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Meet William Marler, a Food Safety Lawyer Hungry for Change

Posted Nov 24, 2009 2:08 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Young and "extremely overconfident," William Marler took a leading role in his first food-borne illness case when he was only five years out of law school.

But news coverage about his severely injured 9-year-old client helped persuade another 200 alleged victims of a fast food restaurant in Washington state to seek help from his law firm, too. After winning a $15.6 million settlement for the girl and her family, Marler persuaded two former opposing counsel to open a boutique specializing in the practice area in 1998, reports the Seattle Times.

"I love my job," he tells the newspaper. "I represent poisoned little children against giant corporations."

Today, however, Marler has his eye on an even bigger platform, the Times reports in a lengthy profile of the Seattle attorney.

Although it will potentially cut down on his legal business if enacted, Marler has been actively lobbying Congress to improve food-safety laws. Meanwhile, he hopes his next job will be as undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Prodding U.S. senators to move forward with proposed legislation, he sent them all t-shirts this year. "Put a trial lawyer out of business," the t-shirts say.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: "Hungry for Change"

ABA Journal: "Feds Consider Steady Diet of Regs to Fix U.S. Food Safety Network"

ABAJournal.com: "To Avoid E. Coli Issues With Hamburger, Some Suppliers Simply Don’t Test"

Seattle Times: "Sprouts, raw fish on attorney's 'do not eat' list"

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