Akin Gump Expands Class Actions Practice with Five-Partner Team in Philadelphia and San Francisco

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 09:53

Akin Gump is pleased to welcome a five-partner national class action litigation team: Seamus C. Duffy, Michael W. McTigue Jr., Meredith C. Slawe, Kathryn E. Deal and Michael J. Stortz have joined Akin Gump from Drinker Biddle & Reath, where they practiced together for more than a decade. Mr. Stortz will be resident in the firm’s San Francisco office, while the remaining four will reside in its Philadelphia office.

At Akin Gump, this experienced group of litigators will expand the firm’s national class actions and complex commercial litigation capabilities in key areas, including privacy, advertising and marketing, consumer protection and life sciences; bolster its leadership in the retail litigation space; and strengthen the firm’s presence in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

This powerhouse team has a national practice focused on consumer class actions and complex commercial litigation and related compliance counseling. They represent leading companies in the communications, retail, energy, technology, insurance, and pharmaceutical and life sciences industries in their most challenging and high-exposure cases, and are at the forefront of anticipating the next waves of consumer class action litigation and proactively advising clients on how to mitigate risk. This group has successfully led efforts among the defense bar to combat abusive class action litigation brought by professional plaintiffs.

Messrs. Duffy and McTigue have served in senior leadership roles at Drinker Biddle: Mr. Duffy as one of the managing partners of the firm and chair of the class actions team, and Mr. McTigue as chair of the firm’s litigation group, one of the executive partners and a member of the senior management team. In addition, Ms. Slawe served as chair of the firm’s retail industry group and vice chair of the class actions team, Ms. Deal served as chair of the summer associate committee, and Mr. Stortz served as vice chair of the class actions team. This group also launched and led a California retail class actions group and a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) team, which they intend to continue at Akin Gump.

Seamus C. Duffy has more than 30 years of experience representing leading businesses in their most significant class action and complex litigation matters and is a trusted advisor to Fortune 100 companies in the communications and energy industries. A sought-after speaker and writer on class action defense, he is a nationally recognized thought leader on privacy law and litigation. 

Michael W. McTigue Jr. is trusted by global companies across a broad range of industries to be lead counsel in their most sophisticated and important disputes. He has nearly 25 years of experience representing companies in class actions, business disputes, intellectual property litigation and domestic and international arbitration proceedings, and also serves as national coordinating litigation counsel for a leading global life sciences company.

Meredith C. Slawe defends companies in class actions and commercial litigation matters in courts and arbitration proceedings across the country. She has earned a reputation as an emerging leader in the national class action bar and as an advocate for, and trusted advisor to, the retail industry.

Kathryn E. Deal focuses her practice on defending companies at complex civil trials and in class action litigation. She defends leading businesses in the retail, energy and pharmaceutical industries, and manages concurrent class, mass and individual proceedings in a national counsel role. Ms. Deal’s class action experience includes defending claims under consumer protection statutes, privacy laws, anti-discrimination legislation and federal and state RICO statutes. She is also a first chair trial lawyer with an outstanding record of success.

Michael J. Stortz has 30 years of experience representing companies against claims of unfair competition, false advertising, consumer fraud, breach of warranty and product defect, as well as claims arising under the TCPA and related federal and state statutes. He also advises companies as to compliance with these statutes. In addition to his extensive work defending class actions, Mr. Stortz also represents clients in the technology, pharmaceutical and consumer product industries in a wide range of commercial disputes, including antitrust and intellectual property matters.