Burnette recognized as 2016 Lawyer of the Year in Best Lawyers in America

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA –  M. Malissa Burnette has earned 2016 Lawyer of the Year honors in Employment Law – Individuals for the Columbia metropolitan area in the new edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

The guide, released today in print and at bestlawyers.com, is among the legal profession’s oldest peer-reviewed publications. Attorneys are included after a stringent review process that includes evaluations by other lawyers in their practice areas and in their communities.

Lawyers of the Year are selected because of impressively high scores during peer evaluations for the Best Lawyers publication. Only a single attorney in each city is so designated in each practice area.

It’s the third Lawyer of the Year award for Burnette. She was honored in the 2014 edition in Litigation – Labor and Employment Law and in the 2012 edition in Employment Law – Individuals.

Cases draw national, international attention

Burnette’s successful advocacy for Police Chief Crystal Moore, who was fired because she is a lesbian, brought international focus on the small town of Latta, SC, and was a subject of GLAAD’s documentary film “State of Change.”

Burnette’s work, along with that of Burnette Shutt & McDaniel colleagues Nekki Shutt and Jax Pavlicek, has drawn national attention in the past year as they represented the plaintiffs in the case that established marriage equality in South Carolina.

The battle continues as the state balks at paying the winning attorneys’ legal fees. In the most recent ruling in the attorneys’ favor, a U.S. District Court judge lauded their performance in the case, noting that the legal work by all the attorneys was “consistently excellent.”

Shutt also was honored in the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers, and the accolades that she and Burnette received made Burnette Shutt & McDaniel the top-honored firm for employment law in the Columbia area.