“I was shocked to get it,” Matt Vicari says, displaying typical modesty, about receiving the President’s Award from the Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA).
The award has been given since 2002 to the GRBA member who has made special contributions “in service and/or support to the GRBA Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, and Executive Director.” The full board, along with the Executive Director, chooses the honoree.
Vicari, who is a member of Miller Johnson, is the immediate past president of GRBA, but that has not been the case with most of the previous award winners.
“I was humbled to be included among the group of people who have gotten the award. One of my firm partners, Jon Muth, won it a few years back, and it’s an honor the Bar chose to give it to me.” Other President’s Award winners Vicari joins include Kristin M. Vanden Berg, Don LeDuc, Bruce Courtade, and Paul Sorensen.
At Miller Johnson, Vicari specializes in litigation, criminal law, personal injury, unfair competition, and employment litigation. He was
admitted to the bar in Michigan in 1990 after graduating cum laude
from University of Detroit School
Vicari was a dedicated GRBA president during his 2008-2009 term, and he spearheaded some innovative events and needed initiatives. Among them were the “African-American Firsts” diversity reception and the transfer of the Grand Rapids law library from Grand Valley State University to Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
When asked why he believes he received the award, Vicari, again with genuine modesty, says, “Generally it’s for carrying out the mission of the Bar.”
Vicari’s parents and wife and child attended the Law Day Ceremony April 30 where he received the award.
Susan Wilson Keener, GRBA President-Elect who gave out the awards, and the audience alike insisted that no listing of Vicari’s contributions would be complete without mentioning his outstanding Elvis impersonation at the fund-raiser Lip Sync in 2007; he also seemed to channel John Belushi as part of the Blues Brothers act for Lip Sync 2009.
Most impressive, however, is that Vicari’s commitment to the GRBA has continued as strong as ever since his term as president ended.
Comments current GRBA President Charles “Chip” Chamberlain of Willey and Chamberlain, “Matt’s been involved in the Bar Association since Day One of becoming a lawyer. He’s been very active in every committee and every office. Immediate past presidents can sometimes just fade out, but he continues to be very involved —he’s got the personality where he feels that’s important, and he’ll probably be active for years to come.
“Matt’s an extraordinary