W&L Attorneys Designated 2016 NY Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars


Super Lawyers Magazine has announced its 2016 list of exceptional attorneys from the New York Metro area, including 17 from Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. The firm feels privileged to report that many of our attorneys on this year’s Super Lawyers lists are regularly lauded as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars of the New York Metro area. In fact, two W&L attorneys have been singled out for receiving this honor 10 times: Lawrence B. Goldhirsch and Paul J. Pennock.

Three women stand out among the 17 recognized for their superior achievements in the New York Metro area: Super Lawyer Ellen Relkin and Rising Stars Phan Alvarado and Danielle M. Gold. Ms. Alvarado also holds the distinction of being new to the Rising Stars roster.

Pierre Ratzki is also new to this year’s list of the magazine’s New York Metro’s Rising Stars.

Selection Process for Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Super Lawyers Magazine evaluates attorneys across the country who represent more than 70 practice areas. “Each attorney named on the list is noted for achieving superior recognition from peers, as well as significant professional achievement,” W&L representatives said.

Before designating attorneys as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars, Super Lawyers Magazine devotes extensive time and resources to the task. The comprehensive evaluation process leads to the selection of the cream of the crop.

“Each attorney named here has demonstrated legal mastery far above and beyond all of the other attorneys nominated in a given region and practice specialty,” according to executives at the firm. Peers nominate only the best among themselves after observing them in numerous settings: in the courtroom, at a deposition, at the negotiating table and in other legal venues.

A Super Lawyers Magazine research team is then charged with overseeing a rigorous investigation. This team must objectively confirm each candidate’s merits.

W&L Super Lawyers of the New York Metro Area

Perry Weitz and Arthur M. Luxenberg are the W&L co-founders — these two legal masters started it all. With strong ideals and a clear mission, they joined together in the 1980s to found a firm that has become a leading, nationally recognized establishment representing thousands of people who have been victims of corporate misconduct and irresponsible business practices.

With more than 85 attorneys acting on behalf of the firm today, Mr. Weitz and Mr. Luxenberg are credited with the firm’s continued success, winning billions of dollars in awards over the years for their clients.

Robert J. Gordon joined the firm in 1991 as lead trial attorney for victims of asbestos exposure and defective medical devices. In 1996, Mr. Gordon became the only other member of the firm besides its founders, Mr. Weitz & Mr. Luxenberg. After forming the firm’s Environmental unit, Mr. Gordon was named “New York Mass Torts Litigator of the Year” in 2011. Now Of Counsel, Mr. Gordon has obtained $7.3 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of victims.

Adam R. Cooper, an associate attorney with the firm’s Asbestos Litigation unit, is noted for his role in helping secure a $190 million verdict in 2013 for mesothelioma victims from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. That same year, Mr. Cooper was also instrumental in helping win $35 million for the family of a New York man who had died of mesothelioma, having originally emigrated from Croatia. In recent years, he’s also won millions of dollars for an automobile mechanic and a former Navy shipfitter.

Lawrence B. Goldhirsch serves in the firm’s Drugs & Medical Devices unit as trial counsel. Mr. Goldhirsch has been listed in Who’s Who in American Law every year for more than 35 years. One of his notable achievements includes obtaining a $61 million on behalf of a young man who lost both legs after falling, drunk, onto subway tracks. He is also considered an aviation expert and authored the Warsaw Convention Annotated, a lawyers handbook on international aviation accidents.

Paul J. Pennock is chair of W&L’s Drugs & Medical Devices unit. Mr. Pennock, a premier attorney, has been designated lead plaintiffs’ counsel, liaison counsel, and plaintiff steering committee member in countless mass tort cases, both for state and federal multidistrict litigations. Most recently, in multidistrict litigation involving Actos, Mr. Pennock was part of the team that secured a $9 billion punitive damages jury verdict.

Ellen Relkin, W&L of counsel attorney in the Drugs & Medical Devices unit, has committed herself to representing plaintiffs injured by defective metal-on-metal and modular hip implants and has been appointed by both federal and state courts as lead counsel in these litigations. She has negotiated millions of dollars in compensation for those who suffered from DePuy or Stryker hip implant defects. She also works on cases for people harmed by the serious side effects of drugs, including Invokana and Xarelto. Over the years, she has represented thousands of people who were harmed, serving in a variety of leadership capacities and helping to secure $13.5 million in a case involving Vioxx. In July, she was elected as the President of the Roscoe Pound Civil Justice Institute. 

Michael P. Roberts joined W&L in the 1980s as an associate attorney in the Asbestos Litigation unit. As a senior trial attorney for the firm, he has won verdicts of $53 million for a brake mechanic and more than $47 million for a boilermaker who contracted mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. Mr. Roberts has become a member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, a nonprofit organization leading efforts to teach up-and-coming attorneys how to be commanding legal advocates. On behalf of NITA, the Hofstra University School of Law, and the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Mr. Roberts continues to instruct others in the practice of examining expert medical witnesses.

Nicholas A. Wise is a senior attorney in W&L’s Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice unit.

W&L Rising Stars of the New York Metro Area

W&L’s Rising Stars are dedicated to helping people who were harmed, through no fault of their own, by large corporations.

Phan Alvarado is a member of W&L’s Asbestos Litigation unit. She was on the team that recently assisted in securing $12.5 million for three construction workers exposed to asbestos who developed mesothelioma. Ms. Alvarado’s husband works in steamfitting — an industry that has asbestos-exposure risk — giving her an edge in understanding her clients’ needs.

James Bilsborrow, an associate attorney in the firm’s Environmental Toxic Torts and Consumer Protection Litigation unit, assisted in achieving a settlement against British Petroleum (BP) worth billions of dollars due to the company’s gross negligence in the Gulf Coast oil spill of 2010. In addition to environmental disasters, he works in the area of consumer protection. Recent cases have included representing people injured by recalled automobiles as well as victims of stolen identity, due to data breaches at healthcare organizations such as Anthem, Excellus and Premera Blue Cross.

Adam S. Dreksler, a member of the firm’s Asbestos Litigation unit, has committed himself to helping the victims of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. He plays an essential role managing the intake process for all new asbestos-related injury cases. Mr. Dreksler’s goal is to help the victims get justice from manufacturers who negligently cause harm, including getting financial compensation for them and their families.

Michael Fanelli is an associate attorney working in W&L’s Asbestos Litigation unit. In a lawsuit against Crane Co., he helped recover $25 million for two men who worked as electricians and were diagnosed with mesothelioma. In a case against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Goodyear Canada, Mr. Fanelli helped obtain $22 million on behalf of another two victims of asbestos exposure. He also helped three construction workers get $12.5 million in compensation.

Danielle M. Gold is an associate attorney in the Drugs & Medical Devices unit at W&L. Ms. Gold is proving to be indispensable to the unit, working on a number of cases that aim to help victims of drugs and medical devices that have serious side effects. In addition to litigating against major pharmaceutical companies, she helps victims understand the process of litigation and other available options.

Pierre Ratzki serves in the firm as an associate attorney. In his role in the Appellate unit, he focuses on appeals and trial level motion practice. On appeals, he is charged with convincing higher courts to overturn unfavorable decisions or uphold favorable ones.

Gennaro Savastano, an associate in the firm’s Appellate unit, is charged with assisting the firm in upholding appellate court lower-court decisions that favor the firm’s clients. He also works on trial-level motion practice. His incisive legal research and analysis recently helped secure a reversal of a criminal conviction, a case that he took on pro bono.

Jonathan M. Sedgh, an associate attorney, works in W&L’s Drugs & Medical Devices unit. Since joining the firm, he has played key roles in more than a dozen multidistrict litigations and state court-coordinated efforts. Mr. Sedgh assisted the firm in the Actos multidistrict litigation in which W&L won a record-breaking $9 billion in punitive damages for our client. In 2016, Mr. Sedgh was appointed to the Plantiffs’ Steering Committee for the IVC Filter multidistrict litigation.

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