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’s work has garnered significant attention from leading legal industry publications. She was awarded “Top Female Litigator of the Year” for the Midwest by Benchmark Litigation at their inaugural awards event in January 2013. This publication has also named her to their list of the Top 250 Women in Litigation (2013–2019), the Top 10 Female Litigators (2013–2014), as well as the Top 100 Trial Lawyers (2015–2018).
Maja is also featured as a Life Sciences Star in LMG Life Sciences (2012–2019) 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 (2008–2020), 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 (2008–2017), 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 (2010–2020), and she is mentioned as a “local star” for Illinois in Benchmark Litigation (2011–2020). Maja is recognized as a “Best Lawyer” in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants in the 2015–2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.
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 also has served as national trial counsel to a client in cases in the MDL and state court litigation involving gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents, and as national trial 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. In August 2019, she served as faculty for the renowned IADC Trial Academy for practicing lawyers, which is sponsored annually by the International Association of Defense Counsel at Stanford Law School. She has delivered a number of presentations at national and international law conferences on topics relating to the defense of toxic tort cases, and 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.
Maja was 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.
In addition to serving on the firm’s Executive Committee, Maja is firmwide co-chair of the Marketing and Practice Development Committee, and is a former co-chair the firm’s 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 sponsored by Diversity Lab in partnership with Stanford Law School and Bloomberg Law. 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 a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation, and a former two-time president of the board of directors of Legal Aid Chicago (formerly, the Legal Assistance Foundation). She currently serves as vice-president of the board of directors of the Iowa Law School Foundation.
Admissions & Certifications
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
- U.S. District Court, N.D. of California
- U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois - General
- U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois - Trial Bar
- U.S. District Court, S.D. of Illinois
- University of Iowa College of Law, J.D. (with high distinction, Note and Comment Editor, Iowa Law Review)
- University of Iowa, B.A.