John Childs is an experienced litigator with a strong background in commercial litigation, including class action defense, regulatory compliance, risk management issues, and industrial accident cost recovery. Prior to joining Robins Kaplan, John served as assistant general counsel to a Fortune 100 company, a role in which he oversaw hundreds of litigation matters and dozens of attorneys. Today, he uses the insights gained in-house to help companies of all sizes navigate the legal challenges they face.
Prior to being recruited to go in-house, John served as a partner at several national law firms where he litigated high-profile, multi-party, multi-jurisdictional products liability, toxic tort, and environmental matters. He is especially skilled in cases involving complicated scientific matters related to chemicals such as asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), lead, metals, and solvents.
John takes a hands-on, innovation-focused approach to the practice of law, drawing upon his vast litigation experience to help legal teams “find the winning way.”
Highly active in the legal community, John is involved in the International Association Defense Counsel, American Bar Association, Defense Research Institute, Chief Litigation Counsel Association, and Federal Bar Association, among others. He is also a fellow in the invitation-only Litigation Counsel of America.
Managed the defense of a major forest products company’s extensive asbestos personal injury litigation. Restructured the company’s asbestos litigation process, building an in-house national counsel capability, overseeing an eight-figure external budget and leading a 28-member team, including 14 attorneys. Took leadership role in developing a plan to achieve a permanent resolution of the mass asbestos tort liability through Bankruptcy Section 524 (g) plan of reorganization. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
Supervised Superfund litigation involving the $1.6 billion remediation of PCB contamination in the sediments of the Fox River in Wisconsin. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
Led team which successfully prosecuted CERCLA contribution action regarding PCB pollution of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. This environmental matter included two multi-week trials, dealing first with liability and then with allocation. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
Directed defense of a multi-billion dollar class action in Chicago federal court alleging Sherman Act violations by the largest manufacturers in the container board and corrugated products industries. The Court granted summary judgement one day after it had preliminarily approved a settlement in which the company’s co-defendant agreed to pay over $350 million. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
Developed strategy to recover over $9 million for a chemical toll manufacturer whose industrial plant was severely damaged in an explosion. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
Served as national science counsel to a pharmaceutical company in the “fen-phen” diet drug litigation. Identified and prepared the key medical expert witness, whose testimony was credited for a successful outcome at the Daubert hearing at the MDL proceeding in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
Represented a Chinese cell phone manufacturer in a breach of contract and trade secret case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)Acted as national counsel for large building products manufacturers in asbestos-in-building and lead paint litigation. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan)
- Xilin Association, Former Board Chair
- U.S. – China Chambers of Commerce, Former Secretary
- March of Dimes; Former Board Member, Georgia Chapter
- “Communication Methods and Skills, Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel,” Chapter 13, Volume 1, ACC (Co-authored with Deborah Golden, David R. Erickson and Mary Ellen Ternes) (2017-2019)
- “Developing and Presenting the “Good Company” Case,” Practical Litigator (July 2003)
- “Donaldson v. CIPS: Illinois Rejects “Gatekeeper” Role in Admitting Expert Testimony,” IADC, Toxic Tort and Hazardous Substances Litigation Newsletter (July 2003)
- “Toxic Genomics: New Kid on the Block,” IADC Defense Counsel Journal, (October 2002)
- “Cats, Dogs and Hammer Handles: The Predictive Value of Jury Research,” Litigation, The Journal of the Section of Litigation, ABA (Summer 2002)
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