Foundations

Federal Bar Foundation of Detroit

Since 1969, the Federal Bar Foundation of Detroit has administered the Edward H. Rakow Scholarship Fund. The Foundation awards an annual scholarship to a student from each accredited Michigan law school who demonstrates outstanding scholarly achievement in securities law. If a securities law course is not available, then the award goes to an outstanding student in corporations or business law, as determined by the dean of the law school.

The Trustees of the Foundation are, in alphabetical order, Julia A. Caroff, Dennis J. Clark, Robert E. Forrest, Geneva S. Halliday and Edward M. Kronk.

For more information about the Foundation, contact: Dennis Clark djclarklaw@gmail.com or Ed Kronk kronk@bwst-law.com

Ed Rakow, the Foundation, the Luncheon and Scholarship Awards
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.

After 26 years as an attorney with the SEC, Ed retired in 1966 and entered private practice. At the Annual Dinner in 2007, his friend Charlie Rutherford recalled:

The Guardian Angel of the Detroit Chapter in the early years from 1957 until his death in 1968 was Edward R. Rakow who we pay tribute to annually at the Rakow luncheon. Ed never held office in the Federal Bar, always preferring to be in the background. He was a dedicated public servant throughout his adult life. He retired from Federal practice in 1966 and passed away in February 1968.

Ed Rakow was only 66 years old. Numerous FBA members traveled to attend his funeral in Burlington, Wisconsin. Immediately after the funeral service, Wallace Riley, Charlie Rutherford, Arthur Alan Smith, Dave Patton, John Ziegler, Jay Hammen and Ron DeBona met with Mr. Rakow;s sister, Mrs. Dempsey Passmore, and a suggestion was made to start a scholarship in Ed’s memory. Mrs. Passmore contributed the seed money to begin the Edward H. Rakow Memorial Fund, with scholarships to be awarded to deserving students of Michigan law schools who demonstrate outstanding scholarly achievement in securities, corporation or business law, based upon the assessment of the law school deans.

In 1969, the Federal Bar Foundation was formed in order to manage the scholarship fund and award the scholarships. Since 1970, each year the Chapter has dedicated one luncheon per year to the memory of Ed Rakow and the recognition of the scholarship recipients. After 38 such luncheons, this longest running continuous program of its type has awarded $149,500 to 188 scholars!

Later and continuing to this day, the proceeds from the Annual Dinner were dedicated to helping the Fund grow. Together with contributions from our Membership and the hard work of the Foundation’s Trustees (who obtained 501c(3) status for the Foundation in 1974), the goal of making the Fund self-sustaining is finally within reach.

[Regarding the Recipients]: Some have recognizable names; others have names we will come to know in the future. There are still many gaps in the research and questions for which no answers have been found (such as: why were there only two scholarships awarded the first year; were there any recipients in 1989, the year Lee Bolinger was keynote speaker; and who were the speakers and what were the luncheons venues, from 1970 through 1980?). At this point, however, we know enough to state with some assurance, reviewing the careers of the scholarship recipients from 1970 to 1979, that the deans for the most part have chosen well and receipt of the Rakow Scholarship is a moderately reliable indicator of future success.

The first recipients, in 1970, were Michael E. Houtari of the University of Michigan Law School and Thomas J. Beale of Wayne State University Law School.

Tom Beale made a name for himself in the areas of real estate taxation and the then emerging law of condominium development. After 30 years in practice, including many years as a partner in the Detroit law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, Mr. Beale semi-retired to Seattle, Washington, in 2000, where he still resides.

Mr. Houtari, whose classmates included future judges David McKeague and Thomas Brookover as well as Ed Kronk, the first recipient of the Julian Abele Cook, Jr. – Bernard A. Friedman FBA Civility Award, found his niche in the health care industry, first in public service and then in the private sector. For three years he was an Assistant Attorney General representing the Colorado Department of Health. In this capacity, he served as counsel for the Colorado Department of Health, the Colorado Board of Health, and the Health Facilities Review Counsel. He then served on the Colorado Hospital Commission, which established a program of uniform reporting and prospective rate settings for Colorado hospitals. In 1981, he went into private practice and for 15 years was a name partner in the Denver law firm Yu, Stromberg, Huotari and Cleveland. From 1996 to 2000, he was Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans and affiliated HMOs in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. He is now executive director of the Colorado Association of Health Plans, which represents 11 of the state’s largest insurers.

In 1971, there were three scholarships awarded: to Robert Dean, Wayne McCoy and Robert Nix II (respectively from the law schools at University of Detroit, University of Michigan and Wayne State). Mr. Nix is the most familiar to local denizens, practicing at Kerr, Russell and Weber, PLC, where he is co-chairperson of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. His firm’s website lists his many accomplishments and accolades, which include service as chair person of the real property law section and the investment entity committee of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Wayne McCoy settled in the Chicago area, where he joined the law firm Schiff, Hardin & Waite immediately after graduation. He became a partner after only five years and during his career was general counsel to the Chicago School Finance Authority, and also represented the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Transit Authority and Cook County. He was involved in securing financing for the new Comiskey Park and the international terminal at O’Hare Airport, and he was counsel to basketball legend Michael Jordan in several legal matters. Mr. McCoy passed away on August 29, 2000, at the age of 58. Mr. Dean passed away on December 27, 1998, which coincidentally was contemporaneous to the first run showing of “Enemy of the State,” in which Will Smith portrayed an attorney named . . . Robert Dean.

The remaining 36 scholarships of the 1970s were distributed as follows: 1972: Sammie L. Shank, James D. Lumley, David A. Lang, J. Robert Chambers; 1973: Gary F. Toth, Randolph Phifer, Katherine L. Gerstenberger, Benjamin F. Rosenthal; 1974: Daniel F. Berry, Thomas Dale Burkhart, Thomas F. Koernke, Gregory G.D. Schultz; 1975: Michael Stakias, Vincent A. Romano, Barbara L. Stoops, Edsell M. Eady, Jr., Thomas R. Hoffman; 1976: John Rohe, John J. Schrot, Jr., John P. McDonald, Pamela S. Hyde, James R. Hurlbert; 1977: Diane Bernick, Stuart A. Fraser, IV, David F. Wightman, John B. Sherrell, Sheryl A. Giddings; 1978: Kimberly Miles, Janet G. Callahan (Barnes), Maureen Burke, Steven M. Harris, Ronald Majka; 1979: Thomas Harvey, Victoria M. Desmarais, Norman L. Sims, P. Sherrill Neff, Louise E. Tudzarov.

This latter group is a (mostly) prominent, incredibly diverse group about whom more will be written at a later date. They include a labor arbitrator, an attorney who specializes in ecclesiastical disputes, several corporate counsel, patent attorneys, real estate lawyers, appellate attorneys, at least two attorneys in current government service, two venture capitalists, and one former attorney (who transferred to inactive status in 1996, in a stipulation reached with the Attorney Discipline Board). They are dispersed throughout the U.S.A., in Ohio, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida, and throughout the State of Michigan. I have not located or found anything (and welcome any information you may have) regarding Lang, Schultz, Stakias, Stoops, Hoffman, McDonald, Hyde and Hurlbert.

If you would like to assist the Foundation in making scholarships available to deserving students, please send your tax deductible donations to the Chapter Office, PO Box 20759, Ferndale MI 48220

(Adapted from “Tidbits and Trivia,” FBA Newsletter, Summer 2008, by Brian Figot)

Portrait Foundation Facilitates Judicial Remebrances

The judicial portraits that hang in the Theodore Levin Courthouse and elsewhere in the Eastern District of Michigan are an important part of the maintenance of a historical record of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Portraits, however, are not sponsored by or funded by the government, and the commissioning and funding of them is an expensive and time-consuming process.

In October of 1997, after extensive study and planning by local members of our Chapter and former judicial law clerks, the Eastern District of Michigan Historical Portrait Foundation was established as an independent non-profit corporation in order to facilitate the process by providing seed money and guidance to committees that undertake fund-raising and coordination of individual portraits. Shortly after the Portrait Foundation was formed, it obtained status as a freestanding IRC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity.

Now, after formation of a portrait committee (generally by an eligible judge’s former law clerks) our Chapter donates up to $1,500.00 to the Portrait Foundation.

At the outset, the Portrait Foundation provides the particular portrait committee with an initial grant which funds the solicitation of additional contributions. Contributions, which are made payable to and disbursed by the Portrait Foundation, are solicited strictly in accordance with any limitations imposed by the eligible judge. Due to the Portrait Foundation’s IRC 501(c)(3) status, contributors are permitted to claim a charitable deduction in the amount of their contribution. If fund-raising is completed within twelve months, the balance of the $1,500.00 grant is provided to the committee, if needed, to help defray additional costs, including the presentation ceremony. The process is complete upon the submission of a written report of finances and activities which the portrait committee provides to the Portrait Foundation. There are other processes and restrictions, which are available upon request to any of the Foundation’s Trustees.

Consistent with local court rules, United States District Judges who served in the Eastern District of Michigan are eligible for a portrait upon full retirement from the Bench and the practice of law, or upon complete disability or death, and Sixth Circuit Judges who formerly served in as District Judges in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan are eligible for a District Court portrait upon the taking of Senior Status. Committees for Sixth Circuit judicial portraits of former Eastern District of Michigan judges and committees for the State Court portraits of former State Court judges are not provided with a donation from the Chapter, but may otherwise utilize the Portrait Foundation.

Foundation Trustees are Chapter Past President Brian D. Figot, who acts as coordinator, Professor Gary M. Maveal of the University of Detroit Law School, and Mark R. Lezotte. For further information about the Portrait Foundation and its activities, contact Brian Figot at fbamich@fbamich.org