Robert Nelson ’87 plays the long game to hold corporations accountable

, now the Aronson Family Professor of Criminal Justice. Nelson also worked closely with University Professor Emeritus on death penalty cases while in law school.

Thử kết hợp xổ số“Professor Amsterdam taught me that the client is the most important person in the world to a lawyer, and that listening to the client is crucial. That’s a lesson that I’ll never lose,” Nelson says. After graduating Order of the Coif, Nelson clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the US Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit before spending the next five years as a federal public defender in San Francisco.

“After having been a defender for several years, my focus shifted in terms of what I wanted to do,” Nelson says. “I was hoping to do what we call impact litigation, where I would use litigation to potentially impact more people, which led me to my current job.”

At Lieff Cabraser, Nelson has spent much of his career suing cigarette and tobacco companies. As an young partner in the 1990s, Nelson was a part of the large, national group of plaintiffs lawyers whose firms worked together with the attorneys general of many states to secure a $246 billion master settlement agreement with major tobacco companies in 1998, which remains the largest settlement in history, Nelson says. In 2015, Nelson and co-counsel negotiated a $100 million settlement on behalf of 400 Florida smokers against cigarette companies, and also helped oversee a dozen successful trial verdicts against these companies. Currently, Nelson is representing the state of Hawaii in a suit against the e-cigarette company JUUL.

Thử kết hợp xổ số“Justice in tobacco cases is very slow,” says Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law , who worked with Nelson as an expert on the master settlement agreement on behalf of the attorneys general. “It takes a lot of perseverance to keep running up against tremendously well-sourced adversaries with brilliant lawyers on either side. It takes a willingness to fight every issue, and you really have to be in it for the long haul and have a strong sense of internal fortitude,” Issacharoff adds.

Thử kết hợp xổ sốNelson says that plaintiffs practice has made for an interesting career, and one that has allowed him to serve the public on a large scale. “I encourage current law students with an interest in public interest work, when they are reading cases, to be thinking about the fact that there’s a lawyer who brought that case, a lawyer who’s representing the plaintiff, and a lawyer who’s representing the defendant,” he says. “Law students should be thinking, ‘Would I... be interested in representing this kind of plaintiff and bringing this kind of case that’s going to have this kind of impact on the law?’... In my opinion, we are out here bringing the most interesting and exciting cases that have the potential to really benefit many, many people.”

Posted May 6, 2020