Temple University’s Beasley School of Law released a study earlier this month analyzing the gender breakdown of leadership in multidistrict litigation (MDL). Law360 cites the study, noting that 98 percent of all MDLs between 2011 and 2016 had a least one man in the highest leadership position and nearly half the cases “had no women at all in the upper levels of case leadership.” The study notes that gender equity is more likely as lawyers begin their careers, yet the gap between male and female lawyers with regard to leadership opportunities widens as they move further into their careers.
I can say without reservation that we at Beasley Allen are pleased to break with this antiquated industry standard. The firm is committed to providing a workplace where all of our lawyers and staff can grow and reach their full potential. That is something we are proud of.
In March, Beasley Allen was recognized for its efforts to provide an inclusive environment that fosters female lawyers’ leadership and success. The Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama (GSSA) selected the firm as the Leading Workplace for Women. Promoting a positive and inclusive environment allows the firm to attract tremendously talented female lawyers like Danielle Mason, who was awarded the GSSA’s inaugural “Leading Lady” award in March, and Leigh O’Dell, who has exhibited superb leadership throughout her career. Both Danielle and Leigh currently serve in leadership roles in MDLs.
In January, Danielle was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) that will help lead the consolidated MDL pending in New Jersey federal court concerning diabetes drug Invokana’s link to kidney damage and diabetic ketoacidosis. She is a member of the trial team that has secured nearly $200 million in verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in litigation alleging the company’s talcum powder products significantly increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer when the products are used in the perineal area. In 2016, Danielle was named Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts Lawyer of the Year.
Last fall, Leigh was appointed as co-lead counsel in an MDL pending in New Jersey federal court on behalf of Plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson for the development of ovarian cancer after using its talcum products. Leigh also handles litigation involving complications from transvaginal mesh. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) granted motions to create consolidated MDLs against seven transvaginal mesh manufacturers and Leigh was selected to serve on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for each of these MDLs. Leigh also was part of the trial team for five of the 17 bellwether trials against Vioxx maker, Merck & Co. In 2014, Leigh was named Beasley Allen’s Litigator of the Year.
Danielle, Leigh, as well as all of our other female lawyers, distinguish themselves daily by demonstrating leadership, striving for excellence and maintaining compassion for their clients. The Beasley Allen law firm celebrates the diverse perspectives of our lawyers who come from different backgrounds with varied experiences.
We plan to highlight the contributions of the firm’s female lawyers with a series of stories about our “Leading Ladies.” These stories will highlight the unique ways women are contributing in the legal profession. We will discuss the opportunities that exist for young women interested in law as a career.
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