THE OUTSTANDING LAWYER AWARD
is presented to an attorney for distinguished and meritorious service to the legal profession and the public in a profession-related activity.
William D. Marler, Marler Clark LLP
Marler, a founding partner of Marler Clark, LLP, was selected for the Outstanding Lawyer award based on
his efforts to educate the health officials, the community, and the food service industry on how to avoid outbreaks
of foodborne illnesses and the lawsuits that result from them. Marler’s efforts are unusual in that his
practice focuses on representing individuals who have suffered the effects of foodborne illnesses such as E.
coli, Shigella, Listeria, and Salmonella, which means that if he is effective in his mission, he will put himself
out of business.
Marler first became well known for his legal work involving foodborne illnesses with his representation of
Brianne Kiner in the Jack in the Box E. coli litigation, which started in 1993. In 1998, he represented three
children who became ill after drinking Odwalla juice. He has represented many more individuals who have
suffered from foodborne illnesses since then.
Marler’s outreach efforts are far beyond what one would expect from an attorney. He is widely quoted in
the media, from publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Puget Sound Business Journal to broadcast
media such as CNN’s American Morning. In 1998, Marler and his partners formed Outbreak, which
is a not-for-profit consulting company. Outbreak shares its expertise in foodborne illnesses and related legal
topics with public health departments, physicians, and the food service industry.
Marler speaks at conferences and seminars around the world, such as the North Dakota Environmental
Health Conference, the Australian HAACCP Conference in Gold Coast, Austria, the American Association
for Justice Annual Convention in Chicago, an Ag Forum luncheon in the Salinas Valley’s National Steinbeck
Center and the Minnesota Environmental Health Association in St. Paul — and that list of speaking engagements
only covers part of 2007.
The internet has also been well-used by Marler in his educational efforts. He and his partners have developed
several Web sites devoted to providing information about foodborne illnesses, including symptoms, detection
and prevention and information about recent outbreaks. The Marler Clark firm also sponsors numerous blogs
on issues ranging from Norovirus to Mad Cow Disease (BSE). Marler writes on topics such as "What to do
about the ‘Mad Cow’" and opinion pieces calling upon the FDA to require sprout labeling and a ban on
unpasteurized juices following outbreaks of Salmonella involving both products, among other things.
William Marler is a distinguished graduate of Seattle University School of Law.