State Bar Representative Assembly honors award winners

The State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly presented its Michael Franck and Unsung Hero awards to three outstanding members of the legal community on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn.

Michael Franck Award:

Clark C. Johnson

After serving for 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Clark C. Johnson returned to Michigan, where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1970 from Wayne State University. He became an assistant attorney general of Michigan under Frank Kelley before becoming a partner in the firm of Schmidt, Nahas, Coburn and Johnson. In 1973, he became a professor at Detroit College of Law, which later became Michigan State University College of Law. There he taught Equity, Contracts, Commercial Transactions, Secured Transactions, Bankruptcy, Medical-Legal Problems, Property, Insurance, Mortgages, and Suretyship. He served as associate dean of the law school from 1984-85, founded the school's Journal of Medicine and Law in 1997, and served as its advisor until 2005. He inspired his students to continue their education throughout their lives by setting that example with his own life. In 1990, he earned a PhD in psychology from Wayne State, and in 2002 he earned his LLD from MSU.

Unsung Hero Award:

Karen Gullberg Cook and Mayra Lorenzana-Miles

A solo practitioner in Beverly Hills, Karen Gullberg Cook is frequently appointed as a guardian ad litem for children by the Oakland County Probate Court.

''Karen Cook is an expert when it comes to child welfare law and Department of Human Services policy,'' wrote Stacy M. Combs in her nomination. ''Karen can cite case names, citations and statutes off the top of her head. ... She continues to ... make sure the agencies providing services are following state laws, rules, and regulations.'' Gullberg Cook ensures that children and families have the resources they need, is a strong advocate for them in court, and even gives a blanket to each child she represents for Christmas. She served on the Michigan Judicial Institute's Lawyer-Guardian Ad Litem Protocol Handbook's advisory board. She is currently serving her third term on the State Bar of Michigan's Children's Law Section Council, which awarded her the Child Advocate of the Year Award in 2004.

After moving to the U.S. from her native Puerto Rico, Mayra Lorenzana-Miles met a Guatemalan family at the airport who was in the country for work. They were lost and didn't speak English, and she helped them find their way. She's been helping Spanish speakers navigate the system ever since. As a shareholder at D'Luge Miles Miles & Cameron PLC, she focuses exclusively on immigration law. She has litigated extensively in Immigration Court. She manages at least 12 pro bono cases at any given time, and volunteers her time twice a month at Latino American for South Eastern Michigan (LA SED) and Latino Mission Society - Lutheran Church. She co-founded the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan, and served as its president for years. She has served on the State Bar of Michigan Open Justice Commission, SBM Character and Fitness Committee, and on the American Immigration Lawyers Association. And she has done all of this despite being legally blind.

Published: Thu, Sep 22, 2011

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