America’s Lawyers Black

From corporate law to criminal litigation, here are the lawyers to call to get you the best deal or keep you out of trouble

the largest settlement in U.S. history in an environmental pollution case. Cochran and company coaxed $700 million from Monsanto, Solutia, Pharmacia, and Pfizer Inc., which was awarded to 18,000 Anniston, Alabama, residents who fell sick from chemical contamination.
Equally skilled in the judicial courts and the court of public opinion, the Loyola University School of Law graduate was sworn in as a lawyer in 1963 and spent the following three years as a Los Angeles prosecutor. He developed a knack for reading juries and became the top trial lawyer in the city attorney’s office.
These days, Cochran’s approach in court is to use novel and innovative ways to argue his points to a judge and jury — even if it takes a rhyme or two. “With each case, I try to reduce it down to the simplest common denominator to help people relate or understand,” Cochran explains. “I give them something that they can hold on to, something they can grasp. In the O.J. Simpson trial it was: ‘If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.’”
– Cliff HockerWILLIE GARY
Senior Partner
Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney,Lewis, McManus, Watson, & Sperando P.L.
Like the biblical tale of David and Goliath, Willie Gary has represented little-known clients against major corporations, earning him the nickname, the “Giant Killer.”
Gary’s practice, which got its start 23 years ago in a humble storefront in Martin County, Florida, has won lawsuits against corporate giants such as Disney and Anheuser-Busch for $240 million and $139 million, respectively. Gary, who is in his mid-50s, is heralded as one of the country’s leading litigators, having won more than 150 cases valued in excess of $1 million each.
He’s a senior partner at Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, McManus, Watson, & Sperando P.L., which has offices in Stuart and Fort Pierce, Florida. Gary also serves as chair and CEO of the Major Broadcasting Cable Network.
The migrant farm boy who grew up to become a power attorney achieved one of the largest jury verdicts in U.S. history — $500 million for damages suffered by a Mississippi businessman who filed suit in 1995 against the funeral chain The Loewen Group.
“This was a breach of contract case — a concept that I had to simplify to a jury. So, I used phrases like ‘your word is your bond,’” he explains.
Another key tactic was getting inside help. Gary’s trial team took great pains to ferret out former employees of The Loewen Group who helped advance their case.
“We were able to find someone in accounting to verify The Loewen Group was buying up small funeral homes in order to double the prices poor people were paying for services,” he says.
Gary is used to beating the odds. After graduating from North Carolina Central University School of Law only to discover that no one would hire him because he was black, Gary returned to his hometown of Stuart, Florida. He decided to open the first black firm and says he has never “allowed others to dictate his life’s course.”
– Daniel BrownDENNIS C. SWEET III
Partner
Langston, Sweet & Freese
With

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