Thompson & Coe is founded by Will C. Thompson and R. Vernon Coe in 1951 in Dallas, TX. Robert B. Cousins joins in 1953 and David B. Irons in 1959.
A vision 70 years in the making
Building on the vision of our founding partners, Thompson Coe continues to meet the demands of the ever-changing legal landscape. Our attorneys build collaborative partnerships with clients as we guide them through high-stakes litigation, business disputes, and regulatory matters. After 70 years, the Firm continues to expand our capabilities and attract top talent who are ready to respond to the multi-service demands of clients from industries across the United States.
As we celebrate 70 years of excellence, we want to thank every client who has joined us on our journey.
Our Founding Partners
Our four founding partners Will C. Thompson, R. Vernon Coe, Robert B. Cousins, III and David B. Irons were among the principal architects of the modern insurance industry in Texas, shaping the laws that govern it and the organizations that serve it.
It all started in 1951 when, instead of retiring, Thompson joined Coe to create a firm that quickly built a reputation of unparalleled excellence and experience in the areas unique to insurance. Before joining, Thompson, who had been practicing for 39 years, was already a highly recognized insurance attorney. Coe had worked for the Attorney General of Texas and became the First Assistant City Attorney of Houston before creating the firm.
Joining the firm in 1953, Cousins was, quite literally, raised in the insurance industry. His father was the life insurance commissioner for Governor Dan Moody. After graduating law school and leaving the Army, Cousins worked in the Texas Attorney General’s office before joining Thompson Coe.
After serving in the Army, Irons also worked in the Attorney General’s office with Cousins. Irons then went to Washington to work in Eisenhower’s Justice Department. Irons returned to Texas and eventually wound up at Thompson Coe in 1959.
By 1960, the firm had changed its name to Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP. From that time, we have evolved beyond our original expertise to expand our capabilities and our offices, while remaining true to our core as trial lawyers.
- 1947 explosion of the cargo ship the S.S. Grandcamp Thompson Coe successfully defended some of the companies that had insured port property, winning a 1955 ruling in a federal appellate court that the policies did not apply because the fire originated on a French-operated ship.
- Alexander v. Fireman’s Insurance – 1958, sonic boom Founding partner Robert Cousins tried the case in 1958, which involved a sonic boom and the collapse of a building shortly thereafter. The judge ruled that he did not believe that a sonic boom fell within the aircraft cover provision (in the extended coverage section) of the policy. This was the first decision of any court in the country on this question.
- Hurricane Carla, 1961 Founding partner Robert Cousins represented Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Company in a case related to damage from Hurricane Carla and a 1965 appeal, which found that the insured has failed to prove that their damages were caused by an insured peril.
While we built a reputation as a Texas insurance powerhouse, Thompson Coe has broadened our offerings to meet the complex business litigation needs of our Fortune 500 clients. We are focused on results, but never lose sight of our clients' legal spend. Our knowledge across a wide range of industries allows us to develop creative strategies that exceed expectations.
Recent Legal Results
- Appellate attorney Cassie Dallas brought a successful Mandamus proceeding before the Texas Supreme Court in In re Allstate Indemnity Company, which provided needed and crucial clarification as to counter affidavits under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 18.001. This opinion will have long-reaching effects for everyone handling personal injury cases.
- Commercial litigation attorneys Michael Cedillo and Tom Annis recently prevailed in an in-person arbitration—claimant was awarded nothing against their client.
- Insurance litigators Matthew Kolodoski, Gino Rossini, and Harrison Yoss recently prevailed on behalf of their clients, an appellee insurer and claims administrator for an ERISA plan, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
- Partner Zandra E. Foley won a defense verdict for a major respirator manufacturer against product liability claims brought by the estate and family of an asbestos worker who died of mesothelioma.
- Austin partner Stephanie Rojo and Houston partner Zandra Foley obtained a unanimous take-nothing defense verdict for a client in a race discrimination case.
The firm updates the name to Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP in 1960.
The firm grows from 23 attorneys in 1981 to 50 attorneys in 1991. The Austin office opens with three attorneys in 1999.
The Houston office opens in 2001 and the St. Paul office opens in 2002. During the celebration of the 50th anniversary, the firm starts using Thompson Coe. The firm is recognized as a ‘Tier One’ insurance law firm in Texas by "Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" in 2006.
The New Orleans office opens in 2016. The Dallas Bar Association Tort & Insurance Section honors Robert B. Cousins posthumously as a Texas Trial Legend in 2016.
With more than 200 attorneys, the firm has grown to meet the legal demands of a complex business world. After 70 years in the industry, our attorneys continue to build upon the founding partner's vision by delivering better outcomes for our clients.