Bar association handing out awards

September 10, 2014
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Several attorneys from Michigan will be honored next week during the State Bar of Michigan’s annual meeting and awards banquet.

The annual meeting is being held in Grand Rapids on Sept. 17-19 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place.

The awards banquet will take place on Sept. 17 at the Amway Grand.

Carl Ver Beek, Varnum attorney, and Francine Cullari, attorney at Law Office of Francine Cullari, will receive the Roberts P. Hudson Award, which is considered the most distinguished award given by the State Bar of Michigan.

Corbin Davis, clerk of the Michigan Supreme Court, will receive the Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award.

Bridgette Carr, who serves on the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission, will receive the Champion of Justice Award for her substantial work in the area of combating human trafficking.

Brian Morrow, deputy chief of the juvenile division of Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, is also being honored with the Champion of Justice Award for his work in launching and expanding the county's teen court program.

Michael Pitt, managing partner at Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, will receive the Champion of Justice Award in acknowledgment of the thousands of hours of volunteer work he’s provided on American Civil Liberties Union cases.

Dawn Van Hoek, executive director of the State Appellate Defender Office, will receive the Champion of Justice Award in recognition of her leadership efforts to create the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.

Kenneth Mogill, Dana Nessel, Robert Sedler and Carole Stanyar, who represented the plaintiffs, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, in the DeBoer v. Snyder Michigan gay marriage case, will also receive the Champion of Justice Award.

Susan Kornfield, chair of the intellectual property practice group at Bodman's Ann Arbor office, will receive the John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award for providing more than 10,000 hours of free legal services to low-income people since she began practicing law in 1982.

Thomas McNeill, Dickinson Wright attorney, is receiving the Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award for his leadership in creating the Eastern District of Michigan Pro Bono Council, which is comprised of eight bar associations, 32 law firms, an alternative dispute resolution organization, a litigation services firm, and dozens of individual southeast Michigan attorneys.

Gary Lasceski, Vassar High School teacher, will receive the Liberty Bell Award for his 40 years of educating students in Michigan’s thumb and his continued commitment to youth education following his retirement.

High school student Matilyn Sarosi will also be honored with the Liberty Bell Award for her advocacy in the area of juvenile sentencing.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miller v. Alabama ruling, which held that sentencing juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole violated the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, Sarosi wrote an amicus brief to the Michigan Supreme Court, with the signatures of 452 classmates, expressing the belief that it should apply retroactively. Sarosi attends Father Gabriel Richard Catholic High School in Ann Arbor.

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