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A few weeks ago, the editors at the ABA Journal were pummeled by partisans for naming Alberto Gonzales the “Lawyer of the Year.” The magazine wasn’t arguing that the former attorney general was a terrific advocate. Editors simply chose the lawyer they believed had the biggest impact on the law. Cue the angry readers and the apologies from editors, who had to take pains to say that they weren’t speaking for honchos at the American Bar Association. As Mark Obbie, a Syracuse University journalism professor (and, like myself, a former executive editor of The American Lawyer), put it on his LawBeat blog: “What a shame.” That’s because, in spite of the tempest, the ABA Journal had a very good point. It’s hard to imagine anyone who had a greater impact on the law than Gonzales — for good or ill. And it’s a sad fact that few people took the time to really read what the magazine had to say before inundating it with invective. When the editors of Legal Times sat down to compile our list of the legal and lobbying stories that were biggest in 2007, the mess at the DOJ — Alberto Gonzales’ role in it — was without question our number one choice for biggest story of the year. Without apology, we think that Gonzales and his team made for the most compelling legal news story. Twenty-four other stories made our list, and we hope that you’ll take the opportunity to agree or disagree with our choices (although, we hope, with a little less partisan poison than the folks who wrote to the Journal). Please contact us at [email protected]. — David Brown

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