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October 7, 2010 5:11 PM

Who Are The Top Plaintiffs Lawyers?

Posted by Brian Baxter

Shook, Hardy & Bacon product liability and mass torts partner Mark Behrens and of counsel Cary Silverman have compiled a list of America's most formidable trial lawyers. The duo released their findings to The Am Law Litigation Daily a week ago, and the list has gradually gone viral, making the rounds in the legal blogosphere.

Shook Hardy, one of the finalists for The American Lawyer's Litigation Department of the Year, is probably best known for its defense work in the tobacco arena. Behrens and Silverman surveyed defense counsel, in-house attorneys, and individuals involved in the civil justice reform movement to put together a collection of the best 75 plaintiffs lawyers based on their expertise and influence.

Behrens, who is on sabbatical from Shook Hardy while he teaches a course at Pepperdine School of Law, told The Lit Daily's Paul Braverman that he decided to compile the list because many of the big names associated with the plaintiffs bar--Fred Barron, Bill Lerach, Dickie Scruggs, and Mel Weiss--were no longer practicing.

The current Shook Hardy list includes trial lawyer luminaries like 84-year-old Joseph Jamail, Jr., of Houston's Jamail & Kolius (according to the Forbes 400, Jamail's the nation's richest practicing lawyer with a net worth of $1.5 billion), Stanley Chesley, Peter Angelos, Michael Hausfeld, Ronald Motley, Elizabeth Cabraser, W. Mark Lanier, and Perry Weitz. (Click here for a PDF and here for an Excel spreadsheet of the Shook Hardy list, sorted by seniority.)

Behrens told us on Thursday that since he first made the list public a week ago, he's added a few extra names after receiving additional feedback from some of those he surveyed and plaintiffs lawyers themselves.

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