Gene Locks is the embodiment of the effective trial lawyer: For a generation he has, by successfully representing victims of negligence, helped change the social and political landscape of not just his region but the nation. Indeed, Locks, now in his mid-70s, is one of America's pioneers of class-action tort litigation, which in a single case can - and often does -- change the lives of thousands of plaintiffs victimized by indifference and sometimes willful negligence. Most of those Locks has represented are blue-collar workers such as Delaware River longshoremen. "I've been representing working people all my life," says Locks. "And it's they who've needed our services most." Locks himself identifies with them closely: Growing up in Philadelphia, Locks worked hard to become a high school football star (defying his coach's predictions); his greatest influences were naturally his parents. "I know how hard they worked," Locks says. "And they instilled that ethic in me." Locks went to Princeton, and later Columbia Law School, an elite education that only reinforced his desire to fight social and political injustices through his work. An early mentor was Harry Takiff - "the finest defense lawyer I ever knew" - who instilled the importance of preparation and of intellectual precision.
Independent and strong-willed, Locks has spent the bulk of his career leading small teams of attorneys (currently the firm has 23 lawyers, including 13 partners). He is a member of the plaintiffs' executive committee in the NFL Concussion Litigation and the Firm represents over 1,500 former NFL players in that litigation. He has single-handedly tackled class-action legal proceedings, first in asbestos claims, and later in pharmaceuticals, nursing home negligence and consumer fraud. As a result, his accomplishments have made him one of the most successful American trial lawyers of his generation. The father of six daughters, Locks and his wife maintain residences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Fisher Island, Florida.