State Bar's ADR Section announces award winners


The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan recently announced that the following individuals are the recipients of the ADR Section’s major awards in 2023.

The award recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Saint John’s Resort in Plymouth.

Sheldon J. Stark is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.  

Stark has made significant contributions to the field of alternative dispute resolution. He was chair of the ADR Section from 2016-2017, chair or co-chair of the ADR Section’s Skills Action Team for many years, created and chaired the ADR Section’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Team Book Club for several years.

Stark has been a long-term contributor to all the activities of the section over many years, including creating and presenting at many Section events, seminars, Lunch and Learns, and many articles for The Michigan Dispute Resolution Journal. He is a past chair of the SBM Labor and Employment Law Section, He received the Labor and Employment Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009. In 2010, he received the Michael Franck Award from the State Bar Representative Assembly for outstanding contributions to the improvement of the profession. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He received the ADR Section’s Bashara Award in 2015.

Stark is a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi). For more than a decade, he served as a trainer in the Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s mediation and advanced mediation training programs, including its award-winning, 40-hour, hands-on general civil mediation training, where he has been part of a team that trained over 1000 mediators.

Zenell Brown is the recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion Award. Brown has focused on DEI initiatives and activities that have enriched the members of the SBM’s ADR Section and Michigan’s legal community. She is frequently asked to speak and facilitate DEI workgroups and conferences. She is the author of  “Coffee and Conversations: Inclusion and Belonging.”

Brown recently retired from the Third Judicial Circuit Court as its executive court administrator. In that role, she championed several DEI activities on behalf of the court.

Brown is currently the president of the Detroit Bar Association and a co-chair of the Detroit Bar’s committee on Diversity and Inclusion, where she has been instrumental in developing programming and activities to celebrate and highlight diversity within the DBA. Brown co-chairs the committee on Diversity and Inclusion for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and has served the ADR Section of the SBM as its secretary from 2019-21, a board member, Public Mediation Action Team chairperson (2019), and council member from 2018-2022.

Anne Bachle Fifer is the recipient of the Nanci S. Klein Award. Anne’s commitment to community mediation predates Michigan’s 33-year-old Community Dispute Resolution Program (“CDRP”). This award recognizes Anne for her pivotal role in creating a solid local and statewide foundation for community mediation, and for nurturing that work through years of leadership in both administering programs as staff and as a volunteer, and providing training for many hundreds of people, including lawyers, who have gone on to serve as volunteer mediators and board members at CDRP centers.

Nakisha Chaney is the recipient of the Hero of ADR Award.  Chaney has held various roles with the ADR Section, including chair of the 2022 Annual Conference, co-chair of the Skills Action Team, presenter at the Young Lawyers Section Annual Meeting, and moderator of a presentation at the ADR Section Annual Conference.

Chaney is a graduate of Oberlin College, a graduate of University of Michigan Law School, clerked for two years at the Michigan Supreme Court, practiced with Dickinson Wright and is presently Of Counsel to Salvatore, Prescott, Porter, & Porter.  She has served on the  State Bar Character & Fitness Committee and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School.

Jennifer M. Grieco and Zena Zumeta are recipients of the George N. Bashara Jr. Award. This award recognizes Grieco for her distinguished service this year as chair-elect of the ADR Section, chair of the 2023 Annual ADR Conference, chair of the newly developed Social Media Action Team, and chair of the Awards Committee.  This award recognizes Zumeta for her distinguished service over the last two years as co-chair of the Skills Action Team.

Grieco concentrates her practice in the area of complex commercial litigation. She is a certified mediator and is routinely asked to mediate or arbitrate disputes.

Grieco  is a former president of the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association and currently serves on the ABA’s  Standing Committee on Professionalism and the State Bar’s Committee on Professionalism and Civility.

Zumeta is internationally known as both a mediator and trainer of mediators. She is president of the Mediation Training & Consultation Institute, Zena Zumeta Mediation Services and the Collaborative Workplace in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

She is a past recipient of the ADR Sections’ Distinguished Service Award, the Family Mediation Council-Michigan Lifetime Achievement in Mediation Award, The National Education Association/Saturn Corporation Award for Union-Management Collaboration, the John Haynes Distinguished Mediation Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution, and the Kumba Award from the National Conference on Minorities in ADR.


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