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Asbestos attorney Brian Cooke joined the firm in 2004 and is now one of the firm’s shareholders. He previously served a tour of duty in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps after graduating from University of Missouri Columbia’s School of Law.
In the Marine Corps, Brian traveled around the world and served as both a prosecutor and company commanding officer. During his final year of active duty, Brian served in Baghdad as a legal adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. He was the first Western attorney to appear and argue before the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, a judicial body comprised entirely of Iraqi nationals. His responsibilities included prosecuting crimes involving terrorism, political corruption and organized crime. Recently the St. Louis Bar Association awarded Brian the 2011 Spirit of Justice Award for his military service and his continuing pro bono work to help veterans.
Brian grew up in St. Louis in a family of judges and attorneys. Both parents are veterans of Vietnam. Joining the military and becoming a lawyer was a natural fit for Brian. Throughout his legal career, Brian has represented the underdog, including Iraqi citizens who endured years of tyranny and U.S. veterans suffering from PTSD and other service-related injuries. Today he focuses on asbestos cancer victims who were harmed through no fault of their own.
“When you get to know our clients and their families, hear their stores and how they came about becoming exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with cancer, you know you’re sticking up for the little guy,” he said.
As an asbestos attorney, Brian has built his legal practice on being a legal voice for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. He works hard to put his clients first.
“Every client gets my card and I make sure to run a pen right underneath my cell phone number before I hand it to them,” Brian said. “They are not just allowed to call me; they are encouraged.”
Filing an asbestos lawsuit is a complicated process, but Brian and the firm keep the experience as simple as possible for injured families.
Families and individuals impacted by a mesothelioma diagnosis always have a lot of questions, many of which, they don’t know to ask until after they speak with an attorney, Brian explained.
Because he works on contingent-fee basis, Brian doesn’t charge by the hour. “To me, that means there aren’t just little pockets of time when I’m available,” he said. “It’s 24/7. I work for my clients.”
Once Brian takes on an asbestos case, he and his team begin an in-depth review of the specific facts surrounding the person’s exposure. This type of investigation can span decades and can include detailed analysis of each exposure site juxtaposed against state laws regarding occupational injuries.
“These companies that knowingly used asbestos are not going to compensate the victims out of the kindness of their hearts,” Brian said. “You have to fight for these people’s rights and be their voice.”
One of Brian’s more memorable cases involved a woman exposed to asbestos through fibers brought home on her husband’s clothes from his job at a chemical refinery. Years later, she developed mesothelioma. In that time, the refinery had been bought and sold multiple times. The companies who were legally responsible refused to cooperate. Through the investigation, Brian and his team were able to locate former co-workers who were willing to help. They provided the information Brian needed to ensure the woman and her family received the compensation they deserved.
“There’s no dollar value that can replace what victims of mesothelioma have lost. I can’t give them their health back. I can’t drag in the very people who got them sick, but I have the tools to hold those companies accountable for their decisions and give my clients some type of peace that their families will be provided for,” Brian said.