ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Dan Korobkin Named Michigan’s 2021 Lawyer of the Year

A group of his peers has just confirmed what everyone familiar with legal director Dan Korobkin’s long history of achievement with the ACLU of Michigan already knows: He’s among the very best at what he does.

Last Thursday, at an awards ceremony honoring leaders in the law, Dan was named Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Lawyer of the Year for 2021.

“You would be hard-pressed to find someone who won’t tell you that Dan is one of the most brilliant legal minds in Michigan and, perhaps, the nation,” the publication pointed out in an article announcing the award.

It is an incredible – and incredibly well-deserved -- honor. Raised in Michigan with a degree from Yale Law School, Dan was described this way by Michigan Lawyers Weekly:

“With his credentials, Korobkin could easily work almost anywhere that he chooses in the legal field. Yet he has consistently chosen a career where he can dedicate his expertise to serving the public. Korobkin’s work with the ACLU, an impact organization that serves underrepresented populations, shows he is someone who cares less about the recognition he receives for his work and more about making a difference.”

As the magazine also noted, Dan’s “advocacy and leadership, particularly in the civil rights arena, span a variety of issues, from LGBT rights to freedom of speech and religion to criminal law reform.”

Included among his many accomplishments is successfully litigating Hill v. Snyder, a 10-year fight challenging the practice of sentencing juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Having joined the organization as a staff attorney in 2008, Dan became the ACLU of Michigan’s legal director two years ago. In that position, Dan oversees all the cases handled by the organization’s team of attorneys and outside counsel. Always modest, he deflected praise to the organization overall.

“This is really the time to recognize the work of all of my colleagues who have made this possible, doing civil rights and civil liberties work all over the state to protect people’s constitutional rights,” he said.

A man with impeccable integrity and the highest ethical standards, he also possesses a playful sense of humor, a gentle demeanor, and a long-held love for “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

We could not be more proud, or grateful, to have Dan as a colleague and one of this organization’s most steadfast leaders. The desire to defend civil rights and achieve justice is part of his fiber.

“I have always been acutely aware of the impediments and injustices faced by so many others, as well as our own obligation, as a society, to help clear away those impediments and see justice done,” he said. “The most noble tradition and calling of the legal profession is to put those ideals into action.”

He’s certainly done that.