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Five Foster Swift Attorneys named 'Lawyer of the Year'

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November 1, 2010

LANSING, Mich. — Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has named Charles E. Barbieri, Scott A. Chernich, Allan J. Claypool, Scott L. Mandel and Webb A. Smith as a “Lansing Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year” for 2011. All five of the attorneys practice in the Lansing office of the statewide law firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C.

After more than a quarter of a century in publication, Best Lawyers is designating “Lawyers of the Year” in high-profile legal specialties in large legal communities. Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is being honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.”

Foster Swift has offices in Lansing, Detroit, Farmington Hills, Grand Rapids, Holland and Marquette. The firm has earned a reputation for outstanding client service, for a results-minded attitude and for across-the-board legal excellence.  We credit this reputation to our adherence to the timeless Midwestern values of integrity, civility, hard work, camaraderie and commitment to our communities.

Barbieri — named the Best Lawyers’ 2011 Lansing Environmental Lawyer of the Year — is a member of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group and concentrates his law practice almost exclusively in environmental, First Amendment and media law matters. Barbieri just wrapped up a term as the immediate past section chair for the Environmental Law Section of the Michigan State Bar, and he is very active in the American Inns of Court at Michigan State University College of Law.

Chernich — named the Best Lawyers’ 2011 Lansing Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Lawyer of the Year — concentrates his practice extensively in Chapter 11, 7 and 13 bankruptcy cases. In 2003, Chernich was appointed as a Chapter 7 Panel Trustee by the U.S. Justice Department. While he spends a large portion of his time representing creditors in prosecuting claims and recovering collateral, he also has significant experience as a debtor's lawyer and as a trustee. As a result, he offers clients (business and individuals) a perspective that includes familiarity with common strategies for all sides and the ability to spot and resolve issues early in the process.

Claypool — named the Best Lawyers’ 2011 Lansing Tax Lawyer of the Year — is a senior member of the Trusts and Estates Practice Group. Claypool's tremendous knowledge in trust and estates has long been recognized by his peers as he was elected a fellow of the prestigious American Counsel of Trust and Estate Lawyers. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1982 as well as being included in Michigan Super Lawyers. Hence, he often provides expert witness testimony on matters of estate and trust administration. 

Mandel — named the Best Lawyers’ 2011 Lansing Insurance Lawyer of the Year — is the co-leader of the General Litigation Practice Group. Mandel has amassed vast experience in a number of areas, including: Business Litigation, Civil Rights Defense, Personal Injury Litigation, Insurance Company Insolvency Proceedings; and Licensing and Regulation of Health Care Professionals. Much of Mandel’s practice concerns complex litigation, including representation of governmental

Smith — named the Best Lawyers’ 2011 Lansing Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year — brought his knowledge and expertise to Foster Swift in 1963, and he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1994. In recognition of his efforts, he was distinguished as the recipient of the Leo Farhat Outstanding Attorney Award in 1997, and is a Master of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School American Inns of Court. He received the 13th Annual Excellence in Defense Award in 2005, and was named a “Top Commercial Litigator” in 2006.

Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current, 17th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2011) is based on more than 3.1 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.

The lawyers being honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in our surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

Steven Naifeh, President of Best Lawyers, says, “We continue to believe – as we have believed for more than 25 years – that recognition by one’s peers is the most meaningful form of praise in the legal profession.