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Bodman Attorney Susan Kornfield to Receive 2014 John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award

By: Bodman PLC


Bodman PLC is proud to announce that Susan M. Kornfield, a member of the firm and co-chair of its Pro Bono Committee, will be the 2014 recipient of the prestigious John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award from the State Bar of Michigan

Kornfield, of Bodman’s Ann Arbor office, will receive the award at the State Bar of Michigan’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids in September.

The State Bar established the award in the name of the late John W. Cummiskey of Grand Rapids, who was an advocate for making legal services accessible to all, without regard to economic status. The award is intended to foster awareness of the need to deliver legal services to the poor and to recognize a Michigan lawyer each year that has made a significant pro bono contribution.

“I can’t imagine a lawyer more deserving of the Cummiskey award than Susan Kornfield” said Ralph E. McDowell, chairman of Bodman PLC. “Susan has been a tireless advocate for our pro bono program and an inspirational leader by example for Bodman attorneys who want to give back to the community.”

Under Kornfield’s guidance, Bodman has developed one of Michigan’s most extensive and widely honored pro bono programs. The firm is an annual inductee in the State Bar’s Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, achieving “Leadership” status in 2014 in recognition of 100 percent compliance with the State Bar’s voluntary pro bono standard. Bodman has received numerous other honors, most recently being named “Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year” for 2013 by Michigan Community Resources and achieving national recognition as a 2013 Pro Bono Award recipient from the Thomson Reuters publication Super Lawyers.

Since Kornfield began practicing law in 1982, she has provided approximately 10,000 hours of free legal services to pro bono clients.  She has been involved in complex litigation matters, including those involving First Amendment speech, prison brutality, Native American schools, housing discrimination, privacy and reproductive rights, police kidnapping of homeless men, and juvenile life without parole.

Kornfield serves on the ACLU of Michigan Lawyers Committee and works on civil rights matters either directly or through coordinating the staffing of such projects by other attorneys at Bodman.  She has accepted pro bono assignments from the Pro Bono Committee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, Legal Aid and Defender, the University of Michigan Innocence Project, and Michigan Community Resources.  Kornfield also volunteers to counsel walk-in clients on Law Day through the Washtenaw County Bar Association.  In addition to her pro bono work, she engages in many law school activities to mentor law students, and participate in legal outreach at local community events.

Kornfield concentrates her practice in intellectual property and technology law. She assists clients in a broad range of intellectual property matters, including information systems acquisitions, copyrights, trademarks, e-commerce, noncompete agreements and other post-employment restrictions, and protection against economic espionage. She handles transactional and litigation matters and has been lead counsel in national intellectual property litigation.

Kornfield has been named the 2014 Ann Arbor “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation-IP by The Best Lawyers in America.  She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2014 under several categories and is the only lawyer in Michigan listed under Technology Law.  Michigan Super Lawyers has named her one of the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Michigan and Managing Intellectual Property has named her one of the “Top 250 Women in IP.”  Crain’s Detroit Business named Kornfield one of Southeast Michigan’s “Most Influential Women” and Michigan Lawyers Weekly has honored her as one of the leading “Women in Law.”

Kornfield has served as an adjunct professor of copyright law at the University of Michigan Law School and as an adjunct professor of intellectual property law with the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.  She serves on an Advisory Committee to Stanford University on matters involving libraries and academic information resources, and lectures at universities, legal conferences, and business workshops on IP issues.

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