Deciding On Sensible Strategies For
“All members of the team are trial lawyers first and foremost,” says Arvin Maskin, who heads the products liability team. “They’re informed by what it’s like to try these cases, so we understand what the company is going to be subjected to.” The products liability team consists of about 15 core attorneys, but lawyers from nearly all of Weil’s practices and offices are regularly brought in to develop strategy. Although the firm’s caseload is diverse—from getting a proposed class action against Apple Inc. over its Wi-Fi Assist feature dismissed, to warding off claims against drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis following the recall of its epinephrine auto-inject device—one thing that almost all cases have in common is complexity, Maskin says. Department Size and Revenue Partners: 7 Associates: 10 Other: 2 Department as Percentage of Firm: 1.5% Percentage of Firm Revenue, 2016: 2% Cases often involve not only civil investigations, but also governmental inquiries, bankruptcy proceedings and intense media scrutiny, at times occurring in multiple countries and languages. “Rarely are our cases the kinds of things where you can just go to a recipe book,” Maskin says. He points to the case New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Occidental Chemical. Weil’s client Repsol was one of numerous companies sued over pollution of the Passaic River. The case involved potentially more than $1 billion in liabilities for the defendants. Along with New Jersey’s claims, Occidental also raised cross-claims against Repsol, alleging the parties were alter egos and therefore liable for costs related to the cleanup. Weil was initially brought in as trial counsel, but the firm’s pretrial work got Repsol dismissed from the direct claims, and eliminated nine of Occidental’s cross-claims by early 2015. Then, in early 2016, the firm’s attack on the alter ego arguments were successful, and so the company’s would-be trial counsel managed to get the case tossed out before the matter reached a jury.
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