Law Practice

Small Firm, Big Litigation

In more than 30 years of mass torts practice, Mark Robinson has helped his small Calfornia law firm make a big mark.

Founded in 1978 after Robinson won a $128 verdict for a 13-year-old plaintiff with burn injuries in a Ford Pinto gas-tank case, Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson had evolved by the late 1990s to focus primarily on pharmaceutical class actions and tobacco litigation. During the past decade, the firm has doubled in size to 15 attorneys, reports the National Law Journal. It also has twice that many nurses and paralegals on staff.

Known for its high-profile work, the firm isn’t afraid to try something new. Robinson now says, for instance, that he would like to start focusing more on individual business fraud and patent infringement cases.

Evidence of the skills that helped him persuade juries to hand out big bucks is also provided by his law firm’s Web site. A standout from the standard list of generic law firm and partner accomplishments, it offers a riveting account of how his firm got where it is, and ties in his career-changing Pinto verdict with the bunker mentality of the White House under President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate era.

Discussions between top auto industry executives and the president “is eerily contained in Nixon’s secret White House tapes and in 1991 depositions taken of domestic affairs assistant and former White House Counsel John Ehrlichman, who would later spend time in prison for his Watergate role and die in 1999,” the site recounts, adding that little has changed concerning some of the issues that confronted the industry then and now.

His secret for success? As Robinson tells the National Law Journal, “I’ve just liked what I’ve done. It’s a passion.”

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