Jewish lawyers will honor a pair of judges in their first major event since the pandemic

Judge Bernard Friedman (left) and Judge Michelle Friedman Appel (right).

Early Bird tickets through May 12 are $25 for members and $36 for others.

The Jewish Bar Association of Michigan (JBAM) welcomes judges, attorneys, legal professionals and law students as it celebrates its first indoor event since the pandemic began.

On Monday, May 23 at 6 p.m., JBAM will hold its annual awards banquet at the Westin Southfield Hotel, 1500 Town Center.

At a Zoom event last year, Attorney General Dana Nessel received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Champion of Justice Award from JBAM, and Justice Avern Cohn received the JBAM Lifetime Achievement Award.

With the unfortunate passing of Justice Cohn on February 4, JBAM named its Lifetime Achievement Award in memory of Justice Cohn, a longtime community leader and stalwart of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Lifetime Achievement

The 2022 Avern Cohn Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be Judge Bernard Friedman, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

A Detroit native, Judge Friedman graduated from the Detroit College of Law and served in the US Army JAG Corps. He worked in the Wayne County District Attorney’s office, then went into private practice. He sat on the bench of the 48th District Court for Bloomfield Township from 1982 to 1988.

In 1988, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the United States District Court. He was chief judge from 2004 to 2009 and has since been a senior judge.

In a landmark case in 2014, Judge Friedman ruled that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The case was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, establishing constitutional right nationwide.

champion of righteousness

Judge Michelle Friedman Appel, a judge since 2003 at District Court 45B serving Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township, will receive JBAM’s 2022 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Champion of Justice Award.

Justice Appel succeeded her father, Justice Benjamin Friedman, who served 34 years on the court. Unfortunately, her father died on February 4, the same day as Justice Cohn.

Justice Appel is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Law School. For two decades prior to her judgeship, she worked in private practice and served as Oakland County Commissioner from 1999 to 2002.

She is the chief justice of her court and is actively involved in aiding the state court system and training attorneys. She is also president of the Michigan District Judge’s Association. She helped establish veterans treatment courts in the county and a mental health treatment court in her district.

Dedicated volunteer

JBAM’s Volunteer of the Year is its first president, Rachel Loebl Serman. Serman was one of the founders of the organization in 2014.

Rachel Loebl Serman
Rachel Loebl Serman

Serman, a Huntington Woods-based attorney, has worked tirelessly over the years as an officer, board member, and committee member in all aspects of JBAM’s efforts to provide social, educational, and charitable activities. to members and the community.

Student scholarship

Each year, the JBAM awards a $1,500 scholarship to a law student who embodies the character and values ​​of the late attorney Charles J. Cohen. Cohen stressed the importance of legal education. JBAM chose to honor Cohen’s life and legacy by naming his scholarship after him.

The recipient of this year’s scholarship from the Charles J. Cohen Esq. The scholarship recipient is Louis Magidson, a sophomore at Mercy Law School, University of Detroit. A graduate of Michigan State University, he is the son of Detroit attorneys Rochelle Lento and Mark Magidson.

Louis Magidson
Louis Magidson

Louis Magidson majored in international relations and economics at Michigan State University. During his undergraduate studies, he studied in Brussels, Belgium, learning how the European Union works. Since then, he has explored many areas of law while working in several law firms.

Early Bird tickets through May 12 are $25 for members and $36 for others. Tickets purchased from May 13 cost $36 for members and $45 for others. To register, visit

For more information about the Jewish Bar Association of Michigan, visit or email Ellie Mosko at [email protected]

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