By: Hilary A. Ballentine, Plunkett Cooney, P.C.
Reflections and Resolutions
Well … that trip around the sun went by in a blink. It is hard to believe that we are already ushering in another new year – and the MDTC’s 38th year in operation.
No new year is complete without some type of reflection. So please indulge me for a moment as I reflect upon some of the MDTC’s highlights from 2016:
• I am delighted to report that we welcomed 40 new members to the organization, growing our total membership to nearly 500. Our membership reaches all corners of the State, from Monroe to Marquette and from Grosse Pointe to Grand Rapids.
• The MDTC leadership grew by leaps and bounds in 2016. We now have 66 members (that’s right, 66!) serving in voluntary leadership roles.
• The MDTC filed six amicus briefs with the Michigan Supreme Court. Thanks to the hard work of our amicus committee and volunteer brief writers, our Supreme Court is able to have the benefit of the defense bar’s position when it is deciding key cases.
In addition, we held several successful seminars, gathering the top legal minds in key practice areas to educate membership on hot-button topics (reptilian trial tactics and the opioid crisis, to name a few) and providing forums for the bench and bar to converse outside the courtroom in an effort to improve the civil justice system.
While I am extremely proud of these accomplishments, I do not mention them solely to boast, but also to provide some context for 2017 resolutions. The organization is committed to increasing its membership and sponsorship, providing quality, affordable opportunities for continuing legal education, and advocating the position of its membership through amicus briefs and, when needed, legislative activity.
2017 is also a time for the MDTC to try something new. While we have always found it important to recognize outstanding attorneys and judges, we decided to “switch up” the manner in which we present these distinguished awards. And so we will be hosting our inaugural Legal Excellence Awards event on March 9, 2017 at the Detroit Historical Society Museum in downtown Detroit. Register now so you don’t miss out! This fun, fresh event is the perfect forum to honor four individuals who have demonstrated exceptional standards of excellence in the legal profession. The Honorable Robert J. Colombo of the Wayne County Circuit Court and the Honorable Nanci J. Grant of the Oakland County Circuit Court will be presented with our Judicial Award. This award was established to recognize judges who have demonstrated the highest standards of judicial excellence in the pursuit of justice, while exemplifying courtesy, integrity, wisdom, and impartiality. If you have ever appeared before Judge Colombo or Judge Grant, you know that they embody these ideals, and the MDTC is proud to recognize them.
The MDTC is equally pleased to present the Excellence in Defense Award to Scott L. Mandel of Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC. The recipients of the Excellence in Defense Award are considered the most outstanding members of the defense bar, both inside and outside the courtroom. Throughout his career, Scott has demonstrated high standards of professionalism, civility, and advocacy on behalf of his clients.
Last but certainly not least, the MDTC will present John C.W. Hohmeier of Scarfone & Green PC with its Young Lawyers – Golden Gavel Award. This award is presented to an attorney who has been practicing for ten years or less and who has shown significant achievement within his practice area.
Our new Legal Excellence Awards event is just a sneak peak of what’s on tap for 2017. Stay tuned for announcements about our other upcoming seminars and social events. Cheers!