The Burton Awards Announces the 2016 Distinguished Legal Writing Awards Law Firm Winners


April 19, 2016

New York, New York: The finest law firm writers of 2016 have been announced by The Burton Awards. The non-profit program is run in association with the Library of Congress, and co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. Thirty-five “Distinguished Legal Writing Award” winners were chosen from the nominations submitted by the nation’s top 1,000 law firms.

The Academic Board, which reviewed articles published within the past year, was led by Virginia Wise of Harvard Law School. Other committee members include Jeanne Merino, Stanford Law School; Judge Edward Forstenzer, California Superior Court (retired); Lindsay Sturges Saffouri, UC Berkeley School of Law; William Ryan, former Chair of the White House Plain Language Committee; and William C. Burton, Founder and Chair of the event.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will be the featured guest speaker and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will memorialize Justice Scalia during the program.

This year, the non-profit program celebrates its seventeenth anniversary. The award ceremony at the Library of Congress will be followed by a reception, dinner, gala and performance by award-winning Broadway star, Linda Eder.

The honorary and distinguished Board of Directors of the Burton Awards program includes: Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit; Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; Justice Carol A. Corrigan, California Supreme Court; John Cornyn, United States Senator; Robert P. Casey Jr., United States Senator; Mike Crapo, United States Senator; Michael Bennett, United States Senator; Thomas L. Sager, Partner, Ballard, Spahr LLP, Les Parrette, SVP and General Counsel, Novelis Inc.; Stephen R. Mysliwiec, Partner, DLA Piper LLP; and Lisa Rickard, President U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

The 2016 Law Firm winners are:

Law Firm Author(s) Article Title
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP David K. Burton and Richard T. Page “How Can a Renewable Energy Plant Be Sold For a Capital Gain as Opposed to an Ordinary Gain?”
Alston & Bird LLP Mark. T. Calloway and Emily McGowan “The Yates Memo and the DOJ’s Focus on Individuals”
Baker & McKenzie LLP Lothar Determann “US Privacy Safe Harbor – More Myths and Facts”
Ballard Spahr LLP Peter N. Cubita, Christopher J. Willis and Jonathan E. Selkowitz “Auto Finance and Disparate Impact: Substantive Lessons Learned from Class Certification Decisions”
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP Gregory Markel, Gillian Groarke Burns and Martin L. Seidel “Assessing A Judicial Solution To Abusive Merger Litigation”
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC Julie Goldsmith Resier “Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clauses: Taking the Alternative Out of Dispute Resolution”
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP Frank J. Azzopardi,Timothy Graulich, Brian Resnick and David R. Bauer “Trademark Licensees May Be Able to Have Their (Cup)Cake and Eat It, Too”
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP Bruce E. Yannett, Paul R. Berger, Sean Hecker, Andrew M. Levine, Dmitri V. Nikiforov, Dr. Thomas Schürrle, Karolos Seeger, Matthew Getz, Philip Rohlik, Jane Shvets, Blair R. Albom, Bernardo Becker Fontana, Thomas Jenkins, Joe Lin, Robin Lööf, Anna V. Maximenko, Peter John Michalik, Matthew Platkin, Marisa R. Taney, Steven S. Michaels, Sebastian Ko and Miheer Mhatre “The Year 2014 in Anti-Bribery Enforcement: New Records, New Trends, and New Complexity as Anti-Bribery Enforcement Truly Goes Global”
DLA Piper LLP Richard P. Rector, C. Bradford Jorgensen and Daniel J. Cook “To File or Not To File: Key Issues When Deciding to Protest”
Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. Gary W. Herschman, Jack Wenik and Daniel C. Fundakowski “Entering a New Era: Criminalizing Health Care Non-Compliance”
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP Paul Heiring and Graham Widmer “The Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege Was Never a Good Fit in ERISA Cases, and Should be Flatly Rejected after Jicarilla”
Fisher & Phillips LLP Sarah J. Moore “Employers: Prepare to Enter the ‘Drone Zone’”
Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto Justin J. Oliver, Jonathan Berschadsky and Michael S. Scerbo “Is PTAB ‘death squad’ just a myth?”
Foley & Lardner LLP Gardner Davis and John Wolfel “Lessons Learned from Dole Foods: What Not to Do When a Controlling Stockholder Wants to Go Private”
Hunton & Williams LLP Jamie Zysk Isani and Jason B. Sherry “The Ascendancy of Ascertainability as a Threshold Requirement for Certification”
Irell & Manella LLP Benjamin Hattenbach and Joshua Glucoft “Patents In An Era Of Infinite Monkeys And Artificial Intelligence”
K&L Gates LLP Stephen G. Topetzes “Government’s New Focus on Individual Liability in Corporate Probes Will Change the Way Companies Undertake Internal Investigations”
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP Lisa Pearson, Jill Tomlinson and Samuel Kilb “The Universal Language of Non-Verbal Design Marks”
Latham & Watkins LLP Les Carnegie and Andrew Galdes “Free Flow of Information: Exporting Telecommunications Items and Services to Cuba”
Littler Mendelson P.C. Philip L. Gordon and Zoe Argento “The Brave New World of Wearables in the Workplace: Privacy and Data Security Concerns for Employers”
Locke Lord LLP Elizabeth Tosaris “A Guide for Insurers on Creating and Maintaining a Cybersecurity Plan”
Miller & Chevalier Chartered Lamia R. Matta “From Souks to Boardrooms: Strategies for Meeting The FCPA Challenges of Doing Business in the Middle East”
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP Craig A. Newman “The Long and Wyndham Road: A Settlement in Wyndham and Curve Ball in LabMD Signals Storm Warnings for the FTC’s 2016 Data Security Initiatives”
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP Richard A. Rosen and Udi Grofman “Political Intelligence and U.S. Insider Trading Regulations”
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Marco Santori “BitLicense 2.0: What Latest Revisions Mean for Bitcoin Businesses”
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP Taleah E. Jennings and Mark D. Richardson “Options When a Competitor Raids the Company”
Sidley Austin LLP Cameron F. Kerry “Finding a Safe Harbor for Safe Harbor”
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Jocelyn Strauber and Micah Fergenson “The PetroTiger Investigation”
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP James Sammataro “Problems in the ‘Fight of the Century’ Class Actions”
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Brent J. McIntosh “‘An Emblem of a Deeper Pathology in the Criminal Code’: Thoughts on the Supreme Court’s Ruling that, Sometimes, Fish Aren’t Tangible Objects”
The Health Law Partners, P.C. Adrienne Dresevic and Clinton Mikel “Final CY 2016 Stark Law Changes – Welcomed Revisions to Stark”
Thompson & Knight LLP Gregory S.C. Huffman “Antitrust Class Certification: Taking A Holistic View”
White & Case LLP Ernest Patrikis “No, Don’t Audit the Fed”
Wiggin and Dana LLP Robert M. Langer and Melissa Fernandez “North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC – What Hath the Supreme Court Wrought?”
Wiley Rein LLP Eve Klindera Reed, Brett A. Shumate and Jeremy J. Broggi “The FCC’s Expanding Use of Delegated Authority and the Dilemma of Appellate Jurisdiction”


The Burton Awards, established in 1999, is funded by the Burton Foundation, a non-profit, academic effort devoted to recognizing and rewarding excellence in the legal profession. The Burton Awards honors the finest accomplishments in law, including writing, reform, public service and interest, regulatory innovation, and lifetime achievements in the profession.


This prominent institution is one of the most celebrated and distinguished libraries in the world. It was established on April 24, 1800, and since that time it has grown to become one of the largest repositories in history. The Library of Congress functions as both a national library and as the research arm of the U.S. Congress. It contains more than 32 million catalogued books and more than 62 million manuscripts.


With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations 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.

WILLIAM C. BURTON, ESQ., Founder and Chair

The Founder and Chair of The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement is William C. Burton, Esq., a partner at the law firm of Sagat|Burton LLP. He is a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, a former New York State Assistant Special Prosecutor, and is the author of the first legal thesaurus ever written for the legal profession, entitled BURTON’S LEGAL THESAURUS. The book is now in its 5th edition and quickly approaching its 35th anniversary. When the book was released, the Association of American Publishers recognized it as “one of the Most Innovative and Creative Projects of the year.” In 2011, Mr. Burton was presented the highest honor given by the second largest association of law professors in America, The Legal Writing Institute, for “significantly advancing the cause of legal writing in the profession of law.” More recently, he was awarded the “Blackstone Award” by the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, for “embodying and promoting the best ideals of the institution.”