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Public Justice's Trial Lawyer of the Year Award

Trial lawyers have a special commitment to justice. Their advocacy skills breathe life into the rights of individuals and groups that have suffered injustice and harmful abuses.

Every year, trial lawyers provide millions of people with the means to obtain justice. In the majority of these cases, the client is an individual who has been damaged in some way - physically, mentally, emotionally, monetarily - by the wrongful conduct of a business or corporation.

These David-and-Goliath battles for legal justice usually pit the enormous financial resources of the bureaucratic or business defendant against the meager resources of the injured plaintiff. Ironically, plaintiffs’ attorneys are not generally paid unless they win.

However, many trial lawyers take great risk and overcome incredible odds to advance the common law, to make new law, and to win justice for their clients and for the common good of the public. We honor such lawyers with our publication Trial Lawyers Doing Public Justice.

Despite trial lawyers’ dedication to fighting for public justice, some cases are so novel or demanding that, even though they involve the public good, they are unlikely to be pursued by private practitioners or other public interest organizations. Public Justice handles such cases.

Public Justice, founded in 1982, chooses cases on its wide-ranging docket for their impact on the public good. Public Justice uses creative litigation to protect people and the environment, hold accountable those who abuse power, challenge and remedy wrongdoing, guard access to the courts, combat threats to our judicial system, and inspire lawyers and others to serve the public interest. A volunteer network of more than 3,000 of the best attorneys in the United States and abroad supports the work of this firm. Public Justice litigates most of its cases by calling on these members.

One goal of the Public Justice Foundation is to inform the public about court cases decided each year that illustrate the principles of public justice. To that end, the Public Justice Foundation presents two awards - the Public Justice Achievement Award and the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.

The Public Justice Achievement Award is presented to the volunteer attorneys who have won major victories in Public Justice cases in the past year, or in cases that demonstrate excellence in achieving the purposes of Public Justice's mission.

The Trial Lawyer of the Year Award is presented to the trial attorney or attorneys who have made the greatest contribution to the public interest within the past year by trying or settling a precedent-setting case. Finalists and recipients exemplify how trial lawyers use their skills and determination to create a more just society.

Click Here to read the guidelines for the 2008 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.

Our publication Trial Lawyers Doing Public Justice describes the extraordinary work and achievements of the winners of the Public Justice Achievement Award, and the winners and the finalists for the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. The cases described in Trial Lawyers Doing Public Justice illustrate the precious rights protected by our judicial system, and the need to sustain the principles of justice and fairness it embodies.

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