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December 16, 2021 103 mins

EPISODE #2.1:  The Heart of Law with Paul Farrell

The Heart of Law’s second season debuts with a forcible gale as Paul Farrell shares the mic with Mirena Umizaj. Respected by his contemporaries as the vanguard against the opioid scourge, our keen host deconstructs the rife ways propelling Paul to fly in the face of titan cases. Jumping immediately into the deep-dive, they weigh in on the steady, impressive rise of women in the legal field.  Utilizing zoo animals and oceanic metaphors, Paul and Mirena contemplate what to expect from the diverse personality types holding the legal empire together. All the while deconstructing the indelible mark of two distinct paradigm shifts in the industry. 

Getting into the show's crux, Mirena asks Paul about his journey through the colossal MDL, National Prescription Opiate Litigation he took on. He recounts Eric Eyre’s investigative journalism expose (winning him the 2017 Pulitzer Prize), the three women whose stories made an impact on the prescription opioid epidemic (winning them an Academy Award), the horrific 780 million pain pills sold in a six-year window, the 20% infants born addicted to opium every year, and multifarious other situations spurring this gorgonian case that began in Huntington, West Virginia. Aligning forces with Mike Papantonio and Russell Budd, along with states like Ohio and Kentucky, Paul waged one of the biggest legal battles this nation has known. Anticipating the release of the documentary, The Bellwether, produced by Clay Tweel (a filmmaker who followed Paul throughout the four-year case) and a positive verdict in early 2022—no matter the outcome—he looks straight ahead.

We hear his frustration as he revisits Nixon’s Environmental Protection Act, decades of presidents’ shifting promises, insidious political agendas, staggering Congressional regulations all leading to the Coal and Steel Mining Industry’s demise in West Virginia—leaving hundreds jobless in its wake. Clearly disenchanted at the hypocrisy of the US government building fossil fuel-burning power plants in Iraq and Afghanistan, while “putting coal companies out of business and … [not] even hav[ing] the decency to reimburse their pension funds,” we clearly grasp why he ran for office in the 2016 Presidential Elections with a mere $2,500.00. Despite his loss, Paul beat Hillary Clinton by 113 votes in Mingo County, West Virginia, ranking second place. Mirena proudly reminds him of his ineffaceable mark, influencing change in the CDC’s guidelines and standards of care. What’s next for our champion? Without batting an eye, he says: “Google. The single largest monolithic monopoly in the history of the world.” All 300 newspapers who implored him to fight for their cause will find an indomitable warrior storming even Olympus itself.

EPISODE SURVEY:

  • [00:06:52] Paul and Mirena discuss the growth and future of women in leadership positions.
  • [00:36:08] Lawyers and Lions? Listen as Paul draws comparisons of the characteristics in the legal industry and lion packs. 
  • [00:42:14] Discover who Paul Farrell is and what inspires him.
  • [01:03:17] Opioid litigation is more than a project to Paul; it is of major personal importance. Find out why here!
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