Posted on Wednesday, January 24th, 2024 at 9:56 pm
Timothy E. Jackson is a partner at Wallace Miller. His practice focuses on product liability, mass torts, and drug and medical device litigation.
How did you get into the legal field?
My dad taught international law and foreign relations and his passion and knowledge for that field often spilled over to conversations at the dinner table. I think that’s what first drove me to have an interest in the law. From a young age, I always enjoyed writing, reading, and trying to find creative solutions to problems. In many ways, that’s what being an attorney is: devoting your time and energy to solving problems creatively and helping people where you can.
What is the most interesting part of practicing law?
Working in the fields of product liability law and mass torts gives me a chance to help craft, refine, and change the laws that affect products that people use in their everyday lives. If I can do a small part to make some of those products just a little bit better and a little bit safer, then I’ve accomplished something worthwhile that I can be proud of.
What are the most challenging parts of being a lawyer?
We live in an instant gratification world where people want to move quickly and see fast results. That’s not always possible in the law, where cases can take years and require patience. That can be frustrating for plaintiffs and attorneys.
I know people in other fields who get to leave their mark more quickly—if they’re an architect, they design a building and they can walk by and see their building and it’s this tangible thing. Sometimes in the law, it can be harder to see change.
Where do you take inspiration in your life?
I read something recently that stuck with me about trying to continuously improve and making small changes and improvements every day. I try to get one percent better each day. I don’t know if I’m always successful, but I think striving to just make small improvements is important.
Everyone around us has something we can learn from and borrow—whether it’s their leadership skills or organizational skills, or just how they treat other people. I admire people who are always kind to others, no matter the circumstances.
What cases are you working on at the moment?
Roundup is a really important case—we’re talking about a product that everybody sees when they go to Home Depot, and then everyday people are getting life-threatening cancer from using it. We’re also working on the prescription drug Elmiron, which has been linked to people losing their vision.
We’ve also taken on a new case dealing with a pesticide called chlorpyrifos that has been linked to developmental problems in children. Clients might recognize it as Dursban, Lorsban, or Warhawk, which are common brand names in the USA. We’re actively taking on cases and getting ready to work them up. And just like with all of these cases, if through our efforts we can do a small part to make some of these products a little better and a little safer, that’s a really good thing.
What do clients need to know when they get involved in a litigation?
Transparency and communication are crucial. It’s important to me to have regular communication with clients and to have an open and honest dialogue from the beginning—to have that initial conversation and let them know what things are going to look like. We always want to treat our clients as real people who’ve been through a lot as we help them navigate this process.
I’m always a fan of regular communication—often we’ll reach out even when there’s no update, or even if we’re doing something in the case that isn’t super exciting. We’re still going to let them know what we’re doing, let them know that they haven’t been forgotten, that we’re working hard on their case.