John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award

The purpose of this award is to foster awareness of the need for involvement of the private bar in delivering legal services to the poor, by giving public recognition each year to a Michigan lawyer who has made a significant pro bono contribution to this effort. The award is established in the name of John W. Cummiskey of Grand Rapids, a leading advocate and activist in the cause of making legal services available to all, without regard to economic status.

Any State Bar member in good standing is eligible to be nominated. Selection will be made by the Pro Bono Initiative with final approval by the Board of Commissioners.

Application Form: Apply online or complete the Word document

Recent Winners

2017  Robert C. Treat, Jr.
Bob Treat is the President of QDRO Express, a law firm specializing in the preparation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). Bob is widely known as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable QDRO experts in Michigan and beyond. He has contributed to the success of the State Bar of Michigan’s QDRO Referral Program, a project of the Michigan Litigation Assistance Project, where he leads the program’s administration group and provides pro bono QDRO drafting services as a member of the pro bono panel of QDRO preparers. Bob’s full-time business schedule does not stop him from providing extensive pro bono services to a variety of organizations, including Lakeshore Legal Aid, the Michigan Advocacy Program, and many other legal services providers throughout Michigan.
2016  Leo P. Goddeyne
Leo Goddeyne has been a leader with the Kalamazoo Bar Association and Legal Aid of Western Michigan. As chair of the KBA Pro Bono Committee, he was integral in starting weekly pro bono legal clinics and oversaw their growth—now the clinics facilitate about 80 lawyers offering about 300 hours of free legal services each year. “As important as Mr. Goddeyne’s work with clinics and nonprofits have been, his most significant contribution is the support and encouragement he has given to his successors on the KCBA Pro Bono Committee,” wrote Donald Robert, managing attorney for Legal Aid of Western Michigan.
2015  Paul E. Scheidemantel
Paul Scheidemantel is a member of Clark Hill’s Litigation Practice Group.  He is a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and previously served for several years as its pro bono coordinator.  In a five-year period (2009-2013), Paul averaged 238 hours of pro bono legal services per year to low-income clients.  The stipend that accompanied the 2015 Cummiskey Award was designated by Paul to the Legal Aid and Defender Association.
2014 Susan M. Kornfield
Susan Kornfield is chair of Bodman's Intellectual Property Practice Group. Susan is largely responsible for the establishment of Bodman’s pro bono program. Since she began practicing law in 1982, Susan has provided an estimated 10,000 hours of pro bono legal services.  The stipend that accompanied the 2014 Cummiskey Award was designated by Susan to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.
2013 Robert G. Mossel
Rob Mossel is a member of Ford Motor Credit at Ford Motor Company.  Rob was instrumental in the collaboration between Ford Motor Company and the Legal Aid and Defender Association on a pilot project to help individuals and families not receiving food stamps or not getting the maximum allowable benefit despite being eligible.  The stipend that accompanied the 2013 Cummiskey Award was designated by Rob to the Legal Aid and Defender Association.
2012 Ann M. Ozog
Sister Ann Ozog worked with Lakeshore Legal Aid for 20 years before retiring in 2003. Since her retirement, Sister Ann has educated over 1,200 seniors about their legal rights at more than 50 community legal education events. Sister Ann has also provided free legal services to nearly 1,800 needy clients.  The stipend that accompanied the 2012 Cummiskey Award was designated by Sister Ann to Lakeshore Legal Aid.

Previous Winners

2011 Elizabeth Joy Fossel
2010 Eric I. Frankie
2009 Joseph C. Basta
2008 Richard Bernstein
2007 Maia Justine Storm
2006 Michael S. Callahan
2005 Nelson Miller
2004 Joseph W. Cunningham
2003 Nino E. Green
2002 Margaret A. Costello
2001 Steven J. Cernak
2000 Joel D. Kellman
1999 Daniel V. Zemaitis
1998 Peter P. Darrow
1997 Karen Russell
1996 Steven L. Williams
1995 Mary Schieve
1994 Mark Brewer
1993 Edward Meany
1992 Virginia Cairns
1991 Bruce A. Courtade
1990 David E.S. Marvin
1989 John W. Martin
1988 Richard M. Skutt
1987 Thomas C. Clinton
1986 Richard J. Darger
1985 Robert Beuerle
1984 Frederick M. Baker Jr.
1983 Michael C. Barnes