Aaron Davis and Michael Johnson receive 2012 Fleischman Family Awards for Excellence in Criminal Clinic

Friday, July 6, 2012

Aaron Davis and Michael Johnson have been named to receive the 2012 Fleischman Family Awards for Excellence in Criminal Clinic at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Michael Johnson (left) and Aaron Davis have been named to receive the 2012 Fleischman Family Awards for Excellence in Criminal Clinic.
Michael Johnson (left) and Aaron Davis have been named to receive the 2012 Fleischman Family Awards for Excellence in Criminal Clinic.

The awards, which include a cash stipend, are made at the end of the academic year to IIT Chicago-Kent students who have demonstrated dedication to the criminal defense litigation program and who have provided "zealous advocacy" on behalf of the program's clients.  Recipients are selected by IIT Chicago-Kent faculty who teach in the law school's certificate program in criminal litigation. Davis and Johnson received their J.D. degrees May 13.

Aaron Davis received his undergraduate degree in finance from DePaul University. At IIT Chicago-Kent, Davis served as a law clerk in the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic for six months. Since January 2011, he has worked in the Criminal Clinic. Davis has clerked for the Cook County Public Defender's Felony Trial Division and its Homicide Task Force.

"Aaron Davis has been an asset to my cases and will be a welcome addition to any trial team. Aaron's a team player who also possesses a wealth of independent initiative," said criminal defense attorney and IIT Chicago-Kent clinical professor Richard S. Kling. "He is a proven problem solver. Aaron is willing to learn and to share the ins-and-outs of litigation presentation technology, including his expertise on the use of available trial hardware and software. He puts in long hours on my cases and, I am told, is just as conscientious and hard working at the Cook County Public Defender's Office."

Michael Johnson completed his undergraduate education in biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to law school, he worked as a laboratory analyst for Alberto-Culver. At IIT Chicago-Kent, Johnson is a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent Law Review and was a final-round participant in the Charles Evans Hughes Moot Court Competition. Since January 2011, Johnson has interned in the Criminal Clinic, where he has worked on more than two dozen cases at the trial and the appellate level. 

"Michael Johnson's drive, determination and diligence provide an outstanding model of zealous advocacy as embodied in the spirit of the Fleischman Award," said criminal defense attorney and IIT Chicago-Kent clinical professor Daniel T. Coyne. "During his time in the clinic, he has used his Rule 711 certification to the fullest extent possible. On May 1, Michael argued a case before the Illinois Appellate Court. He has litigated murder trials, arguing before the jury and cross-examining eye-witnesses, police officers and forensic scientists."

"Michael's out-of-court skills are equally impressive. Even as a student, he holds a well-respected and well-deserved reputation among the bench and bar at 26th Street. Michael was instrumental in researching, investigating and preparing a successful defense for a client in a high-profile aggravated battery/hate-crime case. He has drafted two petitions for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, drafted Appellate Court briefs, and conducted numerous expert witness depositions."

The Fleischman Family Awards for Excellence in Criminal Clinic, were established by IIT Chicago-Kent alumni and criminal defense attorneys Jack and Sidney Z. Fleischman in 2008 to recognize outstanding students in the criminal defense section of the IIT Chicago-Kent Law Offices. In establishing the award, the Fleischmans also pay tribute to the contributions made to Chicago's legal community by their late grandfather, former Cook County Circuit Court judge Phillip A. Fleischman, and their father, attorney Marshall A. Fleischman.

Jack and Sidney Fleischman are identical twins who participated in IIT Chicago-Kent's criminal law clinic before they earned their law degrees in 1987. The Fleischman brothers currently are partners in their own criminal defense law firm, Fleischman & Fleischman, P.A., located in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Florida. Jack began his career with the Public Defender's Office in Palm Beach County. Sidney worked with the Cook County and Broward County State's Attorney offices before entering private practice with his brother.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. IIT Chicago-Kent's Certificate Program in Criminal Litigation is designed to give students a comprehensive and balanced professional education that prepares them for the practice of criminal law. The IIT Chicago-Kent Law Offices is a teaching law firm whose dual mission is to provide high-quality clinical education to the more than 150 student interns and externs who enroll each semester and to deliver outstanding legal services to its clients.