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State Bar Representative Assembly Names Michael Franck and Unsung Hero Award Winners

9/1/05

The State Bar Representative Assembly has named Linda K. Rexer as the 2005 winner of the Michael Franck Award for her outstanding contributions to the legal profession. Grand Rapids attorney Leslie C. Curry was the Assembly's choice for the Unsung Hero Award. This award is given to that lawyer who "exhibits the highest standards of practice and commitment for the benefit of others." Both recipients will be honored at a noon luncheon, Thursday, Sept. 22rd at the State Bar's 70th Annual Meeting at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

Linda Rexer has been the Executive Director of the Michigan State Bar Foundation in Lansing since 1987 and has directed it in its mission to provide leadership and funding to improve access to justice, particularly through civil legal aid for the poor. She has spearheaded the Foundation's growth from a small organization that distributed less than $10,000, to an entity that is now distributing $8 million annually. Established in 1947, the Foundation has made more than 400 grants and distributed over $65 million. Rexer has been its leader for nearly all of that work and has helped to create a statewide fundraising system that centralized and coordinated charitable fund giving to support legal aid. In 1995, Rexer's statewide leadership was key to the development of the Michigan Plan, a state-based plan for the delivery of legal services to the poor. Her presence also influenced the decision to have Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) and Filing Fee funds distributed through the Foundation and she is currently co-chair of the Technical Assistance Committee to assist IOLTA programs throughout the country.

Leslie C. Curry, a staff attorney for Western Michigan Legal Services of Grand Rapids, will be honored for 25 years of service as "a tireless advocate for the poor, and an irreplaceable leader and mentor." She has saved the homes of countless families by preventing foreclosures and fighting evictions; she has helped hundreds of victims of domestic violence escape from their abusers by representing those victims in divorce and custody proceedings; she has obtained benefits for the disabled and protected the working poor from overzealous creditors. Her compassion for her clients, coupled with her intellect has made her a determined and effective advocate. As the litigation director for Western Michigan Legal Services, she has also mentored countless attorneys throughout her career, not only in the Grand Rapids office, but also in the Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Big Rapids, Holland, and St. Joseph offices. The opportunity to work with Curry is widely regarded by the younger attorneys as the "single best thing about working at Legal Aid." In addition to her work at Legal Aid, Curry is also involved in the Grand Rapids Bar through her participation in various committees.

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State Bar of Michigan
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Lansing, MI 48933-2012
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