In a story that can only be categorized as " you have to be kidding me" former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was named Lawyer of the Year by the ABA Journal today. You can read the entire synopsis by clicking this link to the MSNBC story.
This is sort of up there with Time Magazine naming Joseph Stalin as Man of the Year way back when. Sure the laying of waste to the Ukraine was a bad thing, but gosh darn it that crazy Joe Stalin sure had an impact didn't he?
I realize the ABA looks at the award as a way of simply naming the attorney who was in the news the most, or who had the biggest impact on the legal profession. However, you can't tell me that this award makes any sense what so ever in the context of recognizing lawyers who had a major impact.
If I were to name anyone lawyer of the year, it would be the general counsel of Merck, Kenneth Frazier, the architect of the legal defense that essentially handcuffed the trial bar on the Vioxx litigation and forced them into a settlement posture that is far less in value then anyone ever imagined the Vioxx cases actually settling for.
Instead of some symbolic slap at a guy who is already out of the attorney generals office, how about the guys at the ABA Journal actually look at legal minds and attorneys who did real work, had a material impact on the profession and, in the case of Frazier, may have set the blue print of legal defense in mass tort cases for the next 5 to 10 years. As much as I regret the out come of Vioxx I certainly respect the legal acumen of the attorney's involved in the strategic decisions made in that case.