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Annesley DeGaris: A Scholar and Advocate

Annesley DeGaris A Scholar and Advocate
Photo Courtesy: Annesley DeGaris

Annesley DeGaris has built a career spanning over three decades throughout various law sectors. His storied career stems from his commitment to studying and learning, whether by achieving multiple degrees in his early years or continuously learning through engagements with other legal professionals and associations. Employing this constant study, DeGaris has prepared to face adversity and complexity in his career while advocating for injury victims in various courts and passing on his knowledge of the law to the next generation of scholars.

Early Education and Career

DeGaris began his studies in Birmingham, Alabama, gaining a bachelor’s degree in science from Samford University. He stayed in Birmingham to earn his J.D., Magna Cum Laude, from Cumberland School of Law while simultaneously serving as an editor of the Cumberland Law Review.

Finishing in the top seven percent of his class, DeGaris completed his studies abroad.  He received the Rotary Foundation Scholarship for International Understanding, and this, in collaboration with his prior law education, reflects the comprehensive academic background that has influenced DeGaris’ diverse career at the University of Melbourne Law School, where he earned his LL.M. concentrating in international law. Obtaining this degree further added to DeGaris’ academic credibility, as Melbourne ranks among the reputable law schools in the world.

DeGaris’ legal career began as a law clerk for the United States District Court Judge, E. B. Haltom. Later, he was appointed as a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia, where he contributed significantly to legal research and drafting opinions. He then became an Associate at Johnson & Cory in Birmingham, Alabama, concentrating on various aspects of complex trial practice, including personal injury, wrongful death, and other complex civil matters. DeGaris then became a founding partner in the law firm Cory, Watson, Crowder, and DeGaris, where he continued to work for nearly two decades. 

In 2015, DeGaris founded DeGaris Law, LLC, specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and litigation involving defective medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs. He advocates for those who have been injured due to another’s negligence.

While pursuing his legal career, DeGaris has also had a concurrent academic career as a professor at the Birmingham School of Law, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Emory University School of Law. DeGaris is an adjunct professor at Cumberland School of Law, his alma mater, where he teaches courses such as Complex Civil Litigation, Comparative Civil Litigation, and Alabama Civil Practice and Procedure.

Advocacy Through Engagement

While DeGaris’ education and teaching demonstrate his devotion to scholarly practice and improvement, his engagement within the legal profession and involvement in multiple legal associations show his devotion to advocacy for the injured. DeGaris holds prominent appointed positions in significant litigations involving medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs. His contributions to plaintiff’s steering committees and lead counsel roles in notable multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases outline his value in advocating for justice on behalf of clients. Serving on committees such as the Science Committee in the DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2197), and the Science Committee in the Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Product Liability Litigation (MDL 2768), and DeGaris has contributed to multiple cases involving defective medical devices.

DeGaris has participated in multidisciplinary litigation committees focusing on science, settlement oversight, and state liaison matters, such as the State Liaison Committee for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation and the Science and Expert Committee. He is also a member of the Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation administrative committee. These positions attest to his understanding of the legal and procedural methods that underpin the multidistrict litigation practice. 

DeGaris’ advocacy also extends beyond his legal practice and committee associations. He frequently speaks at various legal seminars and conferences, covering topics such as constitutional law, mass tort litigation, multidistrict litigation, and the role of experts in the courtroom.  Furthermore, DeGaris is an accomplished author with an extensive publication record. His writings encompass various legal subjects, from constitutional law to product liability litigation, and have been published nationally and internationally in publications ranging from the University of Tasmania Law Review to Federal Rules Decisions.

A statistical proof of his exceptional achievements is the thousands of clients he has represented, securing substantial compensation for their claims. For this, he has gained consecutive acknowledgment in the “Best Lawyers in America” from 2013 to 2015, coupled with being honored as the “Lawyer of the Year” in Mass Tort Litigation Class Action, Plaintiff, in 2013, 2014, and 2022, speaking to the consistent peer acknowledgment of his legal success.

Being an Advocate for the Scholarly

Through years of education, DeGaris prepared himself for the career ahead. He has surrounded himself with other professionals and associations to continue growing his legal experience. Whether through involvement in various Plaintiff’s Steering Committees, multidistrict litigations, or Science Committees, DeGaris has not only shown his dedication to growing in legal perspectives but has also demonstrated his contributions to the advocacy of mass tort litigation and its education.

DeGaris’ view of the importance of education has led him to speak and publish dissertations that enlighten legal professionals and the next generation of scholars alike. As a professor, DeGaris advocates for the same scholarly approach he took, leading to his achievements.

Annesley DeGaris’s journey is one of sheer commitment to the legal profession, education, and advocacy. Through his involvement in litigation and education, he has played a vital role in shaping the legal industry locally and nationally. DeGaris’ extensive legal achievements, dedication to legal education, and multidimensional contributions to the legal community position him as a noteworthy figure in the legal industry.


Published by: Khy Talara


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