NTL Top 40 under 40
The National Trial Lawyers Association is an invitation-only organization comprised of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. In receipt of this award, I move forward with an appreciation of the work that must not discontinue to honor this distinction.
Lansing/City Pulse "Best of"
In its yearly publication that circulates across a readership of approximately 50,000 in over 525 locations in Lansing and throughout Ingham County (Mid-Michigan), the City Pulse newspaper has a section dedicated to the town/city's "Best of" service providers, including "Best Law firms." In 2019, this was the only 1 lawyer law firm to be voted "top 5 Best Law firms" among all its voters (and I had no subscription to the paper).
Avvo 2019 Client Award
Avvo is a service directory that provides comprehensive attorney profiles, and client reviews along with other criteria used to evaluate --and inform both prospective clients specifically, and the public in general about-- the quality and type of legal services offered by counsel. This service honored me with their 2019 Clients Choice Award, recognizing lawyers, whose clients came away with exceeding satisfaction.
MSU College of Law/JP
Michigan State University College of Law awarded me with the jurisprudence award: It's awarded to the student earning the highest grade in a law school course. That law school is considered competitive is hardly surprising; but perhaps many don't know that appellate work is largely considered the most intellectually rigorous within that competitive distinction. And to do well in an appellate course and receive the jurisprudence award was a noteworthy and memorable
Michigan State CD Award
Understanding the limitations and dangers of cliches, soundbites, group thinking, cultural and social narratives, and other limited templates (e.g., philosophical, political and other ideologies), I worked to expose these artificial
limitations, inviting a much needed, and often controversial conversation...
And to the gracious response from Mary Ferguson/MSU College of Law, I was awarded the MSU College of Law Cultural Diversity award: An honor that serves as a reminder that even unpopular speech can be well received.
Former Deputy City Attorney
Entrusted with the important responsibility of accounting for the city's legal affairs, including prosecuting local ordinance violations and advising the mayor and other seasoned civic leaders during their political controversies, this job involved plenty of patience, prudence and a guiding maturity that helped many civic members get through their personal struggles...
Former President of HALLS
Elected unanimously to be the President of the Michigan State University College of Law "Hispanic and Latino Law Society" came with a political controversy that helped give voice to students who were previously "subtly" coerced to submit their Faith and beliefs to whatever the majority felt was socially "appropriate." But pretentious lines were broken when as President, I unapologetically denounced a common or traditional practice that was antithetical to my Christian Faith... Publicly this position was denounced by others, but the long term import of saying what we must wasn't lost on anyone; and this is something that I did not nor do I regret.
Public Speaker UNLV
Former UNLV grad-instuctor
Mistakes can be opportunities to learn from, and with an opportunity to account for my mistakes as a youth in front of teenagers who were in foster care and that were also going through difficult parts of their journey, there was an opportunity for them to learn from my mistakes... We shared experiences and views, insight and sobering advice. As an incentive to participate, the children/youths (teenagers)
were offered a gift card, which to the emotional challenge of everyone present, they unselfishly used (their gift cards) to buy me something for taking the time to talk to them... To say it was an overwhelmingly selfless act by them is such an understatement... I was --and continue to be- honored by their gracious and selfless example.
Well over a decade ago, there was a program at one of UNLV's graduate schools that offered students working on their Master's degrees an opportunity to teach an undergraduate college course... It's almost comical to wonder how I performed given the lack of investment and even academic maturity (I share this transparency to expose, that what may seem like a challenge or difficulty, may very well reflect one's own personal difficulties... And our eventual journeys can lead us well past what we used to consider challenging).
Years later, I returned to tackle the same graduate work/material, and was shocked at how (at the expense of sounding immodest) easy that course was, without any uncertainty as to what informed the difference between a time when I struggled with the same material that I would later struggle to accept how anyone could not find easy...