Leonard R. Gilman Award

The Leonard R. Gilman Award is given annually to an outstanding practitioner of criminal law who exemplifies the excellence, professionalism, and commitment to public service of Len Gilman, who was U.S. Attorney at the time of his death in 1985. The selection is made by prior recipients of the award, many of whom served with and knew Len.

The Award: In Honor of Leonard Gilman, his friend and colleague Alan Gershel wrote of him:

“As the United States Attorney he instilled a level of excellence, professionalism and commitment to public service that exists to his day. While most of the prosecutors now in the office never met Lenny, his presence is felt everyday in numerous, often subtle ways. Whether it be in the recognition that depriving a person of his liberty is an awesome responsibility that requires the utmost care or in the treating of others with respect, his influence is never far.

“However, it is his strength of character, personality and integrity that we most remember and honor him for. Lenny was the paradigm of what a prosecutor should be. He balanced aggressive advocacy with compassion. Trumanesque in his language and passion, his guiding principle to many a young prosecutor was to do the right thing. In a time when respect is becoming harder to find, he demanded it from those who worked for him. While he always took his work seriously he never took himself too seriously. A smile and self-deprecating sense of humor could disarm the most strong-willed adversary.

“Lenny was a determined and passionate competitor, whether on the ballfield or in the courtroom. His ire would be raised not in the losing hut in the failure to try. His character should serve as a beacon, not just for us as lawyers, but as a way of life.

“We should look forward each spring to the presentation of this prestigious award as an opportunity to celebrate his life as well as a renewed introspection of our own by asking ourselves whether we have lived up to the ideals of decency, fairness and respect for others that were exemplified so remarkably in the life and character of Len Gilman.”

Past Recipients of the Leonard R. Gilman Award


1985 Joel M. Shere

1986 David F. DuMouchel

1987 Paul D. Borman

1988 Robert M. Morgan

1989 Maura D. Corrigan

1990 Neil H. Fink

1991 Timothy M. Kenney

1992 Alan Gershel

1993 Blondell L. Morey

1994 Miriam Siefer

1995 Thomas W. Cranmer

1996 Michael C. Leibson

1997 Ross G. Parker

1998 Harold Z. Gurewitz

1999 Nancy J. Diehl

2000 Federal Defender’s Office

2001 Robert W. Haviland

2002 Anthony Chambers

2003 Ronald E. Covault

2004 Robert Cares

2005 Kenneth R. Sasse, Eric M. Strauss

2006 Michael J. Hluchaniuk

2007 James C. Thomas

2008 Stephen T. Rabaut

2009 Lynn A. Helland

2010 Douglas R. Mullkoff

2011 Wayne F. Pratt

2012 Margaret Sind Raben

2013 Timothy A. Baughman

2014 John R. Minnock

2015 Daniel L. Lemisch

2016 Gerald K. Evelyn

2017 Steve Fishman

2018 Mark Chutkow

Steve Fishman is one of Detroit’s top-rated Criminal Defense attorneys in Detroit, MI.  He is a native of Detroit, and proud 1966 Mumford High School graduate. After Mumford, Steve attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1970.  As a Wolverine, he played on the University of Michigan Basketball team, and even went on to serve as a President of the U-M “Letterwinners Club” in 1997.  Steve was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.   He graduated in 1973 from the Wayne State Law School, and immediately began cutting his teeth in the Detroit Defender’s Office and in 1976, he went into private practice.  Steve has had a distinguished career defending people from all walks of life – the downtrodden to the infamous, including various elected officials, professional athletes, police officers, etc.   For the past 30 years, he has been married to the love of his life, Jeri, and together they have two children – Eric 25 (a Kalamazoo College graduate) and Rachel (a sophomore at the University of Michigan).  As empty-nesters, Steven and Jeri pursue a number of hobbies and interests and dote after their two dogs.

Wade H. McCree Jr. Award

The Wade H. McCree, Jr. Award for the Advancement of Social Justice honors individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to the advancement of social justice.

These contributions may include advancing social justice in areas involving poverty, promoting economic or educational opportunity, or fighting discrimination involving race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or economic status. The recipient may be selected from any field of endeavor including law, social service, community organization, volunteer activities, journalism, academics or the like.

WadeHMcCreeWade Hampton McCree, Jr. was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Fisk University and his law degree at Harvard Law School, where he finished twelfth in his class. He began his legal career at the Detroit firm of Bledsoe and Taylor in 1948. In 1952, he was appointed by Governor G. Mennen Williams to the Workmen’s Compensation Commission, where he served until 1954, when Governor Williams appointed him to the Wayne County Circuit Court. Judge McCree was then appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1961, and by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1966. Judge McCree resigned from the Sixth Circuit in March 1977 to accept appointment by President Jimmy Carter as Solicitor General of the United States.

Wade McCree served as Solicitor General until June 1981, when he was appointed the Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, where he taught until his death. While a member of the University of Michigan Law School faculty, Professor McCree was appointed by the United States Supreme Court to hear three cases as a Special Master.

Judge McCree cared deeply about education. A founder of the Higher Education Opportunities Committee at Wayne State University and a founding trustee of Friends School in Detroit, he was a Trustee at Fisk University and a member of the Visiting School Committees of Harvard Law School and Mercer University Law School. He also served as an Overseer of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and on the Visiting Committees of the Law Schools at Wayne State University, the University of Chicago, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Miami.

Judge McCree’s service to the legal profession and the community included active membership on more than 50 committees, councils and boards. He also was a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and served on the Board of the Detroit Round Table of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, as well as on the boards of numerous charitable and cultural organizations.

The Chapter’s McCree Award for the Advancement of Social Justice is nationally acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards in recognition of contribution to the community.

Past Recipients of the Wade Hampton McCree Jr. Award for the Advancement of Social Justice:

1990 George W. Crockett & Dennis W. Archer

1991 Ernest Goodman

1992 Mildred Jeffrey

1995 Damon J. Keith

1996 George W. Romney

1997 Fr. William Cunningham

1998 William G. Milliken

1999 Maryann Mahaffey

2001 Alternatives for Girls

2002 Saul A. Green

2003 Eleanor M. Josaitis

2004 Friends School of Detroit

2005 Eugene Driker

2006 Freedom House

2007 Father Norman P. Thomas

2008 Jack Kresnak

2009 The “Neal Legal Team”

2010 Mary Sue Coleman

2011 Kathleen Straus

2012 Martin I. Reisig

2013 Florise Neville-Ewell & PBJ Outreach

2014 Dr. Daniel H. Krichbaum

2015 John Van Camp

2016 Former United States Senator Carl Levin

2017 Mark Davidoff

2018 Faith Fowler



John Van Camp’s speech at the 2010 “Solutions at Sunrise” program provided an apt description of both himself and Southwest Housing Solutions, the non-profit corporation of which he is the President and CEO:

I am John Van Camp. I am a Detroiter. I have been a Detroiter at heart since 1954 when I was 11-years old and my Mother led our integrated Cub Scout den in a sit-in at an ice cream parlor in Romeo that only served whites. I was a Detroiter raising our daughter in Huntington Woods. I am now a Detroiter living downtown with my wife Penny Bailer. And I have been a Detroiter working at Southwest Solutions since 1973.

For each of you, 1000 strong, I believe that you must consider Detroit in some way your heart and home. Why else would you be here at 8 am? I believe that we are all here because we feel that Detroit needs us. And we are looking for opportunities to make Detroit a better place. You might also be here because you think that Southwest Solutions is one reason for hope in our city.

You may know us best because our renovated and new buildings stand out, for the $110 million in housing and commercial development that we have done in partnership with many who are here today. The last project we completed is Piquette Square For Veterans. Jeff Gerritt of the Free Press called it a model for Detroit, and the nation, of how private and public agencies can help citizens who have fallen to the bottom of the economic ladder become self-sufficient and whole again.”

Since 1972 our organization has been providing services that have made a difference in the lives of Detroiters. From an initial staff of ten, we now have 30 programs and 300 staff that will directly serve the needs of nearly 10,000 people this year. Our services nearly constitute a cradle to grave approach to helping people improve their lives.

We serve children and parents struggling to cope with emotional diseases as well as youth in the juvenile justice system. Many of these youths are now teaching or organizing other youth to advocate for better schools and safer streets. They have even met with our Mayor and his team to discuss how to improve safety around schools. We serve many, many adults that are homeless and those with mental illness. Dozens of whom are now peer support specialists working with us to assist the 750 people we’ve helped get off the street and live with dignity in a place of their own.

We also need to do more for Detroit’s children. Our early childhood and family literacy programs have changed parent and child behavior in families with generations of illiteracy. We have helped grow a culture in those families where illiteracy is unacceptable and children are now expected to go to college. But there is so much more to do as Detroit has the lowest student test scores and highest adult illiteracy rate of any city in the nation.

Please listen very carefully. Envisioning or having the potential to make big change in Detroit is not enough. Without adequate resources and partners, realistically, no one can effect change.

So Southwest Solutions faces a choice: accept that resources are what they are, and we can do more; or find the additional resources and partners to do what needs to be done. I can tell you this morning: we have made our decision and we are asking you to make yours.


Cook-Friedman Civility Award

Julian Abele Cook, Jr. – Bernard A. Friedman FBA Civility Award

BE IT RESOLVED the Chapter will establish an annual civility award to recognize a civil practitioner who is an outstanding example of professional excellence and civility. This award will be called the Julian Abele Cook, Jr.- Bernard A. Friedman FBA Civility Award, in recognition of the dedication to civility of two outstanding jurists: former Chief Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr., who, in 1998, constituted the first Civility Committee in the Eastern District of Michigan and fostered the implementation of the Court’s Civility Principles; and Chief Judge Bernard A. Friedman who formed the Court’s second Civility Committee in 2007, and fostered the implementation of the Eastern District’s “Lawyer’s Commitment of Professional Civility.”

The Julian Abele Cook, Jr. – Bernard A. Friedman FBA Civility Award shall be awarded yearly at the Chapter’s Annual Dinner.

In selecting an attorney to receive the award, the following criteria shall be utilized:

  1. The attorney has been significantly engaged in the practice of civil law;
  2. The attorney demonstrates the highest levels of legal competency and Professionalism;
  3. The attorney’s conduct is in accordance with the highest standards of professional integrity and personal courtesy as set forth in the Civility Principles of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; [COPY APPEARS BELOW ON THIS PAGE]
  4. The attorney has demonstrated, while fulfilling the fundamental duty to represent clients vigorously, a mindfulness of the equally important obligation to the administration of justice, which is a truth-seeking process designed to resolve human and societal problems in a rational, peaceful and efficient manner; and
  5. The attorney is guided by a fundamental sense of dignity, decency, candor and fair play.



2008 Edward M. Kronk
2009 Lawrence G. Campbell
2010 Carl H. von Ende
2011 William A. Woodard
2012 William Sankbeil
2013 Kathryn J. Humphrey
2014 Eugene Driker
2015 Saul A. Green
2016 John Runyan
2017 E. Powell Miller
2018 Thomas W. Cranmer


The Barbara J. Rom Award for Bankruptcy Excellence

Criteria for Award

  1. The Barbara J. Rom Award for Bankruptcy Excellence honors individuals who have exhibited the highest level of overall excellence in the practice of bankruptcy law. The following criteria are among those considered in making this award:
    1. Excellence, civility, sophistication of practice, community involvement, Bar association and Court activity involvement, and pro bono participation.
  2. All consumer and business bankruptcy lawyers who practice within the geographical boundaries of the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Northern and Southern Divisions) are eligible to be nominated.

Timing of Nomination
In 2014, the Barbara J. Rom Award will be presented at The Rakow Award/Historical Society/Barbara J. Rom Award Luncheon (a combined FBA event) on Thursday, November 20, 2014.

Selection Committee
The selection committee consists of:
1) Chief Bankruptcy Judge Phillip Shefferly
2) Bankruptcy Judge Walter Shapero
3) District Judge Nancy Edmunds
4) Magistrate Judge Laurie Michelson
5) Leslie Berg
6) Mike Hammer
7) David Lerner
8) Ralph McDowell
9) Craig Schoenherr
10) Julie Teicher

The recipient of the award will become a member of the selection committee and eventually the selection committee will consist entirely of past award winners.

Nomination Process

  1. Nominations should be submitted in writing to the selection committee and/or FBA officers.
  2. The selection committee will send written nomination requests to the members of the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Bar and Judiciary.
  3. Nomination requests will be announced at all FBA events and meetings and sent via the FBA e-blast and the bankruptcy ECF system.
  4. Nomination requests will be published in the FBA newsletters and Detroit Legal News.
  5. The selection committee will maintain a list of candidates previously considered. Persons nominated in previous years may be considered in the current year even if no new nomination is received.

Selection Meeting

  1. The selection committee will elect a chair who will preside at the selection meeting(s).
  2. The meeting(s) will include discussion of the nominees and review of the supporting information.
  3. The selection recommendation will be made by a majority vote of the selection committee members who are present in person at the meeting(s).

The FBA Officers (EDM Chapter), by majority vote, should ratify the selection committee recommendation unless they determine that the selection process was both contrary to the stated process and substantively unfair, or if the recommended selection would be contrary to the best interests of the Chapter.


2012 Judy O’Neill
2013 David Allard
2014 Steven G. Howell
2015 Wallace M. Handler
2016 Susan M. Cook
2017 David Wm. Ruskin


Federal Bar Foundation Rakow Scholarship

Edward H. Rakow was a visionary who more than 50 years ago recognized the need for a Detroit Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and volunteered to help organize a chapter. Those who knew him describe a warm, friendly individual who had many friends in the area and who put an extensive amount of effort into organizing the Chapter. Within several years, the membership multiplied from a few individuals to several hundred members.

For more information, visit the Foundations page.