SBM to Honor 2017 Award Winners at NEXT Conference

State Bar of Michigan members will gather at Cobo Center in Detroit on Wednesday, Sept. 27 to honor the best in the legal profession. Ten major SBM awards will be presented at a special banquet held in conjunction with the SBM NEXT Conference, which will take place Sept. 27-29.

 

Roberts P. Hudson Award

Gerard Mantese, the founding partner of Mantese Honigman, P.C., has a stellar reputation as an attorney. He and John Conway successfully prosecuted a class action lawsuit in favor of autistic children that resulted in a landmark settlement in June of 2009, requiring Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to reverse its policy and to provide Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy for autistic children. Such therapy, previously denied because Blue Cross considered it "experimental", has been shown to be beneficial and needed early in life.

He has also devoted a lot of time to serving the legal profession and bar associations. Mantese served as a voluntary hearing panelist for the Attorney Discipline Board for 21 years. He has served on the State Bar Publications and Website Advisory Committee for 23 years. And he has devoted hundreds of hours to working with his daughter and her school classmates to create three film projects for Law Day, that each won first prize in the State Bar annual Law Day Contest.

Mantese has authored several books and regularly donates time and money to many organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Wayne State Free Legal Aid Clinic, Care House, Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Gleaners. He served on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries and has devoted over 300 pro bono hours to establishing the First Step legal advocacy project, which provides free legal advice to those who have suffered domestic violence.

 

Gerard Mantese
Gerard Mantese

Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award

Judge Robert Holmes Bell has served the public in an exemplary manner for over 47 years. Judge Bell began his public career as an assistant prosecutor in 1969, before becoming a district and then a circuit judge. In 1987 Judge Bell was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Michigan. He served as chief judge of the western district from 2001 to 2008. He is highly regarded among federal judges, and was appointed chair of the Criminal Law Committee for the United States Judicial Conference by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

His cases have ranged from allocating responsibility for the clean-up of PCBs in the Kalamazoo River to balancing historic motor boat use against the U.S. Forest Service’s designation of a lake as a wilderness area. He heard the case of the first person sentenced to death in the state of Michigan since 1937. He also presided over the cases of 31 members of the Latin Kings, for gang activity in Holland. Perhaps his biggest challenge and success arose when he was the only active district judge from 2005 to 2007.   

 

Hon. Robert Holmes Bell
Hon. Robert Holmes Bell

Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award

Judge Bernard Friedman has dedicated nearly four decades of his legal career to public service. He served in the United States Army JAG Corps and then as an assistant prosecuting attorney, before becoming a district court judge. In the spring of 1988, President Ronald Regan nominated Judge Friedman to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. From 2004 to 2009, he served as chief judge of that court. He has become one of the most highly respected judges in Michigan. Although he has decided many memorable cases, Judge Friedman’s best known case will forever be DeBoer v. Snyder. In deciding that case in March of 2014, Judge Friedman struck down Michigan’s gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. In November of 2014, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Friedman’s decision. Then, on June 24, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Sixth Circuit’s decision, striking down gay marriage bans across the country.

 

Hon. Bernard Friedman
Hon. Bernard Friedman

Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award

As United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade has developed a reputation for being tough, highly competent, and fair. McQuade oversaw more than 100 attorneys who handled more than 1,000 cases a year. Some of the most notable cases include the conviction of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and 30 others on public corruption charges, the conviction and life sentence of an al-Qaeda operative who attempted to blow up a commercial aircraft on Christmas Day in 2009, the conviction of Dr. Farid Fata in one of the largest Medicare fraud cases in U.S. history, the conviction and $4.3 billion fine against Volkswagon for falsified emissions tests, and the conviction and $1 billion fine against Takata Corp. for fraudulently concealing defective airbags. McQuade also created the first-ever fully-staffed Civil Rights Unit in a U.S. Attorney’s office and prioritized work that would level the playing field in housing, education, accessibility for the disabled, and voting. In short, she made it clear that the rule of law applies equally to everyone.

 

Barbara McQuade
Barbara McQuade

Champion of Justice Award

When there’s a crisis in Michigan, Michael McDaniel is summoned to straighten it out. Currently, the former Michigan National Guard brigadier general and assistant state attorney general is playing a key role in helping Flint get back on its feet after its drinking water was tainted by lead pipes. A current Western Michigan University Cooley Law School associate dean and professor of law, McDaniel is a nationally recognized expert in homeland and national security law. He chaired the task force that reviewed Michigan laws for gaps in protection against terrorism in the wake of 9/11, became the state’s first homeland security advisor in 2003, and served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security from 2009-11. He also created Cooley Law School’s Homeland and National Security Master of Laws Program, the only one in the country outside of Washington D.C.

 

Michael McDaniel

Michael McDaniel

Champion of Justice Award

Judge Kelly Ramsey has a long and distinguished legal career. During her time with the Wayne County prosecutor’s child abuse unit, and as a juvenile court referee in Michigan’s 3rd Judicial Circuit Court, Judge Kelly Ramsey has seen children in the worst possible situations. Over the years, some of those same children have returned to Judge Ramsey’s courtroom to talk about their successes later in life and thank her for the time she spent with them and the lasting impression she made on them. While taking part in a task force about pro bono services for foster children years ago, Judge Ramsey realized that those kids need more than just legal help. So she worked with the Detroit Bar Association, the Third Judicial Circuit Court, and the state Department of Health and Human Services to establish For the Seventh Generation in 2005. Its primary aim is matching volunteers who donate time, talent, services, or goods to foster children, who have received everything from eyeglasses to orthodontic care to prom dresses.

 

Hon. Kelly Ramsey
Hon. Kelly Ramsey

John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award

When it comes to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and Domestic Relations Orders (DROs), nobody does it better than Robert “Bob” Treat. As the owner of QDRO Express, a law firm that specializes in the preparation of QDROs and DROs, Treat is the “go-to-guy” for everyone – lawyers, law professors, law students, and clients. But perhaps more importantly, Treat is the “go-to-guy” when it comes to preparing these orders for those who are truly in need. For many years, he has helped low-income people in Michigan, including military members, remain in their homes, buy food, and enjoy a greater quality of life, thanks to the benefits they are able to secure as a result of the QDROs being prepared pro bono. Treat has served the State Bar Michigan Litigation Assistance Partnership Project’s QDRO program for more than 12 years. In the last five years alone, his firm has accepted and fulfilled more than 80 requests for QDROS and DROs. His commitment to justice for all is truly inspiring.

 

Robert Treat
Robert Treat

John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award

Professor Alan Schenk has taught at Wayne State University Law School for more than 50 years. During that time, he has devoted his academic career to tax law and is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on value added taxation. Schenk, whose writings on value added taxation have appeared in a dozen books, is frequently called on to dispense his expertise and depth of knowledge worldwide. He’s taught special tax courses at universities ranging from Harvard to the University of Sydney to the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and he’s spoken at tax conferences and symposia in Australia, China, and the U.K. Professor Schenk has testified on tax proposals before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He’s also a technical advisor to the International Monetary Fund, where he drafts and reviews tax legislation and regulations for countries in eastern Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.

 

Professor Alan Schenk
Professor Alan Schenk

Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award

Patrick Wilson is known in his community as a man whose exemplary civic and legal career has spanned more than a half century. Wilson notably helped launch Traverse City Rotary Charities in the 1970s; since its creation, it has given out more than $56 million to not-for-profit organizations in five northwestern Michigan counties. He helped his region’s primary health provider lay the groundwork for its long-term care facility. He also aided Traverse City’s public and parochial schools in navigating the legal system in order to participate in cost-saving joint programs, and he facilitated the founding of Leelanau County’s Northwestern Michigan Horticultural Research Station. Wilson’s civic leadership includes terms as president of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Traverse-Leelanau-Antrim Bar Association, and Michigan Society of Hospital Attorneys. He has also served on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, the State Officers Compensation Commission, and the State Board of Ethics.

 

Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson

Liberty Bell Award

As the Charlevoix High School’s principal tells it, government and economics teacher Annemarie Conway, who also works as an adjunct professor at Baker College, truly “immerses herself in professional growth and provides opportunities for students to learn more about different facets of local and state government.” In addition to her work in the classroom, Conway spends countless hours making herself, her colleagues, and especially her students better-prepared, more well-rounded, and genuinely excited about government. She donates her time to improving testing and educational materials, and she also gets out in the field with her students, participating in workgroups, helping with local campaigns, organizing a Teen Court, visiting the Michigan Supreme Court, and attending, with her students, the last five presidential inaugurations. William Arthur Ward once said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” It is Conway’s ability to inspire our future leaders that makes her truly great.


 

Annemarie Conway Annemarie Conway

 

   

Click the caption below each photo to download a high resolution version of each award winner's photo.