PHILADELPHIA, MAY 27, 2020 – Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Michael W. McTigue Jr. and Meredith C. Slawe, two of the country’s leading class action litigators, have joined the firm and will co-chair its national Class Actions Practice Group. Slawe will also co-lead the firm’s Retail Industry Group. McTigue and Slawe have practiced together for nearly 15 years and come to the firm from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. They are joined by their colleague, Mira Baylson, a distinguished white collar defense attorney and trial lawyer, and experienced class action litigators, Daniel Brewer and Marie Bussey-Garza.
“Mike and Meredith are recognized leaders in the class action defense bar, while Mira is a premier white collar defense attorney,” says Michael J. Heller, Cozen O’Connor’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The hiring of these powerhouse attorneys reflects a comprehensive strategic plan we’ve put in place to find the best lawyers across the country and build out our complex litigation, investigations, and privacy capabilities. Over time, we have thoughtfully assembled a cross-practice team that helps companies navigate all aspects of consumer protection and privacy issues, ranging from advocacy before legislatures to compliance and risk mitigation to government investigations and enforcement actions to class action litigation. Mike, Meredith, Mira, Dan, and Marie are outstanding lawyers and they achieve tremendous results for their clients. I am thrilled to have them join us.”
McTigue and Slawe join as shareholders and will oversee a deep bench of experienced class action litigators at the firm. This robust, cross-office team represents businesses in a range of industries — including retail, hospitality, food & beverage, technology, communications, health care, pharmaceuticals/life sciences, insurance, gaming, sports, energy, and education — in class actions, complex litigation, and arbitration proceedings. The addition of McTigue, Slawe, and members of their team enhances the firm’s existing class action capabilities and elevates its leadership in the privacy and retail spaces.
Baylson also joins the Philadelphia office as a shareholder and focuses her practice on government investigations, litigation, and enforcement actions. Baylson assists businesses with their most sensitive matters, often where government investigations and enforcement actions intersect with private class action litigation. Baylson is an experienced trial attorney with deep knowledge of the federal and state courts in the Philadelphia region and is a former Philadelphia public defender.
“Mike and Meredith are at the forefront of defending class actions in jurisdictions across the country. They are sought after to represent businesses in litigation, and to advise them day-to-day on related consumer protection issues,” adds Barry Boss, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department. “They are joined by Mira Baylson, a skilled and highly regarded white collar attorney, who I look forward to working with on the White Collar Defense & Investigations Team.”
“From a class action defense standpoint, Cozen O’Connor’s geographic footprint is ideal. With four offices in California and offices in Illinois, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Washington state, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Georgia, we will have boots on the ground in the hotbeds for class action filings, and where we routinely appear on behalf of our clients,” McTigue says. “Further, class actions are inextricably linked to government investigations and enforcement proceedings, which are only increasing in the current legal landscape. Our team is deeply committed to helping our clients reduce the risk of both private litigation and enforcement activity. The opportunity to partner with our new colleagues in the firm’s premier State Attorneys General practice and bi-partisan Public Strategies group is exciting and will prove valuable for our clients.”
McTigue defends aggregate claims asserted under state consumer protection laws, including California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), False Advertising Law (FAL), Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), and Song-Beverly Credit Card Act. He also routinely defends claims brought under federal laws, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). He advises companies on compliance with privacy and consumer protection-based statutes, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). McTigue also represents global businesses in international arbitration proceedings held in the United States and abroad. McTigue will serve on the firm’s board of directors.
A rising star in the national class action defense bar, Slawe represents several leading businesses in their most significant class actions in state and federal courts. She is a trusted adviser to and advocate for retailers and consumer-facing businesses. She advises clients on day-to-day operations, compliance measures, and risk mitigation strategies. Slawe collaborates with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Retail Litigation Center (RLC) on significant class action and privacy-related proceedings before regulatory agencies and in the district and appellate courts. She has been closely advising businesses, including numerous retailers, on a wide range of issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon joining the firm, Slawe, McTigue, and Baylson were immediately added to the firm’s Coronavirus Task Force.
Slawe will co-lead Cozen O’Connor’s Retail Industry Group with litigator Danielle N. Garno, who joined the firm’s Miami office from Greenberg Traurig in February. “I met Danielle several years ago at a fashion law event where she was a featured speaker,” Slawe says. “She’s one of the top attorneys representing businesses in the fashion, luxury, and beauty sectors, and the prospect of collaborating with her in connection with the firm's Retail Industry Group was exciting and a big draw for me. We are bringing together deep substantive experience at a time when retailers need trusted partners who truly understand the industry and its challenges more than ever.”
Baylson has extensive experience counseling clients on the ins and outs of government enforcement, conducting internal investigations, and interfacing with the government at both the federal and state levels. Baylson is a first chair trial lawyer with numerous jury trials under her belt. She has a deep presence in the Philadelphia legal community and works closely with local government enforcement agencies on behalf of her clients. Baylson collaborates with McTigue and Slawe where consumer protection issues raised in class actions may draw the attention of federal or state enforcement agencies or vice versa.
“I am looking forward to continuing to work with Mike, Meredith, and our team to help our clients navigate aggressive enforcement actions and litigation, be it from federal or state government agencies, the plaintiffs’ class actions bar, or a combination of both,” says Baylson. “And, as a Philadelphia native, I am thrilled to be joining a firm with a national footprint that is rooted in Philadelphia.”
The addition of McTigue, Slawe, Baylson, and their team reflects Cozen O’Connor’s ongoing and concerted effort to help business clients navigate the myriad complex, privacy-related compliance issues, both in the United States and abroad. Earlier in May, nine attorneys from Baer Crossey McDemus LLC, a nationally recognized tech and corporate law boutique, joined the Philadelphia office, expanding the firm’s experience in technology, privacy, and data security issues. In addition, long-time tech attorney Frank A. Pugliese, who advises clients on technology-related outsourcing/licensing deals, data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity compliance, left Baker Hostetler and joined the firm’s New York City office.
“Class actions are increasingly focused on cutting edge privacy issues. We successfully defend these cases, and counsel companies on compliance with assorted privacy statutes, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, Biometric Information Privacy Act, and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” says Slawe. “Andy, Frank, and the privacy team that Cozen O'Connor has assembled possess deep technical knowledge that is essential to effectively advise clients in a dynamic privacy and data protection environment. Some of the most sophisticated plaintiffs’ privacy class action firms have teams of technical experts working with them behind the scenes, and it is valuable for our clients to have that experience on our end as well.”
Also joining Cozen O’Connor from Akin Gump are Daniel Brewer and Marie Bussey-Garza. Brewer joins the firm as a member in the Philadelphia office. He represents consumer-facing businesses in a broad range of industries in class actions and commercial litigation matters. Brewer also counsels companies on a range of privacy and consumer protection issues, and has experience defending high stakes commercial and intellectual property disputes in courts, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings.
Bussey-Garza, a star associate based in Texas, defends nationwide class actions and advises companies on privacy and consumer protection issues.
About Cozen O’Connor
Established in 1970, Cozen O’Connor has over 750 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and middle market companies, Cozen O’Connor serves its clients’ needs through 30 offices across two continents.
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