Award winners, 40-year honorees to be saluted at Oakland Bar event


By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

More than four months after its originally scheduled date, the annual Awards Ceremony for the Oakland County Bar Association will take place in the virtual realm on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
“We invite you to join us via Zoom for a special evening celebrating and honoring OCBA’s 2020 award winners and 40-year honorees for their incredible achievements and contributions to the OCBA and their practice of law,” said a spokesperson for the Oakland Bar. “The event is free.”

The October 22 ceremony, which was rescheduled from June due to the pandemic, will be highlighted by the presentation of nine awards, recognizing the exceptional volunteer efforts of distinguished members of the bench and bar.

Among the honorees will be attorney Kari Melkonian, who is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the most coveted honor presented each year by the OCBA. An attorney with Collins Einhorn, Melkonian has been an active member of the OCBA for the past 12 years and currently is a member of its board of directors. She also serves on the Circuit Court and Inns of Court committees, and previously was a member of Nominating Committee, New Lawyers Committee, and Mentor Program. In addition, Melkonian volunteers as a discovery mediator and as a case evaluator in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Retired Oakland County Circuit Judge Alice Gilbert, who spent 24 years on the bench, is the 2020 winner of the Distinguished Career Achievement Award.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca, who has served two terms on the bench following a 15-year career as an assistant prosecutor, will be honored at the ceremony with the Distinguished Public Servant Award. The co-winner of the award is her colleague on the Circuit Court bench, Judge Lisa Langton, who is completing her first term in office. Judge Langton previously served eight years as Deputy Court Administrator/Juvenile Register.

The recipient of this year’s Lakeshore Legal Aid Pro Bono Award is attorney Francine Snyder.

Tanya Cripps, a real estate attorney with Olympia Development of Michigan, will be saluted with the Bonnie L. Beutler Outstanding New Lawyer Award from the OCBA.

Also in the spotlight on October 22 will be attorney Elizabeth Hohauser, an OCBA board member who will receive the Professionalism Award. The award is presented annually to those who exemplify the “highest standards of professionalism and/or judicial practice.”

Garth Wooten, division manager of the Veterans Services Division for Oakland County, is this year’s winner of the S. Gerald Gorcyca Meritorious Service to Veterans Award.

Daniel Cojanu, of the Canine Advocacy Program, will be presented with the Allene and Martin Doctoroff Liberty Bell Award. The honor is presented annually to a non-lawyer who promotes a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution, encourages greater respect for the law and the courts, and whose community activity has strengthened the American system of justice.

The Committee of the Year Award will be presented to the Paralegal Committee of the OCBA, a panel chaired by Leanne Tarasiewicz. Vice Chair of the Paralegal Committee is Sara Brish.

Forty-nine members of the bar reached the 40-year milestone this year, including the president of the OCBA, Keefe Brooks, a University of Michigan Law School alum who also earned his bachelor’s degree from U-M.

Also receiving special recognition for their legal longevity will be: Tracy Lee Allen, Thomas H. Bergh, Philip R. Blanchard, Thomas G. Cardelli, John C. Cashen, Thomas R. Charboneau, James P. Cunningham, Carol L. Fossee, David A. French, George H. Glassman, Alan M. Greene, George W. Gregory, Irene Bruce Hathaway, Jeffrey S. Hayes, Beverly M. Helm, William H. Horton, Jeffrey L. Hudson, William Clay Hurley, Joel H. Kaufman, Paul Alan Keller, Daniel P. King, Loraine R. Kuhn, Peter B. Kupelian, D.B. Landry, Gregory R. Lane, Kevin S. Macaddino, Wayne J. Miller, and E. Michael Morris.

Other 40-year honorees include: Robert W. Palmer, William G. Pierson, Michael A. Pivoz, Beth M. Rivers, Frank A. Scerbo, Craig S. Schoenherr, Michael J. Solner, William L. Spern, Richard A. Sundquist, David M. Thoms, John R. Trentacosta, Donald E. Walker, Daniel J. Weiner, Harvey R. Weingarden, Steven J. Weiss, Robert Y. Weller, Robert F. White, Allen M. Wolf, and David F. Zuppke.


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