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Attorneys at offices across the country operating as The Cochran Firm say they will continue working under the name of the famous attorney who died of a brain tumor last week. With 15 offices in 10 states and the District of Columbia, The Cochran Firm, named after attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., has about 130 attorneys handling mostly personal injury work. Managing attorneys at the various offices said that his name will continue to provide recognition and credibility to their practices. Cochran, who was 67, was widely known for defending football star O.J. Simpson, charged with murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend, Ron Goldman. He also was an accomplished civil rights litigator and a proponent for bringing more minority lawyers into the legal profession. Disheartened, but intact “We’re all disheartened, but the state of the union is intact,” said Worsham Caldwell, a partner in The Cochran Firm-St. Louis. Worsham said that clients at the St. Louis office “never really expected to have Johnnie Cochran represent them in the first place,” and that his firm under the Cochran name will continue as an “up and going concern.” Darryl Phillips, a partner at The Cochran Firm-New Orleans, said that the office there will continue using the Cochran name as well. Harvey Weitz, a partner in the New York office, also said that the location there will maintain the Cochran moniker, as will the Washington office, said partner Janell Byrd-Chichester. The expansion of the national firm, which was formed in 2000, drew some criticism because of Cochran’s lack of hands-on participation at some of the locations. Indeed, several of the offices continue to maintain separate firm names. LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell lists attorneys at the Cochran Firm-New Orleans as practicing for the firm Phillips & Mitchell. A brand name Some of attorneys at The Cochran Firm-New York are listed as working for Weitz, Kleinick & Weitz. Attorneys at The Cochran Firm-Chicago are listed in the directory as working for James D. Montgomery & Associates. Phillips, in New Orleans, said that his firm became The Cochran Firm-New Orleans in 2003, but that the Phillips & Mitchell name remains because some cases are pending under that name. Caldwell, in St. Louis, said that the Caldwell & Singleton entity does not exist anymore, and that the information in the directory is outdated. Whatever the name variations of the locations, the Cochran name, for now, will be part of their identity. “It turned into more of brand than a man,” Phillips said. “It created an identity separate from Johnnie himself.” Cochran’s name continues in another form of immortality through a pending U.S. Supreme Court case. Just days before his death, attorneys argued the case of Tory v. Cochran, No. 03-1488, a dispute involving a disgruntled former client of Cochran. At issue in the case is an injunction Cochran sought and won from a California judge in 2002 to keep former client Ulysses Tory from harassing him. Tory, upset with Cochran’s representation of him in a civil rights lawsuit in the 1980s, picketed one of Cochran’s offices with signs calling him a liar and a crook. The injunction, among other things, prohibited Tory from uttering statements about Cochran in public. Tory argues that the injunction is a prior restraint that violates the First Amendment. Lawyers for both sides agreed that Cochran’s death does not automatically make the case moot.

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