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Justice IG is journal's Lawyer of the Year

  Legal Marketing  -   POSTED: 2008/12/23 09:04

The Justice Department's internal watchdog won the National Law Journal's top honor Monday for targeting Bush administration actions that cast doubt on the department's political independence.

Inspector General Glenn A. Fine was named "Lawyer of the Year."

The newspaper said Fine's investigations into White House political meddling and mismanagement by former Justice officials has helped restore the fierce independence that was once the department's trademark.

"During a year in which the Justice Department's reputation suffered one black eye after another — largely because of politicization of a number of its functions — Fine and the team he has assembled in the past eight years emerged as beacons of nonpartisanship and independence," the newspaper said.

Fine's office released a number of high-profile reports this year, at least four of which criticized how former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales ran the department. A close friend and adviser to President George W. Bush, Gonzales resigned in September 2007 after months of criticism that Republican politics drove hiring and firing decisions — including the ouster of nine U.S. attorneys the year before.

Fine was nominated and confirmed as inspector general in the waning days of President Bill Clinton's administration. It's expected Fine will stay on after President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in.


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