Area attorney to be honored with St. Thomas More Award this fall

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of Lansing has voted to present this year’s St. Thomas More Award to East Lansing attorney Randy Hackney. The presentation will be held Sept. 26 during the annual diocesan Red Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Lansing. The Diocese includes Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties.

Hackney was nominated for the award – which recognizes and honors an individual who exemplifies the qualities of the Guild’s patron saint – by retired Judge Thomas E. Brennan Jr.    

“My wife Julie and I have known Randy and Betty for 40 years, and I’ve watched the way he practices his faith fervently,” Brennan says. “I’ve admired Randy over the many years for a lot of things – his quick witted humor, his superior professionalism, his solid advice and counsel, his example of fatherhood, his terrific marriage with Betty, but most of all, his devout faith. I'm very pleased to have nominated him for this award.”

Hackney, who gives back to his community through his involvement and activities at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in East Lansing, converted to Catholicism in 1980.

“Over the years I’ve come to realize and appreciate the deep central importance of my faith in every aspect of my life,” he says.   

“The Saint Thomas More Award is by far the greatest honor and recognition I’ve ever received,” he adds. “It encompasses more than just a level of achievement in law, it represents everything you strive for in life – the opportunity to practice your chosen profession while making a positive impact on those you come in contact with on a daily basis.”

A business graduate of the University of Michigan who earned his J.D from the University of Detroit, Hackney is a founding partner of Hackney Grover and managing partner of the firm’s East Lansing office.    

An attorney for close to four decades, he is widely recognized as a leader in medical malpractice defense litigation, insurance litigation, and insurance company formation, and has litigated cases in the majority of the jurisdictions in Michigan along with several federal courts.

“I was originally drawn to litigation and the competitive nature of jury trials,” he says. “Fortunately I was able to concentrate in the area of medical malpractice. It’s constantly changing and mentally stimulating – no two cases are ever the same.”   

Over the past several years, he has seen a proliferation of areas of specialization in the field of medicine.

“This has required a significant increase in the depth of knowledge required to properly construct a defense for the health care providers I represent,” he says.

One of his fondest memories is trying a 10-week malpractice trial with John Collins and Ray Foresman as co-defense counsel.

“Both had their own styles – John was a seasoned veteran and Ray was a bit of a cowboy,” he says. “Both were talented trial lawyers and I learned more about being a trial attorney during those 10 weeks then I ever expected.”

Admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Hackney is a member of the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Section, Insurance Law Section, the Ingham County Bar Association, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, Defense Research Institute, and the American Bar Association.   

Named in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America, he also is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Michigan chapter of which is limited to one half of one percent of all lawyers in Michigan.

In addition to this latest award, Hackney has previously been honored with the Robert E. Dice Award and Recognition for Excellence as the most outstanding Michigan Attorney in the defense of physicians in medical liability litigation   

Born and raised in Lansing, Hackney now makes his home in East Lansing with Betty, his wife of 41 years. The former high school sweethearts have four children, four grandchildren and another grandchild on the way.

“My family is the greatest gift that God has given to me,” he says. “Living and raising a family in a Midwest college town is absolutely the best thing you can do for yourself and for your children.”
 

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