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Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame

CLA Announces Induction of Margaret M. Grignon into Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame

The Committee on Appellate Courts of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association is pleased to recognize Margaret M. Grignon as the recipient of the 2024 Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame award.  The award will be presented at a special reception on April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the California Lawyers Association’s Litigation and Appellate Summit being held in Long Beach on April 25-26, 2024.  Please watch for additional information about this event in the next few weeks. 

This prestigious award, first given in 2018, is among the few devoted to recognition of appellate practice.  The award honors attorneys who have excelled as appellate lawyers and whose careers exemplify the highest of values and professional attainment.  Margaret joins prior inductees Ellis Horvitz, Jon Eisenberg, Dennis Riordan, Wendy Lascher, Hal Cohen, and Richard Benes in the Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame.  The award is presented once annually, with nominations carried over to subsequent years given the stellar qualifications of recent nominees.

Margaret M. Grignon headshot

Margaret has been a trailblazer over the course of a highly distinguished career as an appellate lawyer and judge.  After graduating first in her class from Loyola Law School, she practiced tax law in San Diego and then in Antelope Valley.  Just seven years into practice, she was appointed to the Municipal Court in Lancaster.  Margaret eventually was elevated to the Los Angeles Superior Court and then to the California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Five.   During her 14 years on the appellate bench, she authored over 2,200 opinions, more than 150 of which were published.  She also took an active role in shaping appellate procedure through her work on the Judicial Council’s Rules Committee and Appellate Advisory Committee.

In 2005, Margaret left the bench and joined Reed Smith LLP, leading its Los Angeles appellate team.  In 2015, she established The Grignon Law Firm with her daughter, Anne, focusing on appellate law and trial consultation.  She is widely sought-out as an arbitrator/mediator, and a frequent speaker on appellate practice. 

Margaret is a member and Past President of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a fellow and former Board Member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.  Since 2016, she has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Practice, and has been recognized in Top Women Lawyers in the Los Angeles Daily Journal.  She has also generously donated her time to pro bono causes, pushed for increased diversity and inclusion in the bench and bar,  and mentored many appellate lawyers throughout her career.    

Please join us in congratulating Margaret, and we hope to see you at the ALHOF reception on April 25 at 5:30 pm. 

Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame

The Litigation Section seeks nominations for the Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame Award. This award is bestowed upon attorneys who have excelled as appellate lawyers and whose careers exemplify the highest of values and professional attainment.  

The nomination period is now closed.

Please click the drop down menus below to view the different criteria.


The nomination period is now closed.


Any dues-paid member of the California Lawyers Association may nominate a member of the State Bar of California (either currently active or, if retired, previously active). Self-nominations are not accepted.

Nomination Materials

To submit a nomination, provide the following necessary materials:

  • A completed nomination form
  • A summary of your nominee’s lifetime achievements as an appellate lawyer that you think make your nominee worthy of being inducted into the Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame, including, but not limited, to the following criteria:
    • contributions to the development of the law and/or appellate practice and/or the appellate courts
    • notable cases, including matters of precedential importance (with citations and case numbers, if known)
    • dedication to appellate law-related public interest (pro bono) cases, causes, or organizations
    • commitment to diversity in the practice of appellate law or the appellate bench and to improving the appellate court system through education, mentoring, and involvement in bar association or related activities
  • A law firm biography (or other available biography) about your nominee
  • Optional three letters of recommendation in support of your nominee, with each letter not exceeding three pages.

Congratulations to the 2023 Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame Recipient: Richard Benes

Richard Benes graduated from Yale University (B.A. 1969) and the University of Southern California (J.D. 1976), where he was Executive Editor of the law review. His 47-year career practicing appellate law in San Diego was launched by service as an extern law clerk for California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk and as a research and writs attorney for the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division One. After becoming a partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, Mr. Benes formed and practiced in his own small firm, Benes & Fiorello, A P.C., and then for many years as a sole practitioner. He was among the first attorneys certified as appellate specialists in 1996 and retired from practice in 2023.

Richard Benes

See More Under Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame

Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame Nomination Form
Appellate Lawyer Hall of Fame Recipients

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