State Bar to honor award winners at banquet

State Bar of Michigan members will gather at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn on Wednesday to honor the best in the legal profession. Seven major SBM awards will be presented at a special banquet held in conjunction with the SBM Annual Meeting, which will take place Sept. 14-16.

Roberts P. Hudson Award

James K. Robinson distinguished himself as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, a professor and dean of Wayne State University Law School, president of the State Bar of Michigan and principal author of the Rules of Evidence adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court in 1978. Nationally, he distinguished himself as assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration. But it wasn't titles that made him a giant among attorneys. It was his actions.

"He modeled greatness at the Bar and in his personal life. ... A life like his speaks of what law and lawyers are all about more loudly and more clearly than a library of books or a sheaf of committee resolutions about professional responsibility," wrote Professor John W. Reed in a letter of support for the nomination. Robinson died last August after a battle with cancer.

Frank J. Kelley Distinguished

Public Service Award

Hon. John A. Hallacy

Since entering public service in 1988 as an assistant prosecuting attorney, Hon. John A. Hallacy has continually worked to improve the justice system. As Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney from 2000-2008, he created a Juvenile Diversion Program, which puts first time juvenile offenders in a special reformatory program and drops criminal charges when they complete the program. In 2003, he received an Outstanding Community Advocate Award for his work with Sexual Assault Services of Calhoun County after testifying before the legislature for funding for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. He won the Brandi award from the SBM Animal Law Section for his work with the Humane Society. And he earned the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Prosecuting Attorney's Association of Michigan in 2008. Later that year he became a judge, and began the process of forming a sobriety court in the 10th District Court. It opened in October 2010 and already has about 25 participants.

John H. Logie

In 1969, after years spent at the University of Michigan and in the U.S. Navy, John H. Logie, was a partner at Warner, Norcross & Judd and couldn't obtain secure mortgage funding for a downtown residence due to redlining. So he became president of his neighborhood association, got banks to stop redlining, worked with legislators to write Michigan's Historic District Act, drafted the first historic preservation ordinance in Michigan, and helped establish Michigan's first two historic districts. Then he was elected mayor of Grand Rapids, a part-time post he held for 12 years. He restored the city's downtown and neighborhood business districts, fostered area-wide partnerships to draft a joint water system, and worked to jointly develop convention/arena authorities. Logie also led the effort to establish Urban Core Mayors, the statewide group behind the passage of Michigan's Part 201 environmental protection funding statute, the Brownfield Redevelopment Act, and the renaissance tax-free zones statue.

Hon. Milton L. Mack, Jr.

Hon. Milton L. Mack, Jr. has devoted his career to making Michigan's government more accountable to its citizens. As a Wayne County Commissioner, he uncovered corruption in the Wayne County Drain Commissioner's office, terminated the office, and got a statewide public act passed that made drain assessments more transparent. Since 1990, he has been a Wayne County Probate judge and chief judge since 1998. Judge Mack has instituted new technology as a cost-saving measure. He led the statewide effort by the Michigan Probate Judges Association to reform the state's minor guardianship law and make Michigan's probate processes more efficient and accountable to the public. He won the Judicial Pioneer Award from Wayne Mediation Center for promoting alternative dispute mediation. He served on Gov. Granholm's Mental Health Commission, wrote "Involuntary Treatment for the 21st Century," and continues to work toward changing the standard for involuntary treatment to get people help before they hurt themselves or others.

John W. Reed Michigan

Lawyer Legacy Award

Professor Harold P. Norris may be retired, but his influence extends far into the future. Throughout his 35-year-long career at Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University School of Law) Norris taught Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Women and the Law to more than 5,000 students. He is fondly remembered by his students as always willing to stick his neck out for others. He didn't just teach the Constitution, he also helped write the Michigan Constitution. He was vice chair of the Declaration of Rights, Suffrage, and Elections Committee and co-authored the provisions creating the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, a right to appeal in criminal cases, an expanded freedom of expression, an expanded right of petition, and a right to fair and just treatment in legislative and executive investigations. Norris has always been committed to diversity and inclusion. He joined the Detroit Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1952, serving as its president from 1958-61.

Champion of Justice Award

Jacqueline Doig

Jacqueline Doig has devoted her career to helping indigent people get justice for 22 years at Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, and since 1996 for the Center for Civil Justice. In McKuhen v Olszewski, she helped enforce the Michigan Social Welfare Act by ensuring 35,000 people kept their Medicaid benefits; in Crawley v Olszewski, she protected the rights of 400,000 Michigan residents by keeping them from immediately being illegally cut from Medicaid under federal law; in Beeker v Olszewski she ensured that people without resources to pay co-pays were not illegally cut from Medicaid service. Doig also helps state agencies and legislators ensure they adhere to existing law. She serves on the Medical Care Advisory Council, the Policy Committee of Michigan Consumers and Health Care Advancement, as president of United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan's board, and is a past chair of the SBM Administrative Law Section.

Barry L. Howard and Edward H. Pappas

In October 2009, the State Bar of Michigan convened the Judicial Crossroads Task Force to identify how Michigan's justice system can meet the needs of the public in the face of unprecedented economic upheaval. Barry L. Howard and Edward H. Pappas led the Task Force, comprised of 29 voting members, and four committees, with a combined total of 98 voting members. The committees did in-depth analyses of access to justice, business impact, court resources and structure, and technology, and made reports back to the overall Task Force, which used that information to create a report filled with concrete, practical and innovative recommendations for the future of Michigan's justice system. The report is recognized nationally as a model for reforming the justice system in the face of changing economic and demographic conditions. Howard and Pappas both volunteered their time for this immense undertaking in addition to continuing full-time careers. Pappas, who served as SBM president from 2008-09, is a partner, chairman and client service director at Dickinson Wright PLLC in Bloomfield Hills. Howard, a former Oakland County judge, is currently president of the Law Offices of Barry L. Howard, P.C., and serves as of counsel to the law firm of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills.

Kary L. Moss

Kary L. Moss isn't afraid to take a stand for social justice, no matter how unpopular it might be. It's a quality that has served her well since 1998, when she became the first female executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. During her tenure, the ACLU of Michigan has expanded from a staff of five, and membership of 6,000 to a staff of 22 and a membership of 16,000. The organization has an annual operating budget of $3 million and just expanded to open its first staffed office in Grand Rapids late last year. Moss also leads the ACLU on the national level, as the president of the ACLU Executive Directors Steering Council since 2010, after serving as its vice president from 2007-2010. She also takes on leadership roles in other state organizations.

Hon. M.T. Thompson Jr. and Monica Nuckolls

Hon. M. T. Thompson Jr. and his daughter, Monica Nuckolls, grew weary of watching young people in their hometown of Saginaw get caught in a cycle of drugs, gangs, violence, prison and death. So they did something about it. Using real-life examples, they wrote "Making Choices and Facing Consequences: Gangs, Bullies, and Violent Crime" and "Making Choices and Facing Consequences: Drugs and Alcohol." They use these books as part of a drug abuse and crime prevention program they developed and have successfully presented to kids in troubled Saginaw-area schools. Nuckolls and Thompson worked in partnership with Thomas M. Cooley Law School to train more than 50 volunteers to present a similar program, "Project Future," to students in Pontiac schools. They have also trained police in North Carolina and Virginia to use the program in their communities, and are currently working to develop partnerships in order to bring "silos of hope" to other distressed areas in Michigan. Judge Thompson has served as a judge in the 70th District Court since 1997. Monica Nuckolls has been a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School for more than six years.

Rebecca Shiemke

As managing attorney of the Family Law Project of Legal Services of South Central Michigan and state support specialist on family law for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, Rebecca Shiemke helps low-income survivors of domestic violence seek justice. She provided information to the state legislature that resulted in the creation of a sexual assault personal protection order. Due largely to her efforts in Brandt v Brandt in 2002, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided trial courts could include children on personal protection orders, keeping their mothers and them out of potentially lethal situations. She has been a volunteer for 12 years on the Battered Women's Justice Project and served 18 years on SBM's Domestic Violence Committee. Shiemke worked with the SBM Judicial Crossroads Task Force Access to Justice Committee and the SBM Pro Bono Initiative's Qualified Domestic Relations Order Program and Justice Policy Initiative.

Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award

Lisa Kirsch Satawa and James Samuels, longtime Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) Board of Directors members, realized new solo practitioner defense attorneys had a big gap in their legal education, and needed help learning to investigate and defend criminal prosecutions. So they volunteered hundreds of hours to conceptualize a program, A is for Attorney. They consulted with circuit courts, local county criminal law committees, and judges for input on the curriculum; created a 490-page practice guidebook; and worked with CDAM, which provides financial support and a training venue. A is for Attorney was born in 2005, and since then over 300 defense attorneys have been trained. Officially the program is an eight hour seminar that begins with the anatomy of a criminal case, and then breaks down the practice of criminal law into bite-sized pieces. Unofficially, Satawa and Samuels remain lifetime mentors to many young attorneys.

John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award

In 15 years Elizabeth Joy Fossel has worked on 15 pro bono cases, donating a total of 1,520 hours of her time, worth just under $400,000. Fossel is a partner at Varnum Law, with a practice focused on health care litigation and complex business and commercial litigation. But when presented with people in need by Legal Aid of Western Michigan (LAWM) via her firm's pro bono administrator, she never says no. Fossel donated 891.75 pro bono hours on one complicated case - more hours on just that one case than any other attorney in LAWM's history. The case went on for two years and contained a 13 page pleading index with over 175 entries. Without Fossel's help, her client would have been subject to more than $250,000 in legal fees and damages that would not have been dischargeable in a bankruptcy. Fossel obtained a complete dismissal, with prejudice, of all claims filed against the client.

Liberty Bell Award

Judy Ellis

Since 1981, Judy Ellis has served as executive director of First Step, an agency that works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Wayne County. Under her leadership, it has grown from a small agency in Westland to now serve 35 communities with 45 staff members, several hundred volunteers, and a $2.7 million operating budget. First Step offers a 24-hour daily assault response team and a 24-hour help line, which handled 17,800 calls last year. It also provided 11,228 free hours of counseling to adult survivors of violence and 1,117 hours to child survivors. Last year its Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program conducted 155 exams. First Step helps victims navigate the criminal justice system, with support from local police officers and prosecutors. Ellis worked with attorneys to found a pro bono legal program, First Step Legal Advocacy Program to help impoverished victims gain legal representation.

Kate White

As its executive director since 1996, Kate White has guided Elder Law of Michigan from a fledgling organization into a nationally recognized resource for vulnerable elderly adults with an annual operating budget of $1.5 million. Under her leadership, ELM expanded and strengthened the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors; its Michigan Pension Rights Project has expanded into the Mid-America Pension Rights Project, helping pensioners in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee recover over $24 million in benefits; and it started the Michigan Coordinated Access to Food for the Elderly (MiCafe) program and the Consumer Fraud Prevention Project, which made contact with 420,000 elderly adults over three years before becoming Elder Abuse Prevention Services in 2010. White also serves on SBM's State Planning Body, was a member of SBM's Judicial Crossroads Task Force Access to Justice Committee, and assisted in strategic planning for SBM's Master Lawyers Section.

High resolution photos of all award winners are available at

Published: Tue, Sep 13, 2011


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