National Conference of State Liquor Administrators

NCSLA Hall of Fame - Evan T. Lawson

Evan T. Lawson (1943-2013)

After graduating from Boston University School of Law in 1967, Evan Lawson devoted his professional life to the art and science of trial work and amassed extensive experience in all aspects of dispute resolution and appellate practice. In 1969 he was appointed legal counsel to the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, where he served for three years developing a specialty in state and federal regulation. In 1973 he founded Lawson & Weitzen, LLP, which for the past forty years, has received the Highest Martindale Hubbell rating and is now ranked 45th among the 100 largest law firms in Massachusetts.

Evan's practice concentrated on civil litigation with an emphasis on trade practices litigation, alcoholic beverages licensing and regulation, supplier-wholesaler disputes, media law and defense of complex professional liability claims, and mergers and acquisitions of alcoholic beverage wholesalers. In the course of his practice Evan also represented clients of insurers in the media, marine, engineering and environmental fields. He was the principal attorney in over 100 appellate cases, including cases involving the relationship between the Commerce Clause and the 21st Amendment, and two in the United States Supreme Court. In 1996 he successfully represented a Rhode Island liquor retailer before the United States Supreme Court in 44 Liquormart v. State of Rhode Island, which established a First Amendment right to advertise alcoholic beverages prices and overturned a previous Supreme Court ruling that the 21st Amendment gave an "added presumption of validity" to state regulation of alcoholic beverages.

Evan frequently served as a panelist for legal education seminars on licensing and administrative law for the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association and on media law. He published articles on Constitutional law and alcoholic beverages regulation, presented a paper on the relationship between alcohol control and restricting advertising to the National Conference of the American Society for Public Administration and was the author of a chapter in the recently published SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONTROL OF ALCOHOL: THE 21ST AMENDMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY, which has been cited as authority by the New York State Law Revision Commission on the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. Evan also served as an industry representative on the Board of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators.

Evan was named by his peers in Boston Magazine as one of the Massachusetts "Super Lawyers" and one of the "Top Lawyers in New England" for trial work, and for the last thirteen years his practice was recognized by the Woodward/White directory of the "Best Lawyers In America" For Food and Beverage Law and First Amendment Law.

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