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Melissa A. Geist

Partner

Education

  • Seton Hall University School of Law, 1998, J.D., cum laude, Served as the Managing Editor for the Seton Hall Law Review; Participated in Seton Hall's Litigation Clinic representing indigent clients before the New Jersey District Court
  • Drew University, 1991, B.A., Political Science and Philosophy

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

Melissa is a litigator and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Life Sciences Health Industry Group. She focuses her practice on pharmaceutical products liability, medical device products liability, commercial litigation and e-discovery related issues. Melissa currently serves as co-lead counsel in defense of litigation involving a prescription hormonal contraceptive product in both a federal MDL in Missouri and a coordinated mass tort proceeding in New Jersey. She also currently serves as liaison counsel in defense of a coordinated mass tort proceeding in New Jersey involving a pelvic mesh product.

Melissa has also represented major clients in complex commercial litigation, financial services class actions, and business disputes. Her experience includes representation at arbitration, enforcement of arbitration clauses and resolution of consumer class actions.

Melissa has significant trial experience, including trying several pharmaceutical product liability cases to verdict in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and conducting numerous trials in New Jersey state court on behalf of pro bono clients seeking a Final Restraining Order in domestic violence situations. She also has significant experience in deposing plaintiffs, medical providers and experts on behalf of pharmaceutical clients in mass tort litigation and had been successful forcing the withdrawal of experts after challenges on Daubert grounds.

Melissa also has considerable experience in conducting early case risk assessments, including providing product liability risk assessments for pharmaceutical clients prior to corporate acquisition; risk assessments prior to FDA approval of a new drug to advise on label language and promotional materials; and assessments when a product becomes the subject of media attention regarding alleged illegal promotion.

Melissa is a member of the Firm's Records and E-Discovery (RED) Team and was previously the Director of Complex Litigation Electronic Discovery. She has extensive experience counseling clients on best practices concerning e-discovery and cross-border data transfer issues, including designing, implementing and memorializing defensible electronic discovery and document production strategies and preparing preservation policies, legal holds and internal protocols. Melissa also manages large document projects for diverse clients.

She maintains an active pro bono practice and serves as the Firm's liaison to HomeFront, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless. As the Firm's New Jersey representative of the firm-wide Pro Bono Committee, Melissa has spoken before the New Jersey State Bar Association regarding Reed Smith's involvement in pro bono activities and is a member of the Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee. Melissa also serves as the Princeton office’s Deputy for the Women's Initiative Network at Reed Smith.

Employment History

  • 1998 - Reed Smith

Professional Affiliations

  • New Jersey State Bar Association Mercer County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ)
  • The Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production

Interests

  • She resides in Yardley, Pennsylvania with her husband, Glenn and children Tyler and Delaney.