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How Products Liability Lawyers are Using Tech in Practice

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In the latest Compose webinar, “A.I. for Products Liability Motions,” our CEO Jake Heller sat down with attorneys and Compose Advisory Board members Chris Nidel and Andrew Turkish to discuss how they leverage technology in their respective products liability practices. 

Watch the full clip above, or check out the snapshots below!

Chris and Andrew represent opposite parties in products liability cases – Chris is the named partner of Nidel & Nace, a plaintiff-side firm that litigates pharmaceutical products liability and environmental toxic torts cases. Andrew is a partner at Clausen Miller, where he focuses on defense-side products liability cases.

Here are Chris’ and Andrew’s responses to Jake’s questions about products liability and innovation, the importance of efficiency, and ways to use Compose to create better outcomes for both plaintiffs and defendants in brief drafting and litigation.


“How do you view the role of technology in your practice?”

“I’m old school, so I’ve had to incorporate technology into my practice,” Andrew said. “When I first started practicing, computers were primitive, research was primitive, and there were no emails and there was no Internet.” But today, Andrew embraces technology. “For me it’s 24/7. If I’m not on my computer at work or my laptop at home, I’m on my iPhone.”

Chris echoed the same sentiment, putting it bluntly: “Technology is central to any kind of success.” He highlighted the role of technology in leveling the playing field as well, helping smaller practices compete with resource-rich large firms. 


“What does efficiency mean to your practice?”

Andrew, as a defense-side products liability attorney at a large firm, has lots of resources at his disposal. But efficiency is still extremely important: “I have a high-volume practice; I can’t spend 25 hours on a brief,” he said. “If I can spend 5 hours on a brief and devote that extra time to another case, I’m ahead of the game. So efficiency is very important from the defense perspective.”

And with the products liability plaintiff side usually having access to fewer resources than the defense, efficiency is critical to Chris’ success in cases. “My practice is everything about efficiency – it’s not just efficiency in terms of money, but it’s efficiency in terms of time,” he said. He detailed a particular example in trial where he himself had to take on roles that require multiple staff, something that the defense almost always has in surplus. “Me standing there alone, with an iPad, did the work of a handful of people and thousands of dollars, where I was doing my cross examination at the same time as I was pulling up the next exhibit,” he said. “I was doing the role of two or three people and doing callouts and doing all this stuff during trial with software that was a hundred dollar, one-time purchase versus this whole suite of software and staff that [the defense] have.”


“What’d you learn from the experience working with the Compose team and the Compose content?”

Even as a products liability attorney with over thirty years of experience, Andrew finds Compose’s products liability templates useful in brief drafting. “I found the Compose outlines that I looked at and reviewed very thorough, very helpful, and I think the practitioner will also find that,” he said.

As for Chris, he was struck by Compose’s attention to the nuances of products liability arguments and motions, and he found Compose’s comprehensiveness to be central to building counterarguments against the defense. “Compose gives you a way to get your feet back on the ground very quickly and say, ‘You know what, I’ve got arguments here and this isn’t a loser,’” he said. “It takes the sting out of dealing with that initial step in responding to a motion, and it allows you very quickly to see that there are arguments that you can make, there are cases to support those arguments, and you don’t necessarily have a loser just because [the defense] were able to pull some cases and make that argument to the court.”

To learn more about how Compose’s technology is reshaping products liability law, watch the recording of our “A.I. for Products Liability Motions” webinar here. Or, join us this week for another webinar introducing new technologies that reshape products liability law: https://compose.law/pl-draft-high-quality-briefs/.

Spencer is an intern at Casetext and a history major at Yale that's passionate about the intersection of law and technology, specifically with digital rights and legal principles, artificial intelligence and ethics, and big data and public policy. You can contact him at spencer@casetext.com.