Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Organizers of the Orrin G. Hatch Distinguished Trial Lawyer Lecture Series honored an outstanding trial lawyer with the first, Michael Goldsmith Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award on Friday, Nov. 7. The recipient was announced at the banquet at the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake. Who better, as the first recipient, than a surprised BYU law professor Michael Goldsmith?"We wanted the award to honor someone who exemplified both professional excellence and personal courage in the pursuit of justice," said James Parkinson, chair of the Orrin Hatch Distinguished Trial Lawyer Lecture Series. "And, there isn’t anyone who depicts these two standards better than Michael Goldsmith. As a matter of fact, he fit the criteria so well, we had to make him the first recipient as well as name the award after him."Goldsmith has served as Assistant United States Attorney as well as Counsel to the New York State Organized Crime Task Force. Previously, he served as vice-chairman of the ABA Criminal Justice Section, RICO Committee. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Goldsmith to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. In 1996-1997, he served as vice-chair of this committee. Goldsmith’s work has been cited in numerous judicial decisions, and he has testified before the U.S. Congress on several occasions. He has been an expert witness in international RICO litigation. Goldsmith joined the BYU faculty in 1985. Since that time, he has dedicated his life to teaching future generations of trial lawyers. "While the mission of the Orrin Hatch Distinguished Trial Lawyer Lecture Series is to inspire even one student to be a trial lawyer, Michael is inspiring students every day," said Douglas Miller, vice-chairman of the Orrin Hatch Distinguished Trial Lawyer Lecture Series.In addition, Miller said that Goldsmith has made many personal sacrifices to dedicate his life to inspire students. Most recently, he has persevered through the progressively developing challenges of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in order to continue teaching his students. Rather than let the disease beat him, Goldsmith is speaking out as an advocate for funding research in the hope of making a difference in the lives of those who may be diagnosed with the ALS after him. Consistent with a life and career devoted to others, Michael's attitude about his current challenge is, "Maybe I was given this disease to help others'," as he stated in conversation with Parkinson.In a recent article Goldsmith wrote, "Batting for the Cure," published in the Nov. 10 issue of Newsweek, he shares a grand idea to raise funds for ALS research.As stated in Goldsmith's article, "I realized that next July 4 will mark the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. Since his retirement, more than 600,000 Americans have shared Gehrig's fate, as medical science has made virtually no progress toward finding a cure. Through the years some players and a few teams have occasionally helped raise funds, but Major League Baseball has never taken comprehensive action against ALS. Defeating ALS will require the same type of determination, dedication and drive that Gehrig and Cal Ripken demonstrated when they set superhuman records for consecutive games played. With this in mind, why not make July 4, 2009, ALS-Lou Gehrig Day? Dedicate this grim anniversary to funding research for a cure; every major- and minor-league stadium might project the video of Gehrig's farewell, and teams, players and fans could contribute to this cause. An event of this magnitude has the potential to raise millions, dwarfing the relatively scant sums that ALS walks, rides and similar small-scale efforts have produced."Goldsmith's courage, devotion and excellence in the courtroom, in the classroom and in life make him not only an outstanding professional, but an outstanding man."Michael is someone we can all look to as someone who we ought to be like, both as a person and as a trial lawyer," Parkinson said. "He is what it means to have courage and to live an outstanding life." by BYU Law.
Posted by Clint Dunaway at 11:23 AM