A Practice in Compassion A lifelong Chicagoan, John Cooney says he was well aware of the impact the University of Chicago has had in the city, country, and even the world when he joined the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees in July 2016. As a plaintiffs’ attorney spe- cializing in mesothelioma litigation, Cooney sees his trusteeship as an intersection between his life’s work and the aspirations he has for his clients, whose experiences have made him an advocate for medical research and funding. In his mesothelioma practice, Cooney scores wins in the courtroom on behalf of his clients, but he knows that many will ultimately lose their fight with the dis- ease. With current treatment, 90 percent of mesothe- lioma patients succumb to the disease within one year. Where Cooney gains a sense of optimism for his clients and would-be clients is at the University of Chicago Medicine. His firm, Cooney & Conway, has given $1 million to support the work of Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers including Hedy Lee Kindler, MD, professor of medicine; Kiran Turaga, MD, associ- ate professor of surgery; Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD, AbbVie Foundation Professor of Cancer Immuno­ therapy; and Jane Churpek, MD, assistant professor of medicine, who are tackling mesothelioma from dif- ferent angles. The University of Chicago has one of the largest mesothelioma research and treatment pro- grams in the U.S., drawing patients from throughout the country. “I’m a lawyer who works for people who have very des- perate outcomes and some of the best hope they’ve ever gotten is from this institution,” says Cooney. “Why wouldn’t I help this institution, which is helping my clients—people I’ve come to know, people I’ve come to love in some cases? This is the only break they have.” 17