Spotlight on . . . Al Bixler
May 17, 2018
Al Bixler joined Eckert Seamans’ Philadelphia office in 1999. He has served as the member-in-charge of that office since 2001 and as a member of the firm’s board of directors since 2006. Al grew up in New Rochelle, New York. “If you are of a certain age, you recognize this as the hometown of Rob and Laura Petrie,” he added. Al and his wife Leslie Cheeseman reside in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia and have a son who is finishing his first year at Tufts and a daughter who is about to graduate from Brown University and will be working at Medtronic starting in September.
Al has a wealth of experience in defending pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other products. He has served as defense liaison counsel in mass tort litigation in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in litigation totaling over 7,000 individual cases. In addition to mass tort, he has extensive experience in product liability, class action, toxic tort, personal injury, insurance coverage, and commercial litigation.
In Al’s product liability and class action litigation practices, he serves as national, regional, and local counsel for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, representing them in state and federal courts. His toxic tort, personal injury, and insurance coverage practices have included the defense of toxic tort claims and medical monitoring class actions, as well as environmental contamination cases alleging personal injury and property damages. Before entering private practice, Al served as law clerk to the Honorable Daniel H. Huyett 3rd of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
What led you to pursue a career in law?
I graduated from college with a degree in archaeology, and went to graduate school to pursue a PhD in that field. After a couple of years, I decided to go back and get a combined JD and MS in historic preservation to combine my interest in archaeology with law. One thing lead to another and I wound up dropping the historic preservation part of the puzzle in favor of law.
What do you enjoy most about your practice?
Lawyers get called in when people have problems. I like solving problems.
What is your favorite place?
I would say London, Rome or Yellowstone, but I am also partial to spending time in my backyard with a good book and cool beverage, too.
What is a book that you think everyone should read?
I love to read, and there are so many great books, how about Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell? Or The Echo Maker by Richard Powers? Or All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr? Or Middlemarch (by George Eliot)?
What makes you laugh?
The Marx Brothers.
What do you like to do on the weekends?
Bike, garden, cook, play with the dog.
Who or what inspires you?
I just heard a piece on the Voyager spacecraft, which is now billions of miles away from Earth and still working, still sending back data. It is amazing that when we set our minds to it we can create something like that, both the technology and the noble idea of pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake. The fact that we can create something sublime like Duck Soup is pretty inspiring for that matter.