Russell W. Budd is a major force in the world of plaintiff’s attorneys, having devoted his more than four-decade career to championing the rights of people and communities injured by corporate malfeasance. Currently, Mr. Budd presides over one of the nation’s largest plaintiff’s firms, Baron & Budd, PC, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with offices in California, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Budd, a shareholder of Baron & Budd since 1985 and president and managing shareholder since 2002, has expanded the firm from its cornerstone asbestos practice to a national firm capable of tackling the biggest defendants in areas as diverse as pharmaceutical and medical device injury, environmental contamination, employment law, opioids litigation, financial fraud and various other areas of practice.
Over the past decade, Mr. Budd has played significant roles in asbestos litigation on a national level. As chair and member of several asbestos creditors’ bankruptcy committees, Mr. Budd successfully resolved over 100,000 victims’ claims with some of Wall Street’s biggest companies. Mr. Budd was the chief negotiator of a $4 billion national settlement with Halliburton that established a trust fund to protect present and future asbestos victims throughout the United States – the largest asbestos trust fund of its kind anywhere in the world. He was on the committee that negotiated a $3.9 billion settlement with United States Gypsum to benefit asbestos claimants. And, he participated in negotiations that led W.R. Grace to agree to fund a bankruptcy trust on behalf of asbestos claimants with nearly $3 billion in cash and stock equity.
Under Mr. Budd’s direction, Baron & Budd provided the initial funding for the launch of the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to research curative therapy for Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The firm has also given generously to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, Lung Cancer Alliance and to other asbestos awareness advocacy organizations.
Mr. Budd serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and previously served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA).
On July 13, 2010, Mr. Budd was awarded the prestigious Harry M. Philo Award Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the American Association for Justice (AAJ) at the organization’s annual conference in Vancouver, BC. The award was presented in recognition of his dedicated and consistent leadership in protecting the rights of individuals through the civil justice system. In 2007, he earned the prestigious Wiedemann Wysocki National Finance Council Award from the American Association for Justice, an award honoring attorneys for their commitment to the legal profession and their efforts to improve the civil justice system.
Under Mr. Budd’s leadership, Baron & Budd has won numerous awards. The firm was recently named by National Law Journal’s to its “Hot List” of exemplary plaintiffs’ firms in the United States and has been included in the Hot List eight times.
Mr. Budd and his wife are very involved in the community. One of the causes closest to his heart is Habitat for Humanity, which gives hardworking Dallas families a chance at first-time homeownership. He has personally contributed generously to the “Building on Faith” project, a collaborative initiative between the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition (DFCC), the City of Dallas and Habitat for Humanity to build one hundred affordable single-family homes in West Dallas. In addition, Mr. Budd has donated land to the City of Dallas that enabled completion of a massive bike and hike trail. Mr. Budd previously served on the Foundation Board of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).
In 2014, Mr. Budd, along with his wife, donated $2.5 million to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to endow The Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education. The Center is a radical concept that works closely with numerous non-profit organizations to help children exit poverty through education. Though the program is initially focused on West Dallas, the program hopes to create a template for the nation in promoting truly substantial change.