Paul LaFata
Partner | New York
Paul LaFata

Paul A. LaFata is an accomplished attorney who focuses his practice on complex product liability and mass tort litigation. Mr. LaFata has served as national counsel in high-profile MDL and class-action proceedings, requiring the development and implementation of national defense strategies and coordination of cross-firm and inter-disciplinary teams in the United States and in Canada, Australia, and other foreign jurisdictions. Mr. LaFata has litigated cases from inception through trial and appeals in state and federal courts nationwide, including on trial teams for bellwether pharmaceutical trials, arguing motions, taking and defending depositions, managing discovery and experts, and drafting extensive briefing. In addition to receiving client award recognition for outstanding service, Mr. LaFata has also advised clients and their legal departments in federal and state regulatory matters and negotiations, policy, compliance, litigation defense planning and commercial contract disputes. Representative industries include pharmaceuticals, healthcare, consumer products, chemicals, plastics, energy, heavy machinery, oil and gas, insurance, nonprofit, and municipal government.

Mr. LaFata volunteers with mock trial organizations to write trial and appellate problems, mentor and coach competitors, and judge mock trial tournaments.

Mr. LaFata is a member of the Editorial Committee of the product liability and mass torts group’s newsletter, Dechert Re:Torts.

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. LaFata was an attorney in the complex mass tort practices at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. 

  • Purdue Pharma in opioid pharmaceutical mass tort claims in an MDL and by state attorneys general.
  • Pfizer in personal injury, class action, and consumer fraud actions in MDLs and state-coordinated proceedings at the trial and appellate levels.
  • Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in class action and individual cases in environmental toxic tort cases and federal appellate litigation.
  • Standard Industries in product liability and consumer fraud class action claims aggregated into an MDL.
  • Forest Laboratories in product liability personal injury cases.
  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance in trial and appellate litigation arising from hurricanes, automobile insurance policy consumer fraud claims, RICO and qui tam litigation.
  • Boy Scouts of America in defense of mass tort claims in trial and appellate postures.
  • Martin Marietta in federal appellate litigation concerning public nuissance claims. 
  • The City of New York in defense of tort claims in a pro bono capacity. 

Includes matters handled at Dechert or prior to joining the firm.

  • State of the Medicine/State of Science, American Bar Association: 32nd Annual Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Spring Conference (April 2024)
  • Evolving PFAS Trends and Industry Impacts: What In-House Counsel Need to Know, In-House Connect Deep Dives Series (September 2023)
  • Examining Expanding Roles of Special Masters and Court-Appointed Experts and Technical Advisors in Mass-Tort MDLs, Rabiej Litigation Law Center (September 2023)
  • Technological Growth in Tort Liability & Practice, Hofstra Law School (March 2023)
  • Examining New Proposed MDL Rule Changes and What They Will Mean for Practitioners, American Conference Institute: Drug and Medical Litigation Conference (Dec. 2022)
  • Examining the Latest Product Liability Trends and What They Mean for In-House Counsel, Dechert LLP (Nov. 2022)
  • PFAS For In-House Counsel: What Legal Departments Need to Know About PFAS Regulation and Litigation, In-House Connect: Deep Dive Series (Nov. 2022)
  • The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Role of In-House Lawyers, Association of Corporate Counsel - Ethics and Compliance CLE Institute (Aug. 2022)
  • The Future of Trial Practice in Pharmaceutical Drug and Device Litigation, American Bar Association (June 2022) 
  • Manufacturing and Consumer Products Law Institute 2022 – Practicing Law Institute (Apr. 2022)
  • Lessons Learned: This Year’s Opioid Trials, American Conference Institute: Drug and Medical Litigation Conference (Dec. 2021)
  • Practical Advice for Environmental Toxic Tort Cases Involving Building Products, DRI Product Liability Conference (Aug. 2021)
  • Mass-Tort MDL Case Law and Practices Review Open Bench-Bar Conference, The George Washington University Law School (June 2021)
Services Industries
    • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 2004, highest honors
    • William & Mary Law School, J.D., 2007, Top 10% of class, Order of the Barristers, Executive Articles Editor for William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal
    • New York