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Rift Over Award for Clark, Darden Divides Bar Association

November 24, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Naming Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden 1995 Trial Lawyers of the Year would be a slap in the face to the O.J. Simpson jury, the county bar association’s president said.

Such an award would also undermine public confidence in the jury’s acquittals, said bar association President Laurie D. Zelon.

The association’s trustees recently rejected the recommendation of a panel. In so doing, they ignited a dispute that has divided the 21,000 members of the bar and led to the resignation of at least a dozen members.

Herb Lapin, a prosecutor who is president of the county’s Association of Deputy District Attorneys, called the explanation for withholding the awards ridiculous.

Lapin denounced the association as a bastion of members of big firms ``who don’t have the slightest clue about what’s going on in the real world.″

``You can lose a case and still be an excellent lawyer,″ he said.

Zelon played down the controversy, saying she expected the executive committee to submit new names and move on.

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