Eckert Seamans Hires Former Bayer Associate GC

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Pittsburgh-based Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott has hired Gary D. McConnell, former vice president and associate general counsel of Bayer Corp., as a member in its products liability, mass tort and commercial litigation practices.

His first official day at the firm was Jan. 20.

The move comes almost exactly a year after Eckert Seamans hired nine products liability and mass tort lawyers from New York-based insurance defense firm McGivney & Kluger, adding attorneys across the firm's Boston and White Plains, N.Y., locations, as well as giving it a new office in Newark, N.J.

McConnell, who recently left Bayer as part of a planned retirement transition that began a few years ago, said he first started talking to law firms ranging in size from two-lawyer shops to global organizations last spring.

McConnell said he ultimately decided to join Eckert Seamans in part because of his previous experience working with the firm in his in-house role.

"I know this is a very good law firm, I've worked with them for 16 years and I know a number of really good lawyers here," McConnell said, adding that he also believes the firm will provide him with the best opportunity to service the life sciences industry, particularly pharmaceutical and medical device clients.

McConnell, who spent nearly two decades handling products liability, medical malpractice and admiralty defense cases at a St. Louis firm before going in-house, said he knew all along that he wanted to rejoin private practice once he left Bayer.

"I think it presents the best opportunity for me," McConnell said. "I was in private practice for 17 years before I came in-house so I know what it's about."

While he will obviously not be bringing a book of business with him to the firm, McConnell said he plans to start out working on existing matters while he builds his own practice.

"It's going to take a lot of work," McConnell said. "I'll be out trying to do some client development but also hopefully working on business for some existing clients."

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