Sidley Austin

Speaker Bio

Debra Pole is a partner in Sidley’s Los Angeles Litigation group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She is the practice group leader for the Products Liability and Mass Torts practice in Los Angeles where she trains, supervises and manages a number of lawyers and paraprofessionals. Ms. Pole is one of the firm’s global leaders in the products liability area and also a member of the firm’s West Coast Accounting and Finance Committee. She is a seasoned trial lawyer with experience in multi-district litigation (MDL), class actions and products liability litigation. Ms. Pole has extensive jury trial experience in both federal and state courts involving mass tort litigation, class actions, complex litigation and Daubert proceedings.

Ms. Pole’s noteworthy experience includes:

  • Acted as National Coordinating Counsel for defendants in the high profile silicone breast implant litigation (in MDL and state coordinated proceedings) and the diet drug litigation.
  • Lead trial counsel in HRT and other bone drug litigation, drug infusion litigation and other pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.
  • Trial counsel in mask and respirator litigation (asbestos and silica) and in dietary supplement litigation.

Ms. Pole has supervised numerous defense law firms, both domestically and internationally, that were involved in complex pharmaceutical and medical device litigation and has had responsibility for national financial management of mass tort litigation. Because of her sound decision-making ability, analytical, problem-solving and strong interpersonal skills, companies have entrusted Ms. Pole and the firm to manage their mass torts litigation by outsourcing such litigation to them for local and trial counsel assignments, expert witness retention, document analysis and production, early case assessment, alternative dispute resolution, settlements, trials and overall litigation strategy. Companies planning to introduce new products into the marketplace have relied on Ms. Pole for products liability counseling and for her deep experience in early assessment and resolution of products liability matters. She has briefed major appellate matters, provided strategic advice to defendants in multi-district litigation and examined independent medical and scientific expert witnesses appointed by an MDL court pursuant to FRE 706.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Ms. Pole was recently inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, a highly selective list of the top trial lawyers in the U.S. She was once again recognized by Best Lawyers of America as the 2016 Los Angeles “Lawyer of the Year” in Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants. In 2015, she was named Los Angeles “Lawyer of the Year” in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants. Ms. Pole is consistently ranked in Chambers USA (2013–2015) along with Best Lawyers (2003–2016). In January 2013, she was featured on the cover of American Lawyer magazine and received Benchmark’s inaugural award for Products Liability (West Coast). Ms. Pole has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the PLC Life Sciences Cross-Border Handbook (2009-2010), National Law Journal’s List of Top 50 Women Litigators (2001), National Law Journal’s List of Top Ten Trial Attorneys(1994, 2001), Daily Journal Settlements and Verdicts’ List of 30 Top Women Lawyers (featured on the 2002 cover, 2003-2004, 2008) and California Legal Eagle (1996).