LAS VEGAS (Legal Newsline) - Last week, at the largest gathering of mass torts plaintiffs attorneys in the nation, prominent Dallas attorney Lisa Blue Baron announced she is interviewing for her “dream job” at the White House as a member of a panel that would help vet federal judges.
Baron, the widow of famed Dallas attorney and Baron & Budd PC founder Fred Baron and a major donor to Democratic candidates, spent some time rallying for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other Democratic hopefuls at the Mass Torts Made Perfect, or MTMP, biannual conference in Las Vegas.
“We will never have the chance to take back the (U.S.) Senate like we might in the next three weeks,” Baron told attendees, according to a source.
“I can tell you this about Hillary Clinton: she cares about civil justice, she cares about consumers and people that are injured. But without a Democratic Senate, it is going to be a parking lot.”
Baron went on to tell the crowd that she is “in the process of interviewing for a job at the White House” to be on a panel that would help vet federal judges.
“I am so excited about it; it is my dream job,” she told attendees, according to the source.
Baron has been a consistent and generous donor to various Democratic campaigns through the years.
She has donated to the likes of Clinton, presidential hopeful John Edwards, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Vice President and former Sen. Joe Biden, and the Democratic National Committee.
She also has supported Ken Salazar, who served as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. Salazar, who previously served as a U.S. senator for Colorado from 2005 to 2009, was appointed in August to head Clinton’s transition team.
In addition, last October, she donated $20,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee. These are committees that are raising funds to be distributed to other committees, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Baron made a similar donation to the Obama Victory Fund in 2011 for $25,800.
The Democratic fundraising -- and Baron’s support for Clinton -- hasn’t stopped there.
In May, Clinton visited Dallas for a fundraiser hosted by Baron. According to The Dallas Morning News, about 350 people were on hand for the event.
Baron did not respond to an email or call from Legal Newsline seeking comment on her possible position, including what she would look for, specifically, in a federal judge if selected.
Clinton’s campaign did not respond to an email from Legal Newsline seeking comment. The White House also could not be reached.
A Politico report published Friday indicates a secretive team within the Clinton campaign is gearing up for her presidency and already hiring staff.
However, Clinton campaign officials told the Politico source that they remained focused solely on the election.
“No decisions on personnel in a potential Clinton administration would be made until after the election, and any speculation about possible names is premature,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told Politico in an email.
At the MTMP conference Thursday, Blue participated in a session titled, “Have You Become a Prosecution Target for Mass Tort Marketing? Avoiding the Cross Hairs.”
The three-day conference, held in the fall and spring each year, is considered the largest gathering of plaintiff mass tort attorneys in the world, with more than 1,000 participants from 440-plus law firms at each event.
According to the MTMP website, the conferences are designed for individuals working in the area of plaintiff mass torts and personal injury litigation, as well as those with a single-event practice looking to “expand and grow their practices to include mass torts.”
Baron encouraged her fellow trial attorneys to donate to the American Association for Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. A lobbying organization for plaintiffs lawyers in the U.S., the AAJ focuses on opposing tort reform.
“Please help the AAJ,” she told the crowd, according to a source. “Please help the politicians that care about what you do, and thank you so much for all that you do.”
According to the FEC, Baron has donated $52,000 to the AAJ’s political action committee since 2006.
Baron, an attorney with the Dallas firm of Baron and Blue, has an undergraduate and two graduate degrees in counseling psychology. After a brief teaching career, she returned to school and earned a doctorate in counseling psychology and then a law degree, according to her bio.
After completing law school, she joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. In 1985, she moved to Baron & Budd, where she specialized in environmental and toxic tort law.
She and her husband, Fred, supervised more than 800 employees and managed all financial aspects at the firm, which has become one of the largest firms in the country representing victims of toxic and chemical exposure, particularly asbestos claims.
Fred Baron notably revealed in August 2008 -- two months before his death -- that he paid rent for the woman Edwards had an affair with, Rielle Hunter. He was the national finance chairman for the former presidential candidate.
Lisa Blue Baron told MTMP attendees last week that of the current federal judicial vacancies, one-third of them are considered judicial “emergencies.”
According to the U.S. Courts, there are 99 federal vacancies and 59 nominees pending. As of Monday, there are 36 “emergencies.”
The U.S. Courts defines such emergencies for federal circuits as any vacancy in a court of appeals in which adjusted filings per panel are in excess of 700; or any vacancy in existence more than 18 months in which adjusted filings are between 500 to 700 per panel.
At the federal district court level, emergencies exist for a vacancy in which weighted filings are in excess of 600 per judgeship; a vacancy in existence more than 18 months in which weighted filings are between 430 to 600 per judgeship; or any court with more than one authorized judgeship and only one active judge.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.