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October 25, 2002 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-25

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man of the Governor's Domestic
Violence Task Force and instrumental
in helping to create personal protec-
tion orders in Michigan.
He authored the Child Custody Act
of 1970, used as a legislative model by
other states. His work in this area has
become nationally known for the pro-
tection of the abused spouse. Baskin
received the Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Family Law Section of
the State Bar Association.
"It was just a fluke," is the way
Baskin describes the incident in which
a youngster hit him with the car
phone in anger while Baskin was driv-
ing him and a parent to the airport to
conclude a custody case. "He didn't
like the judge's decision in the adop-
tion case, so he took it out on me.
Those things happen."
Oakland County Probate and
Family Judge Barry Grant recalls
appointing Baskin to represent a
youngster in a child-abuse case and
said the attorney "not only did it pro
bono (for free), but he continued to
help the family afterward. He does a
lot of behind-the-scenes charity work
in family abuse cases. He's very effi-
cient in the use of his time in both his
legal work and his charity responsibili-
ties."
Judge Grant, who has known Baskin
for 25 years, also serves with him on
the Michigan Judicial Tenure
Commission, which makes rulings on
the conduct of judges.
"Henry is very objective in his eval-
uation of judicial conduct and he
brings to the commission the excellent
viewpoint of a trial attorney," said the
judge.
Baskin is past president of the
Oakland County Bar Association and
was named one of the Ten Most
Influential Lawyers in Michigan.
Judges and lawyers alike agree there
couldn't be a better choice than Baskin
for the Champion of Justice Award
because he's such an enthusiastic sup-
porter of the law and the downtrod-
den, stemming from his volunteer
defense of indigents arrested during
the Detroit riots of 1967.
His legal acumen often emerges as
host of the long-running TV program
Due Process on WDIV-TV, Channel 4,
at 6 a.m. Saturdays. Baskin's show cov-
ers all of the topical legal issues.
"It's up to the legal community to
maintain the integrity of the system,"
he said. "Lawyers must believe in the
system ... they have to really believe in
a just result — and, eventually, there
will be justice for all."
While highly visible in his practice,

Baskin usually goes about his charity
work quietly, behind the scenes. He's a
founder of the Family AIDS Network
and MIRA (formerly the Mental
Illness Research Association) and
serves on boards and committees of a
number of charitable and professional
organizations.
Of his involvement in organizations
and charities, Baskin says simply: "I
want to be involved, and I'm able to
be involved, so I just do it." He's
pleased by a new attitude he's noticed
among other lawyers, who are doing
more pro bono work and taking on
additional charity endeavors.
Oakland County Circuit Judge
Deborah Tyner called Baskin "a real
pro in both his legal and charity work.
He's always well prepared in court,
wastes no time, is well respected by
lawyers and clients alike and is very
loyal and friendly."
Appointed by Gov. John Engler to
the Oakland University Board of
Trustees six years ago, Baskin is credit-
ed with championing the unprece-
dented growth for the school in enroll-
ment, new degree programs and aca-
demic and student-support programs
and facilities. Being named OU board
chairman by fellow board members is
"icing on the cake," he says; but the
position presents challenges. He plans
more expansion as enrollment increas-
es, but needs financial support from
alumni and local industry in order to
hold the line on tuition.
He's proud to have funded a chair in
Judaic Studies at Oakland in memory
of his parents, Gladys and Max
Baskin, who died one week apart in
1999. Teaching a Judaica class each
semester as one of the course instruc-
tors is Rabbi Dannel Schwartz of
Temple Shir Shalom in West
Bloomfield, where Baskin is a member
of the board of trustees. He's accepted
another new challenge of striving to
improve the school system there.
"Henry has a good heart and a good
soul, is very intelligent and is a fierce
competitor," Rabbi Schwartz observed.
"He really created his own breaks in
life. There's an old saying that you
can't change the wind, but you can
trim your sails. That's what Henry did
to develop into the person and profes-
sional that he is."
"Henry's life is the law," said Dietle.
"And he thrives on his courtroom
work and his professional and charity
activities. He's handled some tough,
serious cases, but he's always main-
tained a great sense of humor, and
that's what makes him a well-rounded
individual." C.

.

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