ALAJ Leadership

The business of the Association is conducted by management, under the direction of seven Officers and eleven members of the Board of Directors.  The Board consists of attorneys that represent several demographics and practice areas within the civil justice system.

 

Josh Hayes - President
Joshua P. Hayes is a partner at Prince, Glover & Hayes in Tuscaloosa. He has been recognized as AV preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, as an Alabama SuperLawyer, and as one of Alabama's Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers.  He is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and is the past chair of ALAJ’s Emerging Leaders Caucus.  Josh is a cum laude graduate of The University of Alabama, Jones School of Law, and was a member of the 2012 class of the Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum.  Josh is also on the boards of the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation and Tuscaloosa's Good Samaritan Clinic, a medical facility committed to treating those without health insurance.

Rip Andrews - President Elect
Rip is a partner with the law firm of Marsh, Rickard & Bryan, P.C.  His practice focuses on wrongful death, catastrophic injury and complex, significant business disputes. He has successfully handled a number medical malpractice, truck wreck, business and insurance cases, but his practice is unique in that it has included a significant amount of of civil rights, product liability and intellectual property work. His trial experience includes $10 million and $2.5 million wrongful death verdicts and a $4 million personal injury verdict.

Rip graduated from Georgetown University and was the valedictorian of his University of Alabama law school class. He is married to Courtney Jones Andrews. They have two little girls, Ever and Ollie.

Gina Coggin - 1st Vice President
Gina Coggin is the managing partner of The Coggin Firm, LLC. Her practice focuses on Worker's Compensation, Social Security, and Personal Injury. Gina is a Fellow of the American Bar Association, recipient of the Sansone Award for Oustanding Service to ALAJ, and The Coggin Firm is recognized as one of the Best Law Firms in America. Ms. Coggin earned her B.S. from the University of Alabama in 1990, and her J.D. from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Ms. Coggin is very involved in the community where she serves on the Etowah County Sheriff's Department Personnel Board, The Salvation Army Board, is Past-President of the YMCA Coosa Valley, and is very involved with Church of the Highlands in Gadsden.  She is married to Mark Price, and they have one child, Emily Ann. 

Erik Heninger - 2nd Vice President
Erik is a partner with the firm of Heninger Garrison Davis in Birmingham. Erik concentrates his practice on personal injury litigation focusing on brain and spinal injuries, medical negligence, trucking litigation and nursing home litigation. He currently represents the 10th Judicial Circuit as an Alabama State Bar Commissioner and serves on the Executive Committee of the Birmingham Bar Association.  He is a member of the Alabama Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell; and is a Fellow of the American Association of Justice’s (AAJ) National College of Advocacy (NCA).  Erik graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and Cumberland School of Law. He is married to Kimberly Anne Heninger.
Wes Laird - Secretary
Wes to most, has collected more than $16 million in recent years in 18 wheeler and trucking litigation, and has achieved multi-million dollar settlements in construction accident and product liability litigation.  Wes Laird grew up on the family farm in Florala, Alabama and understands the value of hard work and has experience operating heavy equipment.  This experience and work ethic has helped achieve over $83 Million combined verdicts or settlements in trucking, construction accidents, product liability, wrongful death, personal injury, class actions, and insurance litigation.  He is a long time Board Member of the Alabama Association for Justice.

Ben Baker - Treasurer
Ben Baker is a principal with Beasley Allen and his practice focuses on product liability and crashworthiness cases. He is a Sustaining and Executive Committee member of ALAJ and a member of the American Association for Justice, Mont­gomery County Bar, and the Southern Trial Lawyers Association. Ben has also been included in Super Lawyers consistently since 2010 and Best Lawyers since 2013. He has also recently published a book titled "Tire Litigation: A Primer." Ben is married to Kimberly Baker and they have three children. He is also admitted to practice law in Georgia, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Washington D.C
Steve Nicholas - Immediate Past President
Steve is a partner with the firm Cunningham Bounds, LLC in Mobile.  His practice focuses on Business Litigation and Complex Litigation, including Class Actions and Mass Torts.  He also has extensive experience in Oil & Gas Litigation, Construction Litigation and Environmental Litigation.  Steve has served on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice and as Chairman of the Business Torts and Antitrust Section of the Alabama State Bar.  In addition to currently serving as Treasurer of the Alabama Association for Justice, Steve serves as President of the Paul W. Brock American Inns of Court.  He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Litigation Counsel of America.  Steve earned his B.B.A. from the University of Georgia in 1981, and his J.D. from the University of Alabama in 1984.  He is married to Charlotte Adams Nicholas, and they have two children, Adam and Caroline.