View from the General Counsel’s Office:
Limiting Liability and Managing and Reducing Costs in Drug and Med Litigation

Monday, December 8, 2014
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Registration and Continental Breakfast at 8:45 a.m.)

Howard L. Dorfman
Vice President and General Counsel
Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Parsippany, NJ)



J. Byron Hayes
Senior Litigation Counsel
Zimmer, Inc. (Fort Wayne, IN)



James M. Holston
Managing Counsel, Office of General Counsel
Merck & Co. (North Wales, PA)

Michael P. Panagrossi
Associate General Counsel
Purdue Pharma L.P. (Stamford, CT)


Diane E. Lifton
Partner and Co-chair,
Life Sciences and Product
Liability Groups
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
(New York, NY)

In this exclusive session, attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from leaders at biopharmaceutical and medical device companies about the challenges inherent in executing a trial/settlement strategy from the top-down in the face of an increasingly aggressive plaintiffs’ bar and ever-rising litigation costs. Designed to provide inside insights into what General Counsel looks for from their defense teams, this intimate networking group will leave attendees armed with the knowledge of what top companies expect from their “go-to” team members. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Exploring the troubling steady increase in the size of drug and medical device products liability settlements and verdicts
    • Understanding the significant civil damages, potential criminal liability, and reputational exposures which significantly increases the risks in taking
      a case to trial in a products liability case
    • Keeping the “big picture” in mind: understanding the attendant consequences of a products liability action including qui tam and false claims suits and shareholders’ actions
    • Taking into account SEC and financial disclosure issues
  • Formulating internal policies to mitigate risk of litigation from employees’ actions
    • Preparing and training employees vis-a-vis appropriate social media use
    • Getting the message out regarding discovery policies and litigation holds
    • Educating the organization on use of emails
    • Handling whistleblowers’ actions appropriately
    • Addressing the increased threat of individual liability for responsible corporate officers and in-house counsel stemming from alleged products liability
  • Developing and maintaining a “good corporate citizen” reputation and fostering positive public relations to increase favorable public perception of the company pre-litigation
    • Combating public perception against corporations generally and preventing the trial from turning into an indictment of “Big Pharma” or “Big Device” in particular
    • Choosing a corporate representative to be the face of the company at trial
    • People over profits: successfully telling the public the real story of the efforts and costs inherent in the development of a drug or device to promote health and well-being
  • Dealing with the tremendous pressure to reduce costs and slash budgets in light of increased costs to life sciences companies in drug development, government regulations and requirements arising from healthcare reform
    • Doing more with less resources: Forecasting a realistic budget to work within despite spiraling litigation costs
    • Streamlining litigation costs despite heavy discovery burdens: limiting the scope of discovery requests in accordance with Judge Rader’s model rules
  • Increasing outside counsel’s performance while decreasing costs
    • Assessing outside counsel’s performance: metrics for effectiveness and efficiency
    • Monitoring billing practices and evaluating performance
    • What kinds of alternate and fixed fee arrangements with law firms are working to lower the cost of litigating products liability cases?
  • Demystifying the firm selection process and gaining a better understanding of what General Counsel looks for when selecting outside counsel for their trial teams
    • What is the process for becoming a manufacturer’s preferred provider?
    • How do the smaller firms get in the game?
    • Examining in-house counsels’ “pet peeves” with regards to their outside counsel
      — what behavior/activities/style should be avoided?
    • Comparing the various models for counsel roles- national, regional, local or by areas of expertise (e.g., evidence, discovery, appellate, Daubert and related scientific issues)

5:00 Pre-Registration and Welcoming Cocktail Reception Hosted by:

Post-Conference Workshop
Ethics: Inclusion and Diversity and the Products Liability Bar: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities in Attracting and Retaining Diverse Trial Counsel

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Joyce D. Edelman
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP (Columbus, OH)

Paulette Morgan Mara
Schoeman Updike Kaufman Stern & Ascher LLP (New York, NY)

It is a clear business imperative that life sciences companies and the law firms representing them must attract and retain diverse talent. Simply put, having a diverse group comprised of individuals of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and generations, reflective of the community in which cases are tried, makes for a stronger litigation team as a whole with a wealth of perspectives and personal experience.
In addition to this common sense rationale for diversity in the products liability bar, in-house counsel have espoused a commitment to diversity within their law departments and have made it clear that diversity matters to them when vetting and choosing law firms to represent them. In this Ethics session, our esteemed leaders will drill down into the criteria that in-house counsel looks for when choosing diverse law firms and how firms can best implement policies that will truly effect change and promote a diverse workforce. Topics to be discussed:

  • Achieving and promoting diversity from the law firm perspective: moving from an intellectual understanding of the need for diversity to measurable efforts showing recruitment, retention and advancement
    • Exploring the challenges and opportunities for in-house and law firm retention of diverse talent
    • Discussing which diversity initiatives are working and designing sustainable diversity programs for life sciences companies and the outside law firms representing them
  • What specific evidence of diversity are companies seeking from outside counsel?
    • Firm composition overall
    • Partners
    • Breakdown within teams
  • Evaluating your firm’s efforts in promoting diversity
    • Having a written plan and timeline in place to measure diversity efforts
    • Targeting specific deficiencies within the firm’s composition
    • Putting together a leadership team to develop and mentor diverse talent