Jan M. Conlin
Raymond R. Jones
Michelle L. Kranz
Adam J. Langino
Past Presidents Advisory Committee
Gerson Smoger has represented a wide range of clients in consumer and personal injury litigation. His special emphasis in personal injury has been in birth and early childhood injuries, injuries related to the brain and neurological system, and injuries caused by errant pharmaceuticals or environmental exposure, including their carcinogenic and adverse immunological properties. Smoger has served as lead counsel in a number of other significant cases, such as the representation of the people of Times Beach in Missouri, groundwater contamination by Teledyne, Fairchild, and IBM in Silicon Valley, chlorine gas exposure in Alberton, Montana, childhood lead contamination in Herculaneum, Mo., and numerous consumer class actions. He successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court the right of Vietnam veterans to bring suit for Agent Orange exposure, although the case was later dismissed Always on a pro bono basis, he has represented many amici before the U.S. Supreme Court, including the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, the AMA, the Center for Auto Safety, the American Legion, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and Public Citizen. Dr. Smoger earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Lycoming College (Summa Cum Laude) before he undertook graduate studies at Stanford University and the U. of Pennsylvania, where he passed his orals with distinction at the age of 21 and subsequently was awarded his Ph.D. He received his Juris Doctor’s Degree from the U. of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the bars of CA, TX, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Christopher T. Nace is an attorney with Paulson & Nace, PLLC where his practice includes medical malpractice, wrongful death, legal malpractice, and other serious personal injury matters. Chris is a past president of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He is a member of the American Association for Justice Executive Committee, and sits on the boards of the Public Justice Foundation and Living Classrooms Foundation of the National Capital Region. He is the current Secretary of the Pound Institute for Civil Justice and the Secretary of the National College of Advocacy. Mr. Nace was the 2019 Recipient of the American Association for Justice Joe Tonahill Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding and dedicated service to and support of consumers and the trial bar.” While in law school, Christopher served as Editor-in-Chief of the Emory Law Journal.
Gale Pearson is Senior Counsel with the law firm of Fears Nachawati in Minneapolis. Her practice concentrates on complex litigation, ranging from environmental law to pharmaceutical and medical device litigation to Qui Tam prosecution. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University at Northridge with a major in Laboratory Medicine, Physics and Chemistry, and her law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She is a nationally recognized clinical laboratory scientist. She has played pivotal roles in MDL litigations, serving on science committees, or, in the case of a class action against a tobacco company, as lead counsel. In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer presented her the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award for her work with Trial Lawyers Care, which provided free legal assistance for applicants to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Gale is a member of the Minnesota and American Associations for Justice and the American Bar Association, and is a board member for Public Justice. She has served as a speaker for Minnesota’s “We the Jury” project, and is a frequent lecturer on topics in science and law.
David Wirtes is a member of Cunningham Bounds, LLC of Mobile, Alabama, where he focuses on strategic planning, motion practice and appeals. Mr. Wirtes is licensed in all state and federal courts in Alabama and Mississippi, the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He is active in numerous professional organizations, including as a member of the Alabama State Bar Association’s Ethics Committee, and Long-Range Planning Committee and as an editor of The Alabama Lawyer. He is a long-time member of the Alabama Supreme Court’s Standing Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure and has served on that Court’s Standing Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. He is a Sustaining Member of the Alabama Association for Justice and has served in numerous capacities, including as Member, Board of Governors and Executive Committee (1990-present); Member and/or Chairman, Amicus Curiae Committee (1990-present); and Co-editor, the Alabama Association for Justice Journal (1996-present). He is also actively involved with the American Association for Justice where he formerly served on its Board of Governors and continues to serve as a Member of its Amicus Curiae Committee (1999-present).
Mr. Wirtes is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America; Founder and former Executive Director of the American Institute of Appellate Practice (and one of just twelve persons certified nationwide by AIAP as an Appellate Specialist); a Sustaining Fellow and Trustee of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, and a Sustaining Member and the former Alabama Representative for Public Justice. He has published numerous journal articles and is a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education seminars, having spoken on such topics as Defeating Unlawful Discrimination in Jury Selection, Appellate Practice, Perfecting the Appeal, HIPAA and Ex parte Contacts, Recent Updates on the Law, Electronic Discovery, Arbitration, and Immunity.
Steve Herman practices with Herman, Herman & Katz, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is President of the Pound Civil Justice Institute. The author of America and the Law: Challenges for the 21st Century, Herman teaches an advanced torts seminar on class actions at Loyola Law School and an advanced civil procedure course in complex litigation at Tulane. He served for six years as a Lawyer Chair for one of the LADB Hearing Committees, and serves as Co-Liaison Counsel for Plaintiffs in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Litigation.
N. John Bey is the founder and Managing Partner of Bey & Associates, an Atlanta firm dedicated to meeting each client’s needs and concerns by providing comprehensive legal representation from the conference room to the courtroom. The firm serves those who have been catastrophically injured and represents the families of people killed through medical malpractice, defective drugs and defective products. He has been named 2015 Rising Star, Super Lawyers Magazine, Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40 under 40. He is a faculty member of the American Association for Justice National College of Advocacy and a graduate of the American Association for Justice’s Ultimate Trial Course at Harvard University’s Law School and the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College.
Jan M. Conlin is a founding partner of Ciresi Conlin LLP. She has a long record of leading high-stakes intellectual property, business-critical, and personal injury litigation. Known for her trial and examination skills, Jan uses her well-honed expertise in the areas of trial strategy and risk assessment to find unique resolutions for litigation-based conflicts of all sizes. During the course of her career, she has obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts, awards, and settlements on behalf of her clients. Jan has been repeatedly named one of the nation’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation. She was also inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and named a Minnesota Top 10 Super Lawyer.
Misty A. Farris is senior counsel and an appellate attorney with Dean Omar Branham & Shirley in Dallas. She has spent more than 25 years litigating asbestos, pharmaceutical, and medical device cases for plaintiffs. She has also worked as a teacher, as a minister, and at a home for the developmentally and physically disabled. Ms. Farris received her B.A. from the University of Houston and her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. She also holds an M.Div. degree, summa cum laude, from the Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology. She is a Fellow of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, and a member of the American Association for Justice, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and Public Justice (of which she was a Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2006).
A managing partner at Fay Law Group, Caragh Glenn Fay works to bring justice to those who have caused harm to others. She has over a decade of legal experience and is admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Her practice spans all key areas of personal injury law, including general negligence, medical malpractice, and terrorism. She is also president-elect of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
Brandi Gatewood is a partner with LoCoco, LoCoco & Gatewood, PLLC, in D’Iberville, Mississippi. She works primarily on behalf of plaintiffs and focuses on motor vehicle wrecks, premises liability, workers’ compensation, and Longshore claims. Brandi also regularly serves as appellate counsel for plaintiffs and criminal defendants. Brandi is Co-chair of the Mississippi Association for Justice Amicus Committee, and she serves on the MAJ Executive Committee as the Revitalization Board of Governor to the American Association for Justice Board of Governors. She is Chair-Elect of the American Association for Justice’s Women Trial Lawyers’ Caucus, and she is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Brandi is also a member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Alabama-Mississippi Chapter, Board of Trustees.
Raymond R. Jones is in private practice in Washington, DC. focusing on Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Employment law matters. He has extensive experience litigating matters in state and federal courts. He also represents individuals against some of the largest defense law firms in the country. Mr. Jones serves on the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers (MWELA) Board of Governors and the American Association of Justice Board of Governors. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Temple University, his J.D. from The American University-Washington College of Law and an LL.M in Trial Advocacy from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.
Michelle Kranz is a partner and has been a member of the Ohio law firm Zoll & Kranz, LLC, for more than 20 years. She focuses her practice on mass torts, personal injury, pharmaceutical and product liability, and antitrust. She has extensive experience litigating before state, federal and appellate courts and has handled numerous high-profile cases. She is admitted to practice law in Ohio and before the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th and 7th Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science (cum laude) from Miami University in 1990, Michelle earned her J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1993. Michelle is a Past President of the Toledo Bar Association and is currently serving on the Toledo Bar Association Foundation Board of Directors. She stays involved with her law school alma mater, serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board and is Past President of the UT Law Alumni Affiliate. Ms. Kranz is a member of the Toledo Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the American Association for Justice and the Ohio Association for Justice.
Adam Langino is recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of Florida’s Top 40 trial attorneys under 40 years old and as one of the Top 100 trial attorneys in Florida. He has also been named a Rising Star by the Florida Super Lawyers (a distinction bestowed on no more than 2.5% of Floridian attorneys) and recognized as one of Florida’s Legal Elite. Adam is a 2006 Cum Laude graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Law. He received his Bachelor’s degree with Honors in Government and Politics, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland – College Park and was selected to study at Exeter College at Oxford University, where he participated in an Honors Seminar in British Law and Society.
Prior to joining Cohen, Milstein, Sellers, & Toll, PLLC, Adam was an Assistant Public Defender in West Palm Beach, Florida, handling complex criminal cases, including crimes punishable by life in prison, gaining valuable trial experience securing freedom for the wrongly accused. Adam is a member of the Florida Bar, the Minnesota Bar and the Federal Bar for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida. Adam is a Board member for the Florida Justice Association’s Young Lawyer’s Section and the Young Lawyer’s section of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and a member of APITLA (Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America), the Palm Beach County Justice Association, the National Trial Lawyers, the American Association for Justice, and the Palm Beach County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Andre M. Mura is a partner at the Gibbs Law Group, LLP in Oakland, California, representing plaintiffs in class action and complex litigation concerning consumers’ and workers’ rights, products liability, drug and medical devices, federal jurisdiction, and constitutional law. In 2019, Andre received a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award for his work in De La Torre v. CashCall, 5 Cal. 5th 966 (2018), a landmark decision holding that high interest rates could render loans unconscionable under California Law. Previously he was senior litigation counsel at the Center for Constitutional Litigation PC, in Washington, D.C., where he represented plaintiffs in state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. In Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, 376 S.W.3d 633 (Mo. 2012), Andre successfully argued that a state law limiting compensatory damages in medical malpractice cases violated his client’s constitutional right to trial by jury. Andre is on the Board of the Civil Justice Research Initiative of Berkeley Law and UC Irvine School of Law, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Lawyers Committee of the National Center for State Courts, a Trustee of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, Chair of the American Association for Justice’s LGBT Caucus, and Trustee of the National College of Advocacy.
Amber M. Pang Parra represents people nationwide who have been injured by pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and dangerous and defective products. She is accredited by the VA to represent disabled veterans challenging disability appeals. Ms. Pang Parra also has extensive experience working with state and federal courts, having worked with the Hawaii State Judiciary, and the Federal Judiciary in the District of New Mexico, and the Northern District of Texas. Ms. Pang Parra is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), as well as a member of AAJ’s Committee on the Judiciary, is an alumna AAJ’s Leadership Academy, and currently serves as the chair of the Minority Caucus of AAJ. She holds memberships with the State Bar of Texas, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Hawaii State Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates. Ms. Pang Parra currently leads the Mass Torts, Veterans Law, and Immigration Law divisions at Justinian & Associates PLLC, working primarily out of their San Antonio, TX office. She is a Trustee of the Pound Civil Justice Institute.
Ellen Presby is the Director of Pharmaceutical Litigation at Nemeroff Law Firm, a Dallas based law firm with offices in Dallas, Houston, Park City, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans, where she represents individuals injured by pharmaceutical products in state and federal court, in single actions and consolidated litigations. She has been a trial lawyer for more than thirty years and is currently Co-Lead Counsel in the Connecticut State Court consolidated Pradaxa litigation, and serves on Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees in several other consolidated actions. Ms. Presby is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, teaching Products Liability to second and third year law students, and has taught Trial Advocacy to law students and practitioners. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Public Justice Committee and the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She co-authored Texas Pretrial Practice, published in 2000. She has been selected Texas Super Lawyer every year since its inception and is included on D Magazine’s list of Best Lawyers in Dallas.
Todd Smith is a founding partner in the law firm of Smith LaCien, LLP in Chicago focusing on catastrophic injury and wrongful death matters in the areas of aviation, medical negligence, and general personal injury. He has also served in leadership positions in national mass tort and class action matters. He received his B.A. from Kansas University, his M.B.A. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago.
He has been a trial lawyer his entire legal career beginning in the criminal Felony Courts of the Circuit Court of Cook County at 26th and California as an Assistant Public Defender. Todd is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates. He is also a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the International Society of Barristers. He served as the President of the Illinois State Bar Association; the American Association for Justice; and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
Alinor Sterling practices law as a member of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, PC in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She handles complex civil cases, at trial and on appeal. Alinor received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, where she took her major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and her minor in Russian Studies. After a year’s graduate fellowship in Moscow, Alinor attended the UCLA School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and was an editor of the UCLA Law Review. Alinor is a Fellow of the Pound Civil Justice Institute and the Chair of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association’s Rules Committee. She enjoys teaching on Connecticut practice and procedure whenever she can.
Peggy Wedgworth is a partner with Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC, in New York. She is a managing partner and chair of the Antitrust Practice Group. She has handled numerous securities, commodities, antitrust and whistleblower matters, representing defrauded investors and consumers. She currently represents a nationwide class of plaintiff car dealerships alleging antirust violations in the data management systems, consumers in the Google Play antitrust litigation, and consumers in contact lens and and Hard Disk Drive antitrust litigation. She has also successfully tried numerous cases including a tobacco case in the Engle litigation. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Antitrust Committee, the Pound Institute and the American Association for Justice. She holds a B.A. degree from Auburn University and a J.D. degree from the University of Alabama Law School.
Zachary Wool is a partner with Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, LLP in New Orleans, LA. He focuses his practice representing injured plaintiffs against some of the world’s largest corporations in multi-district litigation. His particular area of interest is electronic discovery and the impact that changes to discovery rules can have on a plaintiff’s ability to prove her case. A deep believer in diversity and its benefits on teams, Zachary co-founded the American Association for Justice’s LGBT caucus.
Tobi Millrood is a partner at the firm of Pogust Millrood, LLC, with offices in Conshohocken and Philadelphia, Pa. Mr. Millrood brings over 20 years of complex litigation experience, with a focus on pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. Through his tireless dedication and careful attention to his client’s cases, Mr. Millrood has earned the accolades of his peers, clients, and Courts. Mr. Millrood served as Plaintiffs’ Lead Liaison Counsel in In Re Hormone Therapy Litigation, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. He was also on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in MDL 1507 – In Re Prempro Products Liability. Mr. Millrood tried four Hormone Therapy cases, obtaining jury verdicts for the Plaintiffs in all four, including verdicts in November, 2009 for $34.3 million and December 2011 for $72.6 million. Mr. Millrood also played an integral role in major appellate victories in the litigation.
Navan Ward is a principal at Beasley Allen Law Firm. He is the firm’s lead attorney on the metal-on-metal hip implant litigation, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) litigation, and practices from the Atlanta office. Navan is licensed to practice in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and New York. He has extensive experience in mass torts involving pharmaceutical drug and device litigation as well as years of experience in Beasley Allen’s Personal Injury Section, where he mostly litigated nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as wrongful death trucking cases. He is an active member of the American Association for Justice, where he currently holds the office of president-elect. He is a former Alabama State Bar delegate for the American Bar Association, past president of the Alabama Lawyers Association, the Alabama State Bar’s Young Lawyers Section, and the Montgomery County Association for Justice. Ward resides in Atlanta with his wife (Bridget) and twin sons (Roman and Jaxon).
Jennie Lee Anderson is Immediate Past President of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, and a founding partner of the San Francisco law firm of Andrus Anderson LLP. Ms. Anderson exclusively represents plaintiffs in a variety of class and complex cases in both state and federal court, including consumer, antitrust, employment and product liability matters. Ms. Anderson has served as lead counsel, liaison counsel and on the plaintiffs steering committee in multiple state and nationwide class or mass actions. She has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer for eight consecutive years, and lectures frequently across the country on a variety of issues relating to class and complex litigation.
Ms. Anderson also serves on the American Association for Justice Board of Governors and is the past Chair of the AAJ Class Action Litigation Group, Antitrust Litigation Group and Business Torts Section. Ms. Anderson is active in the American Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys of California, Public Justice and the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Legal Aid at Work.
Kathryn Clarke is a sole practitioner in Portland, Oregon, who specializes in appellate practice and consultation on legal issues in complex tort litigation. She is a past president of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, and is currently a member of its Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and has been a member of its Board of Governors for over 25 years, serving as President from 1995 to 1996; in 2006 she received that organization’s Distinguished Trial Lawyer award. She is also a member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Jus-tice. She was a member of the adjunct faculty at Lewis and Clark Law School, and taught a seminar in advanced torts for several years. In 2008 she served as a member of a work group on Tort Conflicts of Law for the Oregon Law Com-mission, which resulted in a bill passed by the 2009 legislature. She has served as member and Chair of Oregon’s Council on Court Procedures, and has been a member of the Oregon State Bar’s Uniform Civil Jury Instructions Committee.
Kathleen Flynn Peterson has devoted her life to providing advocacy for people dealing with pain, suffering and loss. She began her career as a registered nurse, speaking for her patients’ needs and speaking up against institutional problems in the medical system in order to provide her patients with the best possible care. Drawn to the law after serving as a juror, Kathleen has continued advocating against health care injustices by focusing her law practice on the representation of individuals and families who have experienced injury or death as a result of medical negligence.
As a result of her outstanding advocacy, Kathleen has been selected for membership in many prestigious, invitation-only trial lawyer organizations and she serves as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Attorneys, the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Bar Foundation. She also is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Civil Litigation Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and is a frequent, sought-after speaker and lecturer on trial litigation strategies. In addition, she has been an active member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, serving as their past president, and the American Association for Justice, the nation’s largest plaintiff’s trial bar. In 2007, Kathleen served as the national president of this organization. In 1999, she was honored with the association’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
Patrick Malone is an attorney in private practice in Washington, DC, where he and his associates at Patrick Malone & Associates, PC, represent seriously injured people in lawsuits against hospitals, doctors, drug companies, government agencies, and other defendants. Malone is the author of Winning Medical Malpractice Cases with the Rules of the Road Technique and is co-author of the best-selling advocacy book: Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability. He also wrote a book for consumers:. Patrick Malone is a graduate of Yale Law School and is a member of the American Law Institute, the Inner Circle of Advocates and is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Ellen Relkin is of counsel to Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. in New York City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney. She has been elected as a “Super Lawyer” of New Jersey and New York as well as AV rated and selected for the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. She is licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. She is a past president of the Pound Civil Justice Institute.
Ms. Relkin was court-appointed by the Hon. Brian Martinotti as lead counsel in the New Jersey In Re: Stryker Rejuvenate/ABG II Modular Hip Litigation. She was a member of the negotiating team for a settlement compensating 3,000 plaintiffs for an amount in excess of one billion dollars. Ms. Relkin is co-lead counsel in the DePuy ASR MDL litigation. In that capacity she played a key role in negotiating the $2.5 billion settlement for 8,000 victims of the failed hip implant. She was appointed this year by the Hon. Eldon Fallon to serve on the Plaintiff Steering Committee in the In Re: Xarelto Litigation. She was a member of the trial team in the landmark Vioxx case McDarby v. Merck, that obtained a $13.5 million verdict and successfully defended the compensatory verdict in writing and arguing the appeal before the New Jersey Appellate Division, 949 A.2d 223 (N.J. App. Div. May 29, 2008). This precedential case established that New Jersey recognized a heeding presumption in pharmaceutical product liability litigation. Ms. Relkin is an elected member of the American Law Institute. She serves on the Board of Governors of the New Jersey Association for Justice. She also serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of California at Irvine Law School. She is a former chair of the Toxic, Environmental and Pharmaceutical Torts Section of the American Association of Justice.
Herman J. Russomanno is a past President of the Pound Civil Justice Institute, and is currently a member of its Advisory Committee. He is a founding partner of Russomanno & Borrello, P.A., in Miami, Florida. Admitted to practice in Florida and Alabama, he is certified as a trial lawyer by both the State of Florida and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University and holds a J.D. degree from Cumberland School of Law. He has served as President of the Florida Bar and of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and is a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a governor of the American Association for Justice, and has been active in, and honored by, numerous other legal and civic organizations.