Leslie O'Leary has devoted her entire legal career fighting for victims of defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Leslie joined Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton in 2016. Before that, she was a partner at Williams O'Leary in Portland, where, for 17 years, she successfully represented thousands of plaintiffs around the country in product liability lawsuits against drug and medical device manufacturers.
Leslie is passionate about speaking truth to power. Since she was a kid, Leslie always wanted to be a voice for vulnerable people who could not be heard - which is what motivated her to go to law school. It became immediately apparent to Leslie that defective drugs and medical devices disproportionately harm working families, women, people of color, children, and the elderly. It has been her mission to advocate on their behalf to hold manufacturers of defective medical products accountable.
For example, Leslie successfully represented numerous plaintiffs (mostly women) in their claims against the manufacturers of the popular diet drug "fen-phen," which caused serious and often fatal heart and lung diseases. She also fought on behalf of plaintiffs (mostly women and children) who suffered strokes after taking PPA, the active ingredient in over-the-counter nasal decongestants and diet pills. In addition, Leslie served on an 8-member national Plaintiffs' Coordinating Committee in the Ephedra multi-district litigation, or "MDL," advocating on behalf of plaintiffs (mostly young people and people of color) who suffered strokes, heart attacks, seizures, and heat strokes caused by Metabolife and other "natural" ephedra dietary supplements. In the national Hormone Replacement Therapy MDL, Leslie also represented hundreds of elderly women who developed breast cancers caused by Prempro. Leslie is nationally respected by her colleagues for writing, arguing, and winning motions involving complex legal and scientific issues in state and federal court.
At Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton, Leslie handles numerous MDL product liability cases for clients, including claims for injuries caused by defective products (such as talcum powder, Essure permanent birth control devices, Bair Hugger warming blankets, failed hip implants, pelvic and hernia repair meshes, and asbestos).
Leslie graduated cum laude from the University of Montana in 1983, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Spanish and History. After working for several years as a commercial real estate appraiser in Portland, and later as a paralegal in the Lincoln Savings & Loan and breast implant litigations, Leslie went to law school at Lewis & Clark Law, graduating in 1998. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar and is admitted to practice before the Oregon District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leslie has served on the governing boards of Oregon Women Lawyers and Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. Leslie is the former Board President of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, and currently serves as Vice President of the Oregon Jury Project. She is also a Guardian Sustaining Member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA), and a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Leslie is a frequent guest lecturer at Lewis & Clark law school and Oregon Health & Science University. In 2015, she was an adjunct professor of torts at Lewis & Clark Law School.
In her spare time, Leslie enjoys hiking with her dog, cooking, and reading. She and her husband also suffer through season after season of baseball as loyal Cubs fans.
- Defective Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
- Partner, Williams Love O'Leary & Powers - Portland Oregon (1999-2016)
- Lewis and Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
- J.D. - 1998
- University of Montana
- B.A. - 1983
- Honors: cum laude
- Major: Political Science
- Minor: Spanish and History
- Past President and Board Member, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon
- Guardian and Former Member of Board of Governors, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association
- Former Member of Board of Governors, Oregon Women Lawyers
- Vice President, Oregon Jury Project
- Sustaining Member, American Association for Justice
- Oregon State Bar
- District of Oregon
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Author, “Causation – The Key to Medical Products Cases,” OTLA Trial Lawyer, Winter 2014
- Co-Author, Chapter 21, “Mass Torts,” Torts (2012 rev.), OSB Legal Publications, Sept. 2012
- Author, “Litigating in the Absence of an MDL,” AAJ Trial Magazine, Nov. 2010
- Contributor, “Product Liability” and “Wrongful Death,” Oregon Statutory Time Limitations (2010 rev.) OSB Professional Liability Fund, July 2010
- Author, Chapter 25, “Experts,” Federal Civil Litigation in Oregon (2009 rev.), OSB Legal Publications, Oct. 2009
- Author, “Does FDA Regulation of Drug Labeling Preempt State Law Failure to Warn Claims?” OSB Products Liability Newsletter, Spring 2007
- Author, “In Pursuit of Ephedra: The Challenges of Pharmaceutical Mass Torts,” OTLA Trial Lawyer, Spring 2006
- Co-Author, “The Fraud of Hormone Therapy: How Drug Companies Manipulated Women,” OTLA Trial Lawyer, Spring 2006
- Author, “Less than Perfect Evidence: The Collision of Science and Law under Daubert,” OSB Products Liability Newsletter, Winter 2006
- Author, “Pharmaceutical Mass Torts: A High Stakes Game,” OTLA Trial Lawyer, Winter 2002
- Author, “Kumho Tire in Oregon: Should it Apply?” OTLA Trial Lawyer, Summer 2000
- Author, “Mass Tort Class Actions: Will Amchem Spawn Creative Solutions?” Defense Counsel Journal, Oct. 1998