Matthew Bergman is an attorney, law professor, philanthropist and community activist. He is senior partner of Bergman Draper Oslund Udo; a professor at Lewis & Clark Law school and serves on the board of directors of nonprofit institutions in higher education, national security, civil rights, worker protection and the arts.
Matt is nationally known for his work on behalf of asbestos victims. He has litigated over 850 mesothelioma case, conducted over 25 trials and prosecuted over 20 reported appellate cases. Matt has chaired and keynoted national and international seminars on asbestos litigation and bankruptcy. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on asbestos legislation, was appointed to a dozen creditors’ committees in asbestos bankruptcy cases and serves the advisory committees of several multi-billion-dollar asbestos trusts. He has carried the fight for injured workers from the courthouse to federal and state legislatures and works closely with medical providers and labor unions throughout the northwest.
Matt grew up in Seattle, Washington and attended college and law school in Portland, Oregon. After graduating magna cum laude, from Lewis and Cark Law School in 1989, Matt clerked for Judge Bobby R. Baldock on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In 1991, he began private law practice in Seattle at a 600-lawyer international law firm where he represented corporations in environmental disputes, Indian law and insurance coverage litigation. Eager to represent real people instead of large corporations, Matt became a plaintiff’s lawyer in 1995 and began working on behalf of asbestos victims. In 2001, he founded his own law firm which has grown to become the largest firm in the Pacific Northwest devoted exclusively to representing asbestos victims.
Over the past 25 years, Matt has represented over 850 mesothelioma victims and been involved in some of the most significant legal and legislative contests in asbestos litigation. His appellate advocacy expanded the rights of asbestos victims in Washington State by securing the first appellate holding allowing family members who sustained “take home” asbestos to sue the premises where their husband or father was exposed. He also secured appellate rulings that enabled asbestos victims exposed to products supplied by defunct or bankruptcy companies to obtain recovery from solvent corporate successors. Nationally, Matt was involved in negotiating $5.3 billion global settlements with Owens Corning and $5.1 billion settlement in Halliburton, settlements chronicled in a Washington Law & Politics profile: Settlement of a Lifetime.