DEBRA E. POLE is a partner in Sidley’s Los Angeles Litigation group and a former member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She trains, supervises, and manages a number of lawyers and paraprofessionals in the Products Liability and Mass Torts practice in Los Angeles. Ms. Pole is recognized globally as a leader in the products liability area. She is a seasoned trial lawyer with experience in multi-district litigation (MDL), class actions and products liability litigation. Ms. Pole has extensive jury trial experience in both federal and state courts involving mass tort litigation, class actions, complex litigation and Daubert proceedings.
Ms. Pole’s noteworthy experience includes:
- Acted as National Coordinating Counsel for defendants in the high profile silicone breast implant litigation (in MDL and state coordinated proceedings) and the diet drug litigation.
- Lead trial counsel in HRT and other bone drug litigation, drug infusion litigation and other pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.
- Trial counsel in mask and respirator litigation (asbestos and silica) and in dietary supplement litigation.
- Trial counsel in talcum powder litigation.
- National Coordinating Counsel in HIV Litigation.
Ms. Pole has supervised numerous defense law firms, both domestically and internationally, that were involved in complex pharmaceutical and medical device litigation and has had responsibility for national financial management of mass tort litigation. Because of her sound decision-making ability, analytical, problem-solving and strong interpersonal skills, companies have entrusted Ms. Pole and the firm to manage their mass torts litigation by outsourcing such litigation to them for local and trial counsel assignments, expert witness retention, document analysis and production, early case assessment, alternative dispute resolution, settlements, trials and overall litigation strategy. Companies planning to introduce new products into the marketplace have relied on Ms. Pole for products liability counseling and for her deep experience in early assessment and resolution of products liability matters. She has briefed major appellate matters, provided strategic advice to defendants in multi-district litigation and examined independent medical and scientific expert witnesses appointed by an MDL court pursuant to FRE 706.
The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Ms. Pole was inducted into the LMG Life Sciences Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in the life sciences industry. She was honored as a 2018 Champion of Justice by Loyola Law School’s Civil Justice Program and in 2016 was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a highly selective list of the top trial lawyers in the United States. Ms. Pole is consistently ranked in Chambers USA for Product Liability & Mass Torts (2010–2023) along with The Best Lawyers in America (2003–2021). She was named by Benchmark Litigation as a “National Practice Area Star” and a “California Litigation Star” for Product Liability and Recall (2015–2023) and was listed as one of Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” (2017–2018). Benchmark Litigation also named her a “Litigation Star” for Energy (2016–2023). She was named a Global Leader in Who’s Who Legal: Life Sciences - Product Liability (2021–2023) and in Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence (2021–2023). Ms. Pole was recognized by LMG Life Sciences as a “Life Science Star” for Product Liability (2019–2022) and Litigation & Enforcement (2016). The Los Angeles Business Journal recognized Ms. Pole as one of the most influential women attorneys in Los Angeles (2018, 2022) and as one of its “Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Attorneys” (2021–2022). Ms. Pole was recognized by Best Lawyers in America as the Los Angeles “Lawyer of the Year” in Personal Injury Litigation — Defendants for 2016 and 2022, and in 2015 and 2018 she was named Los Angeles “Lawyer of the Year” in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions — Defendants. Ms. Pole was named one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in California by the Southern California Leadership Council (2016) and named in Benchmark Litigation's Top 250 Women in Litigation List (2016–2020, 2022). America’s Top 100 Attorneys has named her as a Southern California Lifetime Achievement recipient for her work in Product Liability Litigation, Class Action Litigation and Pharmaceutical Litigation (2016). In January 2013, she was featured on the cover of American Lawyer magazine and received Benchmark’s inaugural award for Products Liability (West Coast). Ms. Pole has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the PLC Life Sciences Cross-Border Handbook (2009–2010), National Law Journal’s List of Top 50 Women Litigators (2001), National Law Journal’s List of Top Ten Trial Attorneys (1994, 2001), Daily Journal Settlements and Verdicts’ List of 30 Top Women Lawyers (featured on the 2002 cover, 2003–2004, 2008) and California Legal Eagle (1996).
Ms. Pole is a former member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, but continues to be called upon to vet federal judicial candidates. She is a former member of the Judicial Council of the State of California, which is the policy-making body for the Judicial Branch of the California State Government.