WSU Law names Treasure of Detroit honorees

Wayne State University Law School has announced this year’s Treasure of Detroit honorees.

Wayne Law alumni, students, faculty and friends will gather at the 14th annual Treasure of Detroit gala on Saturday, March 26 to pay tribute to James K. Robinson (honored posthumously), David M. Hempstead and A. Alfred Taubman.

“We are pleased to honor three public-spirited individuals, each with a strong connection to Wayne Law,” said Wayne Law Dean Robert M. Ackerman.

He said Robinson “personified personified the lawyer in the public interest while Hempstead “always finds time for his community, including Wayne Law.

“And Al Taubman,” Ackerman said, “is a philanthropist whose generosity — and whose interest in education, medicine and the arts — knows no bounds.”

Robinson, a 1968 graduate, served as a litigation partner at Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft LLP in Washington, D.C., in Cadwalader’s Business Fraud and Complex Litigation Practice.

From 1998 through 2001, he was the assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division.

Prior to his appointment as assistant attorney general, he served as Wayne Law dean and professor from 1993-98; a partner and litigation department chair at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn in Detroit (1981-93); and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan (1977-80).

Robinson also was a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the American Law Institute.

Robinson died on Aug. 6, 2010.

“There are few lawyers who combined legal acumen with the ability to communicate with judges, opposing counsel and clients like Jim Robinson,” said Wayne Law Professor Peter Henning. “He made practicing law look so easy because he loved every moment of being a lawyer.

“At a time of great cynicism about law schools and lawyers, Jim embodied what is good about legal education and the practice of law.”

Hemstead, a 1975 grad, is a member at Bodman PLC and vice chair of Bodman’s Executive Committee. He concentrates his practice primarily in the areas of income, estate and gift tax planning for high net worth individuals, estate and trust administration, trust litigation, and charitable trusts and foundations.

He is a member of the Probate and Estate Planning and Taxation sections of the State Bar of Michigan, and a member of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metro Detroit.

Hempstead serves as a board member for the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford Health System, College for Creative Studies, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Matilda Dodge Wilson Fund, Clarence Livingood Fund and the Wayne Law Board of Visitors.

“David Hempstead is a splendid lawyer, leader and person,” said I.W. Winsten. “I have had the great pleasure of working closely with him on the [Wayne Law] Board of Visitors and have seen firsthand how he deploys his remarkable skills for the benefit of the Wayne Law community.”

Taubman, a real estate developer and philanthropist, is a Detroit native active in numerous businesses and philanthropic initiatives.

He is the founder of Taubman Centers Inc., a real estate developer and operator of regional shopping centers, and is the author of the business memoir Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer.

Taubman participates in a wide range of civic, cultural and educational activities, and has established and helped fund a number of centers, schools and programs throughout the country — including Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

Taubman is a member of the Wayne State University Foundation Board. He is a trustee of the College for Creative Studies, serves on the executive committee of Detroit Renaissance, chairs the Building Committee for the Detroit Institute of Arts and is president of the Detroit Arts Commission.

“He is a man of absolute integrity and one whom I admire tremendously,” said U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith. “I will never forget his support and love for Rosa Parks during her most difficult times and also his support for me as the National Chairman of the Bicentennial for the United States Constitution.”

This year’s gala, hosted by Wayne Law, the Wayne Law Board of Visitors and the Wayne Law Alumni Association, will feature an alumni reunion reception for all classes beginning at 5:30 p.m., paying special tribute to this year’s featured class: the class of 1970.

The event also will feature a silent auction, the awards program and dinner.

For more information, contact Michael Silverstein in the Law School’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (313) 577-9238.


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