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ABA Journal Names Gonzales, Mukasey Lawyers of the Year for 2007 and 2008
Runners-up Include Fitzpatrick, Libby, Nifong, “Jena 6” Prosecutor and Presidential “lawyer couples”
CHICAGO, Dec. 12, 2007 – Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been named 2007’s Lawyer of the Year by the ABA Journal, the flagship publication of the American Bar Association.
“The top legal story of 2007 was unquestionably the unraveling of support for the Bush administration’s expansive view of presidential power during wartime, and with it, the slow-motion destruction of Alberto Gonzales’ reign as U.S. attorney general,” according to the magazine’s January cover story, at http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/lawyers_of_the_year_2007_2008. “Add to that the controversy over whether the administration fired eight U.S. attorneys for political reasons, and no single lawyer made more news in 2007 than Gonzales.”
The Journal also took the unusual step of naming 2008’s Lawyer of the Year before the year has even begun. The magazine predicts that Gonzales’ successor, former federal judge Michael Mukasey, will be 2008’s top legal newsmaker, as he deals with the problems he inherited from Gonzales in the politically charged climate of a presidential election year.
The magazine named 16 runners-up for the awards. They are, in alphabetical order:
- David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and one of the most forceful advocates for expansive presidential powers during a time of war.
- Erwin Chemerinsky, who was hired, fired and hired again as the founding dean of the Donald Bren School of Law at the University of California at Irvine.
- “Michael Clayton,” the anti-Atticus Finch movie character played by George Clooney.
- Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago and lead prosecutor of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
- Monica Goodling, the former Justice Department staff member who admitted she “crossed the line” by using political criteria in her job of screening who to hire at Justice.
- The Lawyer Blogger, in a year when lawyers who maintain their own blogs became a force to be reckoned with in daily legal news coverage.
- Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the highest ranking White House official convicted since the Iran-Contra scandal.
- Michael Nifong, the former Durham County, N.C. prosecutor who brought a discredited rape case against three Duke University’s lacrosse players.
- Howard K. Stern of the Bahamas, the lawyer for and companion of the late Anna Nicole Smith.
- Cupcake Brown, the Los Angeles lawyer who overcame adversity to attend law school and work for a prestigious firm, recounting it all in her autobiography, “A Piece of Cake.”
- Yale Galanter, the South Florida-based lawyer for perennial defendant O.J. Simpson.
- Bill Neukom, the Seattle lawyer who is using his year as ABA president to promote the rule of law around the world.
- Presidential lawyer/couples: Hillary and Bill Clinton; John and Elizabeth Edwards; and Barack and Michelle Obama (though, the magazine notes, Bill Clinton’s law license was suspended in 2001).
- Dana Jill Simpson, the Alabama Republican Party activist who claims Karl Rove improperly influenced the prosecution of former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman.
- J. Reed Walters, the Louisiana prosecutor of the “Jena 6.”
- Melvyn Weiss, the New York lawyer who co-founded what was the nation’s leading plaintiffs securities class-action firm, who is scheduled to go on trial in 2008 for allegedly paying kickbacks in a host of cases.
Published monthly, the Journal is read by more than half of the nation's 1.1 million lawyers. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. The magazine’s articles do not necessarily reflect the official policy positions of the American Bar Association.
With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.