Keller Postman welcomed Daniel Backman, Davy Perlman, and Riva Yeo to our 2022 Summer Associate Program, which has officially wrapped for this season. From working on Supreme Court merits briefs to the biggest multi-district litigations in the country, our Summer Associates made substantial contributions across the firm. As they return to law school after an exciting summer of hands-on experience, Daniel, Davy, and Riva share highlights of their time at Keller Postman, why they chose to pursue a plaintiff-side summer associateship, and the most important lessons they learned along the way.
What first attracted you to Keller Postman?
Daniel: I first learned about Keller Postman through the firm’s role in the Google digital advertising antitrust litigation, Texas v. Google, which I had been following. I was impressed with the firm’s work on a complex and important antitrust case. And my conversations with partners and associates during the interview process only reinforced that impression that this was a very smart, passionate, creative group of people from whom I could learn a lot.
Davy: I was interested in Keller Postman because they are particularly good at using creative strategies to get companies to change their abusive business practices. I first heard about the firm because of their mass arbitration campaign that forced Amazon to change its arbitration practices. With Amazon and through its other mass arbitration campaigns, Keller Postman’s innovation created a check on a corporate practice that otherwise faced minimal limitations in the judicial system.
What interested you in plaintiffs’ work specifically?
Riva: I first became interested in plaintiffs’ work while attending informational events and job fairs organized by the Harvard Plaintiffs’ Law Association. I was sold after learning of the opportunity to do substantive, meaningful work and hold corporations accountable for the harms they impose.
Daniel: I had some experience in government antitrust enforcement and policy, which I really enjoyed. I was interested in seeing what antitrust and consumer protection litigation looked like from the private plaintiff side. Getting to represent consumers who have been injured and defrauded by major corporations—across some of the most complex and high-profile litigation in the country—has been extremely rewarding and exciting. It’s great to see hard work and creative legal arguments translate directly into concrete wins for people who deserve it.
Davy: My interest in plaintiffs’ work came from a background in human rights work. Prior to law school, I studied how companies that operated in countries with a weak rule of law had an economic incentive to maximize profits to the detriment of the public wellbeing. I was drawn to the plaintiffs’ bar because, collectively, it reduces the incentive to commit wrongdoing and it places a restriction on corporate power.
What type of work did you engage in while at Keller Postman?
Riva: I participated in strategy meetings with co-counsel, worked on a discovery dispute, and researched and drafted various motions and filings. I also had the chance to work on business development projects such as vetting potential mass arbitration matters. Personally, I feel most passionately about the mass arbitration, product-liability, and public institutions practices because of the opportunity to provide real relief to ordinary people on a broad scale.
Daniel: A major highlight of my time this summer was contributing to the Supreme Court merits brief in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., a fascinating personal jurisdiction case that involved significant historical research and analysis. I also drafted motions and briefs in antitrust and product-liability cases and assessed the state of scientific research for a forthcoming mass tort action.
Davy: I have been able to get involved in the exploration and research phase of a few mass arbitration campaigns. It has been interesting to see in practice how to identify a strong campaign—not something you learn in law school. For the most part, the rest of my time has been spent on the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs MDL and the Zantac MDL. The two are at different stages of their MDL lifecycle, so I was able to prepare for a deposition and work on an appellate brief, expert motions, and motions for summary judgment. Throughout all these experiences, I’ve been able to work with and learn from top lawyers.
What are some of the greatest lessons you learned?
Riva: I learned to ask questions and gain a more comprehensive understanding of assignments in context and to express interest in sitting in on conversations where high-level decisions are made. I found that senior associates and partners are more than happy to include summer associates in these conversations, as this deeper understanding increases the value that summers are able to add to their case teams.
Daniel: I have learned that complex plaintiff-side litigation involves just as much operational complexity as it does legal complexity. Keller Postman’s client services operation is really impressive, and it is clear how much thought and care goes into creating effective processes that meet clients’ needs and meet the demands of fast-paced litigation.
Davy: I’ve learned the importance of creative lawyering in legal advocacy. The legal system offers imperfect remedies for small but widespread injuries because the cost of litigation makes doing so uneconomical. When creative thinking is applied to the way claims are brought, this can reduce barriers and bring relief to more people while also creating an incentive for businesses to change practices.
Why do you think other law students should consider pursuing a plaintiff-side path?
Daniel: The work is exciting and multi-faceted, the people are creative and passionate, and you go home every day knowing that your work helped tip the playing field, if only a little bit, against the world’s most well-resourced corporations and back toward everyday consumers and workers.
Riva: I’d say if you’re interested in getting substantive litigation training and skills, plaintiff-side firms are more apt to provide that to even their newest associates than compared to big defense firms. And any students who are excited about developing novel legal theories and eager to dive into substantive work in service of those who have been harmed would have a fantastic summer associate experience at Keller Postman.
Daniel Bachman is a rising 3L at Yale Law School, where he has interned in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Public Citizen, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. At Yale, Daniel is heavily involved with the Law & Political Economy Project. He is a part of the Technology Accountability & Competition Project. He is also a member of OutLaws, the LGBTQ student group, among other activities.
Prior to law school, Daniel spent three years as the founding Chief of Staff at NYC Kids RISE, a nonprofit public-private partnership that opens and funds college savings accounts for every kindergartner in New York City public schools.
Daniel earned his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Harvard College where he majored in social studies.
Davy Perlman is a rising 3L at Harvard Law School. He also works as a senior research assistant on Law of Asylum in the United States, an annual treatise that compiles the changing state of asylum law.
Prior to law school, Davy was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City, where he collaborated with a human rights defense center and studied law and politics. Before moving to Mexico, Davy worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he conducted economic research and modeled bank revenue for the annual stress tests.
Davy earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, summa cum laude, with a degree in economics.
Riva Yeo is a rising 2L at Harvard Law School, where she’s served as a research assistant to Professor John Goldberg and as an editor for the Journal on Legislation. She will be at Harvard Kennedy School pursuing her joint JD/MPP degree.
Before law school, Riva was a Compliance Associate at the D.E. Shaw Group, an investment management firm in New York.
Riva earned her undergraduate degree in political science and economics at the University of Rochester, graduating magna cum laude and phi beta kappa.
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