Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Local attorney and OU alumnus to receive social justice award
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant
An Oakland University alumnus is being honored by the Federal Bar Association for his contributions of more than 40 years in the legal profession.
Birmingham attorney Martin Reisig will receive this year’s Wade H. McCree Jr. Award for the Advancement of Social Justice, which recognizes individuals and organizations for “advancing social justice in areas involving poverty, promoting economic or educational opportunity, or fighting discrimination involving race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion or economic status.”
During his career, Reisig has served in various roles, including federal defender, appellate defender, mediator, criminal defense attorney and chief of the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As an adjunct professor at the Detroit Mercy School of Law, the veteran litigator has taught trial practice, evidence, legal ethics and advanced mediation. He is also a former president and board member of the Oakland Mediation Center and has chaired the Oakland County Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution and Criminal Law committees.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Oakland University in 1967, Reisig went on to graduate from Wayne State University Law School in 1970. While a student at Oakland, Reisig served as a resident assistant and was editor in chief of the university’s first student review of faculty, an experience that produced warm friendships with peers and university leaders, including OU founder Matilda Dodge Wilson and Woody Varner, Oakland’s first chancellor.
“Matilda would invite us to dinner to ask how things were going,” Reisig recalled. “A lot of people took an interest in what we were doing.”
Additionally, Reisig helped organize the first trip abroad for OU students and supported political efforts to ensure funding for smaller universities. Much of Reisig’s legal career has been devoted to improving the justice system, particularly through his work on behalf of indigent clients. Today, he sits on the alumni board of Oakland’s Department of Political Science, working with other leaders to provide guidance and help students pursue opportunities after graduation.
“We are very proud of Marty,” said David Dulio, Ph. D., associate professor and chair of OU’s political science department. “Many of the attributes that are at the core of this award are also seen in his deep commitment to the university.”
Reisig credits his Oakland education with providing the skills to achieve lasting success, both personally and professionally.
“I could not have been happier,” Reisig said of his OU experience. “I grew socially and academically, and I had great relationships with faculty and students who have contributed to society in amazing ways. Most of all, I learned that, by yourself, you can do very little. Most accomplishments are team efforts, so I owe a tremendous amount to my time with OU.”
Reisig will receive his award at a luncheon on Monday, March 5, at Detroit’s Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.