The National Law Journal Names McGuireWoods Partner Justin Howard a 2020 Litigation Trailblazer

November 5, 2020

The National Law Journal has named McGuireWoods partner Justin D. Howard a 2020 Litigation Trailblazer, recognizing him among the country’s top litigators who have developed innovative legal strategies.

Howard, a trial lawyer in the firm’s Richmond, Virginia, office, defends manufacturers, distributors and clients across industries in high-exposure cases involving catastrophic property damage, personal injury and death.

“It is an honor to be recognized for helping valued clients achieve positive outcomes in difficult litigation matters,” Howard said. “I am grateful to my McGuireWoods colleagues for their collaboration and support.”

In 2019, he secured a jury trial victory for McGuireWoods client STIHL Incorporated in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, one of the most challenging venues in the nation for corporate defendants in civil lawsuits. In Pennington v. Stihl Incorporated, et al., the plaintiff alleged the design of the shoulder straps on a backpack leaf blower manufactured by STIHL was defective and caused his injuries.

To demonstrate to the jury that the shoulder straps could not have caused the plaintiff’s injuries, Howard combined expert testimony, radiologic imaging, medical illustrations, a three-dimensional digital model of the plaintiff’s anatomy and multimedia presentations. The jury found that the backpack leaf blower was not defective and returned a defense verdict.

In addition to handling high-stakes product liability cases, Howard defends clients in labor and employment disputes and actions involving alleged breach of contract, business torts, professional malpractice, financial services fraud and toxic torts.

“Justin has a passion for trial law and the creativity to develop innovative strategies to present clear, persuasive evidence before judges and juries in some of the most challenging jurisdictions for defendants,” said Diane Flannery, chair of McGuireWoods’ Products, Environmental & Mass Tort Litigation Department.

Added Dion Hayes, the firm’s deputy managing partner for litigation: “We are proud that Justin and his team’s incredible trial work on behalf of our clients, in challenging venues across the United States, has been recognized with this honor.”