The Michigan State Bar Foundation has awarded our Executive Director, Marilyn Mullane, with its Access to Justice Award. The award honors persons who have significantly advanced access to justice for the poor in Michigan. The Michigan State Bar Foundation provides leadership and grants to improve access for all to the justice system, including support for civil legal aid to the poor, law-related education, and conflict resolution.
The Foundation issued the following press release:
Marilyn Mullane has been the Director of Michigan Legal Services since 2000. Under her leadership, the agency has provided impact-oriented legal services in the Detroit metropolitan region and operates an anti-homelessness project. Working closely with the United Community Housing Coalition, MLS has conducted extensive outreach services to and assisted numerous families facing foreclosure in Detroit. Ms. Mullane has specialized in housing and community development law for the past 30 years, with experience also working on access to utilities, public benefits, health and mental health care. She partners with many other legal aid providers; one example is working with Community Legal Resources, a program of Michigan Community Resources, to use volunteer business lawyers to assist nonprofit organizations throughout Michigan with transactional legal problems. MLS has served as counsel to a number of nonprofit community groups. Ms. Mullane has been a founding member or served on the board of directors for several organizations: the Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (1991 to 2012); Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation (1980 to present); The Heat Warmth Fund (THAW); Michigan Community Resources (1998 to present); Bridging Communities (2000 to present) and Center for Community Change, Public Housing Advisory Board (1988 to 1998). Ms. Mullane has received the National Lawyers Guild award; the Judith E. Magid Award; the Social and Economic Justice Award; the Ernest Goodman Award; several awards from the Detroit City Council for her work in housing, most recently in Tax Foreclosure Prevention; the Community Health Hero of the Year Award (2011) from MichUHCan and the Sol Schwartz Award (1999) for work on mental health issues from the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Oakland County. Before her work at MLS began in 1983, Ms. Mullane was a legal aid lawyer at Legal Aid and Defender and Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, attended graduate school at Columbia University and received her law degree from Wayne State University Law School. Foundation President Margaret Nichols said,
"Marilyn Mullane embodies the leadership and contributions this award recognizes through her dedication to ensuring access to justice for those in need."