For the past two decades, Lane Heard has devoted his time to the defense of mass tort pharmaceutical claims — Pfizer’s Norplant, Diet Drug, Thimerosal and Hormone Therapy litigations and, currently, Cardinal Health’s opioid litigation — with principal responsibility for coordinating the national defense. Lane has handled the regular appearances before the multidistrict judges, tried the bellwether cases, argued the appeals, written the major (and minor) briefs, and worked hand-in-hand with local counsel.
Lane's practice over the past thirty years has involved an array of litigation matters, including the defense of medical malpractice, legal malpractice, libel, and commercial disputes, including a half-billion dollar dispute arising from the collapse of a reservations-system software development project and the international arbitration of a multi-billion patent-licensing dispute. He has represented individuals accused of bribery, contract murder, and rape. And, as counsel for plaintiffs, he has represented individuals and a group of Vietnamese orphans who survived the crash of their evacuation flight.
Lane was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1973. He received an M.A. from Cambridge University (Trinity College) and his J.D. from Yale Law School. Lane clerked for Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama before joining Williams & Connolly in 1979. He has served as a member and chair of the firm’s hiring committee.
Lane is a member of the Berkeley Divinity School advisory board, literary executor of the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. papers at the Library of Congress, and as Trustee of the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute. He is a former president of the Kingsley Trust Association, a past Chair of the Sidwell Friends School Board of Trustees, a former trustee of School Year Abroad, and a former senior warden of St. Columba's Episcopal Church.
“Products Liability & Mass Torts Litigation (Nationwide),” Chambers USA, 2007-2021
National and Local "Litigation Star" for Products Liability, Benchmark Litigation 2012-2022
“500 Leading Litigators in America,” Lawdragon, 2023
“Life Science Star,” LMG Life Sciences, 2012-2020
“Local Litigation Star” for appellate, Benchmark Litigation, 2016
"Leaders in the Field" for product liability, Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences, 2016