Ralph D. Cook is of counsel with the law firm of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP in Birmingham, Alabama. Previously, he was the city attorney for Birmingham from January 2014 to September 2015. He was of counsel with Hare Wynn from January 2001 to December 2013.
Justice Cook, the second of three children of Joe and Nannie Cook, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Justice Cook was educated in the public schools of Jefferson County, Alabama. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, Justice Cook received his Juris Doctor degree from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
Justice Cook served in the Alabama Judiciary for twenty-four years. In 1981, he was appointed circuit judge in the Bessemer Division of the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Justice Cook served in the domestic relations division of the court until 1984 and served in the civil division of the court until 1993. Prior to his appointment to the circuit court, he was elected district court judge and served for over four years in the Family Court of Jefferson County, Bessemer Division. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 1993, and elected to this position in 1994. He served on the Supreme Court of Alabama until January 2001.
Justice Cook also served as Dean and Law Professor at Miles Law School for twenty-four years. Justice Cook has been recognized for his work and has received awards from professional associations, community organizations, colleges and churches throughout the State of Alabama. He is the recipient of the Alabama State Bar Judicial Award of Merit for 1996. He is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association, California State Bar, National Bar Association, Birmingham Bar Association, Bessemer Bar Association and a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He served as President of the Alabama Lawyers Association, President of the Alabama Association for Justice and is an elected member of the American Law Institute. In 2010, Justice Cook was presented with the Heart of an Eagle Award by the Birmingham Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was also honored by the Metro-Birmingham Branch of the NAACP in 2011, received Alabama Appleseed’s Brewer-Torbert Award in 2012, and was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2012.
As a charter member of the West Jefferson Kiwanis Club in Bessemer, he served as its charter president and as a member of the board of directors. He also served as Lieutenant Governor, Alabama District of Kiwanis International, from 1991 to 1992. He served as President of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham for 2014-2015. He serves or has served on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Salvation Army, Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, Bessemer Chamber of Commerce, Bessemer YMCA, Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, St. Vincent’s Foundation, Alabama Power Company, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Birmingham Business Alliance. He is a member of the Quarterback Club and serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Birmingham Art Museum.