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, and Ted N. Gianaris have been named 2020 Illinois Super Lawyers. In addition, Shareholder Eric Johnson and associate Brendan A. Smith were recognized as 2020 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.
Simmons makes the list for the eighth consecutive year in the Personal Injury – Products: Plaintiff practice area. He founded the firm in 1999 and has overseen some of the biggest verdicts and settlements in the history of asbestos litigation. Motivated by Simmons’ belief in giving back to the community, Simmons Hanly Conroy employees have donated more than $1 million to local charities and events through the SHC Foundation. In addition, the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation has 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.
Angelides, who has been listed as a Super Lawyer since 2016, 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.
Browder has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer every year since 2011. As head of the firm’s Asbestos Group, 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.
Cooke has been listed as a Super Lawyer since 2016. He helps victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. 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.
Cohn has been listed as a Super Lawyer since 2015 and was previously named a Rising Star from 2012-2014. This year, he was named to the Top 100: Illinois Super Lawyer list for 2020. 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.
Foley is recognized as a Super Lawyer for the second consecutive year; he was also 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.
This year marks Gianaris’s first time on the Super Lawyers list. A member of the firm’s leadership group, Gianaris heads a team of attorneys and paralegals dedicated to securing justice for those who have been harmed through corporate wrongdoing. In 2002, he secured a $5.1 million jury verdict for a mesothelioma victim who was exposed to asbestos as a child through her father’s work clothes. Gianaris received his J.D. from the Southern Illinois University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston.
Johnson makes the Rising Stars list for the third 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.
Smith debuts on the Rising Stars list in 2020. A member of the Complex Litigation Department, Smith’s primary focus is on sexual abuse, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. He works on cases nationwide through all stages of the litigation process and has helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. 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.