FIRM: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

LAW SCHOOL: UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law

CLIENTS: USC, NBC Universal, CBS, Fox, Mattel, Sony, Chevron

Before Scott Edelman got the call to defend Dole Food Co. against Nicaraguan banana workers who claim they were exposed to a pesticide that rendered them sterile, he had to field questions from Dole owner and billionaire David Murdock.

“It was fascinating to meet somebody with his charisma, and who has been so successful, to see how involved he is even in details like the company’s selection of counsel” said Edelman, a partner in the Century City office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

“But he hasn’t invited me to Lanai yet,” he joked.

It could still happen: In a key victory for the Westlake Village fresh food giant, Edelman convinced a Los Angeles Superior Court judge earlier this year to dismiss two of the pesticide cases against Dole, claiming they were part of a massive scheme to extort the company for billions of dollars.

To prove the fraud, Edelman and a team of Gibson Dunn attorneys persuaded several of the Nicaraguan men to testify that plaintiff’s attorneys had fabricated work certificates and coached witnesses to lie in order to show that they were wrongfully exposed to the banned pesticide DBCP and made sterile as a result.

“The most challenging thing was trying to find a way to get the witnesses to come forward, and then meet our commitment to the witnesses that, despite all the public scrutiny on the trial, that we would do everything possible to protect them so that they wouldn’t be harmed,” he said.

Edelman, a San Fernando Valley native, pursued a career as an attorney because of his father, who was a sole practitioner.

“He was my role model,” Edelman said. “I saw how engaged he always was in his career, how interesting and challenging it was, and so it always appealed to me.”

There is one other career path he considered taking.

“If I were a whole lot better, I would be a professional tennis player,” Edelman said.

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