Why is this man smiling? Because he is Michael M. Berger, a California appellate lawyer par excellence (former president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers), and he has good reason to smile. The William & Mary College School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia, has just announced that its annual Brigham-Kanner Prize for 2014 will go to Mike, a private practitioner from California. He will thus be the first law practitioner — as opposed to a gaggle of prominent law professors — to be the recipient of the B-K Prize which is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the subject of private property rights and their role in society. Berger tops all those professors in that he has an outstanding track record both as an advocate who has won more taking cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in the California state courts than any other practitioner we can think of, and whose track record as a legal commentator in the law journals beats the professoriate.
We will have more to say about this subject before long. In the meantime, if you want more details go to www.inversecondemnation.com whose impresario and our fellow blogger, Robert Thomas, has done his usual fine job announcing the award and commenting on Mike Berger’s many professional virtues. Go for it.
Full disclosure: Mike Berger has been your faithful servant’s friend for over 40 years, as well as a co-worker, co-author, and even — once — an adversary in an appellate case. As the local legend goes, we gave him his first job and he gave us our last one.