At the end of every year, Lawyers USA recognizes attorneys who have made a significant impact in the legal world during the year just past. These lawyers’ accomplishments in 2012 earned each of them the title “Lawyer of the Year.”
In both cases, appellate public defenders argued on behalf of their clients before the highest court in the land for the first time in their careers – and won.
Everyone has experienced a bad day at the office. And most lawyers have developed a thick skin against public criticism and mockery. But only one lawyer this year had to endure being called a “train wreck” on national television and being pilloried for making “the worst Supreme Court argument of all time.”
Such was the low point for Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. after defending the highly divisive Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, before the High Court.
For attorneys Kelly Clark and Paul Mones, protecting children is business as usual. Clark’s practice over the last 10 years has focused on representing survivors of abuse, while Mones pioneered the theory of “battered child syndrome” in defending children and adolescents across the country.
But the two made headlines this year when they released a series of records collected in secret by the Boy Scouts that detailed complaints of child abuse against Scoutmasters and other Scouting volunteers.
Arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time is a big assignment for any attorney. But when the case has the potential to lead to a blockbuster Fourth Amendment ruling addressing the privacy rights of citizens in an electronic age, it can be a particularly daunting task.
When Stephen C. Leckar faced that challenge representing the defendant in GPS tracking case U.S. v. Jones, he took a deliberate approach; he focused on his client. Instead of urging the Court to adopt an expansive ruling, he tried to convince a majority of the justices that a narrow one would do.
Joplin, Mo. attorney Roger Johnson knows that first hand, having seen many of his colleagues leave the field when the state passed curbs on medical malpractice cases in 2005.
But it should be a whole lot easier plying the trade now. Last summer, Johnson succeeded in getting the state’s $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court.
At the end of every year, Lawyers USA recognizes attorneys who have made a significant impact in the legal world during the year just past. All of these lawyers achieved noteworthy accomplishments in 2011 that earned them the title “Lawyer of the Year.”
It’s easy to be taken aback by Ekaterina Schoenefeld’s modesty in the wake of her success in taking on the power and authority of the state of New York, ending what amounted to a residency requirement that discriminated against out-of-state attorneys.
But the Princeton, N.J. solo seems quite content with the simple fact that she was right that the antiquated law had to go.
After a stint at the state attorney’s office during law school, Jose Baez quickly realized being a prosecutor wasn’t for him. He wanted to represent clients with a pulse: real people with real problems.
It was through jailhouse referrals that he got his most infamous client, Casey Anthony, the young mother acquitted of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee in a case that rivaled the O.J. Simpson spectacle for the title of Trial of the Century and catapulted Baez into the national spotlight.
When Tyler Block stood before the Nebraska Supreme Court to argue against a district court ruling that barred his client from pursuing custody and visitation rights with the child she had raised with her ex-partner, he struck a blow not only for the gay and lesbian community but for all non-biological parents.