The below article was originally published in The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest law journal in the United States, on September 18, 2015, as “Mass Torts Attorney Leaves Beasley Firm For More Focused Work.”
A mass torts attorney for The Beasley Firm has departed to start his own firm and serve as of counsel to a Midwest firm, seemingly leaving his former firm with no mass torts lawyers.
Max Kennerly’s last day at The Beasley Firm was Sept. 4, and he started as of counsel to Tor Hoerman Law the following Tuesday. He also started his own firm in the Philadelphia region, Kennerly Loutey. Former Beasley Firm associate Kim Loutey will join him as a member of the firm and of counsel to Tor Hoerman.
According to Kennerly, he and Loutey were the only two mass torts lawyers at The Beasley Firm when they departed. Jim Beasley Jr. did not return calls seeking comment about their departure.
The Beasley Firm now has eight full-time attorneys, according to its website, as well as one special counsel and two of counsel. It had been at 10 attorneys for more than two years, according to a survey by The Legal, but head count was as high as 16 attorneys in 2004, according to archived versions of the firm’s website. That was before some partner departures, including Andrew J. Stern’s in 2005 and Slade H. McLaughlin and Paul A. Lauricella’s in 2011.
“It just seemed kind of a natural progression in my practice to really expand beyond and go national,” said Kennerly, who plans to continue his local practice in catastrophic injury cases. “It will be largely nationwide mass torts plus a very focused catastrophic practice.”
The catastrophic injury practice will be largely concentrated in Kennerly’s own firm, he said, located in Elkins Park. As far as local individual cases, he said he plans to refer out most of his work that is not catastrophic.
But as of counsel to Tor Hoerman, Kennerly plans to work on plaintiffs steering in mass torts on a national scale. He and Loutey will be Tor Hoerman’s first two Philadelphia-area lawyers.
That firm, named for its founder, Tor Hoerman, is a six-year-old firm based in Illinois, with offices in Chicago and Edwardsville, which is near St. Louis. It has more than 30 employees, 11 of which are lawyers, including Kennerly and Loutey.
Hoerman has worked on cases against large pharmaceutical companies involving Yaz, gadolinium, OxyContin and other products. He was the co-lead counsel in national litigation involving incretin mimetics and Pradaxa, and he was co-lead counsel in the Actos litigation in Cook County, Illinois.
“He’s very well respected in the mass torts world … and has broad reach and availability in a wide variety of mass torts,” Kennerly said.
Hoerman said he had not had an eye on expansion in the Philadelphia area, but did have an eye on Kennerly. The two had worked on cases together, including the federal multidistrict litigation in In re Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation, involving pancreatic cancer and certain diabetes drugs.
“I’m happy to have an office [near] Philadelphia and New Jersey but that wasn’t really the driving force,” Hoerman said. Kennerly’s “career path seemed to fit with what I could offer him.”
Hoerman pointed out two trends within the mass torts space where Kennerly fits in—an expected change in how firms market themselves and a combination of state and federal involvement inmass torts.
“I think that uninformative marketing has taken on a much larger role … I hope that trend doesn’t continue,” Hoerman said. “The information [Kennerly] puts out is honest and informative. It’s not somebody who’s just trying to get cases.”
Kennerly writes a law blog, “Litigation & Trial,” that discusses a variety of legal topics.
With regard to federal and state court involvement in mass torts, Hoerman said the pendulum has swung between the two, and more recently settled in the middle.
“Max can help facilitate that state court and federal court combination going forward,” he said. “Max can have a presence in Philadelphia if that’s where a state court consolidation is going to be.”
Hoerman said he is not opposed to making other strong hires in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area, but he has no plans to actively expand the office.