Product liability and mass torts practice group leader Joe Tanner and deputy practice group leader Michael C. Zogby spoke with The Am Law Litigation Daily about establishing one of the largest product liability and mass tort groups in the country.
In the article “Faegre Drinker Leaders Discuss the Merger-Fueled Making of Product Liability and Mass Torts Juggernaut,” Tanner and Zogby discussed how they successfully integrated the legacy Drinker Biddle & Reath and legacy Faegre Baker Daniels product liability and mass tort groups through the Faegre Drinker combination in February 2020.
Speaking on the combination and its impact on the practice, Tanner said, “We spent a lot of time getting to know each other, really developing that trust, and making sure that the mindsets and the way we approach the practice of law, the way we approach group management, and the way we approach our people are all in line. That helped a lot more than we thought it ever would once we learned about the pandemic.” He added that the group “rallied around” the challenges caused by the pandemic and that the practice has kept a “‘we over me’ mindset.”
“Bringing together different offices, different capabilities and expertise, especially in areas like food and agriculture, and toxic torts, as well as the complementary practices, like consumer products, and mechanical products, and pharma and medical devices really led to successful and easy integration among the different teams, which resulted in now having over 150 professionals from coast to coast working on these different matters,” said Zogby.
Tanner and Zogby shared efforts they made to connect colleagues before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the virtual work environment created opportunities for the team to easily come together across offices and bring the strength of the whole firm to clients. They also talked about different mentorship and diversity and inclusion efforts within the practice group and across the firm that have strengthened the team.
“We talk a lot about working smarter every day, and don’t do things because that’s the way they’ve been done. Find a better way to do them because the world changes very, very quickly. Those ideas oftentimes come from all over, not just the more senior people,” highlighted Tanner.
Zogby also commented on what mentorship has looked like in a virtual environment, noting that the “level of mentorship that goes across offices is really strong and exciting. And it’s not something that you would have gotten out of the world had there not been a global pandemic because it would have been a lot harder to get to meet people if you had to do it face to face and we use technology to successfully create these new relationships.”
The publication also noted the size and practice strength of the team, calling it “one of the biggest product liability and mass tort groups in the country.” The group, which was recently named a “Product Liability Litigation Powerhouse” by BTI Consulting, was also noted for having defended more than 21,000 product liability cases, among the most of all law firms as per Lex Machina.