Celebrity Cochran plans US network

Celebrity lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who represented OJ Simpson during his murder trial, is merging his 30-lawyer LA practice with a New York firm to form the biggest plaintiff's negligence firm in the US.

The merger between Cochran Cherry Givens & Smith and Schneider Kleinick Weitz Damashek & Shoot to create a 61-lawyer practice, is the latest step in Cochran's campaign to build a national firm.

The new firm – dubbed The Cochran Firm nationally to cash in on his fame, or The Cochran Firm Schneider Kleinick Weitz Damashek & Shoot in New York – wants to open more offices across the country.

Cochran Cherry partner Keith Givens says Chicago, Washington, Baltimore, Memphis, Jackson, Mississippi, New Orleans, San Diego and San Francisco are all targets for new branches.

Cochran Cherry was only formed in January this year, when Cochran merged his eight-lawyer LA firm with a 22-lawyer firm which has offices in Georgia and Alabama.

Cochran, who shot to fame defending former American pro-footballer and actor OJ Simpson in the televised murder trial of the century, says he intends to spend most of his time in New York.

The new firm will have nine equity partners and plans to hire five new lawyers to expand the commercial litigation practice.

Cochran says: “Our firms share a common mission of representing the injured. Together we will bring in a new level of justice to the clients we serve.”