Kennedy awarded for very full year at Federal Bar Association

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These distinguished members of the legal community donned costumes for a repeat performance at the Federal Bar Association's Bench Bar conference play originally performed at American Inns of Court

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KATHERINE SMITH KENNEDY

 

by Cynthia Price Legal News


Katherine Smith Kennedy says that receiving the Chapter Activity Presidential Achievement Award from the Federal Bar Association was not the only reward for her year as Western District of Michigan Chapter president.


Kennedy thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and all the work, despite 2010?2011 being a "really, really, really busy year."

 She comments, "I was very happy to serve, it was fun and I had the support of all my colleagues in being able to run the organization. The awards were just the icing on the cake."

 The second honor bestowed on the Western District of Michigan Chapter when the Federal Bar Association held its national annual meeting in Chicago this past September was the Outstanding Newsletter Award for its publication Bar & Bench.


For that, Kennedy gives 100 percent credit to Joe Kuiper of Warner Norcross and Judd, who has been the editor since 2005. "He really likes doing it, year in and year out," Kennedy adds. "He does a great job."


The attractive and highly informative newsletters Kuiper has produced on a quarterly basis can be found at https://www.westmichiganfederalbar. org/newsletters.php.


The Presidential Award was for "accomplished Chapter activities" in the areas of administration, membership outreach and programming, but Kennedy believes that the major contributor to receiving the award was the amount and quality of programming during her tenure.


Most impressive was the Federal Bench Bar Conference Kennedy spearheaded, held at the end of September at Shanty Creek Resort.


Kennedy took an intense hands?on role in planning the conference, right down to creating the centerpieces for the tables. "Almost all of the Federal judges and magistrates went up for the weekend, plus 85 attorneys," she says. She noted that, as with most Bench Bar get?togethers, the primary benefit was the social time together, promoting mutual understanding. Friday evening began with a wine tasting; Shanty Creek is located in Bellaire, in the heart of Michigan's wine country.


A highlight of the conference was a play called "Travails of King Henry


VII," originally performed for the American hins of Court chapter. The performers agreed to a reprise of the play, which concerns custody and other legal issues, and was well?done and very well?received. Kennedy commented that Elizabeth Bmnsdorfer, as the court jester, was 'hilarious."


The weekend also included a presentation by David Moran of University of Michigan Law School's Innocence Clinic, which is one of the few innocence projects in the nation "to litigate claims of actual innocence by prisoners in cases where DNA evidence is not available."


Participants were also treated to a luncheon program by Ray Dowd, a New York City attorney, on Holocaust art litigation. This concerns the pursuit of Holocaust survivors' family to recover art, or compensation for art, from major museums around the world who received donated paintings and sculptures confiscated from those sent to concentration camps. "Dowd takes you through this fascinating history of how the art got there," Kennedy commented.


The conference ended with a frank discussion between the attorneys and the Federal judges and magistrates. "There was some really good back and forth between practitioners and judges. I thought it was very productive," Kennedy observes.


The Federal Bar Association Bench Bar Conference was formerly held in partnership with the Eastern District; after the last time that occurred in 1999, there was a gap until 2008. However, the Western District Chapter has now decided to hold the conference every three years, and Kennedy says she is very likely to be involved when it takes place in 2014.


The multi?page nomination for the Presidential Award included several other events of note, many of which take place annually.


In November the Western District of Michigan Chapter holds a Supreme Court Review brown bag lunch to hear about opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court and their ramifications. The 2010 session featured Western District of


Michigan U.S. Attorney Don Davis and John Bursch, who was then an attorney at Warner Norcmss and Judd prior to his appointment as the Solicitor General for the State of Michigan in Feb. 2011.


Kennedy has long participated in the well?known Hillman Trial Advocacy program, the unique indepth training program for trial attorneys. Comments Kennedy, "The Hillman program is just this wonderful machine that keeps on going ... there are attorneys who have been doing it for decades. This year they opened up almost the entire Federal court to us, and we're grateful for their support.


"I've heard it said that Hillman is even better than the national N1TA [National Institute for Trial Advocacy] training.,,


Kennedy also found fascinating a program the bar sponsored on the book Baseball's Reserve System: the Case and Trial of Curt Flood vs. Major League Baseball. Author Neil Flynn talked about the St. Louis Cardinal's suit, which ultimately led to sports free agency. 'If you're an attorney and a baseball fan," Kennedy says, adding that she is, "this program was for you."


The award also credited the chapter for holding Federal Motion Day at Cooley Law School, in which Federal Judge Paul Maloney and a magistrate judge held their motions hearings at the school so that students could observe; and another wellattended brown bag luncheon featuring a panel on health care fraud, which Kennedy says is a "burgeoning area of law."

 Kennedy's involvement as president extended to appointing herself to nearly all the committees of the chapter, including pro bono, nominating, diversity, and programming. She also participated in a number of national Federal Bar Association activities. A wife and mother of two, Kennedy says, "I had to spend a lot of time away from my family," and admits she is not unhappy to see her year end. But she emphasizes that overall she found it highly rewarding in countless ways.


Scott Brinkmeyer of Mika Meyers Beckett and Jones has succeeded Kennedy as the chapter president.

 The award also credited the chapter for holding Federal Motion Day at Cooley Law School, in which Federal Judge Paul Maloney and a magistrate judge held their motions hearings at the school so that students could observe; and another wellattended brown bag luncheon featuring a panel on health care fraud, which Kennedy says is a "burgeoning area of law."

 Kennedy's involvement as president extended to appointing herself to nearly all the committees of the chapter, including pro bono, nominating, diversity, and programming. She also participated in a number of national Federal Bar Association activities. A wife and mother of two, Kennedy says, "I had to spend a lot of time away from my family," and admits she is not unhappy to see her year end. But she emphasizes that overall she found it highly rewarding in countless ways.


Scott Brinkmeyer of Mika Meyers Beckett and Jones has succeeded Kennedy as the chapter president.

 

 

 

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