Trial Lawyer of the Year Award

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Each year, Public Justice presents its Trial Lawyer of the Year Award to the attorney(s) who made the greatest contribution to the public interest within the past year by trying or settling a precedent-setting, socially significant case.

The nomination period for the 2020 award clossed on March 2, 2020. The award will be presented at our 2020 Annual Gala in Washington, D.C. in July. Contact Director of Communications Aidan O’Shea at aoshea@publicjustice.net with any questions.

(For a look at past recipients, click here.)

2019 Winners

The 2019 winner is the team from Hale v. State Farm, concerning a 20-year-long class action that shone light on dark money in politics.

The Hale team consists of Robert Clifford and Kristofer Riddle, Clifford Law Firm, Chicago, Ill.; Elizabeth Cabraser, Robert Nelson, and Kevin Budner, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, San Francisco, Calif.; Steve Blonder and Jonathan Loew, Much Shelist, Chicago, Ill.; Tom Thrash, Thrash Law Firm, Little Rock, Ark; Gordon BallBall Law Firm, Knoxville, Tennessee; Don Barrett and Richard Barrett, Barrett Law Group, Lexington, MI; Patrick Pendley, Pendley Baudin & Coffin, LLP, Plaquemine, LA; Erwin Chemerinsky, Berkeley Law School, Berkeley, CA; George Bellas, Bellas & Wachowski, Chicago, Ill.; Brent W. Landau, Hausfeld LLP, Philadelphia, Pa.

You can read more about this incredible case here.

2019 Finalists

There were five finalist teams for this year’s award. In addition to Hale, the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the following four cases were named finalists. Read more about each of these outstanding finalist cases here.

Ecological Rights Foundation v. Pacific Gas & Electric (precedent-setting litigation fighting industrial pollution in the San Francisco Bay)

Englund v. World Pawn Exchange (comprehensive settlement combating illegal straw purchasing of firearms used in a murder)

Gloria G. v. City School District of the City of Mount Vernon (groundbreaking settlement regarding school negligence of students with disabilities)

In re Swine Farm Litigation (lawsuits challenging factory farms ruining the quality of life of low-income communities of color)