Attorneys reflect on collective career highlights championing the rights of plaintiffs against Big Tobacco, drug pricing schemes, emissions cheating and the world’s largest corporations
Hagens Berman, an international class-action law firm, celebrates its 30th anniversary, having led some of the largest and most impactful lawsuits on behalf of consumers, employees, whistleblowers and other plaintiffs in meaningful lawsuits against the world’s largest companies. As it enters its third decade, Hagens Berman has achieved settlements totaling $325 billion for plaintiffs.
The law firm’s roster of attorneys includes powerhouse litigators from a variety of backgrounds ranging from military veterans, to work in various sectors of the Department of Justice, to cybercrime prosecution, to professional musicians, and this same diversity is exemplified in the firm’s case work which includes prolific successes across a variety of practice areas.
But the firm’s managing partner and co-founder, Steve Berman, will be the first to say that the firm’s success has never changed its focus and founding mission: to do the most good for large groups of people affected by fraud and negligence.
“Plenty of class-action firms got big from the business of printing checks worth less than the cost of postage, mailed to class members they cared nothing about. We’ve always done things differently,” he said.
A Changing Landscape
The firm’s founding ethos may be the same, but the circumstances in which the firm operates have continued to change. From a slew of ongoing challenges to mass torts and class actions, to the rise of the World Wide Web digitizing a notoriously antiquated profession, to political opposition threatening to upend procedural rules, to staying nimble during a pandemic of unforeseen proportion, Hagens Berman has proven that flexibility and determination work hand in hand to help keep the boat afloat.
“After litigating class actions for 30 years, the world around us has changed immensely since 1993. We continue to adapt, and as new social issues arise, we continue to ask ourselves an important lifelong question, ‘How can we be helpful to those who need it most?’” said Steve Berman. “We draw from what we find most inspiring: the law’s ability to truly make a difference and positively impact people’s lives now and into the future. That’s what we believe makes good lawyering.”
“We still take to heart every email we receive telling us that the settlement check means real recovery, or the images a car owner sends of their horrendous vehicle fire while the car company throws up its hands, and the messages from those who stopped taking a prescription because they lost insurance, facing prohibitively high drug prices,” Berman said.
What it Means to Live a Legacy
Hagens Berman has led monumental cases in a multitude of areas: taking on complex antitrust price-fixing, and securing historically high recovery for consumers; leading the fight for the rights of college athletes regarding concussion protocols, name-and-likeness rights and scholarship funds; taking on Harvey Weinstein in the era of #MeToo; challenging the world’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies in their illegal attempts to fix the price of life-saving prescription drugs; fighting on behalf of cities and municipalities against Big Oil in the face of rising sea levels; reclaiming lost family heirlooms for Hungarian Jews in the aftermath of World War II; uncovering diesel emissions-cheating in the aftermath of Dieselgate; and leading the cause on behalf of 13 states against Big Tobacco in what would be the largest settlement in world history at $260 billion.
“Today, we’re staying in the present while still trying to keep an eye on the future – the next generation of good lawyers – and also honoring our past,” Berman said. “We haven’t made it to 30 without having said goodbye to a few of our nearest and dearest attorneys and colleagues – those who helped build the firm and stay true to our mission. All we can do is continue to make choices and take on challenges that would make them proud and that continue to light the way for a better future.”
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.