ALTON, Illinois – Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest mass torts firms, is pleased to announce firm Chairman John Simmons, Managing Shareholder Michael J. Angelides, and Shareholders Perry J. Browder, Randy S. Cohn, Brian J. Cooke, John J. Foley, Ted N. Gianaris and Trent B. Miracle have been named 2021 Illinois Super Lawyers. In addition, Shareholders Eric Johnson and Brendan A. Smith and Associate Rebecca Hausman were recognized as 2021 Illinois Rising Stars.
Only the top 5 percent of lawyers in Illinois are named Super Lawyers. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state are selected as Rising Stars, who must be no older than 40 and have been in practice 10 years or less.
Illinois Super Lawyers
John Simmons makes the list for the ninth consecutive year in the Personal Injury – Products: Plaintiff practice area. Since founding the firm in 1999, he has overseen some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the history of asbestos litigation. Motivated by Simmons’ belief in giving back to the community, firm employees have donated more than $1.5 million to local charities and events through the SHC Foundation’s Employee Committee. In addition, Simmons and the SHC Foundation’s Mesothelioma Committee have donated more than $20 million to cancer research. Simmons received his J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University.
Listed as a Super Lawyer since 2016, Michael Angelides oversees the firm’s Asbestos and Complex Litigation practices. Through his leadership as managing shareholder, the firm files the most mesothelioma cases of any other law firm in the country. Angelides earned his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.
Perry Browder has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer every year since 2011. As head of the firm’s Asbestos Department, Browder manages the firm’s more than 50 asbestos attorneys and oversees all asbestos cases. He successfully secured one of the largest asbestos verdicts in the country, a $250 million verdict against U.S. Steel. Browder received his J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law and his Bachelor of Science from Bradley University.
Recognized as a Super Lawyer since 2016, Brian Cooke helps victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. He oversees a team of attorneys and investigators who have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of firm clients nationwide. Previously, he served two tours of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, for which he was a prosecutor and company commanding officer. During his final year of active duty, he served in Baghdad as a legal adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. Cooke received his J.D. from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law and his Bachelor of Science from Spring Hill College.
Randy Cohn has been listed as a Super Lawyer since 2015 and was previously named a Rising Star from 2012-2014. In 2020, he also was named to the Top 100: Illinois Super Lawyer list. He oversees a team of attorneys and investigators with an exclusive focus on helping victims of asbestos exposure. Cohn received his J.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University.
John Foley is being recognized as a Super Lawyer for the third consecutive year, after being previously honored as a Rising Star from 2013-2016. Representing victims harmed by dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, Foley fills a key leadership role in the Pharmaceutical Litigation Department, which has secured hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements for consumers harmed by dangerous drugs and medical devices. Foley received his J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law and his Bachelor of Science from Missouri State University.
2021 marks Ted Gianaris’ second year as a Super Lawyer. Gianaris is a member of Simmons Hanly Conroy’s leadership team and co-chairs the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Gianaris prosecutes catastrophic injury cases and toxic-exposure cases. He also defends violent felony criminal cases. Gianaris won a $5.1 million jury verdict for a mesothelioma victim exposed as a child. He has secured three different neighborhood-exposure multimillion-dollar settlements including a $7 million class action settlement for neighbors harmed by noxious emissions from a subterranean landfill fire. Gianaris is active in Access to Justice through legal aid, is on the Land of Lincoln legal aid board of directors, and is a Special Public Defender going to trial in St. Louis on felony cases. He organized and spearheaded “Second-Chance Saturday” expungement days and helped erase hundreds of old criminal records. He was awarded the St. Louis Bar Foundation Spirit of Justice Award in 2016 and the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Community Service Award in 2018. Gianaris received his J.D. from the Southern Illinois University School of Law where he worked in a legal clinic representing coal miners in Federal Black Lung claims.
Trent B. Miracle debuts on the Illinois Super Lawyers list in 2021. As a leader of the firm’s Pharmaceutical Litigation Group, he has helped thousands of people harmed by dangerous drugs and defective medical devices. Under his leadership, the team has secured more than $400 million in settlements on behalf of clients harmed by drugs and medical devices like testosterone replacement therapy, transvaginal mesh, Actos, Bextra, Yaz, Vioxx, and more. He served as the co-lead of the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee in Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2545), which involved more than 8,000 federal and state cases and recently settled for significant results. Miracle received his J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from DePauw University.
Illinois Rising Stars
Another new addition in 2021, Rebecca Hausman is being recognized as a Rising Star. She focuses her practice on helping individuals and families impacted by mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases. Before joining the firm, she worked as an assistant state’s attorney, prosecuting criminal cases involving minors and handling requests for expungement and the sealing of criminal records. Hausman received her J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from SIU.
Eric Johnson makes the Rising Stars list for the fourth year in the Personal Injury – Products: Plaintiff practice area. With an extensive background in biology, biochemistry, and public health, he represents individuals who have been injured by dangerous drugs and defective medical devices. He also litigates class action and mass tort cases. He received his J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law, his master’s degree in public health from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College.
Brendan Smith returns to the Rising Stars list for the second consecutive year. A member of the Complex Litigation Department, Smith’s primary focus is on pharmaceutical, medical device and sexual abuse litigation. He has represented more than a thousand injured clients in federal and state mass tort proceedings and helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution. Smith received his J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from DePauw University.
Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers from more than 70 practice areas in the state via a selection process that includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. Attorneys cannot nominate themselves and cannot pay to be included on the list. The Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are published in Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine and Chicago Magazine, as well as distributed to attorneys and ABA-accredited law school libraries. For more information, visit www.superlawyers.com.