Straker Bar presents awards and scholarships


The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association celebrated its “Silver Jubilee” at the 25th Annual Trailblazers Dinner on June 7 at The Community House in Birmingham. Presented with coveted Trailblazer Awards at the dinner were Khalilah Spencer, a partner at Honigman; Martha Moore, auxiliary dean and professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School; and Rasul Raheem, senior attorney at Plunkett Cooney. Tiffany Buckley-Norwood, of Jackson Lewis, delivered the opening and closing remarks, while Wayne County Probate Court Judge Terrance Keith offered remarks on the 25th anniversary of the dinner. Straker Bar President Vassal Johnson II also was among the featured speakers at the event. Pictured are (left to right) Martha Moore, Tiffany Buckley-Norwood, Rasul Raheem, Vassal Johnson II, and Khalilah Spencer.
– Photo by John Meiu

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Auxiliary Dean and Professor Martha D. Moore and Adjunct Professor Rasul M. Raheem, senior attorney with Plunkett Cooney, were recipients of the Trailblazer Award during the 25th Annual D. Augustus Straker Bar Association's Trailblazer Dinner. The third Trailblazer Award honoree was Khalilah Spencer, a partner at Honigman.

Also recognized during the event were WMU-Cooley law students Ronnisha Williams and Aisha Henry who were presented with Straker Bar Foundation's A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Law Scholarship.

Moore was honored for her commitment to legal ethics and her ongoing support for those in need. She was the first African American to serve as an associate attorney with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. She was later appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve as vice chair and then chair of the commission, the first African American to serve in those roles. Moore continues to serve as a volunteer investigator and attorney mentor for the agency.

After being presented the award, Moore said, "If I have done anything to earn this award, I have not done it alone. Each one of you who came out to support me has contributed something important in my life and participated in this award. For that I thank you and I humbly accept this award on your behalf."

In addition to writing and lecturing on legal ethics, Moore has been active in giving back to her community. She helped students establish Purposeful Acts of Kindness, which students engage in random acts of kindness throughout their communities. Moore organized and provided home-cooked meals for an annual holiday party for nearly 50 homeless Ypsilanti High School students. On her own time, she has participated in mentoring programs with Pontiac and Ypsilanti high school students and helped start a minority law student mentoring program called "Edge for Excellence."

Raheem, who teaches banking law classes at WMU-Cooley, is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the National Bar Association, and the Wolverine Bar. In addition to the Michigan Bar, Raheem is admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He has been a member of the National Bar's Commercial Law Section's Executive Committee since 2013 and chairs the Finance and Sponsorship committees. He is a recipient of the National Bar's Presidential Award for outstanding service, and the Wolverine Bar's Golden Gavel Award.

Additionally, Raheem serves as a fellow to the Oakland County Bar Foundation, serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and is a member of the board of directors for the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

Spencer was recognized for her unique role within Honigman, as well as her work in the community with organizations such as the Lakeshore Legal Aid, NAACP and the Wolverine Bar Association.

"I am honored to receive this award from a great organization," said Spencer. "Given the illustrious list of past recipients, to be in their company is quite humbling."

A partner at Honigman, Spencer represents individuals and public and private companies in a variety of industries, including automotive, financial services, telecommunications, logistics, and real estate. She serves as a member of the firm's Committee on Minority Attorney Initiatives

In addition to attending WMU-Cooley, Williams has built a career as a financial accountant and works with the Waldorf School Association of Michigan, manages Romar Agency, and volunteers for the Legal Aid Office's - Low-Income Tax Clinic division. As a student leader, she serves as treasurer of the Student Bar Association and director of operations for the Weekend Law Society where she advocates for non-traditional students. While pursuing a law degree, she is also attending Walsh College to earn a master's degree in taxation. Ronnisha Williams earned an M.B.A in Accounting and Finance from Baker College in 2017 and a B.A. in Philosophy from Purdue University in 2013.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Henry was raised in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her service to the community and her desire to help others is what ignited her passion to become attend law school. Henry ranks in the top 15 percent of her class at WMU-Cooley and has been on the Dean's List and Honor Roll every term. xShe is president of the Black Law Students Association, articles editor of the WMU-Cooley Law Review, and community service chair of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society.

Published: Thu, Jun 28, 2018