Theodore J. “Ted” Leopold ’87 has been selected as Cumberland School of Law’s 2020 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. The recognition is awarded each year to a Cumberland graduate who has distinguished himself in the practice of law, service to the community, and leadership in the profession.
A partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Leopold is co-chair of the firm’s Complex Tort Litigation and Consumer Protection practice groups and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. His practice is devoted solely to trial work, with a focus on complex product liability, environmental toxic torts, managed care abuse, consumer class actions, and mass torts litigation.
Leopold has tried cases throughout the country and has recovered multi-million-dollar verdicts, including jury verdicts in the eight-figure and nine-figure amounts. In his role, Leopold litigates high-stakes, complex lawsuits on behalf of consumer safety issues, particularly as it relates to automobile safety and managed care matters. In 2000 he obtained a punitive damage verdict against Humana that was the largest punitive damage award for an individual in Florida and in 2010, he obtained a $131 million jury verdict against the Ford Motor Company, the ninth-largest verdict against an automobile company in U.S. history.
Leopold is court-appointed interim co-lead counsel in two high-profile putative environmental toxic tort class actions, including In re Flint Water Cases and the Cape Fear River Contaminated Water Class Action Litigation. He also serves as lead counsel in the GM, LensCrafters and Polaris ATV class actions, and lead counsel in two mass tort actions involving the Great Smoky Mountain Fire that partially destroyed Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the Midland, Michigan, dam failure that flooded and destroyed thousands of properties in Midland and the surrounding communities.
“I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than Ted Leopold,” said Cumberland School of Law Dean Corky Strickland. “He is the embodiment of how I describe a great lawyer to first-year law students. He is dedicated to helping people. He is thoughtful, soft spoken, kind, and humble. And he is a phenomenally effective and ethical advocate, having served successfully as lead counsel in some of the biggest, most visible cases in the country--like the Flint, Michigan, water litigation.”
Leopold is the past president of Public Justice Foundation, one of the nation’s preeminent litigation and advocacy organizations that fights for consumer justice through precedent-setting and socially significant individual and class action litigation. Additionally, he is a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Florida Justice Association, Jewish Family & Children’s Services, and the Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy where he served as president. He is also a Cumberland School of Law Advisory Board member and a member of the Board of Directors for the Attorneys Information Exchange Group.
Additionally, Leopold is the founding partner of Leopold Law PA, also in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. In 2014, he merged his firm with the national firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.
In the interview linked below with Samford University’s Executive Director of Broadcast Media Brad Radice, Leopold shares highlights of a successful legal career, professional advice for students and other attorneys, and suggestions for work/life balance.