Bolch Judicial Institute
Bolch Judicial Institute
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Mass-Tort MDL Certificate Program for Plaintiff Lawyers

Duke Law School
Durham, NC
(August 12-14, 2020)

The Duke Law School Bolch Judicial Institute held an intensive 3-day mass-tort MDL instructional program in 2019.  It was extremely successful.  We will hold annual certificate programs based on the same curriculum offered in 2019.  The 2020 certificate program will again be taught by experienced MDL judges, preeminent mass-tort lead counsel, and lawyers who chaired specific-task MDL committees. The program is designed for plaintiff lawyers who would like to get into the tort and consumer mass-tort field or who would like to enhance their ability to compete for MDL committee appointments, which can lead to appointments to plaintiff steering and executive committees.

The Duke Law Bolch Judicial Institute will award lawyers who successfully complete the program a Certificate in Mass-Tort MDL. [No Duke Law School academic credit is provided for this program.] The program will be held at Duke Law School.

The Bolch Judicial Institute is committed to expanding opportunities for new lawyers, particularly women and diverse lawyers, to compete for leadership positions in mass-tort MDLs.  Lawyers who have chaired MDL committees are in a better position to be seriously considered for plaintiff steering and executive committee appointments as well as lead counsel positions.  The Duke Law Bolch Judicial Institute certificate program provides a unique opportunity to gain practical know-how not available anywhere else, network with key players in mass-tort MDLs, and better equip you to compete for leadership positions.

Mass-Tort MDLs are typically run by various committees, which are tasked to perform specific assignments, e.g., deposition, production of documents, facts discovery, expert discovery, privilege logs, etc.  Performing these common-litigation tasks on the grand scale, which is required in Mass-Tort MDLs, is daunting. These tasks are performed in accordance with evolving conventions and customs, which are developed and accepted by the MDL community.  Although the Duke MDL Best Practices provide information on discrete MDL practices, no comprehensive written documents are available.  Understanding what lawyers are expected to do in a mass-tort MDL can be learned only through a program of oral instructions.

The Duke-Bolch program brings together leaders in the bench and bar who are integral to the MDL community.  You will learn what the judges expect, how lead counsel execute those directives, and how committee chairs carry them out.  As importantly, you will have many opportunities to meet informally with the faculty during the break sessions and raise any particular questions or concerns.

The certificate curriculum is rigorous and comprehensive.  On Day One, judges and lead counsel will explain when cases become mass-tort MDLs, how they are formed, and the first administrative steps taken by the transferee judge.  On Days Two and Three, lawyers who led MDL committees join the judges and lead counsel to explain the steps they took in bringing together and managing scores of other MDL lawyers to accomplish their committee assignments. Every instructional session will include two different committee chairs who will present alternative ways to handle the tasked assignments.

The tuition is $1,995.  An early-bird registration fee of $1,850 will be available if you register before May 1, 2020. Please email any questions to