Accurso, Cronin, Fuhrman recognized as 2022 exemplary trial lawyers
Christopher L. Accurso, Tim Cronin, and Philip M. Fuhrman received this year’s Lon O. Hocker Awards for their commendable work as trial lawyers.
The Missouri Bar Foundation awards the Lon O. Hocker Award to three trial lawyers under the age of 40 who demonstrate zealousness, honor, strength, courtesy, confidence, and respect. The lawyers are selected from three different regions: St. Louis, Kansas City, and all other counties. Established in 1954, the award is named after Lon O. Hocker, a lawyer who practiced in St. Louis for more than 50 years and was a well-respected trial lawyer.
Accurso is a lawyer at The Accurso Law Firm in Kansas City, representing clients who have suffered catastrophic physical, emotional, and financial injuries. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and being admitted to The Missouri Bar in 2014, Accurso began his career as an assistant prosecuting attorney at the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Accurso said he is honored and humbled to receive this year’s Lon O. Hocker Award. His passion for trial advocacy is founded in his drive to represent those in need, particularly individuals who have experienced a trauma or life-changing experience.
“What means the most to those folks is the fact that someone is willing to stand up for them and fight on their behalf,” he said. “While I always want to obtain a favorable result, what’s most important to me is that whomever I’m representing knows that I fought my hardest for them”
As a trial lawyer specializing in personal injury, Cronin enjoys “fighting for the little guy.” At The Simon Law Firm, P.C., Cronin practices in product liability, medical malpractice, premises liability, and trucking litigation.
In one situation, he described a case where a jury awarded his client more than $16.7 million in damages due to the plaintiff’s doctor prescribed large amounts of narcotic opioids, leading to the plaintiff becoming addicted to the pain medicine. This case not only helped compensate Cronin’s client but also sent a powerful message to the industry to ensure safer products and practices.
“There is no better feeling than when you begin a case and you see there is an obstacle in front of you and a lot of potential pitfalls, and … at the end of it you have traversed through them and succeeded in knowing you’ve done everything you can for your client,” said Cronin, who was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 2011. “The fact that I can do that for someone, help and fight for them during a difficult and scary time of their lives, is the reason I do what I do.
Fuhrman is first assistant prosecuting attorney of the major crimes unit at the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where he has tried 45 jury trials and 17 murder trials. A University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law graduate, Fuhrman was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 2009.
Fuhrman has a desire to protect his community from violent offenders and hold offenders accountable. There have been several cases where he has met with a homicide victim’s family and saw their pain and emotions. While he understands a guilty verdict won’t bring the victim back, Fuhrman said, he hopes the verdict can help provide closure for the family.
“The cases that stick out to me the most are the ones where I was able to help provide closure to a grieving family and justice to the deceased victim,” he said. “Those are the cases that motivate me to continue fighting to hold violent offenders accountable.”
Fuhrman recommended new lawyers learn from other lawyers by watching them try cases, while Cronin emphasized perseverance and being “the most prepared person in the room.” Accurso encouraged lawyers to “outwork your opponents” and believe in themselves and their cases.
“How could anyone expect a dozen strangers to agree with you and the arguments you make if they’re not convinced you believe in your case and your arguments?” Accurso added.
Accurso, Cronin, and Fuhrman join the list of notable past recipients of the award. To receive the award, which carries a $750 stipend, a member of The Missouri Bar must first nominate a lawyer. Nominees then complete applications, which a selection committee reviews and recommends three nominees to the Trustees of the Missouri Bar Foundation. The trustees then select the award recipients.
Click here to learn more about annual awards presented by The Missouri Bar and the Missouri Bar Foundation. The 2022 awards will be presented at Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar Sept. 14-16 in Springfield.