Michael W. Irish Award

The Michael W. Irish Award was created to honor a practitioner (supported by recommendations from his or her peers) whose contributions to the Probate and Estate Planning Section and whose service to his or her community reflect the high standards of professionalism and selflessness exemplified by Michael W. Irish.

The Michael W. Irish Award was first presented in 1995 in honor of the late Michael W. Irish. The award reflects the professionalism and community leadership of its namesake.

2018—Nancy L. Little
2016—Douglas A. Mielock
2015—No award presented
2014—Sebastian V. Grassi Jr.
2013—Michael J. McClory
2012—No award presented
2011—John A. Scott
2010—Fredric A. Sytsma
2009—Russell M. Paquette (posthumously)
2008—Susan A. Westerman
2007—George Cooney
2006—Hon. Phillip E. Harter
2005—No award presented
2004—Brian V. Howe
2003—No award presented
2002—Everett R. Zack
2001—John E. Bos
2000—No award presented
1999—James A. Kendall
1998—Douglas J. Rasmussen
1997—Harold A. Draper
1996—John H. Martin
1995—Joe C. Foster Jr.

Cooney Award

This award is presented by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan to a Michigan estate planning attorney for outstanding contributions to continuing legal education in Michigan.


  • Nancy L. Little (2022)
  • Michele C. Marquart (2020)
  • George W. Gregory (2017)
  • Phillip E. Harter (2015)
  • John A. Scott (2013)
  • John H. Martin (2011)
  • Everett R. Zack (2009)
  • John E. Bos (2007)

This award is not necessarily given every year. The award is presented at the Annual Probate & Estate Planning Institute. ICLE will invite the recipient to attend the Institute, and one of the Section officers will present the individual award at the start of the Institute.

With George Cooney’s passing, the State Bar of Michigan lost one of its premier estate planning and elder law attorneys. The Section and ICLE have chosen to jointly create the George A. Cooney Society to recognize a select group of lawyers who epitomize George's dedication to his fellow attorneys and in recognition of his long-term, significant contributions to continuing legal education in Michigan.

ICLE will nominate candidates based upon the specific criteria contained in the Guidelines for Selection and will send a nominating letter to the Section for approval by the Executive Board. The Section’s leadership and at-large members may also recommend candidates to ICLE for consideration.

Guidelines for Selection

  • Significant CLE contributions to probate and estate planning over a substantial period of time.
  • Outstanding quality of contributions.
  • A wide range of contributions, e.g. multiple contributions for the following: speaker, author, editor, advisory board member, curriculum advisor, creating case study scenarios, preparing Top Tips, How-To Kits or other online resources, etc.
  • Generous mentorship and assistance to colleagues with their probate and estate planning career development as well as activities and active involvement with the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan.