DiCello Levitt was honored by ALM and the National Law Journal as Elite Trial Lawyers in five categories at a July 13 ceremony at the St. Regis in New York City. In recognition of the firm’s exemplary and cutting-edge work on behalf of plaintiffs, DiCello Levitt was named Plaintiffs Law Firm of the Year and was also awarded firm of the year in the trial strategy innovation, environmental, and privacy/data breach categories—an unprecedented and unmatched record. Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann, managing partner of the firm’s Birmingham office and co-chair of its mass torts division, also was recognized as an Elite Woman of the Plaintiffs Bar.
“The other finalists we were up against have some of the most formidable plaintiffs-side practices in the world,” said co-founding partner Mark DiCello. “To achieve such recognition across so many significant categories is an honor and is further affirmation of the meaningful work our team does every day to advance the cause of justice.”
The Elite Trial Lawyers Awards recognize law firms’ outstanding work in a high-stakes bench or jury trial or in a major settlement. The winners must have scored a significant win during the contest period and must also be able to show an impressive track record of wins over the last three to five years. Firms must have devoted at least 50% of their litigation resources to plaintiffs work and shown innovative approaches to case resolution.
“These awards reflect DiCello Levitt’s status as one of the nation’s premier complex issues and trial firms and our continuing dedication to achieving justice for our clients across a wide range of cases and practice areas,” said co-founding partner Adam Levitt. “To win these awards in such a competitive field is proof of concept of what Mark and I wanted to do when we founded DiCello Levitt in 2017 and built the extraordinary team that has made us what we are today.”
DiCello Levitt received the top honor of Plaintiffs Firm of the Year from among some of the country’s most impressive and successful firms, including Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, Labaton Sucharow, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Morgan & Morgan, Motley Rice, and Seeger Weiss. The recognition by ALM and the National Law Journal follows a banner year for DiCello Levitt, in which the firm’s lawyers helmed numerous significant, headline-grabbing cases with sweeping effects on business practices, consumer protections, environmental protections, civil rights, and human health and safety, among other serious issues.
The award for trial strategy innovation recognizes DiCello Levitt’s “trial-first” approach and its leadership in advancing science-driven methods in trial preparation and execution. Through the DiCello Levitt Trial Center—led by partners Bobby DiCello and Chris Stombaugh—the firm has leveraged its proprietary, scientific system to uncover jury decision-making processes and craft highly refined, persuasive messaging. Over the last ten years, DiCello Levitt has conducted thousands of specialized focus groups through its Trial Center, including comprehensive studies about consequential issues of vital importance for judges and juries. The firm’s scientific approach to trials resulted in more than $400 million in settlements and outcomes in 2022 alone—including the $102.6 million jury verdict in October 2022 in a class action trial against General Motors—and more than $2 billion since the firm’s inception.
The award for Environmental Protection Law Firm of the Year comes as DiCello Levitt’s environmental litigation practice has partnered in recent years with Attorneys General in Illinois and Michigan to recover natural resource damages and cleanup costs for soil and water contamination caused by manufacturers and third-party site generators of the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. The firm’s environmental group, chaired by partner Dan Flynn, is also fighting for military service members and their families poisoned by contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and for residents of Rockton, Illinois, who were injured by contamination caused by a series of catastrophic explosions at a Chemtool chemical plant and the subsequent fire that burned for days.
DiCello Levitt was honored with the award for Privacy/Data Breach Law Firm of the Year as its privacy, technology, and cybersecurity practice group, chaired by Chicago Office Managing Partner Amy Keller, continues to raise the bar for accountability and recoveries in this ever-developing field. Last year, the team achieved a $90 million settlement with Facebook parent company Meta on one of the largest data privacy and data breach cases in U.S. history and, in a case against Marriott involving another one of the largest data breaches ever, secured class certification on behalf of the more than 300 million American consumers affected by the breach—only the second time a court has certified a class in a data breach case.
Fu’s recognition as an Elite Woman of the Plaintiffs Bar is further acknowledgement of her groundbreaking work as a relentless client advocate. Last year, Fu made legal history by becoming the first Black woman ever appointed plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in a multidistrict litigation—the massive products liability case against two of the world’s largest infant formula manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson. She followed that landmark appointment with another trailblazing role when, in February 2023, she was appointed plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in an MDL against L’Oréal and other makers of harmful hair relaxer products marketed primarily to Black and Latina women.