Award Chambers & Partners

America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008: Products Liability

Chambers & Partners has compiled its independent and objective list of America's Leading Lawyers for Business based on comments gathered from thousands of interviews with clients and lawyers from Maine to Hawaii. This guide — which is designed to reflect market opinion — contains a view of the firms and attorneys who are considered leaders in their field.

In Chambers' 2008 review of national legal talent in the area of "Products Liability," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.

Chambers' comments: 

National Ranking: Tier 1

The Firm: One of the finest trial firms in the land, Kirkland & Ellis structures products cases rather differently to others, often immersing itself in the litigation and its surrounding science before turning over trial responsibility to its star-studded bench of generalists, among them highly regarded attorneys such as John Hickey and Emily Nicklin. This year saw it, among other matters, continue to represent ABB in the mammoth litigation surrounding the impending asbestos bankruptcy of US subsidiary Combustion Engineering, which drew in practitioners from across the firm's practice areas. Its involvement in tobacco continued with its representation of R.J. Reynolds and other major manufacturers in ongoing suits arising out of the Master Settlement Agreement. A major recent highlight was in the toxic tort area — another traditional strength — where it attained summary judgment on the 170-plus claims in allegations of radiation exposure brought against Union Carbide. This "talented and aggressive" firm remains "perhaps the number-one destination for bet-the-company products litigation." As one client put it: "Kirkland has a bulldog team; they just love to get in the courtroom!" Strong offices in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York — in addition to its Chicago base — give the firm an enviable reach in multidistrict litigation.

The Lawyers: "A strong personality and an exceptional trial lawyer who pushes hard from start to finish," David Bernick has a rich history of defending the tobacco industry and has also been involved in key asbestos trials. Deeply respected across the industry he "has the ability to take complex matters and break them down in court to form compelling arguments." His representation of Apple in ongoing products liability relating to the iPod is a further testimony his profile in the area. Also influential at the firm is Stephen Patton, who has a strong track record of representing the tobacco industry in arbitral proceedings arising out of the Master Settlement Agreement.

Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008 —