Increasing Diversity in MDL Leadership Through Mentorship, Advocacy, Networking, and Education

In addition to advocating for and facilitating the appointment of Black and Brown attorneys to leadership roles in federal and state-based centralized civil actions (including federal MDLs), Shades of Mass seeks to remedy the gap in representation through mentorship, advocacy, networking, and education.

Ben Crump and Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann share the ultimate goal of providing opportunities and advantages to qualified attorneys of color, and ensuring that judges know where to find them and understand the importance of placing them in leadership roles.

“An average of only 5% of [MDL leadership] appointments went to lawyers who identified as nonwhite; 4% of attorneys had undetermined ethnicity in the data, [and] 91% were white.”


Meet our board

Diandra Fu Debrosse Zimmerman Co-Founder

Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann


A recognized powerhouse in mass tort, product and civil rights litigation, Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann has recovered millions for clients injured by defective medical devices or drugs, environmental contamination, corporate misconduct, and civil rights abuses.

Ben Crump Co-Founder

Ben Crump


One of America’s leading social justice advocates, Ben Crump has won a number of record settlements and verdicts for victims facing injustice, including the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

Greg Cade Executive Board Member

Gregory Cade

Gregory Cade has over 20 years of scientific legal and experience representing communities of color harmed by environmental exposures. His experience in complex matters has generated multiple multimillion dollar recoveries involving water and air pollution.

LaRuby May Executive Board Member

LaRuby Z. May

LaRuby May supports the Black and Brown communities disproportionately impacted and excluded from mass tort litigation. She serves on the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee for Paraquat, and represents clients injured by earplugs and Zantac. 

Larry Taylor Executive Board Member

Larry Taylor

Larry Taylor oversees the Mass Torts and Civil Rights practice areas of his law firm in Texas. He understands the complexities and care needed to litigate against large corporations while making sure his clients stay informed.

Navan Ward Executive Board Member

Navan Ward Jr.

Navan Ward has litigated defective pharmaceutical drug and device state and multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases for over 20 years and has served on multiple MDL leadership committees, recovering billions of dollars for victims.