James M. Beck

James M. Beck

Senior Life Sciences Policy Analyst


  • 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

  • Selected as one of JD Supra’s Top Authors for the JD Supra Readers' Choice Awards, 2016
  • Best Newsletter Award (American Bar Association, Section of Litigation), 2015
  • Pennsylvania Defense Institute's Distinguished Defense Counsel Award, 2015
  • Listed in The International Who's Who of Life Sciences – Product Liability Lawyers
  • John T. Raleigh Lifetime Achievement Award (Product Liability Advisory Council), 2011
  • American Bar Association 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

Notable Quotes

  • 1 March 2017 "Missouri Could Be Less Open to Out-of-State Plaintiffs" Bloomberg BNA
  • 24 January 2017 " Reed Smith firm opens up new field: Protecting 3D printing from lawsuits" Philadelphia Inquirer
  • 20 January 2017 "Defense Bar Sees Jury Instructions Win in Latest Post-'Tincher' Ruling" The Legal Intelligencer
  • 28 September 2016 "3-D Printing Leaps Ahead of Product Liability Law" Bloomberg BNA
  • 25 July 2016 "Out-of-State Pharma Filings Dip as Phila. Mass Torts Remain Steady" The Legal Intelligencer
  • 24 May 2016 "3-D Printing Set to Disrupt Products Liability Law" The Legal Intelligencer
  • 16 November 2015 "Judge Notes 'Considerable Confusion' in Post-'Tincher' Ruling" The Legal Intelligencer
  • 10 November 2015 "Attorneys Note Legal Issues for 3D Printing of Drugs" Bloomberg BNA
  • 1 September 2015 "Possible FDA/Amarin Off-Label Deal; Rule Tweaks Ahead?" SCRIP Intelligence
  • 17 August 2015 "What to expect in wake of the Amarin ruling: more truthful off-label talk from pharma" Medical Marketing & Media
  • 14 August 2015 "Drug minnow Amarin downs FDA in constitutional battle" The Irish Times
  • 10 August 2015 "Amarin Case Could Unleash a Flood of Off-Label Promos" FiercePharmaMarketing
  • 10 August 2015 "FDA Loses Case Against Drug Marketing" Infinite Path
  • 9 August 2015 "Foreign Drug Manufacturer Allowed to Use Off-Label Marketing" Morning Ticker
  • 9 August 2015 "Irish Drug Manufacturer Amarin Pharma Inc Gets Green Light From US FDA For Drug Vascepa" Pioneer News
  • 8 August 2015 "Court Ruling Could Loosen Rules on Drug Marketing" Forex Report Daily
  • 8 August 2015 "Want To Promote Off-Label? Pick Your Battlefield" SCRIP Intelligence
  • 7 August 2015 "Amarin wins early victory against FDA in 'free speech' case over drug promotion" U.S. News & World Report
  • 7 August 2015 "5 Questions After Amarin's Off-Label Marketing Triumph" Law360