Guidelines say plaintiffs in mass litigation benefit from more diverse legal teams.

Trial lawyers at Fears Nachawati Law Firm have joined a coalition of law firms, judges and legal scholars as inaugural signatories on the Judicial Appointments Inclusivity Standard developed by the James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center at George Washington Law School.

These guidelines and best practices encourage judges in class-action and mass tort multidistrict litigation (MDL) to consider gender, ethnic and geographic diversity when appointing lawyers to leadership positions. For generations, leadership of multidistrict litigation has been mostly composed of white male lawyers. The report released in March 2021 underscores the importance of ensuring that MDL leadership extends beyond those “repeat players” to reflect the broader population.

“Women and diverse attorneys have comprised a high number of working participants in MDLs since their existence. However, they have been excluded from leadership, high-level strategic decision-making, lead trial positions, and negotiations and settlement discussions,” said Fears Nachawati trial lawyer Gale Pearson. “This creates the ruse of ‘less experience.’ In the MDL setting, there is rarely a deposition taken, a motion argued or a status conference report delivered to the court that is not significantly or completely drafted or supported by women. I look forward to seeing the change and leadership from those special courts. These guidelines are long overdue.”

A recent analysis by Lex Machina found that Fears Nachawati is the most active firm in the nation in mass tort litigation on behalf of plaintiffs injured by defective and dangerous products.

“We built this firm by hiring the best and brightest trial and appellate lawyers who bring a diverse perspective,” said Fears Nachawati co-founder Majed Nachawati. “I know from experience that diverse perspectives within a legal team create better representation. Plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation reflect the population, and so should the lawyers representing them.”

The James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center at George Washington Law School Inclusivity and Excellence Guidelines, which began at the Duke Center for Judicial Studies, can be found here.

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