Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, December 4, 2003


Page 4


La Verne Names Disabled Claremont Attorney Distinguished Alumnus


By J’AMY PACHECO, Staff Writer


The University of La Verne College of Law will present its annual Distinguished Alumni award to Claremont attorney Michael D. Flippin tomorrow.

Flippin, who earned his law degree from the College of Law in 1989, is a partner with Flippin & Nasmyth, where his practices focuses primarily on employment law with an emphasis on disability discrimination.

Flippin said Tuesday he learned he would receive the award during a golf tournament, when his partner, Peter Nasmyth, made the announcement.

“It came as a surprise,” he admitted. “I was honored. I don’t know what I’ve ever done to deserve it, but I’m happy about it.”

Flippin, 47, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of La Verne in 1985, majoring in political science and history. After earning his law degree four years later, he went to work as an associate for Corrado & Newton in the City of Industry. In 1991, he opened his own firm in Claremont.

He partnered with Nasmyth in 2000.

Flippin said he developed his specialty largely as a result of an accident that left him in a wheelchair.

“In 1976, I broke my neck on a trampoline,” he recalled. “I was 20 years old. I had a high school education. I had to figure out something I could do with my head instead of my hands.”

Flippin first attended Citrus College, then moved to the University of La Verne.

“I lived in La Verne,” he said. “I decided being a lawyer was something that would meet a lot of the different needs in my life. So in 1985, I went across the street to the law school, and I graduated four years later.”

Flippin recalled initially having a “difficult time” finding work as a lawyer.

“I guess it was because I’m in a wheelchair,” he reflected. “But I found a place that gave me a chance.”

When the partners dissolved that firm, Flippin said he hung out his own shingle two days later.

“I’ve been here ever since,” he stated.

Flippin’s firm currently handles torts, family law and personal injury in addition to discrimination cases, whether based upon race, age, sexual harassment or disability.

“I guess because I’m in a chair, people assume I know what I’m talking about,” he quipped. “Most of my cases come from other lawyers.”

Flippin has been the recipient of two awards from the California Department of Rehabilitation. He was a commencement speaker for the University of La Verne in 1996, and the same year, was featured as a “Local Hero” by the Los Angeles Times.

In law school, he was named Student of Distinction by the Student Bar Association. He served as president of the Law Review, and as articles editor. He also received several departmental honors in history and political science.

He speaks at schools and community groups as an advocate on disability issues.

The University of La Verne College of Law is San Bernardino County’s only law school.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given annually. Past recipients include San Bernardino Judges Peter Norell, Roberta McPeters and Dennis Cole, former District Attorney Dennis Stout, Commissioners Ronald Gilbert and Michael Gassner, and attorneys Audrey Perri and Thomas Ritchie.

The luncheon honoring Flippin will take place at noon at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. It is open to the public.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company