Miller Canfield attorney Thomas Linn was recently recognized for his commitment to pro bono service when he received the firm’s second annual Richard J. Seryak Award.
The Richard J. Seryak Award recognizes attorneys who best exemplify the high standard of pro bono and community service consistently exhibited by longtime Miller Canfield partner Dick Seryak, an employment and labor attorney, who died in 2013. His family established the award to honor his legacy, and provides a stipend for the honoree to designate to the legal service organizations of his or her choosing.
Linn joined Miller Canfield in 1976, and served as one of the firm’s managing directors for more than 20 years, and as CEO for nearly eight years.
“Throughout his career, Thom has shown a profound commitment to providing representation to those without financial means,” Michael McGee said. “His work has been instrumental in growing the pro bono program at Miller Canfield.”
After Linn stepped down as the firm’s CEO, a colleague invited him to co-chair Miller Canfield’s pro bono committee. In that role, he expanded the firm’s program to include active committee members in each U.S. office, created a program for summer associates to provide pro bono work, established relationships with various community resource organizations to engage in partnerships for providing legal services, instituted consistent internal messaging to encourage pro bono service, and chaired the firm’s bimonthly committee meetings.
He recently helped Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit Melvin Butch Hollowell and Lakeshore Legal Aid launch “Project Clean Slate,” a program that helps low-income residents with minor criminal records obtain expungements, which can mean the difference between having the ability to secure a job and struggling with long-term unemployment.
Linn also developed the firm’s relationship with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, whereby the firm has assisted many adolescent refugees in obtaining their green cards.
In addition to his pro bono work, he serves as president of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, the organization behind the project to build a new athletic complex for Detroit youth in partnership with the Detroit Police Athletic League. He also is the treasurer of the Detroit Waldorf School and the treasurer and secretary for the Community Chorus of Detroit.
(Eisha Vatsal, Lynn Ingram, and Robert Mathis contributed to this story.)
Published March 30, 2017