Maja C. Eaton
MAJA EATON is a member of Sidley’s Executive Committee and a global leader for the Products Liability and Mass Torts practice. She has defended and tried a wide variety of products liability cases, ranging from the defense of toxic tort litigation to cases and mass tort litigation involving pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. Maja’s background in the sciences lends itself well to this practice area, and she has substantial experience in the development of trial themes, expert witnesses and company defenses involving a variety of scientific and medical disciplines.
Maja was awarded “Top Female Litigator of the Year” for the Midwest by Benchmark Litigation at their inaugural Awards event in January 2013. She was also named as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation (2013–2015), published by Benchmark Litigation, the first magazine devoted to honoring the achievements and issues facing female trial lawyers in the United States. Additionally, this publication named her as one of the Top 10 Female Litigators in the nation in 2013 and 2014. She is also featured as a Life Sciences Star in LMG Life Sciences (2012–2016) for her outstanding litigation work. Maja is ranked as a leading lawyer nationally in Litigation-Products Liability by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – The Client’s Guide (2008–2016), which praised her as being “very good with clients and thinking ahead to the big picture.” She is also recognized as a Leading Lawyer in “Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices” by The Legal 500 – The Clients’ Guide to the US Legal Profession (2008–2016), which has described her as “a phenomenal medical, scientific and legal thinker.” She is also named in Who’s Who Legal (2010–2016) for Product Liability Defense, in Who's Who Legal 2014–2016 for Life Sciences, as a “Litigation Star” nationally in Product Liability by Benchmark Litigation (2010–2017), and she is mentioned as a “local star” for Illinois in Benchmark Litigation (2011–2017). Maja is recognized as a “Best Lawyer” in Mass Tort Litigation/ Class Actions – Defendants in the 2015–2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.
Maja was recently selected by the Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) to receive the inaugural “Outstanding Contributor” award for 2016. This award was bestowed to recognize the efforts of volunteer experts whose contributions stood out among the LCJ membership. LCJ relies on volunteer experts to develop reform agenda and produce the highest quality advocacy materials.
Maja has served as national coordinating counsel and member of the national trial team for a major client in asbestos litigation, and in 2005 secured a defense verdict for the client in a significant asbestos case tried in Madison County, Illinois. She currently serves as trial counsel to a client in cases in the MDL and state court litigation involving gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents, and as national counsel to a medical device manufacturer in litigation involving cardiac leads. Maja has also successfully defended trial court level victories in both state and federal appellate courts. She has delivered a number of presentations at national and international law conferences on topics relating to the defense of drug and medical device claims, including challenging the use of circumstantial proof of defect in medical device cases, proof of general versus specific causation in toxic exposure and drug cases and a primer on U.S. product liability law for foreign in-house counsel. Maja has also taught products liability law as an adjunct professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
In addition to serving on the firm’s Executive Committee, Maja is firmwide co-chair of the Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women. Maja is committed to addressing issues regarding the advancement of women in the legal profession and represented Sidley at the Inaugural Women in Law Hackathon in June 2016. The Hackathon was a “Shark Tank”-style competition created by Diversity Lab in partnership with Stanford Law school and Bloomberg Law. Modeled after tech industry events, the 2016 Hackathon brought together nine teams, each consisting of six law firm partners, two team advisors, and one Stanford law student. The teams competed to craft and present innovative initiatives designed to enhance the recruitment, advancement and retention of women in law firms. Maja’s team took 2nd place at the Hackathon, and donated the prize money of $7,500 to the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas.
Maja also serves on the firm’s Recruiting Committee, Pro Bono Committee, and Professional Risk Management Committee. Maja also co-chaired Sidley’s mentoring program for several years. Maja is currently co-president of the Board of Directors of the Legal Assistance Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Law School Foundation.
- “Q&A with Sidley Austin's Maja Eaton,” Law360, April 18, 2013
- Defending a Medical Device Case When the Product Is No Longer Available, In-House Defense Quarterly, (Summer 2008).
- Chicago Bar Foundation, Board of Directors
- Iowa Law School Foundation, Board of Directors
- Defense Research Institute, Member
- American Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Lawyers for Civil Justice
- Legal Assistance Foundation, Board of Directors