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Jeffrey Breit

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While he was in college, Jeffrey Breit worked with a Federal Court Judge in New Orleans, fueling his interest in the law. A native of the Tidewater area, Jeffrey’s father, brothers, and wife have all been attorneys at one time or another. In 1988, he left the firm where his father had practiced and, together with Jack Drescher, started Breit, Drescher & Breit which later became Breit Drescher Imprevento. The firm focused on representing injured victims, something we still do today as Breit Cantor Grana Buckner.

After the April 20, 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, Jeffrey began a stint focused on working cases on behalf of menhaden fishermen. Hundreds of thousands of cases were consolidated in the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans in MDL 2179. In October 2010, Judge Carl Barbier appointed 15 lawyers to the plaintiff steering committee in order to manage the litigation on behalf of all of the claimants. Jeffrey Breit was appointed by the judge to the steering committee and eventually Breit and seven members of the steering committee tried the case before Judge Barbier against the defendants BP, Halliburton, Transocean, Cameron, and others in what became the biggest environmental disaster in United States history and one of the biggest economic loss cases in history.

Jeffrey Breit was responsible for marshalling the case against Halliburton and after trial Halliburton settled its portion in the amount of $ 1,240,000,000 (one billion two hundred and forty million dollars). To date, over 250,000 businesses and individuals recovered more than $11.5 billion in economic losses; cleanup workers and coastal residents recovered over $67 million; community health grants were awarded in the amount of $105 million; tourism and seafood promotional grants were awarded $57 million; local government agencies were awarded $680 million; and $14 billion was awarded to the United States Government and Gulf of Mexico bordering states. The individual claims handled by Mr. Breit, which included menhaden settlements, BP business claims, lost wage claims, seafood claims, and medical claims were paid $29 million. Mr. Breit was also retained as one of the lawyers for the state of Alabama which recovered $1 billion dollars.

As past president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Jeffrey has been instrumental in persuading Virginia’s General Assembly to raise the cap on damages plaintiffs may receive in medical malpractice suits. Jeffrey has been characterized as tough, fair, and honest. According to Jack Harris, Executive Director of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, "[Jeffrey] personally met with legislators for months, helping them to understand the need to raise the medical malpractice cap, which had been frozen for 17 years. That was a major triumph. He’s driven to be the best and has had far-reaching accomplishments that will be felt for years to come.”

Throughout his successful career, he has continued to work hard to improve the reputation of attorneys representing injured people as well as training the next generation of trial lawyers. Jeffrey is an adjunct professor of law at William & Mary Law School and has had the privilege to teach at Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School as well. Jeffrey is passionate about helping future litigators find their best selves, which in turn benefits the clients they will eventually represent. Under his tutelage, the William & Mary Law School Trial Team has been able to secure 29 champion, finalist, and semi-finalist titles in the last 10 years.

Education

  • J.D., Tulane University of Louisiana (1979)
  • B.A., Tulane University of Louisiana (1977)

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia
  • Louisiana
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Washington, D.C.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth and Fifth Circuits
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Teaching Experience

  • Adjunct Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School (2004-present)
    • Teaching the following courses: Trial Strategy and Persuasion, Pre-Trial Procedures, Depositions, and Trial Advocacy
    • Advisor for the William & Mary Law School National Trial Team (2004-present)
  • Harvard Law School, Assisted Professor Kenneth Feinberg with Evidence Course (2013- 2015)
  • Columbia Law School, Assisted Professor Kenneth Feinberg with Evidence Course (2014)
  • Appointed by Virginia Supreme Court to teach the Virginia State Bar Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course, which is mandatory for first-year lawyers
  • Taught more than 300 hours of Continuing Legal Education Courses in 15 states over the past 30 years for a variety of lawyer associations in Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, and others
  • Taught the Virginia Tort Law Updates at the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention for 6 years

Honors & Awards

  • The Litigator Awards, Ranked Top 1% of Lawyers (2014)
  • William & Mary’s St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship Award Recipient (2008)
  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America®
  • Listed, Who’s Who in American Law
  • Listed, Super Lawyers® - One of the Top 100 Lawyers in Virginia (2013, 2014, 2019)
  • Listed, Super Lawyers® - One of the Top 50 Lawyers in Virginia (2007; 2009)
  • Listed, Super Lawyers® - One of the Top 10 Lawyers in Virginia (2006)
  • Distinguished Service Award selected by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (2019)
  • “Hall of Fame” selected by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2019)

Professional Associations

  • MDL Deepwater Horizon (BP Oil Spill), Member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, William & Mary Law School
  • Fellow, National College of Advocacy, AAJ
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (Member, Williamsburg Society; Member, Board of Governors, 1983-1993; President, 1998-1999)
  • Member of Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, New York, and District of Columbia Bar Associations
  • Member of the American Bar Association
  • Member of Virginia Beach and Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Associations
  • Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • The American Association for Justice (Member, Board of Governors, 1988-present)
  • Member, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Member, North Carolina Trial Lawyers Association
  • President, Operation Smile (1986-1988)
  • Member of the Board of Editors, Maritime Law Reporter, Butterworth (1986-1988)
  • Voting Member of the GRAMMY Awards

Publications & Presentations

  • Editor-in-Chief, Tulane Maritime Law Review (1978-1979)
  • Master the Art of Trial Advocacy with Jeffrey Breit, William & Mary
  • Author, "Most Effective Techniques in Opening Statements", Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Convention, Steamboat Springs, CO (August 7, 2015)
  • Author, "Effective Use of Demonstrative Evidence", North Carolina Advocates for Justice Winning with Experts Seminar, Greensboro, NC (February 13, 2015)
  • Author, "Technology in the Courtroom", North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Raleigh, NC (October 10, 2008)
  • Panel Discussions: "Having the Plaintiff at Trial" and "Effective Witnesses the Defense Does Not Anticipate", Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Brain Injury Retreat, Richmond, VA (September 27, 2008)
  • Author, “Opening Statements”, Virginia Trial Lawyers - Virginia College of Trial Advocacy, Williamsburg, VA (May 2008)
  • Lecture on Focus Groups in Brain Injury Cases, Brain Injury Association of America Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV (April 2008)
  • Author, “Tort Law Update”, Virginia Trial Lawyers Annual Convention, The Homestead (March 2008)
  • Author, "Use of Demonstrative Evidence for Direct and Cross-Examination: Entertaining Story With Pictures and Words", Kentucky Justice Association Annual Convention, Lexington, KY (September 27, 2007)
  • Author, "Use of Demonstrative Evidence for Direct and Cross-Examination: Entertaining Story With Pictures and Words," North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Sunset Beach, NC (June 16, 2007)
  • Author, "Opening Statements," Virginia Trial Lawyers Annual Convention (April 2006)
  • Author, "Enhancing Damages by Proving a Defendant’s Bad Conduct," ATLA Annual Convention, Toronto (July 2005)
  • Author, "The Things They Didn’t Teach You in Law School," ATLA Annual Convention, Toronto (July 2005)
  • Author, "Damages in Opening Statement," New Approaches to Damages Seminar, ATLA, New Orleans, LA (October 2004)
  • Author, "Tips to Motivate a Jury in a Traumatic Brain Injury Case," VTLA Brain Injury Retreat, Richmond, VA (October 2004)
  • Author, "Dealing with Defenses," NABIS Annual Conference, Vail, CO (September 2004)
  • Author, "Improving the Jury Using Juror Questions," ATLA Annual Convention (July 2004)
  • Author, "Conflict Between Attorney and Client on Settlement v. Trial," Virginia Trial Lawyers Annual Convention (April 2004)
  • Author, "The Wired Courtroom," Virginia Bar Association (January 2004)
  • Author, "Supreme Court Update, 2003," VTLA Annual Convention (2003)
  • Author, "Using the Jury’s Imagination to Maximize Damages," New Jersey Trial Lawyers Annual Convention (April 2003)
  • Author, "Responding to Difficult Courtroom Situations: Ethical Considerations," "Direct Examination," "Closing Argument," ATLA NCA Trial Advocacy College, Harvard Law School (March 1999)
  • Author, "Deflating Defense Counsel’s Arguments at Voir Dire," Association of Trial Lawyers of America (July 1999)
  • Author, "Negligent Hiring and Retention in Violent Crime Cases," ATLA NCA Premises Liability Seminar, Phoenix, AZ (February 1999)
  • Author, "Premises Liability (3rd Party Criminal Attacks) Inadequate Security," Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association, New Orleans, Louisiana (December 1998)
  • Author, "Tort Law Update - Virginia Supreme Court," VTLA Annual Convention (March 1998)
  • Author, "The Thing They Didn’t Teach (in Law School) - Now I Know that the Following Are Bad Things To Do," VLTA Annual Convention (April 1996)
  • Author, "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome," ATLA, Colorado (March 1993)
  • Author, "Cross-Examination of Experts and Other Ways to Lose a Case," ATLA (March 1993)
  • Author, "Excessive and Inadequate Verdicts," Trial Advocacy Seminar, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (1994)
  • Author, "Payback of Worker’s Compensation and Health Care Liens," Trial Advocacy Seminar, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (1994)
  • Author, "Proving Loss of Society & Services in Wrongful Death," Association of Trial Lawyers, New Orleans, LA (April 1993)
  • Author, "Premises Liability," Lawyers Alert (1989)
  • Author, "Crafting the Closing and Rebuttal Argument & Closing Argument," Association of Trial Lawyers, Reno, NV (October 1992)
  • Author, "Personal Injury and Death in Maritime Law," Virginia Trial Lawyers (1987)
  • Author, "Wrongful Death-Wage Earner," Virginia Trial Lawyers (1986)

Community Involvement

  • President, Operation Smile (1986-1988)
  • $1 Billion

    Product Liability

  • $60 Million

    Car Accidents

  • $29 Million

    Product Liability

  • $20 Million

    Premises Liability

  • $20 Million

    Car Accidents

  • $7.5 Million

    Car Accidents

  • $6.5 Million

    Motor Vehicle Accident

  • $4.7 Million

    Wrongful Death

  • $4.5 Million

    Motor Vehicle Accident

  • $3.5 Million

    Product Liability

  • $2.4 Million

    Maritime Accident

  • $1.95 Million

    Brain Injury

  • $1.8 Million

    Car Accidents

  • $1.8 Million

    Personal Injury

  • $1.45 Million

    Maritime Accident

  • $1.4 Million

    Personal Injury

  • $1.275 Million

    Bicycle Accident

  • $1.275 Million

    Wrongful Death

  • $900,000

    Wrongful Death

  • $650,000

    Premises Liability

  • $500,000

    Car Accidents

  • $500,000

    Wrongful Death

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