John A. Russo (politician) - Awards

Awards

In 2006, the National League of Cities named Oakland as one of nine winners of its 2006 Award for Municipal Excellence, and one of three Gold award winners honoring the work of the Neighborhood Law Corps. In 2005 the program won the Grand Prize, Helen Putnam Award for Excellence from the National League of Cities.

In August 2005, John Russo was voted a Northern California Super Lawyer by his peers and the independent research of the Law & Politics Magazine.

In 2004, the League of California Cities gave John Russo the Champion of Local Democracy Award for his work to strengthen democracy at the local level. In addition, the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) awarded the Office of the City Attorney the John Essex and Guy Rounsaville In-House Diversity Counsel Award for demonstrating superior commitment to diversity; it was the first time a public agency had received the honor in the thirteen-year history of the program.

In 2003, California Lawyer Magazine named John Russo as Attorney of the Year for Government/Public Policy. The eighth annual CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) Awards for 2003 recognized City Attorney Russo for his advocacy and innovation in public law while saving taxpayer money.

"As lead defense counsel for the city of Oakland, Russo settled a civil suit alleging widespread police misconduct for $10.8 million, only $2.2 million of which came from taxpayers, with the rest paid by excess insurers. Despite this payout, he managed to reduce city spending on lawyers and lawsuits by $3.5 million compared with the previous fiscal year. On the local level, Russo's innovative, privately funded Neighborhood Law Corps helped overcome blight by, among other things, entering an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to clean up illegally dumped trash along railroad tracks, which will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in cleanup costs over the ten-year period of the agreement."

The award also recognized Russo for winning an appellate ruling upholding the city's anti-predatory lending ordinance and successfully petitioning California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi to investigate ZIP Code discrimination in auto insurance.

"There are some achievements made by California lawyers that have such far-reaching impact that they cannot go unrecognized," said the magazine's editors. "The lawyers selected as Attorneys of the Year for 2003 substantially influenced public policy or a particular industry, brought about a significant development in their field of practice or in law-firm management, or achieved a notable victory for a client or for the public in a difficult, high-stakes matter."

In the fall of 2003, John Russo received the California First Amendment Coalition's Beacon Award for leadership in promoting public access to government and going "beyond the norm to assure government transparency."

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