James M. Beck



  • Princeton University, 1978, B.A., cum laude
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1982, J.D.

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Third Circuit

James joined Reed Smith's Life Sciences Health Industries Group in the spring of 2012.

James handles complex personal injury and product liability litigation. He has overseen the development of legal defenses, master briefs, and dispositive motions in numerous mass torts, including Seroquel, a Merck analgesic product, diet drugs, Baycol, and orthopedic bone screws. Orthopedic Bone Screw ended with summary judgments in more than 170 cases, and prevailing in every appeal. 

James is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Committee (PLAC) and has sat on PLAC’s case selection committee since 1997. He has written over 60 amicus curiae briefs on product liability issues for PLAC. In 2011, Mr. Beck was awarded the PLAC’s John P. Raleigh Award, the highest honor given by the organization to one of its members. This award recognizes Mr. Beck’s overall contributions to the law of product liability, making him the eighth recipient of the Raleigh award in the almost 30-year history of the PLAC. 

James has also prepared amicus briefs for the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Medical Association and several of its state affiliates, the Anti-Defamation League, the Business Roundtable, the Pennsylvania Defense Research Institute, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the Washington Legal Foundation. Mr. Beck has been chair of the Publications Subcommittee of the Mass Torts Litigation Committee of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association since 2002. He has been named Outstanding Subcommittee Chair three times, in 2003-04, 2006-07, and 2008-09.

James is also the founder of, and regular contributor to, the award-winning Drug and Device Law blog.

Employment History

  • 2012 - Reed Smith
  • 2003 - Dechert
  • 1982 - Pepper Hamilton

Honors & Awards

  • John T. Raleigh Lifetime Achievement Award (Product Liability Advisory Council), 2011
  • ABA Top 100 Legal Blogs, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Professional Affiliations

  • Member – American Law Institute, 2005
  • ABA Outstanding Subcommittee Chair, 2002-04, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2009-10