Nominations open for 2023 State Bar of Michigan Awards

Nominations are now open for six State Bar of Michigan awards honoring outstanding service, including SBM’s highest honor, the Roberts P. Hudson Award.

The awards are bestowed by the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners and also include the Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award, Champion of Justice Award, Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award, John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award, and John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award.

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 3. Last year’s non-winning nominations will automatically carry over for consideration this year. Nomination forms for each of the following awards are available at michbar.org/awards. 

• The Roberts P. Hudson Award goes to a person whose career has exemplified the highest ideals of the profession. This award is presented periodically to commend one or more lawyers for their unselfish rendering of outstanding and unique service to and on behalf of the State Bar, given generously, ungrudgingly, and in a spirit of self-sacrifice. It is awarded to that member of the State Bar of Michigan who best exemplifies that which brings honor, esteem, and respect to the legal profession. The Hudson Award is the highest award conferred by the Bar.

• The Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award recognizes extraordinary governmental service by a Michigan attorney holding elected or appointed office. Created by the Board of Commissioners in 1998, it was first awarded to Frank J. Kelley for his record-setting tenure as Michigan’s chief lawyer.

• The Champion of Justice Award is given for extraordinary individual accomplishments or for devotion to a cause. No more than five awards are given each year to practicing lawyers and judges who have made a significant contribution to their community, state, or nation.

• The Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award was established in memory of the 2006–2007 SBM president, who passed away in January 2008. This award will be presented to a recognized local or affinity bar association, program, or leader for excellence in promoting the ideal of professionalism or equal justice for all, or in responding to a compelling legal need within the community during the past year or on an ongoing basis.

• The John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award, named after a Grand Rapids attorney who was dedicated to making legal services available to all, recognizes a member of the State Bar who excels in commitment to pro bono issues. This award carries with it a cash stipend to be donated to the charity of the recipient’s choice.

• The John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award was introduced in 2011 and is named for a longtime and beloved University of Michigan Law School professor and Wayne State University dean. This award will be presented periodically to a professor from a Michigan law school whose influence on Michigan lawyers has elevated the quality of legal practice in the state.

Nominations should include sufficient details about the nominee’s accomplishments to allow the committees to make a judgment. Any SBM member can nominate candidates for awards.

An Awards Committee chaired by SBM Vice President Daniel D. Quick will review nominations for the Roberts P. Hudson, John W. Reed, Champion of Justice, Frank J. Kelley, Kimberly M. Cahill, and Liberty Bell awards. The SBM Pro Bono Initiative Committee reviews the John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award nominations. The Board of Commissioners then votes on these recommendations at its April meeting.


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