(1937 - 2007)
In 1960, Jerome "Jerry" Mirza received his Bachelor of Speech degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington. In 1963 he obtained his Degree of Law from the University of Illinois, Urbana. As an attorney he operated the Jerome Mirza and Associates Law Offices specializing in personal injury cases.
Jerry was a legendary trial lawyer whose approach to litigation emphasized honesty, empathy, courage, technological skill, and real-world experience. He was a role model for other lawyers because of his tremendous success in the courtroom and because of his contributions to legal education. He had numerous multi-million-dollar verdicts and authored a variety of books, including "Illinois Tort Law and Practice" and "Winning Litigation the Mirza Way." He founded the Jerome Mirza College of Advocacy at Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois. His influence stretched beyond Bloomington-Normal and Illinois, with cases referred to him by other lawyers.
In 1990, Jerry represented the family of a boy paralyzed from his shoulders to his feet, who was also rendered mute and partially blind after being given an overdose of medicine at one hospital and an overdose of an antidote at another. The jury awarded his parents $77.8 million plus $135,000 for past medical expenses. the award was a record for Illinois.
Jerry often credited his courtroom success to his training in theater. He was a perfectionist driven to succeed. He was a past president of the Illinois State Bar Association and past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. It was said that he was in a class by himself - the standard for plaintiff's lawyers.