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Legal team representing Prop 8 plaintiffs recognized with profession's highest honors

LOS ANGELES -- This week, the lead attorneys and law firms representing the plaintiffs in Perry v. Brown, the landmark federal lawsuit challenging California's Proposition 8, received the highest honors in The American Lawyer’s biennial “Litigator of the Year” and “Litigation Department of the Year” competitions.

Plaintiffs' legal team is led by David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, and Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Boies was named “Litigator of the Year” and Gibson Dunn was named “Litigation Department of the Year.”

In selecting Boies as “Litigator of the Year,” The American Lawyer noted that he is “one of the best trial lawyers of our time.” The magazine also named Olson one of five finalists for the award, recognizing that he “is in a class by himself,” having won “75 percent of the 58 cases he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In naming Gibson Dunn “Litigation Department of the Year,” The American Lawyer noted the firm’s “astounding record of high-stakes victories—across disciplines and venues, and at every stage of litigation.” Gibson Dunn previously received the honor in 2010, making it the first law firm to win the decade-old competition twice.

The magazine also named Boies, Schiller & Flexner as one of five finalists for “Litigation Department of the Year,” recognizing the firm’s impressive handling of “high-profile, game-changing cases.”

The Perry case was filed on May 22, 2009, in federal District Court on behalf of two California couples. Plaintiffs assert that Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry, violates the U.S. Constitution. In August 2010, after an historic 12-day public trial, the district court found in favor of plaintiffs and declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The district court’s judgment is currently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A decision from that court is expected soon. The Perry case is widely expected to end up in the United States Supreme Court.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of the Perry case.

In August 2011, Boies and Olson were jointly awarded the ABA Medal, the highest award bestowed by the American Bar Association. Awarded for distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence, previous recipients of the ABA Medal are legendary justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Felix Frankfurter, Thurgood Marshall, William J. Brennan Jr., Sandra Day O’Connor, and Anthony Kennedy.

“Ted, David, and their law firms are among the very best that the American legal profession has to offer,” AFER board president Chad Griffin said. “Thanks to the tireless and inspiring advocacy of these world-class attorneys, soon all Americans will be able to marry the person they love.”

To read Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's "Litigation Department of the Year" profile, click HERE.

To read Boies, Schiller & Flexner's "Litigation Department of the Year" profile, click HERE.

To read David Boies' "Litigator of the Year" interview, click HERE.

To read Theodore Olson's "Litigator of the Year" profile, click HERE.

Left photos- Theodore Olson (top); David Boies (bottom). Credit: American Lawyer.