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Photos by Frank Weir

WCBA honors three recipients at annual meeting

By Frank Weir
Legal News

The Washtenaw County Bar Association honored three people in its annual Awards Dinner and election, held April 16 at Weber’s Inn.

Professor Elizabeth Campbell, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Law School, was honored with the Patriot Award for her work at the U-M Human Trafficking Clinic.

Launched in 2009, it is the first clinical law program solely dedicated to the issue of human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery that is thriving in Michigan and elsewhere across the U.S., as well as around the world.

James Walsh, a member of the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group at Bodman PLC in Ann Arbor, was honored with the Professionalism and Civility in the Practice of Law Award.

Steve Hill, since 2007 a court probation officer at the 15th District Sobriety Court in Ann Arbor, was honored with the Liberty Bell Award. A former police officer, in his current role, Hill has supervised over 70 individuals at any given time, who were on probation and fighting addictions as well as dealing with legal consequences.

In introducing Hill, Sobriety Court Judge Joe Burke noted that, at the court, Hill is “a social worker, an assistant principal, a father confessor and administrator. And he’s been great at it.”

One of the evening’s most moving moments came when Molly Welch, a graduate of the Court, spoke on behalf of Hill, a probation agent at the court since 2007. Welch recently was accepted into the graduate program of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

“During my first year in Sobriety Court, I had to be at work at 5 a.m.,” Welch began. “I was subject to random drug testing and on one day, I was notified that I had to be tested but the lab didn’t open until 7 a.m.

“I called Steve at 4:15 a.m. He answered. He helped me solve the problem and I made it to work.  I’m still sober today and able to do a lot of the things I always wanted to do but couldn’t because I was sick and needed help. So much of addiction is about how you feel about yourself. You are waiting to confirm what you already believe about yourself and I can’t tell you how important Steven Hill’s work is. I didn’t believe I would ever get through probation without going to jail. I felt I was unable to do so. Steve was there for me and helped me get the tools I needed to succeed.”

Welch noted that Sobriety Court “saved my life. Steve went to bat for me and guided me through the process.”

New WCBA officers include President Greg Dodd, President Elect Elizabeth Kitchen-Troop, Vice President Orlando Simon, Treasurer Elizabeth Jolliffe, Secretary Mark Jane, and Directors at Large Magistrate Colleen Currie, Paul Fessler, Rebecca Shiemke and Daniel Troyka.
 

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