Fern Phillips O’Brian, who had been a partner at Arnold & Porter for the past 20 years, has joined Thompson Hine’s D.C. office as a partner in the product liability practice. She started work at the firm on June 21.
O’Brian, who joined Arnold & Porter as an associate in 1984, headed the firm’s London office from 1999 until 2002. She focuses her practice on defending health effects litigation and counseling companies on regulatory matters involving product liability and toxic torts. She also represents emerging technology companies and research organizations, including those developing and commercializing nanotech-enabled products.
According to her online biography, O’Brian represented Wyeth in fen-phen diet drug litigation. She has also represented AtheroGenics, a pharmaceutical company that was bought out by Crabtree Acquisition Co. last year, and American National Red Cross Blood Services. O’Brian declined to name current clients.
In a statement, Elizabeth Wright, who chairs Thompson Hine’s product liability practice group, said of O’Brian, “Her depth of experience in the toxic tort and consumer and health care products areas will be a great benefit to our clients.”
O’Brian said she decided to move her practice to Thompson Hine to take advantage of its nanotech practice and its national presence in product liability. Thompson Hine has about 30 lawyers across the country who do product liability work, but O’Brian will be the only one in Washington. She said she will work with Wright to grow the practice in D.C.