Last week, Top of the Rockies, the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, awarded Super Lawyers first and second place in Legal/General Reporting for two features in our 2016 Colorado Super Lawyers magazine.
First place went to “The Bridge,” Steve Knopper’s cover feature on Qusair Muhuamedbhai, a top 100 attorney who has been fighting for civil and employment rights in an often hostile post-9/11 environment. Though he’s been called a “critically important bridge between law enforcement and that broad Muslim community” by no less than the U.S. attorney in Colorado, Muhamedbhai has felt profiled himself: at the University of Wyoming after 9/11, filing for a bank loan in 2006, or being excessively questioned while visiting clients in prison after the Paris bombings.
“This is just the reality of being a Muslim attorney,” Muhamedbhai said when we interviewed him in November 2015. “The discrimination is about as bad as it’s ever been-arguably even worse than after September 11, because of the rhetoric of the GOP candidates.”
The second-place award went to Jim Walsh’s feature on Nancy Elkind, “Bring Me Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Electrical Engineers,” where the immigration attorney cut through the heated campaign rhetoric on immigration.
“When I explain to people how complicated it is for someone with a master’s degree in electrical engineering from a U.S. university to stay here, they’re just amazed,” Elkind said. “So the problem is not just that we have illegal immigration. The problem is that we have a totally dysfunctional legal immigration system.”
She added: “Every group that has come has made amazing contributions to the economy, to the culture, to art, education, business. Everybody has something to offer, and at every point there has been opposition to particular groups. Everybody comes and then wants to lock the barn door. We’re going through that again now.”
Both writers are freelancers who worked on their respective features with editor in chief Erik Lundegaard; both have musical backgrounds. Knopper is the author of a recent biography on Michael Jackson, “MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson,” while Walsh is the author of “Gold Experience: Following Prince in the ’90s.”
In addition, Super Lawyers won a third-place award in the Personality Profile category of the Best in Indiana Journalism Awards contest held by the Indiana chapter of the SPJ. The award-winning story, “Leading the Class Action Cavalry” by Steph Weber, explored lawyer Richard Shevitz’s efforts to recover damages for Holocaust victims and their heirs.
A history of Super Lawyers‘ award-winning journalism can be found here.