Nominations are now open for major State Bar of Michigan awards that will be presented at the September 2009 Annual Meeting in Dearborn. New this year is the Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award established in memory of the 2006-07 SBM president who passed away in January last year. 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 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. KelleyDistinguished Public Service Award recognizes extraordinary governmental service by a Michigan attorney holding elected or appointive 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. Not more than five awards are given each year to practicing lawyers and judges who have made a significant contribution to their community, state and/or the nation.
The John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award, named after a Grand Rapids attorney, 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. All SBM award nominations are due on Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m.
The Liberty Bell Award recipient is selected from nominations made by local and special-purpose bar associations. The award is presented to a non-lawyer who has made a significant contribution to the justice system. The deadline for this award is Monday, May 4.
An awards committee co-chaired by State Bar President-Elect Charles Toy and attorney Thomas Cranmer reviews nominations for the Roberts P. Hudson, Champion of Justice, Frank J. Kelley, Kimberly M. Cahill and Liberty Bell awards. The Bar's Pro BonoInitiative Committee reviews nominations for the Cummiskey Pro Bono award. The committee's recommendations are then voted on by the full Board of Commissioners at its June meeting.
Last year's non-winner nominations will automatically carry over for consideration this year. Nominations should include sufficient details about the accomplishments of the nominee to allow the committees to make a judgment.