Grand Rapids Bar Association, WMU-Cooley Announce 2020 Award Recipients

The Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA), in partnership with Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, honored several individuals in the legal profession for their contributions to the law and the cause of justice as part of Law Day. This year’s Law Day, which would normally be celebrated on May 1, was cancelled due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

Phillip Green

The Hon. Phillip Green (left), serving the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, received the 2020 Marion Hilligan Public Service Award. The award is presented to individuals who reflect greater individual responsibility in promoting public health and welfare through law. It is given in honor of WMU-Cooley Grand Rapids campus former Associate Dean Marion Hilligan, who passed away in 2007.

Richard Stevens was presented with the GRBA President’s Award for his dedication to and support of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Over the past several years, Rick has served as the co-chair of the Minority Clerkship Program, which is co-sponsored by the GRBA and the Floyd Skinner Bar Association.  He is currently serving as the interim executive director of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. His leadership during this time of transition and pandemic have provided continuity and stability through this challenging period in our community and nation. 

Kimberly A. Coleman received the 2020 Liberty Bell Award for her ardent support and leadership in various community initiatives while serving as the executive director of the Grand Rapids Bar Association for 19 years. The GRBA’s Liberty Bell Award is presented each year to a non-legal professional or nonprofit organization in recognition of outstanding contributions to the cause of justice or to advancing public awareness of the Constitution and the nation’s legal system. 

Elizabeth Joy Fossel, a lawyer in Grand Rapids, received the Donald R. Worsfold Distinguished Service Award for her significant achievements in the legal profession. This award recognizes a GRBA member’s extraordinary service contributions to the bar, the profession and the community.

Leslie Dickinson, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC; Daniel Fricke, Newton Plont PLLC; and Kent Sparks, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP are recipients of the 3 in 10 Award, presented by the GRBA’s First Year Committee. The award honors attorneys in their first 10 years of practice, who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements, exceptional public service and significant contributions to the legal profession.

In addition to the award recipients, Hon. Janet Neff, William Heritage, James Black, Peter Kok, William Murphy, David Smith and Benham Wrigley were each recognized for their 50 years in legal practice.

Since 1902, the Grand Rapids Bar Association has been known for its high level of professionalism and civility. The GRBA provides a climate in which lawyers and judges work together to improve the delivery of legal service, address challenges, promote specialization, increase the number of lawyers, and encourage and welcome women and minority lawyers into the practice.

Jul 22 2020


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