J. Keith Givens
Keith has been a civil trial lawyer for consumers and injury victims for over twenty-seven years. Keith was a finalist for the 2008 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, as recognized by the Public Justice Foundation for his work on the environmental case of Perrine v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company. The trial of the Perrine case resulted in a $390 million verdict, the highest consumer verdict in the U.S. for the year.
As a senior partner of The Cochran Firm, Keith serves as a member of The Cochran Firm’s management team for national operations. Keith has been a board certified (1989-2009) civil trial lawyer who has concentrated his practice in the area of personal injury and wrongful death. Currently he focuses his practice on truck accident cases, product claims, and complex litigation. Keith obtained the state of Alabama’s highest verdict for a single wrongful death ($25 million). He was also the attorney for plaintiffs in a $700 million settlement of an environmental case, the largest settlement in the history of the state of Alabama.
Keith is past president of The American Trial Lawyers Association, an invitation only Association of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers from each state. He is currently an Executive Committee Member of The American Trial Lawyers Association and a member of the Editorial Board of The American Trial Lawyer (a magazine for Trial Lawyers and a Voice for Justice). Keith is also a member of the Alabama Bar Association, the Georgia Bar Association, and the Florida Bar Association. He has been a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association (currently known as The Alabama Association for Justice), where he has served as Secretary, Vice President and President elect (2000-2001). Keith also served as president of the Southeast Alabama Trial Lawyers Association for two years, and as president of the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation. He has been a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar Association 1989 to 2009 and the National Board of Trial Advocacy 1990 to 2007. He is a member and has served on the Board of Governors for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, now known as the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Keith was the recipient of the Al Sansone Service Award, the highest award of service recognized by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA). He currently serves on the University of Alabama Law School Foundation Board of Directors. As an author and speaker, he has written and spoken on a wide range of topics concerning trial skills.
A graduate of the University of Alabama, Keith earned undergraduate degrees in both Psychology and Business Administration. He obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law where he was a finalist in the John A. Campbell Moot Court competition. In 2004, Keith was named by the University of Alabama as the first “Howell Heflin Guest Lecturer.”
Shean Williams is an associate of the Atlanta office of the Cochran Firm – Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Sistrunk. He pursued an academic and athletic career at Miami University in Ohio where he received a bachelor’s degree in Finance in 1993. He obtained his juris doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law in 1996. Mr. Williams is currently licensed to practice law in the federal courts, as well as in the trial and appellate courts of the State of Georgia.
During his legal career, Shean has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a multitude of cases in areas of contracts, real estate, business, employment discrimination, personal injury, entertainment and sports. As an associate of the Cochran Firm, he specializes in general trial litigation involving medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, contracts, products liability, employment discrimination and catastrophic personal injury cases.
Shean D. Williams has been a member of the State Bar of Georgia since 1996. He is also a member of such professional organizations as the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Gate City Bar Association, National Bar Association, and the National Football League Players’ Association Contract Advisors. As a member of the community, Mr. Williams also serves on committees and boards for local civic groups such as Project Destiny, Inc., New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Deer Creek Homeowners’ Association, and The Winning Circle, Inc.
Audrey Tolson is a partner in The Cochran Firm’s Atlanta office. Her practice is concentrated primarily in the areas of wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury and medical malpractice. Audrey received her undergraduate degree from Georgia Institute of Technology where she was a founding member of the university’s Pre-Law Society. She then obtained her Juris Doctor from Georgia State University. Prior to joining The Cochran Firm, Audrey owned and managed her private law practice.
In 2000, Audrey was name one of the Top 100 Female Lawyers in the state of Georgia. She is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association, and the Georgia State Bar Association.
Ms. Tolson has been a member of the state bar of Georgia since 1995. She is also a member of several sections of the State Bar, including the General Practice and Trial Law sections as well as the Products Liability Section. Ms. Tolson has been with the firm since its Atlanta office opened in February, 1999.
Prior to joining Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith, & Sistrunk, Ms. Tolson was the owner and managing attorney for Tolson & Associates, P.C. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgia Institute of Technology where she was a founding member of the University’s Pre-Law Society. After attending Georgia Tech, she received her law degree from Georgia State University. In 2000, Ms. Tolson was named one of the Top 100 Female Lawyers in the state of Georgia.
Ms. Tolson is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers and American Trial Lawyers Associations. Her primary areas of practice are in the areas of wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury, and medical malpractice.
Jane Lamberti Sams
Ms. Sams is active in the litigation of medical professional liability, products liability and commercial actions. She has also represented the firm’s clients in insurance contract disputes and employment-related issues. Ms. Sams received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College (B.A., cum laude), where she was elected to the Sigma Xi National Scientific Research Society. Ms. Sams also received her master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia and her law degree from Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, Ms. Sams served as Associate Justice for the Vanderbilt Moot Court Board, Captain of the Jessup International Moot Court Team, and received the Johnson & Gibbs Appellate Advocacy Award and Mock Trial Competition Best Brief Award. Ms. Sams is a member of the American and Atlanta Bar Associations.
Hezekiah Sistrunk, Jr. is the managing partner of the Atlanta, Georgia office of The Cochran Firm, Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Sistrunk. He has prosecuted and defended hundreds of litigated matters before state and federal courts and various administrative agencies. He has litigated matters involving a broad array of substantive areas of practice, but with special focus on litigation of complex litigation matters, common law and statutory and contract cases, physician and hospital liability cases, products liability cases, commercial, corporate and business disputes, and catastrophic personal injury cases.
Mr. Sistrunk has represented, over the years, both plaintiffs and defendants in a multitude of cases and has litigated nearly one hundred cases to verdict. His diversity of trial experience is reflected in his service as trial counsel for individuals as well as national and international corporations in complex litigation matters. He serves and has served as lead trial counsel in products liability and multi-party toxic tort litigation, class action litigation and multi-district litigation. He is also very active in the prosecution of medical professional liability actions. His trial experiences have involved nearly every broad specialty in medical practice. Mr. Sistrunk has lectured on medical professional liability issues, complex litigation matters, and has conducted risk management and risk assessment seminars for various clients. He has tried to jury verdict many significant cases involving allegations of professional negligence, products liability and an array of other actions raising issues of, among other things, intentional tort, negligence, business tort, commercial contract and various federal statutory actions.
Following service with the U.S. Army, Mr. Sistrunk pursued an academic and active athletic career at North Carolina State University, where he graduated with honors. He attended on full academic scholarship and earned his law degree from Duke University. While at Duke, Mr. Sistrunk served on the editorial staff of the Duke Journal of Law and Contemporary Problems.
Mr. Sistrunk is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Georgia Defense Lawyers Association, the Defense Research Institute, and the American, National, Atlanta and Gate City Bar Associations. He has been selected by Georgia Super Lawyers and Atlanta Magazine as a Georgia Super Lawyer. Only 5% of the lawyers in Georgia are named as Super Lawyers. He is listed in the March 2007 issue of Georgia Super Lawyer magazine, Atlanta Magazine and at http://www.superlawyers.com.