Last Wednesday, W. Mark Lanier preached to a jury in Angleton, Tex., telling seven men and five women to remember the story of David and Goliath and smite the drug maker Merck with a verdict that would be heard around the world.
On Friday, the jury fulfilled Mr. Lanier’s wishes, finding Merck liable for the death of Robert C. Ernst, who died in 2001 after taking Merck’s painkiller Vioxx for eight months. The jury awarded $253.5 million to Carol Ernst, Mr. Ernst’s widow and Mr. Lanier’s client, in one of the largest damage awards ever to a single plaintiff.
And on Sunday, Mr. Lanier was preaching again, this time at his regular Bible class at Champion Forest Baptist Church in northwest Houston, about 60 miles from Angleton.
“God has moved powerfully over the last six weeks,” Mr. Lanier told more than 300 people at the church, referring to the length of the trial. He went on to teach for an hour about a letter from the apostle Paul.
For Mr. Lanier, Friday’s verdict cemented his place as one of the top civil trial lawyers in America and may fuel his nascent political ambitions. His folksy style resonates with juries, but underneath his Texas twang Mr. Lanier has a fierce desire to win, a love of attention from the press and a healthy ego.