Larry Rogers Sr., injury and medical malpractice attorney, dies at 75

Attorney Larry Rogers Sr. was a family man — so much so that his work inspired the next two generations of his family to also work in law.

Rogers, 75, who won hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts “for the little guy” over a nearly four-decade career, died Thursday night at 75 due to complications from his five-year battle with cancer, his son Larry Rogers Jr., also an attorney, said Friday.

A Roseland native, Rogers Sr. pursued law as a “second career” after starting a family and working as a respiratory therapist, along with two other jobs.

While working at a gas station across the street from Comiskey Park, he met Joe Power Jr., and the two became fast friends.

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Power recommended Rogers Sr. apply for a law clerk position where he was working and finish law school, saying he’d “fill a void” due to the lack of Black attorneys at the time.

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The two men later started the Power Rogers law firm.

“He was the Michael Jordan of law before Michael Jordan was the Michael Jordan of basketball,” Larry Rogers Jr. said. “He was the epitome of what it means to prepare yourself for an opportunity and then to bring things together to be successful.”

One of his most famous cases involved Syntex baby formula. Rogers St. won an eight-figure verdict shortly after the Department of justice declined to press charges against the company. A study by the National Institutes of Health found children who’d used the chloride-deficient formula longer scored lower on tests measuring intellectual development.

About 15 years later, Rogers Sr. helped win a $55 million verdict — one of the largest in Illinois history — for a woman who suffered irreversible brain damage during a bronchoscopy exam. 

“When we entered the court, we leveled the playing the field,” Power Jr. said.

A congressional resolution honoring Rogers was being drafted by Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., according to her office.

Rogers Sr. was the patriarch of three generations of lawyers — seven people in all who work in the field.

Son Dom is an injury attorney; his daughter Ann Marie is a court reporter; his stepson Frederic is an attorney; his niece Carmen Cole is an employment attorney; his nephew Sean works in real estate litigation; and his grandson Trevor now works in injury law as well.

There may be an eighth on the way as well, as his granddaughter Erin Rogers was just accepted to several law schools, Rogers Jr. according to his son, Larry Rogers Jr.

Rogers Jr. recently won a $16 million settlement for the families of three elderly women who died in the James Sneider apartments during a heat wave last year. He also has served on the Cook County Board of Review since 2004.

Larry Rogers Sr. with his son Larry Rogers Jr. at an event in December.

Rogers Sr. would take the time to field calls from young lawyers who reached out with questions about cases or just about the profession.

But time with family, and other lawyers, wasn’t always spent around a courtroom. 

Rogers enjoyed taking his Sea Ray sport boat out on Lake Michigan and occasionally to Florida or the Bahamas for vacations, often bringing along family or even other attorneys. 

On one vacation with Power in Michigan City, Indiana, Rogers Sr. drove his boat there and slept on it — something he often did while taking trips on the vessel. 

When not out on the open water, the boat was docked at Burnham Harbor near Soldier Field, the home of one of his other pastimes outside of work: Chicago sports.

When not in court, he could often be found near a court — as a decades-long season ticket holder for the Bulls. He had Bears season tickets as well. 

“He was highly regarded not only because of his skill as a trial lawyer, but because of his personality,” Power Jr. said. “A lot of the time someone is loved out in the world but his friends and relatives don’t particularly like them. The more people knew Larry, the more they loved him.”

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