At Your Service OCBA award recipient ever ready to help out


 By Tom Kirvan

Legal News
At the tender age of 12, he was an Eagle Scout, reportedly the youngest boy in the state – perhaps the nation – to ever receive the coveted badge.
The Boy Scout honor was a natural byproduct of a service mentality that has been a lifelong trait for David Carl Anderson, a Troy attorney with a history of involvement in community and charitable good works.
Earlier this summer, Anderson was saluted for his volunteer efforts by the Oakland County Bar Association, which honored him with the 2010 Distinguished Service Award. For Anderson, a commitment to the ideal of “service above self” has seemingly been part of his DNA from childhood.
“My involvement with Scouting really instilled in me the importance of citizenship,” said Anderson, who grew up in Lathrup Village and attended Southfield High School. “In order to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, you have to earn a citizenship badge among many others and then perform a community service project. I learned early on how rewarding volunteer work could be.”
His parents, Jewell and Kenneth, helped reinforce the notion through their own civic and charitable activities, setting an example for Anderson and his brother and sister to follow.
“My parents were terrific role models when it came to helping others,” Anderson said. “They were ever ready to lend a helping hand, never seeking any recognition for their efforts. They did it out of the goodness of their hearts.”
His father was a Boy Scout leader and headed his own company, a business that provided computerized accounting services to a number of independent banks in the Metro Detroit area. 
“My dad was really on the cutting edge of the computerized accounting profession,” Anderson said. “His success in that business helped enable him to give back to the community he lived in and served.”
His mother was a longtime school teacher in Southfield, impressing upon her children the importance of a well-rounded education. The message wasn’t lost on Anderson, who was elected class president his senior year of high school while serving as a member of the National Honor Society as well as the varsity baseball and hockey teams. He also was involved with the school’s Interact Club, a student organization affiliated with the Rotary Club.
“Once again, there was a constant commitment to community service through the Interact Club,” Anderson explained. “It was a common theme for me. The projects I was involved with just seemed to feed off each other.”
He attended Adrian College, becoming student government president en route to graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average. Following graduation, he enrolled in the Detroit College of Law, where he was a member of the school’s law review. He passed the bar in 1977 and became a member of the OCBA the following year. 
His first job was as a judicial assistant for Judge Benjamin Burdick and Judge John O’Hair, a pair of well-known Detroit jurists. It was during his clerkship that he would cross paths with his future wife, Martha, then a research attorney for the Wayne County Circuit Court. The couple met in the Law Library at Wayne County and will mark their 32nd wedding anniversary in November.
His wife, of course, has charted an impressive legal career of her own, currently serving her second term as a judge on the Oakland County Circuit Court. She obtained her bachelor of arts degree, with distinction, from Wayne State University, graduating from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1977. A native of Italy, she spent 23 years with the Friend of the Court in Oakland County before she was elected to the Circuit Court bench in 2002. She is the immediate past president of the Italian American Bar Association.
“She is the light of my life,” Anderson says of his wife. “The people of Oakland County are fortunate to have someone so bright and dedicated on the bench. As a husband, I have truly been blessed to have her as my life partner.”
The Andersons have a daughter, Elizabeth, an elementary school teacher in Troy. She is a graduate of Marian High School in Birmingham and Adrian College, her father’s alma mater. She recently completed her master’s plus 30 work at Oakland University, an academic accomplishment that has delighted her parents.
“Martha and I are extremely proud of her for completing her graduate studies while she was working full time,” Anderson said. “It was quite a sacrifice in terms of time and commitment, but she did it with flying colors.”
Anderson, of course, has earned his legal stripes as a solo practitioner, specializing in insurance defense work.
“I handle a lot of cases involving arson and insurance fraud,” Anderson said. “In a sense, my work is the civil law answer to the prosecutor, flushing out the bad from the legitimate insurance claims.”
In addition, Anderson performs “extensive Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) work and serves as a mediator or arbitrator in both the general civil law arena and in the family law arena.” He formerly chaired the ADR Committee for the OCBA, and currently serves as board liaison to the Legislative, In-House Insurance Defense, and Public Service committees.
He was first elected to the OCBA board in 2006, earning a second three-year term in 2009. He will become a member of the OCBA’s Executive Committee next year, beginning a five-year leadership path to the presidency of the largest voluntary bar association in the state.
His volunteer resume extends far beyond his bar association involvement, touching such groups as Habitat for Humanity, the Oakland County Jail Ministry Program, Grace Centers for Hope in Pontiac, the RESTORE Foundation, the North Woodward Community Foundation, and the South Oakland Shelter program. He also contributes his time to the city of Troy’s beautification program and elections commission, while providing pro bono legal services for his church.
Anderson would like to finish his legal career by shifting from private practice to becoming a district court judge for the cities of Troy and Clawson. 
“Being a district court judge would be an opportunity to serve and give back to my community in a different way than I have done in the private practice,” Anderson said. “Hopefully after the election in 2012, I will have a chance to replace a great public servant in Judge Dennis Drury and to continue my public service in a new and exciting way.”


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