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Legal Legends

Legends of the Cochran Firm

The Cochran Firm has a long-standing reputation for maintaining some of the nation’s top attorneys. With multiple locations throughout the United States, we have established ourselves as the country’s premier victims’ advocate law firm, a prestigious honor we owe largely to the legal legends whose hard work and dedication helped build the foundation upon which our firm stands.
Below are the attorneys who have played a pivotal role in building the legacy of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. and The Firm or were tasked with continuing that legacy, all while serving their clients and communities.
Johnie Cochran dn Jock Smith lean against a desk beside each otherJohnie Cochran dn Jock Smith lean against a desk beside each otherAn image of lawyer Randall Mainor
Jonnie-COCHRAN 1--legal--legend

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.

Los Angeles, California
October 2, 1937 - March 29, 2005
Known as an accomplished trial lawyer, tireless civil libertarian, and generous philanthropist, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. founded our firm over 40 years ago. While Johnnie became nationally recognized for his high-profile cases such as the O.J. Simpson trial, his dedication to bringing justice to everyday Americans had already earned him several honors and distinctions long before.

Johnnie was the first attorney in Los Angeles to receive both the “Civil Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award and the “Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award. Additional distinctions include:

o America’s Trial Lawyer of the Year, 1995, The National Law Journal
o Headliners of the Year, 1999, Time
o Top 50 Trial Attorneys of 1999, Los Angeles Business Known as an accomplished trial lawyer, tireless civil libertarian, and generous philanthropist, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. founded our firm over 40 years ago. While Johnnie became nationally recognized for his high-profile cases such as the O.J. Simpson trial, his dedication to bringing justice to everyday Americans had already earned him several honors and distinctions long before.

Johnnie was the first attorney in Los Angeles to receive both the “Civil Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award and the “Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award. Additional distinctions include:
o America’s Trial Lawyer of the Year, 1995, The National Law Journal
o Headliners of the Year, 1999, Time
o Top 50 Trial Attorneys of 1999, Los Angeles Business Journal
Johnnie was elected for membership into the Inner Circle of Advocates in 1996. The Inner Circle of Advocates is an exclusive organization composed of the top 100 personal injury lawyers in America. Recognized as one of the top one percent of trial lawyers in the United States, Johnnie held the distinction of being inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers and was also inducted into the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, which is comprised of leading trial attorneys from throughout the world.
Johnnie passed on March 29, 2005, but his vision and dedication live on in the hearts and minds of all of our attorneys.

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. has been recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer, civil libertarian and philanthropist throughout the world. As a seasoned litigator, Johnnie was considered to be one of the leading authorities on the criminal and civil justice system, as well as an international leader in the legal profession.

Born in Shreveport, LA, Johnnie Cochran moved with his family to California. With an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles, Johnnie attended Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where he received his Juris Doctor. Johnnie’s early legal career began in the City Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles in 1963 where he was assigned to the criminal division. After several years, he entered private practice and founded a Los Angeles-based law firm where he developed a practice handling a substantial volume of both civil and criminal cases.

In 1978, he was invited to serve as the Assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County. As the third ranking lawyer in the nation’s largest law office, he had general administrative responsibility for six hundred lawyers.

In 1981, he was eager to return to private practice where he soon began obtaining record verdicts for victims of negligence. As his remarkable achievements continued, Johnnie settled or tried to verdict numerous landmark, high-profile cases.

Although widely known as an outstanding trial lawyer, it was Johnnie’s role as lead counsel for the O.J. Simpson case that brought him international recognition. He was the only attorney in Los Angeles ever to receive both the “Civil Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award and the “Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award. In 1995, he was named “America’s Trial Lawyer of the Year” by The National Law Journal, as well as being named one of the “Headliners of the Year” by Time magazine. In 1999, he was named one of the “Top 50 Trial Attorneys of 1999” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

In 1996, Johnnie was elected for membership into the Inner Circle of Advocates, an exclusive organization composed of the top 100 personal injury lawyers in America. He further held the distinction of being inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization whose membership consists of the top one percent of trial lawyers in the United States. He was also inducted into the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, which is comprised of leading trial attorneys from throughout the world.
In addition to his professional career, Johnnie published two autobiographies.

In 1996, Journey To Justice became a best seller, followed by A Lawyer’s Life in 2002. Johnnie always maintained an interest in communities and their outreach programs. He helped establish the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Academy of Legal Studies and Community Service in East Orange, New Jersey, the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Center for Early Learning At Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, and scholarship funds for the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of New Mexico School of Law, and the Southern University School of Law in Baton Rouge, LA .

Jock Smith Legal Legends

Jock Smith

Tuskegee, Alabama
June 10, 1948 – January 8,2012
Jock M. Smith was a co-founder, National Partner, and President of The Cochran Firm. During his career, Jock worked on a number of high-profile and precedent-setting cases. He was dedicated to assisting victims in getting large settlements, and took on some of the most powerful corporations of his time, including Orkin, Monsanto, and Southwestern Life Insurance. In fact, the verdict he obtained against Southwestern Life Insurance was reported as the single largest verdict in the nation in the National Law Journal and Lawyers Weekly USA, and remains the largest civil verdict obtained by an African American lawyer in the nation’s history.

Jock was the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including the keys to the cities of New Orleans, Memphis and Flint. Additional distinctions include:
o Recognition by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association
o The Million Dollar Advocates Forum
o Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Journey to Justice Award, 2005, at the National Bar Association Convention
o AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
o America’s Top 500 Trial Litigators, 2006 and 2007, Legal Magazine
o Who’s Who in Black Lawyers in New York, 2009
o Lifetime member of Superior Lawyers of America
o Board of Trustees of Tuskegee University, 2011

Shortly before his passing on January 8, 2012, Jock was selected by The Trial Lawyer as one of the 100 Most Influential Trial Lawyers in America.

Harvey Weitz

Harvey Weitz
New York, New York
An extraordinary plaintiff’s advocate, Harvey Weitz has accumulated more than 100 verdicts in excess of $1 million on behalf of his clients and has attained verdicts and settlements of billions of dollars numerous times. Attorney Weitz achieved these results in the areas of medical malpractice, product liability, civil law, and trial practice.

In addition to being instrumental in bringing The Cochran Firm to New York, he has authored and coauthored numerous books, articles, and periodicals. He was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame in 2017 and has served on several committees including the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the Society of Medical Jurisprudence to name only a few.

J.B. Spence

March 31,1922 - November, 26,2011
Miami, FL
For over six decades, J.B. Spence was known as one of Florida’s best trial attorneys. In fact, J.B. was the first attorney in the state of Florida to obtain a million-dollar verdict for a client. Following that verdict in 1967, J.B. obtained over 100 more million-dollar verdicts for his clients during his impressive career. A frequent lecturer and author of two books, J.B. was an associate professor at the University of Miami School of Law. He was a member of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, The international Academy of Trial Lawyers, and The Inner Circle of Advocates.
He was awarded the Perry Nichols Award in 1987 by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame in 2010.
J.B. Spence passed at the age of 89 on November 26,2011. A distinguished and dedicated attorney, J.B.’s memory continues to provide inspiration for our attorneys.

Randall Mainor

December 9, 1941 – December 11, 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada
Randall “Randy” Mainor was a senior partner of Mainor, Eglet & Cottle in Nevada. Randy’s experience included serving as a Special Agent for the F.B.I., Deputy District Attorney, Deputy Public Defender, and a member of the Nevada Taxicab Authority, but it was his legal career the included several multimillion-dollar verdicts for which he is best known.
In 1999, Randy was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by his peers. He passed on December 11, 2007.

An image of lawyer Randall Mainor
An image of Arnold “Arnie” Kleinick

Arnold “Arnie” Kleinick

1932– July 4, 2012
A prominent New York attorney, founder of Schneider, Kleinick, and Weitz, Arnold Kleinick, and a President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, attorney Kleinick was instrumental in the establishment of The Cochran Firm New York.

Ivan Schneider

October 20, 1931 – January 5, 2017
A native of Brooklyn, New York Ivan Schneider earned his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and went on to become an elite New York attorney with over 200 multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements during his 50-year career. Founder of Schneider, Kleinick, and Weitz, he would later work to establish The Cochran Firm New York office.

Phillip Damashek

May 18, 1940 – January 3, 2006
Phillip M. Damashek was a life-long advocate for his clients, a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Law School, and a Managing Partner of Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek & Shoot. He served on the Jewish Lawyers Guild, was a President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and worked to establish The Cochran Firm New York office.

Michael Allsup

July 14, 1955 – December 16, 2021
Birmingham, AL
Michael Lee Allsup’s 40-year career included work in personal injury, complex civil litigation, medical malpractice, and a concentration on civil rights. He was a veteran of the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG), where he defended soldiers who were being court-martialed. He was a member of the Board of Governors, President’s Club, and Executive Committee for the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association and a member of the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.
When he was not representing clients, Michael was a life-long supporter of The Boy Scouts of America where he served numerous roles including several committees including the Vulcan District Scout Board of Review.

Robert Shuler Smith

January 11, 1971 – September 10,2021
Jackson, Mississippi
Born into a family of ministers, Robert Shuler Smith packed a lifetime of service despite his career being cut short. In addition to serving as a public defender with Hinds County Robert served 12 years as the Hinds County District Attorney. He also served as a member of numerous professional and community organizations including the NAACP, Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, and the Central Mississippi Health Services, Inc. He was also a member of the West Jackson Community Development Corporation and was a volunteer mentor for Jackson Public Schools. Professionally, Robert was licensed to practice in all courts in the state of Mississippi including the Supreme Court of Mississippi as well as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Michael Allsup

Harvey Weitz
July 14, 1955 – December 16, 2021
Birmingham, AL

Michael Lee Allsup’s 40-year career included work in personal injury, complex civil litigation, medical malpractice, and a concentration on civil rights. He was a veteran of the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG), where he defended soldiers who were being court-martialed. He was a member of the Board of Governors, President’s Club, and Executive Committee for the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association and a member of the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.
When he was not representing clients, Michael was a life-long supporter of The Boy Scouts of America where he served numerous roles including several committees including the Vulcan District Scout Board of Review.




Robert Shuler Smith

January 11, 1971 – September 10,2021
Jackson, Mississippi

Born into a family of ministers, Robert Shuler Smith packed a lifetime of service despite his career being cut short. In addition to serving as a public defender with Hinds County Robert served 12 years as the Hinds County District Attorney. He also served as a member of numerous professional and community organizations including the NAACP, Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, and the Central Mississippi Health Services, Inc. He was also a member of the West Jackson Community Development Corporation and was a volunteer mentor for Jackson Public Schools. Professionally, Robert was licensed to practice in all courts in the state of Mississippi including the Supreme Court of Mississippi as well as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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