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Daily Journal's Annual Top 100

Publication Date: 
September 23, 2009
Daily Journal

The Daily Journal named Professors Jeffrey Fisher and Mark Lemley and Lecturer Michael Romano as among the Top 100 California lawyers:

Here are the top 100 attorneys and how they got there.


Jeffrey L. Fisher, 38
Stanford Law School, Palo Alto
Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
Fisher's clinic remains one of the most prolific Supreme Court practices in the country - and it's not even a law firm. Taking mostly pro bono criminal cases, the clinic ostensibly is aimed at teaching students how to write better briefs and argue before an appellate panel. It just happens to be run by one of the nation's leading Supreme Court advocates and prompts the most significant developments in case law in the United States. Among Fisher's victories this year is People v. Melendez-Diaz, a watershed case requiring forensics lab analysts to appear personally in criminal trials. The ruling has required prosecutors nationwide to rethink their tactics in presenting forensic evidence.


Mark A. Lemley, 42
Durie Tangri Page Lemley Roberts & Kent, San Francisco
Stanford Law School
Intellectual property
The energertic Lemley stayed busy on a number of fronts. As a Stanford Law School professor, Lemley wrote a number of academic papers and launched the Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse to track patent and other intellectual property cases in the federal courts. As an attorney, Lemley started a brand new law firm in February, Durie Tangri Page Lemley Roberts & Kent, with old law school friends. And he has remained active in the courts, filing amicus briefs and representing clients from artist Shepard Fairey in a copyright dispute with the Associated Press to Genentech Inc. in a patent case.


Michael Romano, 37
Stanford Law School’s Mills Criminal Defense Clinic, Palo Alto
Criminal appeals
Romano and his Stanford law students are taking aim at the most maligned part of California’s three strikes law — that virtually no offense is too small to garner a life sentence. Despite an unforgiving statute and courts that interpret it strictly, Romano and his proteges have gotten four inmates’ sentences reduced in the last year, and three inmates have already been freed. Not all the clinic’s cases are victories, however. The state Supreme Court turned down the case of Ali Foroutan, sentenced to life for possessing .03 grams of methamphetamine. But the work is causing some people to take a fresh look at a law that has become accepted as gospel in California’s criminal justice system.