A lawyer from Kensington and two lawyers from Mission Hills have been named to the 2016 “Best Lawyers” list.
All three work for Higgs Fletcher & Mack, a full-service law firm that has served San Diego for more than 75 years.
Managing Partner and Chairman John L. Morrell of Kensington and James G. Harrigan and Susan A. Mercure of Mission Hills were named to the prestigious list.
“We pride ourselves in being renowned for our institutional intelligence and expertise that stems from our long record of service in the San Diego region and beyond,” Morrell said in a statement. “We’re honored that Best Lawyers has recognized Jim and Susan in this regard, and we couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.”
Morrell has a full-time commercial and bankruptcy law practice and handles Chapter 11 reorganization cases as both Debtor in Possession Counsel and as Official Creditors’ Committee Counsel.
He has experience representing secured creditors in complex cases and draws upon his expertise in commercial transactions, including real estate, sales of goods, securities, secured personal and real property transactions, and other issues directly related to business operations.
Morrell started the firm’s Chapter 11 practice in 1985 after completing his federal judicial clerkship with the Honorable Ralph G. Pagter, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California.
A partner with the firm since 1991, he has been the lead attorney in some of the firm’s largest cases. Morrell received the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Mediator of the Year award in 2007, the University of San Diego School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2015, and the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO award in 2011 and 2015. He is a 2013 graduate of LEAD San Diego and president-elect of the Downtown San Diego Rotary Club. He served as vice president of the San Diego County Bar Association in 2003 and served on its board of directors from 2001 through 2003. He also served as president of the San Diego Bankruptcy Forum in 1997 and was on its board of directors from 1996 through 1998.
Harrigan represents buyers and sellers of healthcare businesses and professional practice interests, while Mercure is experienced in retirement and estate planning.
Harrigan has extensive experience with the formation and governance of medical practice groups and with physician-hospital contracts, including medical practice foundations. In addition, Harrigan is a business and corporate lawyer with substantial experience in forming new business entities and structuring, negotiating and documenting the acquisition and sale of businesses.
He served as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, handling cases involving business and management agreements, large contract claims, partnership disputes, franchisor-franchisee disputes, claims against securities brokers and disputes between physicians, medical groups as well as independent practice associations. Serving as chair of Higgs’ Transactional Practice Attorney Group, Harrigan oversees and monitors the non-litigation specialty areas of the firm, including corporate and securities, healthcare, real estate, tax, estate planning and administration, immigration and intellectual property law. He is a frequent speaker and panelist for the California Continuing Education of the Bar programs and taught income tax, business law and business insurance for the American College of Chartered Life Underwriters for 14 years at San Diego City College.
Charged with communicating complex tax and estate concepts to her clients, Mercure designs revocable and irrevocable trusts, including those providing life insurance and education funds for children. She is knowledgeable in the field of generation-skipping transfer tax planning, charitable gift planning and charitable remainder trusts. In addition, Mercure is also skilled in devising business buy-out agreements. She provides assistance to her clients in settling probate and trust estates, including the preparation of estate tax returns and post-mortem planning to minimize beneficiary tax burdens. She has also represented fiduciaries and beneficiaries in post-mortem disputes. She is frequently invited to speak on topics pertaining to estate planning and estate administration.
Since its inception in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Honors and listings are based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 41,000 leading attorneys cast almost 3.9 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas.