Ben Barnett


Ben Barnett


Philadelphia | Cira Centre, 2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America 19104-2808
+1 215 994 2887 | +1 215 994 2222


Ben Barnett is a nationally-recognized and widely-respected eDiscovery attorney having led discovery or disclosure projects in significant litigation and government investigations for more than 15 years. Mr. Barnett has served as the lead discovery attorney in a number of high-profile matters, including the Takata Airbag litigation and litigation and investigations involving a broad range of pharmaceutical products including Vioxx, Vytorin, Baycol, and Seroquel, where he was retained as substitute lead discovery counsel after entry of a sanctions ruling. 

Mr. Barnett has consistently been recognized by Chambers Global, Chambers USA and The Legal 500 US as a leading eDiscovery lawyer praising his “sophisticated practice” and "excellent work." One client noted, “the depth of his expertise is the reason we and others rely on him to get the job done when no-one else can see how." In 2019, The Legal 500 US ranked Mr. Barnett for his product liability, mass tort and class actions: pharmaceuticals and medical devices practice and noted that in the realm of eDiscovery he was “without peer.”

Mr. Barnett has briefed, argued, and won key discovery disputes in dozens of federal and state courts, defended IT executives in hearings and depositions, worked effectively with multiple discovery special masters, and successfully resolved hundreds of complex discovery issues through negotiations with government and opposing counsel. In many instances, his work was done in the context of virtual law firms working to collectively defend companies facing simultaneous civil litigation and criminal investigations. Mr. Barnett has also served as trial counsel for companies facing discovery sanctions and as a strategic advisor to clients dissatisfied with the performance of their existing eDiscovery team. 

Recently, Ben has been retained by clients to develop strategies and manage teams responding to government investigations involving multiple jurisdictions, which creates a broad range of legal and technical challenges, including multiple languages, data transfer restrictions, navigating potentially conflicting privacy regulations, and different privilege standards which all may impact the ability to collect, review, and produce data. Through this client work, Ben has expanded his expertise into privacy and cybersecurity issues.

In keeping with his long-standing commitment to public service, Mr. Barnett also maintains an active pro bono trial and appellate practice.  Recent cases include: Sutherland v. Commissioner Social Security, No. 17-3381 (3d Circuit 2019 (lost following oral argument); Watson v. Rozum, No. 13-3510 (3rd Circuit 2016) (won reversal after briefing and oral argument); Barnett v. Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, No. 1697 (Commonwealth Court 2013) (won on brief); Beaton v. Tennis, et al., No. 10-3325 (3rd Circuit 2012) (lost following oral argument and denial of petition for rehearing); Cerome v. Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, et al., No. 09-2070 (3rd Circuit 2010) (won reversal following briefing as court-appointed amicus counsel).  

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Barnett served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. He also worked on Capitol Hill for five years prior to and during law school.

  • Kenyon College, B.A., 1984
  • The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D., 1993, Note & Comment Editor on the Catholic University Law Review; awarded American Jurisprudence Awards for Criminal Law and Administrative Law; member of the Thurgood Marshall American Inn of Court
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of Maryland
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Board of Governors, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Co-Chair, Large Firm Management Committee, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Member, University of Pennsylvania Inn of Court
  • Newlin Township Planning Commission
Speaking Engagements
  • CDR Summer Litigation Symposium 2017 — London (June 29, 2017)
  • Discovery Best Practices post-Actos: Minimizing the Risk of Harsh Defense Sanctions in an MDL — ACI's 19th Annual Drug and Med Litigation Conference, New York, NY (December 9, 2014)
  • One Year Later: The eDiscovery Amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure — Philadelphia Bar Association 2013 Bench-Bar & Annual Conference, Atlantic City, NJ (October 4, 2013)
  • The Evolution of Legal Project Management — Project Management CLE Institute, Philadelphia, PA (September 13, 2012)
  • The Keys to Successful Execution of a Litigation Project Management Plan — Litigation Project Management 2011, New York, NY (March 3, 2011)
  • Responding to the Viral Age of Social Media — Presented by Dechert in Association with the Delaware Valley Area Corporate Counsel Association, Philadelphia, PA (September 23, 2010)
  • Project Management as a Risk Management Tool — The Hildebrandt Institute 9th Annual Law Firm General Counsel's Forum, New York, NY (September 13, 2010)
  • Data Security, Corporate Compliance and E-Discovery: Navigating the Data Morass — NJCCA's 7th Annual All-Day Conference, Philadelphia, PA (September 24, 2009)
  • E-Discovery and Document Management Forum — Presented by the American Conference Institute with Sponsorship by Dechert, Philadelphia, PA (September 22, 2009)
  • Ensuring the Integrity and Sufficiency of Your E-Discovery and Information Management Process and Procedures in a Tumultuous Market: Overcoming Complications Arising from Bankruptcies, M&A, and Departing Employees —American Conference Institute's E-Discovery and Document Management Conference, Philadelphia, PA (September 22, 2009)
  • Document Management & E-Discovery Corporate Counsel Forum — Presented by the American Conference Institute with Sponsorship by Dechert, New York, NY (September 17, 2008)
  • Privilege, Communication, and Accountability: What Has Changed Since Qualcomm? — American Conference Institute's 6th Annual Advanced Forum on Document Management & E-Discovery, New York, NY (September 17, 2008)
  • E-Dialogue with Law Firms & Outside Entities — Corporate E-Discovery Forum, Washington, DC (June 15, 2007)
  • E-Discovery & Litigation Readiness for Life Sciences — Presented by the American Conference Institute with Sponsorship by Dechert, New York, NY (February 27, 2007)
  • View From the Bench: What the Life Sciences Industry Must Know About the New FRE Changes to Overcome Common E-Discovery Challenges — ACI's E-Discovery & Litigation Readiness for Life Sciences, New York, NY (February 27, 2007)
  • Defending Third-Party Claims — American Conference Institute's Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY (December 14, 2005)
  • Winning E-Discovery and Electronic Document Management Strategies: A Comprehensive Guide for Corporate Counsel — Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY (March 1, 2005)
  • Medical Monitoring Claims Under PA Law — Hot Topics in Product Liability - A Pennsylvania Bar Institute Continuing Legal Education Course, Northeast Philadelphia, PA, and Mechanicsburg, PA (December 3, 2003)