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Breaking the Ice: Leader’s expertise serves product liability group

Todd Nelson//June 1, 2023

Amy Fiterman

Amy Fiterman leads the group’s 97 attorneys, who work in Faegre Drinker offices across the country. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Leader’s expertise serves product liability group

Todd Nelson//June 1, 2023

Faegre Drinker partner Amy Fiterman is bringing her extensive experience in defending clients’ medical and other products to her new role as the firm’s product liability and mass torts practice group leader.

Fiterman leads the group’s 97 attorneys, who work in Faegre Drinker offices across the country.

“I see leadership as being there as a support system more than anything else, and making sure that our lawyers have what they need to do their jobs the best,” Fiterman said.

Fiterman has worked in product liability throughout her 25 years at Faegre Drinker, serving as trial, national, regional or local counsel in class action, mass tort and multidistrict litigation.

She continues her focus on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

“I feel like I am auditing medical school every time I start a new piece of litigation,” Fiterman said.

Volunteering for the Advocates for Human Rights, Fiterman and retired Faegre Drinker colleague James O’Neal last year remotely interviewed Ukrainians about how the war there has affected them and submitted a report to the International Criminal Court to document war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“It was an experience that I’ll never forget,” Fiterman said.

Name: Amy Fiterman

Title: Partner, Faegre Drinker, Minneapolis office

Education: B.A., political science, Drake University; J.D., George Washington University Law School

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Have a smile on your face.

Q: Why law school?

A: My mother told me that I was going to be a lawyer when I argued with her to no end at the age of 10, and I took it to heart. It was the only thing I ever saw myself doing and thank goodness it worked out.

Q: What are you reading?

A: Brené Brown’s book “Dare to Lead,” which may have been influenced by my new position.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: A dirty kitchen.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: The people. Getting to know each individual attorney on a level that I didn’t necessarily prior to taking on this role. I’ve been at the firm for 25 years, so I know our group well. We’ve been through two mergers since I joined, and we’ve grown — and getting to know the lawyers, their practices, their personalities, that’s the best part of the job. Building those client relationships is another real joy in the job.

Q: Most challenging?

A: Resources are not endless, and all of our lawyers deserve to have the best resources at their fingertips. Figuring out how we appropriately staff, how we allocate resources, that’s always a challenge, because we want to make everybody happy, and you can’t always.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I have three children, a husband and a dog, so anything I’m doing with them is what I enjoy the most.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Given that it’s named Sioux Falls, we would have to go see the Sioux Falls, which are a real thing. Then I would take them to lunch at Haskett Delicatessen, which I think is the best restaurant in Sioux Falls.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: My own legal mentor, Jim O’Neal, who at one time was also the group leader of Faegre’s product liability team. He’s since retired, but he had a real passion for the practice of law that he gave to me as a young attorney. He was a great example of using the law to do good through volunteer work, pro bono work, making sure that your footprint is bigger than the work that you get paid to do.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work?

A: Sometimes, especially given our practices, sometimes large-scale litigation, sometimes a lot of bet-the-company case-type litigation, people think it’s all serious and all stress all the time. We have a lot of fun in our work and if you’re not having fun at work, you should go find something else to do.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

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