March Honored with 2013 Hillman Award

Jon G. March was named as the recipient of this year’s Hillman Award for his devotion to the Hillman Advocacy Program, a trial practice program run jointly by the Federal Bar Association of West Michigan and the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

Mr. March is one of a core group of attorneys who worked with United States District Court Judge Douglas Hillman from the early 1980's to develop the Hillman Advocacy Program. He has shared his trial experience and skill as well as his skills as a community actor in helping to teach newer attorneys the courtroom skills necessary to try a lawsuit. Craig H. Lubben, chair of Miller Johnson's litigation section, remarked "Jon is very deserving of this recognition. He has served at every level of the program including as a member of the steering committee, program chair, faculty member, and as a witness. He has also delivered a 'civility speech' reminding bright young lawyers that the goal of a trial lawyer is to resolve disputes and courtesy and civility are important components in achieving that goal. He is an ideal model of the trial lawyer that the Hillman Advocacy Program seeks to develop."

Mr. March has more than 40 years of experience as a trial lawyer handling a wide variety of employment, commercial, and general civil litigation. In addition to his trial practice, he is an experienced facilitative mediator and has successfully mediated to settlement cases involving nearly every substantive area of the law.

Mr. March is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Michigan. He is a Fellow of several distinguished law-related organizations: the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the American Bar Foundation, and the State Bar of Michigan Foundation. Mr. March was honored as a Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyer's Weekly, is recognized in Chambers USA, is listed in the Best Lawyers in America, is Best Lawyers Grand Rapids Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year, and is named a Michigan Super Lawyer.

More than 30 years ago, Chief Justice Warren Burger observed that positive steps needed to be taken to improve the quality of advocacy in United States District Courts. Locally, the late Judge Douglas W. Hillman took up the challenge. Since 1981, the federal bench and the federal bar have worked together each year on the Hillman Advocacy Program to provide an intense 2 ½ day learn by doing seminar to improve trial skills. The bench dedicates its full attention, courtrooms and facilities for 2 ½ days. Prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers, and plaintiff and defense lawyers from the civil trial bar volunteer their time to teach.

Founded in 1959, Miller Johnson is a full-service firm providing legal counsel to businesses and individuals in areas such as business and corporate, employment and labor, litigation, employee benefits, family law, and estate planning. In November 2012, U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers awarded Miller Johnson with high rankings for 34 practice areas in the Grand Rapids Metro area and 11 in Kalamazoo.

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