Associations hold Presidents' Reception June 23 Event to highlight contributions and leadership of outgoing presidents

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Although attorney T.L. Summerville already has a lot on his plate, he looks forward to one more addition.

Summerville will become president of the Wolverine Bar Association and Wolverine Bar Foundation at Thursday's Presidents' Reception at the Roostertail.

"It's an awesome and great responsibility," said Summerville, a business and commercial litigator with Dykema Gossett PLLC. "I'm looking forward to a year of growth and working to make the Association better tomorrow than it is today."

The Presidents' Reception is one of the best-attended events sponsored each year by the Wolverine Bar Association, the Wolverine Bar Foundation and the Association of Black Judges of Michigan.

During the evening, attendees will honor Brandy Y. Robinson, outgoing WBA/WBF president; and the Hon. Cylenthia Miller, outgoing ABJM president.

Justice Micheline A. Rawlins, Ontario Court of Justice, will become president of the ABJM, which is open to all members of the State Bar who are present or past holders of an elective or appointive judicial or quasi-judicial position.

The main purpose of the WBA/WBF/ABJM Presidents' Reception is to look back on the year coming to an end and honor the contributions and leadership of the outgoing presidents, Summerville said.

"This event is unique because it is done jointly," he said. "Having both organizations together not only cements the strong relationship between the two, but it also underscores the importance both play to the Detroit legal community."

The Wolverine Bar Association was established by a number of African-American attorneys during the 1930's to coordinate the talents of the increasing number of African-Americans attorneys in Michigan. The WBA immediately assumed a leadership role in community and political activities, which continues. The WBF is its charitable arm.

During the past year, the WBA and WBF sponsored several seminars that raised awareness of the struggles faced by minorities and women. The associations also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Barristers' Ball, which is the principal fundraiser for the WBA's charitable arm, the Wolverine Bar Foundation.

Summerville said that while there's no training for his new job as president, he looks forward to support and guidance from past presidents who have remained involved with the WBA.

Still, he knows it's going to be a lot of work.

"What always impresses me about the Presidents' Reception is the look of relief on the face of the outgoing leaders," he said. " As the saying goes, no one on the board is happier than the person having the title `immediate past president.'"

The Presidents' Reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday June 23 at the Roostertail, 100 Marquette Dr. in Detroit.

Tickets are $35 for WBA/ABJM members and $45 for nonmembers.

Tickets can also be purchased in groups of 10 for $300 for members and $400 for nonmembers.

For information, call 313-962-0250 or

Published: Mon, Jun 20, 2011