2009 Winner and Finalists

2009 National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

2009 ABA YLD NATIONAL OUTSTANDING YOUNG LAWYER

The ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award is presented annually to recognize an ABA young lawyer who exhibits professional excellence, service to the profession and the bar, service to the community, and/or a reputation for the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The winner will be recognized during an award presentation at the 2010 ABA Midyear Meeting in Orlando, FL.


WINNER

Justin Heather
Associate
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Chicago, IL

Nominated by the Illinois State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and by the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section

ABA Press Release

Justin Heather is a litigation associate with the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, practicing in the area of complex corporate litigation. Justin represents clients in actions pending in state and federal courts nationwide in all phases of litigation, as well as in international arbitrations. He represents clients in matters involving a wide range of disputes, including: intellectual property, mergers and acquisition disputes, international gas and energy issues, complex commercial contracts, securities law, bankruptcy, franchise law, consumer fraud, and Lanham Act issues. Justin has also represented a variety of companies or their audit committees in connection with investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other government agencies.

Justin devotes substantial time to pro bono cases and writing scholarly and law practice articles. Since he began practicing approximately eight years ago, he has logged over 4,000 pro bono hours. Justin currently represents a client on death row at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in federal habeas proceedings on a case referred by the ABA Death Penalty Project. He also serves as counsel to an inmate in Section 1983 litigation against prison officials arising out of an incident that caused traumatic injury to the plaintiff-inmate. He has also represented a number of other clients on a pro bono basis, including: Togolese citizens who suffered political persecution for pro-democracy activities and membership in human rights groups; a death row inmate in federal habeas corpus proceedings in Illinois; and several other clients in race and disability discrimination suits.

Justin is the recipient of several awards for his contributions to the legal profession, the organized bar, and the public. He received the 2008 Young Lawyer of the Year Award (Cook County) from the Illinois State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (“ISBA YLD”) for his dedication and contribution to the legal profession. He is also the 2007 recipient of The Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award presented by the Chicago Bar Association (“CBA”) and the Chicago Bar Foundation (“CBF”) for his service to the legal profession and the community. He has also received numerous pro bono awards from his law firm for his representation of pro bono clients.

In addition to his pro bono work, Justin is actively involved in a number of bar and volunteer activities. He currently serves as a Vice Chair for the CBA’s Young Lawyers Section (“YLS”), serves on the board of the CBA Record and the Young Professionals Boards of the CBF and the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, and is a council member of the ISBA YLD. He has published a number of legal articles, including both practice-related pieces and those directed at more substantive areas of law, that have appeared in, among others, the CBA Record, the Illinois Bar Journal, the ABA Litigation Ethics Newsletter, The Affiliate, and the Journal of Law & Politics. He has received several awards for his legal writing. Justin is currently working as the editor of a book on behalf of the ABA Section of Litigation designed to provide women and people of color with insights to help them advance in the legal profession.

Justin also serves as a mentor to law students and an informal mentor and confidant for junior lawyers at Skadden, both in their legal practice and in establishing a solid work/life balance. In addition to his numerous publications, he also previously served as an adjunct professor of legal writing at Loyola University School of Law.

Justin received his J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law. He earned his A.B. from Dartmouth College, majoring in Government and History. He is currently admitted to practice in Illinois, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court, and the United States Supreme Court.


FINALISTS

David Gonzalez

Cheryl S. Camin
Shareholder
Winstead PC
Dallas, Texas
Nominated by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers

Cheryl Camin is a shareholder in Winstead's Healthcare Industry Group as well as the Corporate Securities/Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group.  With an impressive track record of legal skills and leadership, Cheryl is known for her dedication, hard work and commitment.  She has been an officer and director on the boards of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and Texas Young Lawyers Association. She has also served as Chair of numerous Dallas Bar Association Committees and as a Commissioner on the Dallas City Council Environmental Health Commission.

Cheryl, through her professional involvements, has had a significant impact on the community.  In particular, she co-founded the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Freedom Run, which raised approximately $162,000 since its inception for the Assist the Officer’s Foundation.  In addition, she co-authored the Texas Young Lawyer Association’s Legal Guide for Cancer Patients.  This guide provides an overview of the legal issues that someone who is fighting or has fought a battle with cancer may face.  Thousands of hard copies of the guide have been distributed nation-wide and countless electronic copies continue to be distributed on the Internet.   

Cheryl co-founded the Dallas Bar Association Public Forum Committee, which educates the public through forums and debates on vital issues.  Past debate participants include candidates running for Dallas Mayor, District Attorney, Dallas Sheriff, and Texas Supreme Court.  In addition, through the Public Forum Committee Cheryl organized, and continues to organize, live Court of Appeals and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals oral arguments in public schools to help educate students on our system of justice.  

In addition to her tireless commitment to the legal profession, Cheryl also volunteers in support of numerous community organizations.  Among her efforts to support charities and her community, Cheryl served as a Table Captain at the Voices for Children Fundraising Breakfast, which raises money for the Child Abuse Prevention Center.  On a regular basis, she has volunteered at the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Clinic.  She has participated as a volunteer for the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Freedom Run and Habitat for Humanity.  Cheryl also served on the Board of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas Camp Reynal as well as their legal counsel on a pro bono basis.  She has also served as a mentor to many law students and new lawyers through the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Mentor Match program.

Cheryl received the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers in 2009 and has received various other recognitions in her career including listings as a Texas Rising Star and Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly and she was listed as a Best Lawyer Under 40 by D Magazine.  She was also awarded the Outstanding Director Award by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the President’s Award of Merit by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and the Community Builder Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service by Texas C-Bar.  In November 2009, Cheryl received a Presidential Citation from the Dallas Bar Association for co-founding the Texas Rule of Law Conference, the first one of its kind in Texas. 

Cheryl's practice focuses on healthcare matters, advising providers and businesses on entity formation and structural, contractual and regulatory healthcare issues. Her experience includes counseling clients on fraud and abuse, illegal remuneration, HIPAA, the HITECH Act, and Stark Law matters as well as compliance with state and federal health laws.  She represents hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, physicians, pharmacies, insurance companies, third party administrators, wellness companies, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and various other health care providers and entities on business, regulatory, legislative and administrative law issues.  Cheryl often speaks and provides training seminars to clients on technology, privacy and security issues and, in particular, on HIPAA compliance matters.  She is frequently published on these topics as well.

Cheryl received her law degree Cum Laude from the University of Houston Law Center, a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center, and her Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University.  

 

Keathan B. Frink
Manager of the Homicide Division
Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel (OCC) for the Fourth District of Florida
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nominated by the ABA Section of ABA Litigation

Keathan Frink graduated in 1997 from The Florida State University with a degree in Criminal Justice and minor degrees in Black Studies, Business, and English.  He immediately entered law school at the University of Florida College of Law the fall of 1997.

During law school, he began developing his skills as an advocate by becoming a member of the Trial Competition Team.  He also interned at the Public Defender’s Office in Gainesville where he developed a love for criminal defense and found his calling to represent the poor and indigent in trial.  After graduating law school in 2000, he became an Assistant Public Defender for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida in Tampa, Florida.  As a public defender, Keathan was able to represent people who were accused of committing crimes but could not afford to hire a private attorney.  He continued to work as an Assistant Public Defender in the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida after he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he has represented clients accused of committing crimes such as burglary, robbery and grand theft. 

After a brief period of private practice focusing on criminal defense and civil matters including personal injury, landlord-tenant, and family law, Keathan returned to indigent criminal defense and is currently the Manager of the Homicide Division at the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel (OCC) for the Fourth District of Florida.  As manager, he represents all of the Office’s clients charged with homicide from capital murder, felony murder to manslaughter. He is also responsible for creating, implementing and ensuring consistent policies that provide quality representation for clients charged with homicide. 

Keathan is licensed to practice in Florida, Washington, DC, and the United States District Court for the Middle and Southern District of Florida.  He has tried hundreds of cases throughout his career and is known as a zealous trial attorney and a consummate professional.   

In 2004, he became an active member of the ABA as a Young Lawyers Division Minorities in the Profession Committee (“MIPC”) scholarship recipient.  He was appointed and served two years on the Editorial Board of The Young Lawyer (“TYL”).  As a member of the TYL Editorial Board, he was awarded the Star of the Quarter Award during the 2006 Midyear Meeting in Chicago by YLD Chair Christina Plum.  Keathan was appointed chair of MIPC for the 2007-2008 bar year.  As Chair of the Minorities in the Profession Committee he helped the ABA YLD implement its Diversity Plan.  He also facilitated the selection of the 2007-2008 MIPC scholars which increased the diversity of the YLD.  Additionally, Keathan implemented the Choose Law public service project at the Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles as part of the responsibilities of MIPC. The Choose Law project further exposed a diverse group of high school students to the field of law.  During the 2008-2009 year, Keathan served as Assistant Diversity Director.  He was selected to serve as Co-Coordinator of the Public Service Team for 2009-2010 to help implement They Had a Dream Too public service project. 

Keathan is also actively involved in the Section of Litigation.  He was a Young Lawyer in Leadership Program participant from 2006-2008.  He currently serves as the Young Lawyers Division’s Liaison to the Section of Litigation, as well as a member of the Litigation Institute for Trial Training team. He will continue to serve the Section in those roles for 2009-2010 and will also serve as Co-Chair of the Section’s Solo & Small Firm Committee. 

Keathan has written several articles for The Young Lawyer including: “Building the Dream: A Monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” January 2006; “How to Respond to Bar Complaints” March/April 2006; “Alito’s First Decision; Holmes v. South Carolina” July 2006; and “Discussion Deemed Key to Diversity” April 2008.  He has also was a panelist on A Paper Lawyer’s Guide to Electronic Discovery at the 2007 Section of Litigation Annual Conference and most recently at the 2009 Annual Conference on the topic Avoiding Ethical Minefields When Preparing and Examining Witnesses. 

Keathan also serves his community through his involvement in his beloved fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  He served has served as corresponding secretary and most recently as vice president of Broward County’s Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter from 2007-2009.  Through the fraternity, he helped implement the Men of Tomorrow Program, Project Alpha and Father’s Matters.  These programs mentor young African-American males and reinforce the importance of a higher education.  He has spent hours assisting with voter registration drives and helped the fraternity raise funds and walk in the March of Dimes “March for Babies.”   Keathan also served as a “Big Brother” for a young man who was aging out of foster care through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.

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