Award Winners-- Legal spotlight shines brightly on honorees

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By Tom Kirvan

Legal News

It's an event that glitters, a chance for members of the Oakland County legal community to raise a toast to those who achieved the gold standard in service over the course of the past year. And years.

The occasion was the 76th Annual Meeting of the Oakland County Bar Association, an event held June 3 at the Marriott at Centerpoint in Pontiac. The gathering of more than 325 OCBA members served as an opportunity to express formal appreciation for the leadership efforts of outgoing president Kurt Schnelz, while also welcoming Jennifer Grieco as the new head of the organization for 2010-11.

Mike Sullivan, outgoing president of the Oakland County Bar Foundation and a past president of the OCBA, was the master of ceremonies, introducing a host of legal dignitaries and award recipients.

Among those in the spotlight were nearly three-dozen 40-year Honorees. The group of award recipients included: A. David Baumhart III, Barry Bess, Stuart Bordman, Kenneth Boyer, Charles Center, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Pat Donofrio, Richard Eriksen, Joseph Fabrizio, Alan Harnisch, Dr. Clark Johnson, Dennis Kacy, Richard Kepes, Kenneth Konop, Robert Kostin, Sheldon Larky, Gary Levitt, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John McDonald, Robert Milia, Terence Page, Michael Plourde, Myron Poe, Richard Rattner, Martin Reisig, Daryle Salisbury, Kent Schultz, Michael Serling, John Thomson, Paul Triemstra, Martin Weisman, Robert Williams, Hadley Wine, David Wolock, and LeRoy Wulfmeier III.

Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award, the most coveted honor presented by the OCBA, were David Carl Anderson and Maureen McGinnis.

Anderson, an attorney in Troy and a member of the OCBA Board, was cited for his work on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac, the Oakland County Jailhouse Ministry Program, as well as the South Oakland Shelter project and the City of Troy Beautification Program.

McGinnis, chair of the OCBA's New Lawyers Committee, was recognized for her efforts to encourage involvement in the legal community and in public service work. An attorney in Troy, McGinnis will become chair of the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section in September, nearly a year after she was elected to Troy City Council.

Recognized with the Distinguished Public Service awards were Eugene Moore, chief judge of the Oakland County Probate Court, and Arthur Spears Jr., referee of the Oakland County Friend of the Court.

Moore was elected to the Probate Court bench in 1966, and has served as chief judge on three separate occasions. He is the past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Michigan Probate Judges Association.

Spears is president of the Referees Association of Michigan, and is past president of the Michigan Association of Pretrial Service Agencies. He has lent his legal expertise to various state committees concerned with the development of child support programs in Michigan.

Attorney Michael Hohauser was chosen as the recipient of the Frances R. Avadenka Memorial Award, an honor named for the first female president of the OCBA who left a "legacy of leadership, industry and community involvement." Hohauser, past president of the OCBA, has served on the board of Lighthouse of Oakland County, where he was instrumental in the opening of Pontiac Area Transitional Housing.

James Parks was honored as the winner of the Professionalism Award from the OCBA. The award is presented annually to a recipient who exemplifies the "highest standards of professionalism and/or judicial practice." An attorney with Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, Parks recently was involved in "promulgating and implementing the new civility principles that have been adopted" by the OCBA, the Circuit Court, and Probate Court in Oakland County.

The Veterans Committee was chosen as the Committee of the Year by the OCBA. Chaired by Mike Schloff, a Vietnam veteran, the committee includes 29 members dedicated to promoting pro bono support and service to veterans and active members of the armed services. It was instrumental in raising more than $8,000 in cash and donations for the Iraq-PAC program, an ongoing effort to provide food and personal supplies to U.S. soldiers serving in the Mideast conflicts.

The Distinguished Career Achievement honor was posthumously presented to Tom Trenta, who died of cancer in 2009 after a 33-year career in the law. A former assistant prosecutor in Oakland County, Trenta was active with the OCBA, the Inns of Court, and served as a trustee on the Oakland County Bar Foundation. He was a vice president of Global Litigation for Kelly Services at the time of his death.

Laura Mancini, director of Library Services for Oakland County, was chosen to receive the Allene and Martin Doctoroff Liberty Bell Award. The award 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 freedom. Mancini oversees the direction of three county libraries, working with several law school clinical programs to provide legal services to those in need. She helped develop the "People's Law College" series, a program launched this year by the OCBA Public Service Committee.

The Sanford Rosenthal Memorial Award was presented to U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Komives at the OCBA Annual Meeting. A former assistant U.S. attorney, Komives has served as a magistrate since 1971, and has taught at the Detroit College of Law. He served on the federal Judicial Conference Committee and with the Federal Magistrate Judges Association.

Recipients of Pro Bono Awards were Mary Sclawy and Elizabeth Silverman of the Family Law Assistance Project, and Thomas Ryan of the Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Sclawy has been a regular volunteer at FLAP's client intake clinics since 2006, while Silverman has provided legal services in domestic relations cases since the inception of the clinic. Ryan, past president of the OCBA and the State Bar of Michigan, has supported pro bono work throughout the state, handling a variety of civil cases for the Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Published: Thu, Jun 17, 2010

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