Jim Coogan
Dwyer & Coogan
Personal injury
40 Under Class – 2020

Jim Coogan is a personal-injury attorney with Dwyer & Coogan who has thrived in his field since being sworn into the bar in 2006. Over the course of his career representing injured citizens and workers, he has been a part of over 20 jury trials to verdict. Of the cases where he was part of the trial team, Jim was the first chair for the Plaintiff in over half of them. 

Coogan has delivered excellent results for his clients in these cases. The list includes one of his most-significant successes, a $3 million jury award for his client following the three-week cardiac medicine malpractice trial, Nichols v. University of Chicago Hospital.

Coogan's peers say that he has been successful for some of the usual reasons: hard work; dedication to his clients; and that he knows the law and projects confidence in the courtroom. Another reason for Coogan's success is empathy for the position his clients are in. Jim understands the challenges injured people go through and how much they need reassurance and good counsel.

In 2015, he was elevated to managing partner of Dwyer & Coogan. In the five years since managing the firm’s lawyers and litigation strategy, in addition to driving new business and acting as lead trial counsel for complex cases, the firm has grown and enjoyed some of its most-successful results in years.

Coogan's fellow attorneys have recognized his legal skills. "What makes Jim an exceptional lawyer is the way he treats his clients," said Chicago attorney Stephen Hall. "He does not see them as simply dollar signs. He seems them as people who have genuinely been harmed. With that approach, he takes great pride in being able to aid those wrongfully injured."

Eric Sievertsen, with Kirkland & Ellis, said that Coogan possesses all the skills a top trial attorney needs. He is a strong writer and speaker. He knows how to marshal facts and principles to make a strong argument. 

Then there's passion. Sievertsen said that Coogan has a sincere conviction about how his clients have been wronged. Coogan is determined to help his clients right these wrongs, Sievertsen said. 

Coogan's success can't be measured only by his courtroom victories. He's also served as a strong leader of his law firm, helping the firm steadily grow and increase its client list. 

"Jim has navigated the successes and obstacles of running a law firm calmly and with focus," Sievertsen said. "I believe his steady hand has contributed to the great success his firm has enjoyed. In addition, I have seen Jim lead and support his partners and employees. Jim is committed to professional mentorship, both within his firm and outside of it, and I believe Jim to be a compassionate, dedicated and thoughtful manager of his firm."

Sievertsen believes so strongly in Coogan's abilities, he recommended him to a potential client. That move paid off. Sievertsen said he heard nothing but enthusiastic reports about Coogan's dedication, demeanor and effectiveness. 

When Coogan is not zealously serving his clients, he finds time to give back to his profession and community. For years, he has been active with the Greater Chicago Food Depository Associate Board. Coogan also mentors young attorneys through both the Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association mentor programs. He has served as a commissioner on the City of Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Committee since 2017.

Coogan has contributed to his firm’s biggest successes from the very beginning. Flores v. MacNeal was a medical negligence case that involved the wrongful death of a woman after she underwent bariatric surgery. That case settled for more than $5 million. Jim worked on some of the key medical issues in discovery and helped prepare the case for trial—when the remaining defendants settled. In Gerasi v. AT&T, a union electrician suffered a 280-volt electric shock at an AT&T power station. Faulty maintenance and the failure of lock-out/tag-out procedures resulted in severe complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in the electrician's right arm. That case settled for over $3 million.

James McCarthy, formerly of the Dwyer, McCarthy firm, and now assistant corporate counsel with the village of Skokie, said neither outcome would have been possible without Coogan's focus and dogged pursuit. 

"In both cases, there were numerous defendants, multiple defenses and multiple motions," McCarthy said. "The depth and breadth of Jim's knowledge and skills allowed him to take depositions of medical experts one month and then around and file responses to motions for summary judgment the next. In short, Jim is the complete package.”