With experience under his belt, judge 'steps up' to presidency

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By Christine L. Mobley
Legal News

Taking the reins as president of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan (ABJM) for 2012-2013 is Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Leo Bowman.

Bowman hopes to continue the success of the association while helping to reinvigorate some of its programs.

“To say that I have plans for the association would perhaps be presumptuous of me,” Bowman said. “The association has existed for a number of years and presidents come and presidents go — it’s the association that endures.

In past years, the ABJM has participated in an adopt-a-school program in which it reaches out to youth, but, according to Bowman, the program has ebbed.

He says he hopes to reinvigorate the program “because it’s so important to expose school students to the law (and) to positive role models and mentors and that’s one of the signature programs that the association has.”

Along with enhancing the  educational aspect of the ABJM’s monthly meetings,

Bowman also would like to see more ABJM meetings and events take place in Oakland County.

“Last year we started (bringing in speakers),” Bowman said. “I’m hopeful to augment that and I’ve encouraged more of our membership to attend and have something that will stimulate them in addition to the meeting itself.

“(Oakland County Circuit Court) Judge Denise Langford Morris is also a member and we jointly hope to have more visibility for our members in Oakland County.”

Bowman is no stranger to taking on a leadership role from the bench. As Oakland County 50th District Court’s chief judge — a position which he held for eight of his 18 years on that bench — Bowman served as president of Michigan District Judges Association.

“I served the District Judges in various capacities prior to becoming president...that taught me something about the responsibility of taking the helm of an organization: it’s a lot of work, it’s never-ending and you become the voice of the association for the year of service,” Bowman said.

In addition to his presidency for the ABJM, Bowman sits as chairperson of the McLaren Oakland Hospital Board of Trustees.

“In that chairmanship, I’ve become very aware of what it means to stand in a leadership position and so from that vantage point, I am hopeful to bring that past experience to bare this year as I serve as president of the Association of Black Judges.”

Other organizations that Bowman has taken part in (past and present) include: Michigan Association of Leadership Development 80,000, 2002 committee; NAACP and Urban League; Oakland County Bar Association; American Bar Association; National Bar Association; Oakland District Judges Association; D. Augustus Straker Bar; Wolverine Bar Association; American Judges Association Board of Governors; and the State Bar of Michigan.

“All of that has given me a reservoir of knowledge, skills and appreciation for people and seeing tasks through I think will be very valuable to me working with the Association of Black Judges and having to be the face of the organization for a year — to see that it’s programs are carried out; to be there to speak on behalf of the association when appropriate. I’m ready to step up to that.”

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