Judges, attorneys, and law students attend Institute’s Mass Tort MDL course

Dec 8, 2022Latest News

Decorative image for the Mass Tort MDL Certificate 2022 showing a picture of a sculpture at Duke Law School.

The Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School hosted its 2022 Mass Tort MDL certificate course virtually in November. Over the span of two days, more than 100 participants engaged in a series of panel discussions about the lifecycle and management of mass tort MDLs. The 2022 course was notable for the increase in registrations from law students and judges.

“That so many judges — federal, state, and even international — and current law students registered to attend this year’s course speaks to the quality of our faculty and the presentations on these really important, highly complex cases,” said David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute. “MDL cases comprise a growing majority of the federal caseload and are increasingly prominent in state courts. By providing these educational opportunities for lawyers and judges to become better equipped to manage and handle these cases, the MDL certificate program delivers at the core of our mission to improve the administration of justice.”

While MDLs now make up almost 70 percent of the U.S. federal civil caseload, they are seldom taught in law school. Furthermore, there are only a few programs nationwide that teach the fundamentals of MDLs. The late Duke Law Professor Francis E. McGovern, a renowned mass harms attorney, special master, and mediator, realized a need for a continuing education program devoted to MDLs and established Duke’s certificate program in 2018 with hopes that it would help expand and diversify the field of attorneys practicing in this area of law. The Bolch Judicial Institute continues to build on Professor McGovern’s vision with the Mass Tort and MDL certificate course, the advanced certificate program, and the annual McGovern Symposium.

This year’s certificate program covered topics from the history of MDLs to settlement and resolution and were taught by leading practitioners, scholars, and judges in the field. New to the schedule was an interactive breakout panel for judges only in which they shared best practices and discussed challenges around case management. Several judges commented afterward that they appreciated this opportunity to learn from each other. An international judge noted that while mass torts did not exist in their country, learning about the concept was “really useful.”

The Bolch Judicial Institute thanks the faculty presenters, staff, and sponsors — The Moskowitz Law Firm and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP — who made this program possible.

We hope you can join us in May 2023 at Duke Law School for the Advanced MDL Certificate Course and McGovern Symposium! Click here to receive email updates on these and other MDL programs hosted by the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School.