Michael Bien and Donald Specter, two lawyers whose 20-year quest to reform California’s prisons generated an unprecedented ruling and national news this year, head The Recorder ‘s inaugural Attorneys of the Year list.

Bien and Specter are among 16 lawyers Recorder editors have chosen to honor for high-profile achievements in court or on a major deal in 2009. “Countless attorneys get good results for clients every day of the year,” Recorder Editor-in-Chief Scott Graham said. “We felt these 16 obtained something tangible, and made headlines, in a way that truly stood out.”