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Editor’s Note: ‘Successful strategies from 10 of the nation’s top litigators: These lawyers make a habit of winning’ is a series of biographies from The National Law Journal. This is the eighth of 10.

In any trial, says plaintiffs’ attorney Larry R. Rogers Sr., “you have to establish credibility right away. You have to let them know that this is not a frivolous case.” Until that has been done, he believes, the jury may look skeptically at the plaintiff’s claims: “Once juries get past that they become very focused.”

In his representation of an elderly Chicago man who had been severely injured in an accident, Mr. Rogers, a partner at Chicago’s Power Rogers & Smith P.C., wasted no time in getting the jury focused. The plaintiff, Tommy Caudle, then 68, was a passenger in a delivery truck when a semi-tractor truck and trailer smashed into it. Mr. Caudle sued Chicago & Northwestern Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad Co., the owners of the truck, charging that the driver had stopped at a stop sign and then had proceeded before it was safe to go. Mr. Caudle sustained a spinal cord injury, rendering him partially paralyzed in all limbs.

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