Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP, is pleased to announce that James A. Ruggieri, Stephen P. Cooney and Gerald C. DeMaria, Sr. were recently recognized in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

An additional accolade was afforded James Ruggieri, who was named “Lawyer of the Year” for his outstanding professional excellence in product liability litigation defense. This honor resulted from the consistently high evaluations that he received from his peers.

In fact, Best Lawyers® only highlights a single “Lawyer of the Year” in any given location and practice area based on the number of votes received from peers each year.

The Best Lawyers in America® is considered one of the leading peer-reviewed resources for selecting the best legal talent worldwide. For the current edition, only five percent of lawyers in private practice are selected as Best Lawyers®.

James Ruggieri was also named a Best Lawyer® in the category of employment law – management. Gerald C. DeMaria, Sr. was recognized on the list of Best Lawyers® in the areas of personal injury litigation – defendants and product liability litigation – defendants. In addition, Stephen P. Cooney, who maintains an active environmental law practice, was selected as a Best Lawyer® by his peers for his expertise in defending mass tort class actions.

The selection process begins when lawyers are nominated for consideration. Those who receive high peer reviews undergo an additional validation process. Only then can these attorneys be recognized by Best Lawyers®.

This year, Best Lawyers® also recognized attorneys who have demonstrated professional excellence early in their careers. The “Ones to Watch” selected from Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney were Brian W. Haynes and Kurt A. Rocha.

Brian Haynes was recognized in the areas of insurance law and personal injury litigation – defendants. He is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Before joining Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, he practiced at a regional litigation firm headquartered in Boston and clerked for the in-house legal department of a multinational company.

He is a graduate of the College of William & Mary with a BA in history and received his JD, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School.

Kurt Rocha was selected for insurance law and personal injury litigation – defendants. He is admitted in three jurisdictions: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Prior to joining the firm, he worked at leading civil litigation law firms in New England.

He received his law degree from Roger Williams University, cum laude. He obtained his BS in Criminal Justice from the same institution, where he also received a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

James Ruggieri and Stephen Cooney are partners with the firm. Gerald DeMaria is Of Counsel. Brian Haynes and Kurt Rocha joined Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney as litigation attorneys in 2017 and 2018 respectively.