State bar of Michigan holds annual meeting in Grand Rapids

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- Photos by Frank Weir

The State Bar of Michigan annual meeting in Grand Rapids last week was a time to learn, to conduct business, and to honor excellence in the legal profession.
The Michigan State Bar Foundation Award was presented poshumously to John W. Cummiskey, founding member of the Grand Rapids firm of Miller Johnson Snell and Cummiskey, a strong advocate for legal representation for all, who told the State Bar Foundation on his 80th birthday, “Access to justice is a dream. We must make it a reality.” Shown at top right, his daughter Karen Cummiskey, M.D., accepted the award. In the photo are SBM President Anthony Jenkins, Cummiskey, Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, and SBM Immediate Past President Charles Toy.
Recipient of the Liberty Bell Award was Audrey Nesbitt Gray from the Kalamazoo area. Since 1967 Gray has been the driving force behind a booklet called “You and the Law.” Created by SBM and the Michigan Lawyer’s Auxiliary, this 32-page manual is distributed to ninth grade classrooms across Michigan. Gray also introduced “The Late Show” in the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home in 1993, where adults read to children in the Home two evenings a week. With Gray acting as an advisor, the program expanded to South Haven, Kent County, Midland, and Saginaw.
“Unsung Hero Award” was presented, posthumously, to Kevin J. Moody. Moody was nominated for the award for his tireless devotion to pro bono work. He was a partner in the Lansing office of Miller Canfield. The award was accepted by Nancy Moody, widow of Kevin J. Moody. She is a sister-in-law of the Honorable Michael Nolan, Patrick Nolan, and Terry Nolan. Moody passed away in 2009 from pancreatic cancer.
The receipient introduction was given by Thomas W. Linn, chairman emeritus of Miller Canfield, and Elizabeth Johnson, chairperson of the Representative Assembly .
Moody will be long remembered for his caring attitude and willingness to help the disadvantaged.