SBM Representative Assembly Will Honor Two

The State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly will present its Michael Franck and Unsung Hero awards to two outstanding members of the legal community on Thursday, Sept. 27 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. The presentation will take place at 10:20 a.m. during the assembly's general session, which is being held in conjunction with the SBM NEXT Conference.

 

Michael Franck Award

Judge Victoria Roberts has made an important impact on the global legal community. The Detroit native is probably best known as a longtime judge in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the only African American woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Michigan. But Roberts has helped train lawyers and judges in Kenya and Malaysia, lectured on collaborating and cooperating witnesses in Serbia, given presentations on intellectual property issues to legal professionals in Peru and Thailand, and participated in U.S. government-sponsored programs in Botswana, Namibia, and Nepal. She’s also contributed to her hometown. A previous winner of the State Bar’s Roberts P. Hudson and Champion of Justice awards, Roberts played a significant role in negotiating collective bargaining agreements between the City of Detroit and its public employees union, a major step forward in the city’s successful emergence from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. She’s a driving force behind the Detroit federal district court Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic, where students from University of Detroit Mercy Law School—Roberts is a member of its advisory board—provide legal advice to low-income citizens seeking to represent themselves in federal civil suits. She’s also had a hand in the court’s Early Mediation Program for Pro Se Prisoner Rights Cases and has been instrumental in the Eastern District of Michigan Judicial Externship Program.

 

 

Judge Victoria Roberts

Judge Victoria Roberts

Unsung Hero Award

Michele Fuller, the founder of the Macomb-based Michigan Law Center, has focused her 20-plus year career as a practicing attorney on elder law issues, settlement planning, veterans affairs planning, and special needs planning. She has intimate knowledge in that last area—Fuller is also a mother of four, two of whom have special needs. She has become a nationally recognized expert on special needs planning. An author or co-author of four books relating to special needs and elder law planning, Fuller is currently working on a fifth book pertaining to Michigan special needs trust law. She has co-authored several published articles on the subject and made upwards of 50 speaking appearances across the country during the last five years. During her career, Fuller has received numerous honors and awards. She was chosen as top special needs advocate by Parenting in 2013; named as one of the 10 best elder law attorneys in the United States by the American Institute of Legal Counsel in 2016, 2017, and 2018; and honored in Lawyer’s Monthly’s annual women in the law issue in 2016. Fuller is a longtime member of the Elder Law & Disability Rights Section of the State Bar of Michigan, including a stint as section chair in 2017. She has been part of the Academy of Special Needs Planners advisory board since 2012 and sits on the board of the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a post she’s held since 2013.

 

 

Michele Fuller

Michele Fuller

 

 

 

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