(Minneapolis, MN and Columbia, SC - November 24, 2009) - Bowman and Brooke LLP, a national law firm known for defending household-name corporations in high-exposure product liability and commercial cases, announced today that it will open a new office in Columbia, SC on December 1.
Joel H. Smith will be the managing partner. Mr. Smith has been practicing product liability law for the automotive and life sciences industries for nearly three decades and was recently named "Personal Injury Litigator of the Year" by Best Lawyers. In 2004, Honda Motor Co. Inc. honored him as its Trial Lawyer of the Year.
Smith joins Bowman and Brooke from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, along with three partners from that firm. Pamela Roberts, Richard Willis and Courtney Shytle will help grow Bowman and Brooke's practice in the areas of automotive and pharmaceutical/medical device product liability defense, as well as commercial and business-related litigation.
"We are excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to open an office for a firm with the national reputation of Bowman and Brooke," said Joel Smith. "We share a number of clients, so this move is very much driven by the opportunity to broaden and deepen the level of client service we have been honored to provide. We have worked with Bowman and Brooke lawyers for many years on a variety of matters, primarily for product manufacturers, and this represents an opportunity to expand Bowman's geographic footprint and practice base."
"We expect the Bowman and Brooke office to have a decisive impact on the legal landscape in Columbia, the state, and throughout the region," added Pamela Roberts. "At the same time, we will miss our long association with our colleagues and friends at Nelson Mullins, and are grateful and proud of our tenure with such a fine institution."
"We have dedicated significant resources to expanding our reach in the Southeast," said David Graves, Jr., Bowman and Brooke's Firm Chair. "As the fourth largest product liability practice in the country, we are well-positioned for further geographical growth and the addition of new attorneys -- even amid the continuing retrenchment occurring throughout the legal profession."
The Columbia office is the firm's seventh office. The others are in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Detroit, San Jose, Los Angeles and Richmond.
Collectively, the four attorneys bring decades of regional and national product liability and commercial litigation experience to Bowman and Brooke.
Joel H. Smith
Mr. Smith has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2001 and, in 2004, Honda named Mr. Smith its Trial Lawyer of the Year. He is a fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers, and has served on the board of trustees of the College of Charleston and was its chairman from 1994 until 2002. He is a former member of the University of South Carolina School of Law advisory counsel, where he has also taught trial advocacy since 1992. He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981 where he was a member of the Order of Wig and Robe. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the College of Charleston in 1978.
Pamela J. Roberts
Pamela Roberts brings a long list of leadership positions to Bowman and Brooke. She has long held prominent leadership positions in the American Bar Association where she just completed her three-year term as the Chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession. She is a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and a current member on the ABA's Litigation Section's council. Ms. Roberts served on the ABA's Board of Governors from 2002-2005 and is a former member of the Commission on Women in the Profession and the Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession (now the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession). She also is a past President of the South Carolina Woman Lawyers' Association and served on the South Carolina Bar Board of Governors from 2002- 2005. Admitted in South Carolina, Georgia and California, her practice includes complex business and securities litigation and class action defense as well pharmaceutical and product liability defense. Active in the community, Ms. Roberts is a member of the Board of Trustees of Claflin College, and is a former board member of Trinity Housing Corporation, EdVenture Children's Museum, and the YWCA of the Greater Midlands. In 1980, Ms. Roberts earned a Juris Doctor after attending Hastings College of the Law and Southwestern University School of Law. During law school, Ms. Roberts was a member of the National Moot Court Team and Phi Alpha Delta, and she received the Alex Hotchkiss Award. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977.
Richard H. Willis
With extensive litigation experience, Mr. Willis has served as lead counsel in jury and bench trials in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. A member of the American Bar Association (Environment, Energy and Resources Section), the Defense Research Institute (Chair, Environmental Law Committee, 1994-95), the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association, and the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association, Mr. Willis is an associate of the Environmental Law Institute. He has been recognized by Atlanta Magazine, "Who's Who in American Law" and The Best Lawyers in America. He is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 1981. There, he also served as Chief Justice of the Moot Court Board. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the South in 1978.
Courtney C. Shytle
Ms. Shytle has been an integral member of numerous trial teams representing automotive and other corporate clients. A member of the South Carolina Bar and its Young Lawyers Division, Ms. Shytle served as a law clerk to The Honorable Karen J. Williams of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and from 1994-1996, she was a staff attorney for the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Ms. Shytle is a member of the American Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association, and serves on the Board of the South Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Ms. Shytle earned a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1994. During law school, she was a member of South Carolina Law Review and the Order of the Wig and Robe. Ms. Shytle earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from The South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina in 1991. She is also a Certified Special Prosecutor in the State Attorney General's Criminal Domestic Violence Pro Bono program.
About Bowman and Brooke
In less than 25 years, Bowman and Brooke LLP has become a nationally recognized trial firm and the fourth largest product liability practice in the country. The firm's 150 attorneys defend a variety of corporate clients, including many Fortune 500 and internationally-based companies, in widely publicized catastrophic injury and wrongful death verdicts, and other complex litigation throughout all 50 states.
Today, Bowman and Brooke provides a well-established array of complementary core practice groups to its national product liability defense practice, including intellectual property litigation, construction litigation, property damage litigation, toxic torts, class actions, consumer warranty litigation, as well as commercial litigation. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Detroit, San Jose, Los Angeles, Richmond and Columbia. www.bowmanandbrooke.com