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The 2019 Detroit Bar Legal Scholar Program
Call for Submissions

Drawing from the example of the Nobel Foundation in Sweden and its recognition of creative contributions in important professional and academic subject matter fields, the Detroit Bar Association has established the Detroit Bar Legal Scholar Program to recognize each year original legal work product that advances the field of law and offers the application of new ideas that address the social, educational, economic and/or human advancement of the State of Michigan.

We request submissions that address the following Mega Question for 2019:

“How could current legal/judicial tools and/or new ones be innovatively applied to optimize investment for economic growth and advancement of the residents of Michigan and then serve as a model nationally?”

The criteria for evaluation of submissions shall consist of the following three elements:

  1. Is the submission original work product based upon erudite legal research and methodology?
  2. Does the submission engage in problem solving as to how the Mega Question may be pragmatically and constructively addressed?
  3. Does the submission advance creative thinking through the innovative application of existing or new means employed in Michigan, other US jurisdictions and/or globally?

The deadline for submission is May 15, 2019. Please view this pdf for a background reference paper that may be helpful in addressing the Mega Question this year. Submissions shall only be accepted from members of the Detroit Bar Association in good standing. Submissions shall be electronically provided in a PDF format not exceeding 30 pages in length to the Detroit Bar Executive Director at A submission fee of $25.00 US payable electronically here  is required to begin the evaluation process. By way of providing a submission, the author(s) agree that Detroit Bar in its sole discretion may without restriction or expense reproduce, publish, and use in an electronic or written format any such submission.

Selection and Recognition of the Detroit Bar Legal Scholar

Based upon the submissions meeting the evaluation criteria above, we may select on or before May 31, 2019 the author(s) of a specific submission to be awarded the designation of 2019 Detroit Bar Legal Scholar. The author(s) of the approved submission shall be recognized at the Detroit Bar’s Annual Meeting in June and Archer Award Gala in November. The biographical information of the selected Detroit Bar Legal Scholar, together with the successful submission, shall be published either electronically or in writing. Any other submissions may also be published electronically or in writing as references for public use.


2018 Detroit Legal Scholar Winner

We requested submissions that addressed the following Mega Question for 2018:

“How could current legal/judicial tools and/or new ones be innovatively applied to optimize the present and future well-being of our children at risk after being expelled from public schools in Michigan and then serve as a model nationally?”

The DBA Legal Scholars for 2018 and her submissions is:

Our 2017 Mega Question addressed the application of creative legal tools to optimize the rebirth of neighborhoods within the City of Detroit:

“How could current legal tools and/or new ones be innovatively applied to assist in the redevelopment of Detroit’s neighborhoods?”

After review of the three submissions responsive to the Mega Question by the Program’s volunteer internal committee consisting of DBA Board Members Katherine Fox and Julia A. Perkins and a long-time DBA member Christopher J. Webb, the committee unanimously recommended to the DBA Board that each of the authors of the three submissions was worthy of recognition at this year’s DBA Annual Meeting and the recommendation was approved by the DBA Board of Directors.

The DBA Legal Scholars for 2017 and their respective submissions are:

Each of these submissions will be published on the DBA website for review and comment by our members and the public at large. The submissions will be formally shared with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the 2017 recipient of the Archer Award, at its gala event this coming fall.


Katherine Fox, Wayne State University Law School
Julia A. Perkins, Varnum LLP
Christopher J. Webb, Law & ADR Offices of Christopher J. Webb, JD, PLC