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Home / Supplements and Special Sections / WJA 2019 / Michelle L. Corrigan Erikson- Stinson Leonard Street

Michelle L. Corrigan Erikson- Stinson Leonard Street

michelle-l-corrigan-eriksonFor some attorneys, taking work home is a practical matter, if not an act of survival.

Michelle Corrigan Erikson, a St. Louis products-liability defense specialist and mother of two, has a more vested interest in the work she brings home.

“I make it a personal goal to learn as much about these products as I can, knowing that my kids and I use them on a regular basis,” said the Stinson Leonard Street partner, who joined the firm in 2005 and chairs its children’s products group. “I can then translate that experience and practical knowledge into helping my clients.”

Erikson further hones that knowledge through regular involvement in the Juvenile Products Manufacturers’ Association as well as juvenile products subcommittees of ASTM, the international standards organization.

A St. Louis native, Erikson played softball at St. Joseph’s Academy, an all-girl Catholic high school, where her prowess earned an athletic scholarship to Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

The squad was good enough to make the NCAA Division I Championship tournament in her senior season, but the biggest lessons for the one-time pitcher were those that taught her how to handle adversity and defeat, she said.

“In sports, you can work hard and play well but still lose sometimes,” said Erikson. “You’ve got to shake it off, learn from it and play the next game. In law, things also sometimes don’t go the way you want. So you learn from those situations, fix it when you can and bounce back for the next one.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from Canisius, she attended law school at Loyola University in New Orleans. She remained in the Crescent City for nearly eight years, practicing construction and products liability law, before a return home beckoned.

It was at the New Orleans firm of Gieger, Laborde & Laperouse where Erikson “really started to learn the law through research,” she said, with a focus on writing motions and briefs.

“Once I developed an expertise in how the courts have handled these cases, and the rationale behind the court’s decisions on any given set of facts, then I felt like I could really litigate these types of cases,” she said.

She’s no stranger to litigation, having successfully represented manufacturers and distributors of a wide range of products in personal-injury and property-damage claims. But Erikson said she most enjoys consulting with product manufacturers on risk avoidance through proper safety warnings and testing.

“There are a lot of ways that litigation can be avoided. I like to help my clients on the front end so they are less likely to be sued,” she said.

With a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, daily life is a series of balancing acts for the Metro East resident. She credits husband Carl Erikson, head swimming coach and chair of physical education at Principia College, for making it work.

“There’s no way I could have developed the practice I have without him,” she said.

On the pro bono side, she works as a volunteer litigator for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, helping domestic-violence victims obtain orders of protection.