Charles Cole is a partner in the Chicago office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Medical Malpractice Department. He spends the majority of his time defending physicians and other health care providers. After admission to the Illinois Bar in 1977, Mr. Cole has spent his career trying complex and significant matters to verdict in Illinois as well as other states, both in the State Court and the Federal Court.
Mr. Cole has tried more than 80 cases to verdict involving multi-million dollar exposures. His practice areas and trial experience include medical malpractice, professional liability, complex construction matters, amusement claims, commercial litigation, transportation negligence, and general liability defense.
Primary Area(s) of Practice
- Medical Malpractice
- Complex Business & Commercial Litigation
- National Trial Practice
- COVID-19: Commercial & Contractual Litigation Disputes
Illinois State and Appellate Courts
U.S. Federal Courts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Charles served as Director of the 41st Annual IADC Trial Academy Faculty at Stanford Law School in 2013; Director-Elect of the 40th Annual IADC Trial Academy Faculty in 2012; Member of the IADC Trial Academy Faculty in 2008; Charles was elected a member of the prestigious International Association of Defense Counsel in 1992 and served as a Member of the IADC Nominating Committee in 2008.
- Charles has been a member of DRI for more than 30 years. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of DRI, 2009-2010; DRI Public Policy Committee Chair, 2008-2009; DRI Board of Directors as the Regional Director for the North Central Region, 2006-2009; Member, Strategic Planning Committee, 2006-2007. He also served as a Member, Annual Meeting Steering Committee, 2005-2008; Chair of Entertainment Sub-Committee, 2005-2007, Chair of Marketing Sub-Committee, 2007-2008; Member, Commercial Litigation Committee, 2007-2009; Board Liaison, Commercial Litigation Committee, 2007-2009; Board Liaison, Fidelity & Surety Committee, 2006-2007; Member, Medical Liability Committee, 2001-2009; Member, Diversity Committee, 2007-2009; Member, Trial Tactics Committee, 2006-2009; Member, National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, 2007-2009; received the DRI Leadership Award as Illinois State Representative, 2004; DRI State Representative for Illinois, 2001-2004; DRI Exceptional Performance Award, 2002)
- He has been a member of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel for more than 35 years. Charles served the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel as President (2001-2002), President-Elect (2000-2001), First Vice President (1999-2000), Second Vice President (1998-1999), Secretary-Treasurer (1997-1998); and a member of its Board of Directors (1993-1997). He also served as Insurance Symposium on Conflicts and Ethics, Program Chair, 1996; Professional Liability Committee Chair, 1993-1997; Trial Tactics Program Chair, 1986.
- Charles recently completed service as an elected member of the governing board of Mackrell International. Mackrell International is a global network of more than 90 independent law firms in more than 40 countries.
- Charles is also a member of the ABA, the ISBA, and the Society of Trial Lawyers.
Awards & Honors
- Illinois Super Lawyers, Law & Politics, since 2005
- Leading Lawyers Network, Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2005 to present
- Speaker, IADC Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria in 2014 on "Success and the Meaning of Life - How do we measure it?"
- Speaker and paper submitted, DRI Trial Tactics Seminar, Las Vegas, NV, 2008
- Speaker and paper submitted, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, Annual Meeting, Bloomington, IN, 2009
- Speaker and paper submitted, Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Spring Meeting, Austin, TX, 2009
- Speaker and paper submitted, Canadian Defense Lawyers, Trial Tactics Seminar, Toronto, ON, 2008
- Speaker and paper submitted, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Trial Techniques Seminar, Duluth, MN, 2008
- Speaker and paper submitted, Wisconsin Defense Lawyers, Spring Conference, Kohler, WI, 2007
- Speaker and paper submitted, South Dakota Defense Lawyers Association, State Bar Meeting, Aberdeen, SD, 2007
- "The Standard of Care and Ethical Responsibility," panel discussion at the seminar Engineering Through the Legal Issues, Structural Engineers Foundation, 2004
The John Marshall School of Law, Chicago, Illinois
Juris Doctor, with Honors, 1977
- Editor-in-Chief, The John Marshall Journal of Practice and Procedure, 1976 to 1977
- Contributor, The John Marshall Journal of Practice and Procedure, 1975 to 1976
Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with High Honors, 1974
He was an Instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Chicago, Illinois, 1989 to 1991; and as an Adjunct Professor of Law in Products Liability and Trial Advocacy to the IIT-Kent School of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, 1980 to 1987
- Walking the Line in Damages Arguments in Child Cases,” DRI Damages Seminar sponsored by the Trial Tactics Committee, March 2008.
- “Fear of Future Harm: Stating a Claim for Damages" (5 IDC Quarterly, 1995).
His courtroom victories involving the successful defense of professionals and entities include the representation of:
- An emergency-room physician who allegedly failed to diagnose an atypical aortic dissection
- An emergency-room physician in a case involving allegations of medical malpractice, police brutality and racial profiling
- Defense of a man accused by his ex-wife of sexual assault, sexual slavery and misconduct relating to their marriage
- National representation of a South Korean medical device manufacturer sued in multiple jurisdictions throughout the country
- A cardiologist accused of negligence in causing cardiac muscle damage to a patient following an improperly treated heart attack
- A pediatrician accused of causing a child’s death due to a delay in diagnosis of intussusception
- The general contractor involved in the collapse of the Rosemont Horizon Stadium, which resulted in the death of five persons
- The City of Alton, which sponsored a fireworks display resulting in three deaths
- The civil engineer involved with the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan and Edens expressways in Chicago, which resulted in numerous deaths and injuries
- An emergency-room physician who was allegedly negligent in failing to admit a 62-year-old, morbidly obese woman to the hospital who presented with complaints of shortness of breath
- As an undergraduate, he studied engineering and math, working toward a degree in chemical engineering—training that has proven beneficial when advising clients on scientific, medical and technical matters. Charles eventually pursued a B.S. in psychology, which has provided insight into the needs and desires of clients and juries. This training has allowed him to better understand his legal opponents and the judges before whom he practices.
- Charles trained in drama and improvisational comedy at Chicago's famed Second City. He maintained his own improvisational comedy troupe for about a year and appeared in a number of musical comedies. This training and extracurricular activity helped make Charles the fun guy that he is and clearly enhanced his performance before judges and juries.