DMBA Foundation presents 2012 Archer Award to Roberts

The Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation announced Monday that Judge Victoria A. Roberts will be the recipient of the 8th annual Dennis W. Archer Public Service Award.

The award will be presented to Roberts on Tuesday, Dec. 4 during the Foundation’s annual gala reception.

“Judge Roberts exemplifies everything the Archer Award is meant to signify,” said Foundation Co-Chair E. Christopher Johnson, Jr. “With her service to the Bar and her dedication to the public — as evidenced by her work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit — Judge Roberts sets a very high bar for others in our profession.”

“Love us or hate us — the public comes to lawyers at the first sign of trouble in their lives,” said Roberts. “So, there is a tremendous need to continuously improve our profession because of the demands placed on us, and to serve in ways that improve the communities in which we live. The Archer Award has gone to esteemed members of our profession who take these obligations seriously, and I am honored to be included in their ranks.”

Roberts was commissioned as United States District Judge of the Eastern District of Michigan by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and received the position through a unanimous Senate vote. Prior to her appointment, Roberts’ career in public service included work as a research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals, an assistant U.S. attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District, and general counsel for the transition team of former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer after his election in 1993.

As a volunteer, Roberts is a current Master of the Bench for the American Inns of Court. A past member of the Boards of Directors of both Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Fair Housing Center of Detroit, Judge Roberts currently serves on her bench’s Pro Bono Committee and as a Trustee of the Michigan State Bar Foundation. From 1996-1997, Roberts served as the 62nd president of the State Bar of Michigan, the first African-American woman to hold the position.

A frequent speaker and lecturer, Roberts has been a faculty member for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the Trial Advocacy Workshop of the United States District Court–Eastern District of Michigan, and the Federal Bar Association’s Federal Law Program and Summer Associate Program. She has taught in Kenya and Serbia, and is scheduled as a lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School for the Winter 2013 semester.

“We’re thrilled to have Judge Roberts as this year’s Archer awardee,” said DMBA Foundation Executive Director Lorraine H. Weber. “In the entertainment community they have what they call a “triple threat” — a person who excels equally as an actor, singer, and dancer. Judge Roberts is a ‘triple threat’ in Michigan’s legal community — a public servant, a jurist, and an educator who is equally impressive as all three.”
In addition to this year’s Archer Award, Roberts is a recipient of Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Lawyers of the Year Award as well as the two highest honors conferred by the State Bar of Michigan: The Roberts P. Hudson and Champion of Justice awards.

The DMBA Foundation has been presenting the Dennis W. Archer Public Service Award since 2004. In addition to former Mayor Archer, Senator Carl Levin, former Governor Jennifer Granholm, and the Honorable Damon J. Keith are among past honorees. In 2011, the Archer Award was presented to Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura D. Corrigan.

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