The Trial Lawyer of the Year recognition is awarded by WSAJ members, a group of peer attorneys from across the state, to “a lawyer who advances the art and skill of advocacy, either in trial or by training others so as to benefit humankind.” Attorneys who earn this award must be more than exceptional in the court room, they must also make a difference through education and industry leadership to benefit society.
The award is named after the late Washington State Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers, who was a preeminent Seattle trial attorney and past-president of the Washington State Bar Association and the Washington State Association for Justice, prior to serving on the bench. In Chambers' words, this award “goes to the best of the best and someone who has used the law and the courtroom to level the playing field, and who shares and teaches others.”
Recently, Beninger won a $38.25 million jury verdict in the largest bicyclist-injury case in Washington’s history. He also represented Theresa Bigler against Olympus Corporation, after its superbug contaminated medical scope led to her husband’s death. Previously, he represented plaintiffs in claims arising from the Washington D.C. Sniper shootings; Tacoma Police Chief David Brame’s domestic violence murder-suicide; the Olympic Pipe Line explosion that killed two 10-year-old boys; and two Anacortes refinery explosions that claimed the lives of 12 workers.
Beninger often teaches, lectures and writes on trial advocacy and legal issues. He is also a participating faculty member for the International Justice Advocacy Africa trial training program for African lawyers.