Deborah S. Chang is a trial attorney with Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and focuses her practice representing plaintiffs in complex catastrophic injury, wrongful death, and product liability cases. She and her trial teams have obtained some of the largest verdicts on record including a recent $160.5 million jury verdict for a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a vicious beating by security personnel for a nightclub, the two largest wrongful death verdicts in California in 2014, and four of the top 25 verdicts in California in both 2014 and 2015 – including the largest verdicts received in North County, San Diego (Vista) and Imperial County (El Centro).
Throughout her career, Ms. Chang has dedicated herself to serve as a mentor to other female trial lawyers. In 2017, the Consumer Attorneys of California’s Women’s Caucus honored Ms. Chang for her outstanding commitment to furthering the education and careers of women trial lawyers by presenting her with its Consumer Advocate of the Year Award.
For the past twenty years, Ms. Chang has represented both plaintiffs and defendants throughout the country in products liability, commercial litigation, professional liability, securities fraud, and complex torts cases. She has served as local, regional, and national counsel for a variety of companies and manufacturers.
She has also argued numerous times in the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts, and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court to serve on the Connecticut Appellate Advisory Rules Committee.
In 1996, Ms. Chang brought the first lawsuit in the country based on the newly enacted Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 13981 (VAWA). As part of that lawsuit, Ms. Chang successfully argued for the upholding of the constitutionality of the statute in the first federal court to consider the issue.
After reaching a settlement in the case, she lectured extensively on the issue of gender-motivated violence. She was a guest commentator on several national television shows regarding the statute, both before and after the United States Supreme Court eventually ruled that the civil remedy portion of the statute was unconstitutional.
As part of her trial practice, Ms. Chang has been extensively involved in jury research and focus groups. In 2000, she helped conceptualize and launch Legalvote.com, one of the first companies to provide online focus groups from a unique database of nearly 3.5 million Internet users.
The service is currently used by trial attorneys and major insurance companies in prominent cases pending throughout the country, and has been recognized by the National Law Journal as a helpful tool for assessing the strength and value of cases. For over a year, Ms. Chang served as its CEO and General Counsel, and was a member of its Advisory Panel and Board of Directors.
Ms. Chang is a graduate of Kansas University, and she received her J.D., with honors, from Drake Law School in May of 1986, where she served as the Case Note Editor of the Drake Law Review. Following law school, she served as the judicial law clerk for Chief Judge Antoinette Dupont of the Connecticut Appellate Court.
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