Philip S. Goldberg

Philip S. Goldberg

Managing Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Phil Goldberg has more than 25 years of experience on liability-related public policy, public affairs and public relations issues. Since joining Shook in 2003, Phil has assisted clients address important litigation issues outside of the trial courts, often in front of Congress, state legislatures, appellate courts and the media.  As part of this work, he counsels Fortune 500 companies and their trade association on a wide variety of liability public policy issues.

Phil focuses his practice on three areas:

  • Development of the Common Law,
  • Federal and State Legislation,
  • Litigation Communications.

As co-chair of Shook’s Public Policy Practice Group, Phil has filed amicus briefs with courts at every level, from the U.S. Supreme Court to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and state appellate courts. He also has testified before state legislatures, authored legal scholarship, and spoken at judicial and attorney conferences on some of the highest-profile liability issues in the last decade. He also has become a resource for reporters who write on liability issues. In 2015, he was named the director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Civil Justice, which provides a center-left voice on important civil justice issues.

The substantive issues Phil works on tend to impact repetitive or high-profile cases, and often involve unwise expansions of liability based on novel tort and product liability theories, as well as procedural gamesmanship. In particular, he has worked extensively on public nuisance theory, pharmaceutical liability issues, auto manufacturer liability issues, novel applications of the False Claims Act, international biotechnology liability policy, climate change tort litigation, liability in asbestos and other toxic tort cases, and damages in animal injury claims.

With respect to public nuisance theory, Phil has become a leading voice for maintaining the traditional boundaries of the tort and not allowing it to become a catch-all theory of liability. He has authored several articles explaining that public nuisance does not, for example, circumvent product liability law. He also authored amici briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2011 climate change case Connecticut v. AEP and the Supreme Court of Rhode Island in Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association. The Supreme Courts of Rhode Island and New Jersey have cited Phil’s articles in denying overly expansive public nuisance theories.

Internationally, Phil has worked extensively on liability policy for crop biotechnology as counsel to CropLife International. Along with others, he developed an industry-wide mechanism (commonly called “The Compact”) to use arbitration should a country claim that the release of a living modified organism has caused damage to biological diversity. In doing so, he facilitated multinational dialogues on The Compact in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia to enhance international understanding of The Compact and incorporate feedback. Phil continues to work with CropLife International to implement The Compact and has co-authored a chapter of a book on international liability and redress for biotechnology.

Through this work, Phil has developed a strength for communicating complex business legal issues in ways that resonate with lay audiences. He handles “Fast Track” recalls for clients who manufacture consumer products and focuses on policies affecting public access to information in high-profile litigation, including media shield laws and attorney-client privilege with public relations firms. He also counsels companies on external and internal communications strategies in high-profile litigation.

Phil is a member of the American Law Institute, which publishes the Restatements of the Law for torts, product liability and other areas of law related to his practice. He has received Shook's Mosaic Award for his commitment to diversity in the legal profession and is Managing Partner for Shook’s Washington, D.C., office.

Before joining Shook, Phil spent eight years as an aide to three Democratic members of Congress and three years as a vice president of litigation communications for two leading public relations firms. He received his law degree from George Washington University Law School, where he was Order of the Coif, and his bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Tufts University. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, three kids and their fun and energetic dog, Riley.