September 26, 2016

Judge Martha Geer Will Partner with State and Regional Firms to Increase North Carolinians’ Access to the Courts through Complex Plaintiffs’ Litigation

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - September 26, 2016) – Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC announced today that the firm will open a permanent office at the Wells Fargo Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina in early October. The office will be led by former North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Martha Geer, who recently joined as partner with the firm after 13 years on the bench.

Judge Geer joined Cohen Milstein in May with a clear vision as to how the firm can serve North Carolina.  Cohen Milstein’s new Raleigh office will look to partner with firms across the state, expanding North Carolinians’ ability to pursue more high-profile plaintiffs’ litigation.

“As a judge, I saw North Carolinians every day who were wronged – often by multi-billion dollar corporations – and felt there was a need for greater resources to protect the rights of our residents and local businesses,” said Judge Geer. “The legal community in our state is doing game-changing work to help our residents. I look forward to collaborating with our state’s law firms so they can take on even more significant cases for individuals and businesses. Together, we can improve the quality of life for our residents and the commercial climate for our businesses by leveling the playing field in litigation against better financed defendants.”

Judge Geer is currently meeting with other firms throughout the state and region to better understand how Cohen Milstein can best contribute to the local legal community.  She plans to partner with state and regional legal practices on local, regional and national cases, providing access to Cohen Milstein’s personnel, financial resources and legal expertise so that smaller firms can participate in larger cases requiring more significant outlays and a wider range of experience. 

“We’re pleased to welcome Judge Geer back to the practice of law after her 13 years of tireless and commendable service on the bench,” said Dick Taylor, CEO of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. “North Carolina is a leader in a host of areas, from science and technology to medicine and higher education, and is home to a strong practicing plaintiffs' bar. Marty Geer was a wonderful member of NCAJ and an excellent practicing lawyer prior to her distinguished judicial career. By joining a national plaintiffs’ litigation firm like Cohen Milstein, and returning to the private practice of law, she will continue to contribute to furthering the interest of justice in North Carolina.”   

Cohen Milstein opened its Raleigh office in a temporary space in May 2016, becoming the first national plaintiffs’ firm to establish a presence in North Carolina. In October, the firm will move to the Wells Fargo Capitol Center, which will serve as the firm’s permanent location in North Carolina.

Background on Judge Martha Geer

Judge Geer, who was in private practice for 19 years prior to serving on the Court of Appeals, was recently named one of the 2016 North Carolina Leaders in the Law, an annual award ceremony that recognizes outstanding North Carolina attorneys for their success in law, contributions to society and impact on the legal industry.

Judge Geer was first elected to the Court of Appeals in 2002, receiving more than a million votes statewide.  In 2010, because of her reputation as a fair and impartial judge, she garnered bipartisan support that resulted in her winning re-election by a 20-point margin. During her tenure on the Court, Judge Geer heard more than 3,800 appeals, authored more than 1,350 opinions, and had her opinions reversed less than 2 percent of the time.  As one of the most experienced Court of Appeals judges, Judge Geer was responsible for hearing and deciding appeals on a wide variety of issues involving almost every area of law.

Judge Geer began her career with the New York firm of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison where she worked with nationally-respected litigators, including legal icons such as Arthur Liman, on high profile cases, including the litigation arising out of the attempt to corner the silver market in 1979-1980.  She left New York to join a leading civil rights firm in North Carolina and ultimately became a founding partner of Patterson, Harkavy & Lawrence, LLP where she was a highly respected trial and appellate litigator known for obtaining cutting-edge and precedent-setting victories  while working in a diverse set of practice areas, including, among others, constitutional law, securities fraud, employment law, commercial litigation, antitrust and unfair competition, consumer protection and civil liberties. 

While in private practice, Judge Geer was selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, and recognized by the journal Business North Carolina as one of North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” – at that time, a list of the top 200 lawyers in the State.  As a judge, she was named Outstanding Appellate Judge by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.  As both a judge and a lawyer, Judge Geer has also been a highly sought-after teacher of continuing education programs for both other judges and lawyers and has worked to improve the quality of legal representation in various practice areas through participation on the Appellate Specialization Committee of the North Carolina State Bar, the Appellate Rules Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association, the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and various committees of the American Bar Association and other bar association groups.

Judge Geer received her B.A. summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and her J.D. with high honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Fellow and served as Managing Editor of the North Carolina Law Review.

About Cohen Milstein

Founded in 1969, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is a national leader in plaintiff class action lawsuits and other complex litigation. As one of the premier firms in the country handling major complex cases, Cohen Milstein, with over 90 attorneys, has offices in Washington, D.C.; New York, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Raleigh, N.C.  The firm’s practice areas include Antitrust, Civil Rights and Employment, Securities Fraud/Investor Protection, Complex Commercial Litigation, Public-Sector Client Representation, Consumer Protection, Product Liability, Employee Benefits, Whistleblower/False Claims Act, Veterans’ Rights and Benefits, Human Rights, Abuse by Managed Care Companies, Catastrophic Injury, and Ethics and Fiduciary Counseling (including advice to pension funds, law firms and governmental entities). For more information, visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com or call (202) 408-4600.