Raymond Bonner and Scott Bass, who are joined by a number of industry leaders, the firm boasts a powerful practice. Amongst those is Paul Kalb, the global coordinator of the firm's Life Sciences practice. He has a medical doctorate from Boston University School of Medicine and regularly handles a number of criminal, civil and enforcement matters on behalf of well-known life sciences clients.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
Colleagues see Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom's product liability group as "a team of all-stars who do some of the best work in the industry." The firm is extremely talent-laden with a few of the best product liability litigators in the pharmaceutical industry. Impressively, the product team was able to receive a rare All-Writs Act injunction for Merck. This injunction prevented the plaintiff from trying to acquire certain damages based on claims from earlier settlements.
"A superstar in the field and easily one of the best product attorneys today," is how one peer describes partner Sheila Birnbaum. As co-head of the firm's Mass Tort and Insurance Litigation group, Birnbaum has extensive experience as lead counsel for major companies such as Dow Corning and its Aventis Crop Science division with its breast implant litigation in several class action suits.
Also heading up the firm's product group is industry superstar John Beisner. Attorneys view Beisner as "a top 10 product litigator in the country who should be at the top of any product liability list," which is a telling reason why Beisner represents companies such as Merck in certain litigations. Along with partner Mark Cheffo, who contemporaries view as "a superior courtroom strategist," Skadden is one of the most well respected product liability teams in the industry.
Perhaps more importantly, clients are extremely happy with the work that Skadden has done for them in this field. Clients commend the firm for its "immense amount of appellate and litigation talent."
Headquartered in Cleveland, Thompson Hine is among the leaders in the product liability space, not only representing clients in the Midwest, but on a national scale as well. Clients such as Howmedica Osteonics use the firm for its product liability cases in different parts of the country. Many peers see the firm as "an exceptional team of attorneys who know their way around a courtroom."
The leader of the practice group is Elizabeth Wright, who colleagues view as "one of the smartest product liability attorneys in the industry." Wright served as counsel for Howmedica Osteonics, helping successfully defend them against plaintiff's claims regarding hip replacements. Along with partners Fern O'Brian and Brian Troyer, Thompson Hine has a very deep product liability litigation team and is making a name for itself within the industry.
"One of the best groups of product liability litigators I have worked with," is how one peer describes Venable's life sciences products litigation team. Its extensive lead counsel experience allows Venable to spearhead courtroom strategies in trials all over the country. The firm is celebrated for its multidistrict litigation work for industry mainstay Merck.
At the forefront of the firm's product liability practice is litigation luminary Paul Strain. He is seen by other attorneys in the industry as "such a great courtroom lawyer with a dynamic presence." Strain was lead counsel for Merck in multidistrict litigation over the drug Fosamax, successfully defending Merck against claims that the drug caused jaw-related problems.
Strain's work also garners enthusiastic reviews from clients. "Paul Strain and the bench at the firm do such great work, and they are really one of the best firms I have ever worked with," exclaims one client.
Weil Gotshal & Manges
Easily one of the top antitrust attorneys in life sciences is Weil Gotshal & Manges partner Ann Malester. In addition to many years working at the Federal Trade Comission, Malester provided counsel to Johnson & Johnson in its $16 billion acquisition of Pfizer's Consumer Healthcare Division, and Procter & Gamble, when it sold its pharmaceutical company for $3 billion.
"I think the world of Ann. She is one of my favorite lawyers," says one competitor about Malester. "She used to be at the FTC reviewing pharmaceutical mergers. I found her to be always thoughtful and fair-minded. She knows the FTC inside and out." Malester was an assistant director at the FTC for 12 years, and also served as the FTC's liaison with the US Department of Defense for 10 years. As assistant director, she investigated or litigated a number of significant transactions in the life sciences space including the following mergers: Amgen/Immunex, Glaxo/SmithKlineBeecham, and Pfizer/Pharmacia.
Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell
Recently established in 1998, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell (WTO) is already one of the most well-known law firms in life sciences regarding product liability. Competitors notice that the firm "has rapidly grown and is garnering the attention of those heavily affiliated with the industry." Guidant, one of the firm's medical device clients, received a favorable judgment on claims of defects on its Ancure Endograft System with WTO as its lead counsel.
Helping the firm move into the limelight is founding partner Malcolm Wheeler, an attorney who does not shy away from the public with his experience of representing Fortune 500 clients, and appearing on shows such as 20/20 to discuss his client's major litigations. Colleagues revere Wheeler for his work and believe he "is fantastic and is a leader in the industry." Wheeler has done a large amount of work for Pfizer, including defense work regarding antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals.
Williams & Connolly
Williams & Connolly's product liability litigation team consists of one of the deepest pools of attorneys in life sciences. Competitors see the litigation practice as "extremely talented and capable of taking any case the distance with its experience and breadth of knowledge." With experience as national counsel for pharmaceuticals giants such as Pfizer, Merck, and Bayer, the firm is in the thick of things, working on some of the more significant cases within the industry.
Partner Douglas Marvin is one of the superstars of the industry. With over 30 years of practice experience with the firm, Marvin is seen by attorneys as "a guy who would certainly be on my team of top product liability attorneys in the country." Merck used Marvin as its multidistrict litigation lead counsel in its Vioxx litigation, a case consisting of over 60,000 plaintiff claims.
Another extremely talented and experienced litigator with the firm is Stephen Urbanczyk. Peers compliment Urbanczyk for his "deftness in the courtroom and his tactics in defending his clients." With cases representing pharmaceutical drugs such as Prempro, Pfizer's conjugated estrogen medication, and Norplant, a birth control medication manufactured by Leiras Oy Pharmaceuticals, Urbanzyck is extremely well versed in dealing with complex mass tort claims relating to the industry. Along with skilled attorneys Heidi Hubbard and F. Lane Heard, the firm is flushed with talent in the life sciences space.
The firm does high-quality legal work and clients praise Williams & Connolly for its "brilliant courtroom strategies and its willingness to go the length of the trial."
White & Case
Robert Milne leads the antitrust team at White & Case, handling a host of issues on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. Milne has previous experience as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division at the US Department of Justice and is representing Pfizer in class action litigation in which the multinational pharmaceutical is accused of delaying generic entry of a competitor to the blockbuster Lipitor. He is also advising Pfizer with separate but similar litigation in regards to Effexor XR.
Additionally, peers point out that Milne recently secured a victory for Sandoz in litigation filed by Sanofi-Aventis, who sought to invalidate FDA approval of a generic equivalent to Sanofi's Lovenox. The court's decision allowed Sandoz to continue selling its product.
WilmerHale has a stellar government investigations practice in Boston, and competitors rave about a number of their professionals. "[Stephen Jonas] is a phenomenal litigator, and does a lot of work in the life sciences space," says one. "A classic litigator (and a very good one) that has done a lot of interesting work." Jonas is chair of the firm's Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice Group and has experience as a deputy attorney general and chief of the Public Protection Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. He has represented a number of life sciences clients in healthcare fraud investigations conducted by the Department of Justice.
Jonas is accompanied by Karen Green and Emily Schulman, both based out of Boston as well. Green's practice focuses on white-collar defense and False Claims Act litigation. She has represented pharmaceutical and medical device companies in a range of litigious matters, including a number of qui tam actions. Schulman has over a decade of experience as an assistant US attorney in the Massachusetts office and has experience with over 20 jury trials.
Another Life Science Star is Washington, DC-based Howard Shapiro, who competitors call, "a terrific lawyer, absolutely first-rate." Shapiro has an amazing résumé. He spent four years as the general counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal by the director of central intelligence, and worked as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Buttressing the premier transactional practice of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are Washington, DC-based Seth Silber and Susan Creighton. Both are known by competitors for offering valuable insights on the counseling end of deals and transactions.
Creighton previously served at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and was the director of the Bureau of Competition for two and a half years. Silber, also an agency alum, spent six years at the FTC and served in the Bureau of Competition's front office as an assistant to the bureau director. At Wilson, his practice is primarily focused on the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, where he regularly advises clients on patent settlements and mergers and acquisition activity.