Straker Bar to honor three as Trailblazers

The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association is celebrating its 20th Anniversary (1990-2010) this bar year. As its final celebration of the bar year, the Straker Bar will recognize three honorees with the Trailblazers Award on Thursday, June 16, at the Pi Banquet Hall in Southfield beginning with cocktails at 6 p.m. and followed by a dinner program at 7.

Now in its eighteenth year, the Trailblazers Award recognizes pioneers in the legal community based upon their continuous individual contributions to the betterment of the legal profession. Past honorees include Dennis Archer Sr., Cornelius Pitts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith, Sixth Circuit.

This years honorees include:

* Retired Judge Isidore Torres. He is a former Wayne County Circuit Court judge, having retired after 27 years of service. He previously served on the 36th District Court, on the City of Detroit Recorder's Court, and as a visiting judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. Torres is a past-president of the Hispanic Judges Association and a founding member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan. He is a dedicated, long-standing member of several organizations including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan, the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, and the NAACP. Currently, Torres operates I.B. Torres PLLC, a firm specializing in alternative dispute resolution and is Of Counsel to the law firm of Ishbia & Gagleard.

* W. Anthony Jenkins. He is the 2010-2011 president of the State Bar of Michigan--a culmination of his service and commitment to the State of Michigan. He is a member and chief diversity officer at Dickinson Wright PLLC. Jenkins has been active in the American Bar Association, presently serving as a member of the ABA Federal Judiciary Committee and a past member of the ABA Board of Governors and ABA House of Delegates. He serves or has served on several Detroit area civic and charitable boards, including the Elected Officials Compensation Commission, the Board of Police Commissioners, the Advisory Board to the Founders Society of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Medical Center.

* Angelique Strong Marks. She is the general counsel and Corporate Secretary at Behr America Inc. Previously, she served as chief legal counsel for Frank's Nursery & Crafts Inc., senior counsel at CMS Energy, and senior counsel at DTE Energy. Strong Marks was the first African-American general counsel at a publicly traded company in the State of Michigan during her tenure at the Handleman Company. She is a driven leader and currently serves on the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners. She has also served as an American Bar Association Business Law Section ambassador, chairperson of the Save Kids of Incarcerated Parents Advisory Board, a member of Michigan Lawyers Weekly Board of Editors, Chairperson of the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, a Michigan delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates, and past-president of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association.

In addition to the 2011 Trailblazers Award honorees, the dinner also awards several scholarships to law students and provides networking and advertising opportunities for all those with interest in the underserved legal community.

Sponsorships for the Trailblazers Dinner and advertising space in the souvenir booklet are still available, and range from $1,500 to $5,000 which includes a dinner table for ten as well as special acknowledgment and advertising space in the souvenir booklet. Individual tickets for the dinner are $65 per person.

The Pi Banquet Hall is located at 28847 Franklin Road in Southfield. For additional information, contact Stephanie Jones, Straker president-elect, at (248) 641-1274 or

The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association was founded in 1990 by a group of African-American lawyers in Oakland County with a mission to increase minority representation in the legal profession, support and encourage legal practice opportunities for minorities, and facilitate equal justice for underserved members of the Oakland County community.

Published: Mon, May 23, 2011