Debra Pole

Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP
555 W 5Th St Ste 4000
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 896-6623

DEBRA E. POLE is a partner in Sidley's Los Angeles Litigation group and a former member of the firm's Executive Committee. Ms. Pole trains, supervises, and manages a number of lawyers and paraprofessionals in the Products Liability and Mass Torts practice in Los Angeles. Ms. Pole is one of the firm's global leaders in the products liability area and also a member of the firm's West Coast Accounting and Finance Committee. She is a seasoned trial lawyer with experience in multi-district litigation (MDL), class actions and products liability litigation. Ms. Pole has extensive jury trial experience in both federal and state courts involving mass tort litigation, class actions, complex litigation and Daubert proceedings.

Ms. Pole's noteworthy experience includes:

Acted as National Coordinating Counsel for defendants in the high profile silicone breast implant litigation (in MDL and state coordinated proceedings) and the diet drug litigation.

Lead trial counsel in HRT and other bone drug litigation, drug infusion litigation and other pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.

Trial counsel in mask and respirator litigation (asbestos and silica) and in dietary supplement litigation.

Ms. Pole has supervised numerous defense law firms, both domestically and internationally, that were involved in complex pharmaceutical and medical device litigation and has had responsibility for national financial management of mass tort litigation. Because of her sound decision-making ability, analytical, problem-solving and strong interpersonal skills, companies have entrusted Ms. Pole and the firm to manage their mass torts litigation by outsourcing such litigation to them for local and trial counsel assignments, expert witness retention, document analysis and production, early case assessment, alternative dispute resolution, settlements, trials and overall litigation strategy. Companies planning to introduce new products into the marketplace have relied on Ms. Pole for products liability counseling and for her deep experience in early assessment and resolution of products liability matters. She has briefed major appellate matters, provided strategic advice to defendants in multi-district litigation and examined independent medical and scientific expert witnesses appointed by an MDL court pursuant to FRE 706.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Ms. Pole was honored as a 2018 Champion of Justice by Loyola Law School's Civil Justice Program and was recently inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a highly selective list of the top trial lawyers in the United States. The Los Angeles Business Journal recognized her in 2018 as one of the most influential women attorneys in Los Angeles. She is listed for the second time as one of Benchmark Litigation's "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" and named by Benchmark as a "Litigation Star" for Products Liability (2015-2018). Benchmark also named her a "Litigation Star" for Energy and Natural Resources (2018). The 2016 edition of LMG Life Sciences named Debra a "Life Science Star" for Litigation & Enforcement. She was recognized by Best Lawyers of America as the 2016 Los Angeles "Lawyer of the Year" in Personal Injury Litigation ? Defendants and in 2015 she was named Los Angeles "Lawyer of the Year" in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions ? Defendants. Ms. Pole is consistently ranked in Chambers USA (2013-2018) along with Best Lawyers (2003-2019). In January 2013, she was featured on the cover of American Lawyer magazine and received Benchmark's inaugural award for Products Liability (West Coast). Ms. Pole has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the PLC Life Sciences Cross-Border Handbook (2009-2010), National Law Journal's List of Top 50 Women Litigators (2001), National Law Journal's List of Top Ten Trial Attorneys (1994, 2001), Daily Journal Settlements and Verdicts' List of 30 Top Women Lawyers (featured on the 2002 cover, 2003-2004, 2008) and California Legal Eagle (1996). In 2016, Ms. Pole was named one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in California by the Southern California Leadership Council and named in Benchmark's Top 250 Women in Litigation List (2016-2018). America's Top 100 Attorneys has named her as a Southern California Lifetime Achievement recipient for her work in Product Liability Litigation, Class Action Litigation and Pharmaceutical Litigation.

Ms. Pole is a former member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and a former member of the Judicial Council of the State of California, which is the policy-making body for the Judicial Branch of the California State Government.


Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers and a former member of the College's National Trial Competition Committee; former member of the College's State Committee
Former Member, Judicial Council of California
Former Member, ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary
Member of the American Bar Association and part of the defense trial team in the ABA's Trial of the Century, "Litigating the Titanic"
Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
Member, DirectWomen Board Institute, Class of 2009
Member, Defense Research Institute
Advisory Member of the Executive Board of the National Bar Association Health Law Section
Member, Board of Directors, RAND Institute for Civil Justice, Southern California 50 Leadership Council
Member, Litigation Section of the California State Bar
Former member of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) and past faculty member (2004) and Trial Director (2010) of the IADC's prestigious Trial Academy
Former member of the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the California State Bar


Products Liability Climate Change Consumer Products Medical Devices Multidistrict Litigation Preemption Pharmaceuticals Environmental Torts and Public Nuisance Litigation


"Punitive Damages: How Much Is Too Much?" Law Journal Newsletters, Product Liability & Strategy (January 2006)


Panelist, Continuing Legal Education of the Bar, various programs and seminars, including courtroom tactics.
Panelist, Continuing Legal Education Satellite Network "Effects of Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."
Panelist, Defense Research Institute, various programs and seminars, including effective cross-examination of plaintiff's experts.
Panelist, Women in the Courtroom.
Panelist, ALI-ABA, "Effective Management of Mass Tort Litigation."


Debra E. Pole Honored With Champion of Justice Award
October 19, 2018


Benchmark Litigation Honors 12 Sidley Lawyers in Top Women in Litigation
July 16, 2018

Debra E. Pole Named Most Influential Woman Attorney
April 17, 2018

Three Sidley Lawyers Among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America
October 17, 2017


U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit U.S. District Court, C.D. of California U.S. District Court, S.D. of California U.S. District Court, S.D. of Florida California Florida


University of Florida Holland Law Center, J.D. (Florida Law Review, Outstanding Law Student, Federal Practice Book Award)
Dickinson College, B.A.`