Tope O. Leyimu


Throughout her career, Tope has advocated for improved worker safety and women’s health issues. She takes pride in representing those catastrophically hurt or killed because of corporate wrongdoing, occupational hazards, and environmental negligence.

Passionate about the health of women, Tope works extensively on MDL 3060 In re: Hair Relaxer Marketing Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, serving on the Leadership Development Council, co-chairing a liability committee and litigating cases related to the manufacture, marketing and sales of hair relaxers. Plaintiffs in these cases assert that they developed endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer or uterine cancer after using certain chemical hair relaxers. They also allege that the manufacturers of these products failed to properly test the products and neglected to provide proper warnings to customers about potential risks. Tope has also litigated cases seeking justice on behalf of hundreds of women who suffered damaging complications after receiving pelvic mesh/sling products. 

She began her career representing workers who suffered cancer, respiratory ailments and other diseases caused by other toxic chemical exposures. Today, she continues to fight for the rights of workers by representing individuals, including fire fighters, who are alleging severe health complications from occupational use of firefighting aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF). Plaintiffs in MDL No. 2873 assert these foams contain two types of PFAS, known to many as “forever chemicals”. Tope works on the legal team representing the International Fire Fighters Association (IAFF) in their legal efforts to remove PFAS from fire fighter bunker gear.  She is a frequent speaker at local and national occupational health and safety conferences.

In addition to her toxic tort and medical casework, Tope is a part of Motley Rice’s public client team. She represents states, cities, counties, and townships in litigation targeting the alleged deceptive marketing and over-distribution of highly addictive opioid drugs against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies in MDL No. 2804. Through her work on MDL No. 3047, Tope represents school districts against numerous social media companies to recover resources devoted to supporting the needs of students allegedly addicted to the social media products. 

Tope serves on the board of directors for Charleston Legal Access and by appointment by the South Carolina Supreme Court to the Access to Justice Commission, where she works to expand access to legal services across the state. She is a member of the Motley Rice DEI and Attorney Recruiting Committees. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Charleston Habitat for Humanity, the Green Heart Project and Charleson Halos, supporting and advocating for abused and neglected children and kinship caregivers.

While a law student at the University of Virginia School of Law, Tope worked with the Legal Aid Justice Center of Charlottesville providing legal advice for low-income families in the areas of employment and housing law. She also volunteered with the Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic, investigating cases, and seeking exoneration for wrongfully convicted individuals. 

Selected Publications:

Deadly Beauty Standards, TRIAL Magazine (May 2024)



J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2013

B.A., with honors, University of Central Florida, 2009

Licensed In

  • District of Columbia
  • South Carolina

Admitted to Practice Before

U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina


American Association for Justice

American Bar Association

South Carolina Bar Association

South Carolina Association for Justice, Fmr. Chair – Women's Caucus

South Carolina Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission

Charleston County Bar Association

Awards and Accolades

Charleston, SC
2021–2024 Ones to Watch list: Mass tort litigation / class actions – plaintiffs; Personal injury litigation–plaintiffs; Product liability litigation–plaintiffs

2017–2021 South Carolina Super Lawyers® Rising Stars list
Personal injury–general: plaintiff

2021 Best and Brightest 35 & Under

2022 Rising Stars of the Plaintiffs list