Trial Lawyer of the Year
On Saturday, March 2, 2024, the CAL-ABOTA Board of Directors proudly selected Eric V. Traut of the Orange County Chapter as the 2024 Trial Lawyer of the Year.

Since 1962, this award is recognized as the highest honor a California trial lawyer can receive, the CAL-ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year is awarded annually to a recipient exhibiting the best traits of a trial lawyer - excellence in advocacy, a distinguished career and a reputation for civility, ethics and fair play.

The CAL-ABOTA Board of Directors includes officers of the eight local chapters. Each CAL-ABOTA chapter is entitled to nominate a candidate for Trial Lawyer of the Year. Written and oral presentations are submitted to CAL-ABOTA's board followed by the selection of the award recipient by majority vote.

General Criteria For Selection Of California Trial Lawyer Of The Year

Eric Traut, 2023 Trial Lawyer of the year.

Congratulations to Eric Traut, the youngest member ever admitted to ABOTA at the age of 33. Eric remains active in the Orange County Chapter of ABOTA in which he served as President in 2010.

Eric V. Traut is one of the top trial attorneys in Southern California. He distinguished himself early in his career as the youngest recipient of the Orange County Bar Association's "Trial Lawyer of the Year" (2003) award. In his 34 years practicing law, Eric has successfully tried over 100 jury trials.

Eric's reputation for civility, ethics, and fair play precedes him. Judges, arbitrators, and mediators alike have openly admired his integrity, compassion for his clients, impressive trial skills, and his gift of advocacy.

Eric is held in the highest regard throughout the legal community and beyond. Often handling unique, high-profile cases, Eric has the respect of his peers and the community in and out of the courtroom. Eric has earned interviews and appearances on Good Morning America, Fox News, Court T.V., ABC's "Primetime" CBS News, and Montel Williams.

Eric served as President of the Orange County Chapter of ABOTA in 2010. In 2017, he won the OC-ABOTA Joseph D. McNeil Civility Award. In 2020, he received the Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Orange County Chapter of ABOTA. Eric enjoys Drafter status within the ABOTA Foundation - the educational arm of ABOTA. Today, only three members out of 240 in Orange County have donated to reach this level. Eric is the country's second youngest Diplomate of ABOTA out of 220 Diplomates nationwide.

In September 2023, Eric was honored as a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's 2023 Marcus M. Kaufman Jurisprudence Award. This highly notable award recognizes outstanding members of the legal profession who are role models of ethics and leadership in the legal community.

While Eric loves being a lawyer and changing the lives of his clients, he truly enjoys giving back to his colleagues and the community. As the Past President of the Orange County Bar Foundation, Eric led a non-profit organization strengthening Orange County youth and families through unique, award-winning health and education programs. He continues to serve on the Executive Committee, donating many hours and thousands of dollars each year to help local youth.

Eric continues to give back to the legal community by volunteering to speak at countless seminars on litigation and trial skills, donating money to charities supported by law firms and legal organizations, and teaching law students about the importance of civility and professionalism in the practice of law. In 2023, he offered himself as the "Roastee" for the Orange County Trial Lawyers Charity dinner, which raised over $70,000.

When not practicing law, Eric enjoys traveling the world with his wife, Pam. He enjoys spending time with his children and step-children, grandson Vance and granddaughter Holland.

CAL-ABOTA will celebrate Eric as the 2024 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award recipient during the Hawaii Conference on November 4-9, 2024 at the Mauna Lani on the Big Island with a special dinner in his honor on Friday, November 8th; please plan to attend the Hawaii Conference for this special occasion; registration information will be available soon.

Congratulations, Eric!

Past Cal-ABOTA Trial Lawyers Of The Year

2024 Eric Traut Orange County
2023 Dennis Thelen San Joaquin Valley
2022 Cynthia McGuinn San Francisco
2021 John H. Howard California Coast
2020 No Award Given
2019 Richard D. Carroll Los Angeles
2018 Chris Wesierski Orange County
2017 Warren R. Paboojian San Joaquin Valley
2016 Michael P. Bradley San Francisco
  Douglas M. DeGrave Orange County
2015 William D. Shapiro San Bernardino/Riverside
2014 Michael A. Kelly San Francisco
2013 Edith Matthai Los Angeles
2012 Robert A. Buccola Sacramento Valley
2011 Michael Bidart San Bernardino/Riverside
Dennis F. Moriarty San Francisco
2010 Brian J. Panish Los Angeles
2009 Dennis A.Schoville San Diego
2008 Mark P. Robinson, Jr. Orange County
2007 David J. O'Keefe Los Angeles
2006 Richard Watters San Joaquin Valley
Edward J. Nevin San Francisco
2005 Jeffrey S. Raynes San Bernardino/Riverside
2004 Roger A. Dreyer Sacramento Valley
2003 Vincent J. Bartolotta, Jr. San Diego
*2002 Marjorie W. Day Orange County
2001 James J. Brosnahan San Francisco
2000 Florentino Garza San Bernardino/Riverside
1999 H. Gilbert Jones Los Angeles
1998 Brian D. Monaghan San Diego
*1997 Lowell T. Carruth San Joaquin Valley
1995 Ronald H. Rouda San Francisco
1994 David E. Monahan San Diego
1993 Robert C. Baker Los Angeles
*1992 Albert R. Abramson San Francisco
*1991 John J. Collins Los Angeles
1990 Hon. Richard D. Aldrich Los Angeles
*1989 Eugene J. Majeski San Francisco
*1988 Morton L. Friedman Sacramento Valley
*1987 Wm. Marshall Morgan Los Angeles
*1986 Robert D. Barbagelata San Francisco
*1985 Charles A. Lynberg Los Angeles
*1984 Marshall T. Hunt Los Angeles
*1983 Marvin E. Lewis San Francisco
*1982 Donald A. Ruston Orange County
*1981 Don C. Brown San Bernardino/Riverside
1980 Joseph W. Rogers, Jr. San Francisco
*1979 John G. Bonelli Los Angeles
*1978 James C. Downing San Francisco
*1977 Mark P. Robinson Los Angeles
*1976 Richard McCormick San Joaquin Valley
*1975 Jack W. Crumley San Diego
*1974 Theodore P. Shield Los Angeles
*1973 Arthur N. Hews San Diego
*1972 Leighton T. Bledsoe San Francisco
*1971 David M. Harney Los Angeles
*1970 William A. Kurlander Los Angeles
*1969 Bruce Walkup San Francisco
*1968 William J. Schall San Diego
*1967 John J. Costanzo Los Angeles
*1966 DeForrest Home Los Angeles
*1965 Ingmar Hoberg San Francisco
*1964 John T. LaFollette Los Angeles
*1963 Raoul D. Magana Los Angeles
*1962 Roger E. Kelly Los Angeles
California and Hawaii Chapters of
American Board of Trial Advocates
2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 150
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: 916.239.4087
Fax: 916.924.7323
Developed and maintained by California Advocates, Inc.