Shades of Mass Co-Founder, Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann Outlines Blueprint for Breaking the Diversity Barrier in Multidistrict Litigation

The legal profession has made great strides over the last 15 years to address diversity and inclusion issues. But when it comes to representing plaintiffs in large, multidistrict litigations, minority attorneys have made much slower progress.
DiCello Levitt’s Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann and Grant Patterson shared their perspective on diversity in MDL leadership with Westlaw Today.

In this article, Fu and Grant address the challenges to achieving diverse MDL leadership, while discussing how judicial acknowledgment of its importance, and the recent trend of leadership development committees to nurture the next generation of MDL leaders, are helping address the issues.

Fu made history last year as the first Black woman ever appointed to lead an MDL, when she was selected as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead counsel in In re: Abbott Laboratories, et al., Preterm Infant Nutrition Products Liability Litigation (MDL 3026), a massive MDL related to the safety of one of the pharmaceutical giant’s baby formula products. It’s a rare feat for any lawyer, and rarer for Blacks and other minorities. She is also co-founder of Shades of Mass, alongside attorney Ben Crump, an organization dedicated to encouraging the appointment of attorneys of color in national mass tort litigations.

About Shades of Mass

Shades of Mass advocates for and facilitates the appointment of Black and Brown attorneys to leadership roles in federal and state-based centralized civil actions (including federal MDLs). In addition, Shades of Mass seeks to remedy the gap in representation through mentorship, advocacy, networking, and education. The organization’s ultimate goal is to provide 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.