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    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Bill Sankbeil: Cook-Friedman Civility Award

Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 26, 2012

Bill Sankbeil

William “Bill” Sankbeil, my good friend and legal counsel, is not just another lawyer. Without exaggeration, I can say his advice, strategy, and encouragement has been pivotal to me personally and professionally. When I first met him, I sensed right away that he was honest, hard-working, and possessed a top legal mind. Now, after working with him for five years, his consistent professionalism and competency has only deepened my respect.

Essentially, what separates Bill is his willingness to go the extra mile for his clients. Indeed, I remember the first week I met him, apologizing for having to call him at his lake house in Northern Michigan. He ended up working most of the weekend on an urgent matter without complaint. I wasn’t just impressed; I was blown away. Think about it. Here is one of the perennial “Who’s Who” top legal counsels dropping his weekend plans to help out a new client he hardly knows. Over time, I realized this high-level of personalized service was standard operating procedure for Bill.

Predictably, a person cannot sow into others lives for multiple decades like Bill has without reaping a bountiful harvest in return. Bill Sankbeil is reaping that harvest and recently received the much-deserved prestigious Cook-Friedman Civility Award. According to the Federal Bar Association (FBA) in the Eastern District of Michigan:

This award will be called the Julian Abele Cook, Jr.- Bernard A. Friedman FBA Civility Award, in recognition of the dedication to civility of two outstanding jurists: former Chief Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr.,  who, in 1998, constituted the first Civility Committee in the Eastern District of Michigan and fostered the implementation of the Court’s Civility Principles; and Chief Judge Bernard A. Friedman who formed the Court’s second Civility Committee in 2007, and fostered the implementation of the Eastern District’s “Lawyer’s Commitment of Professional Civility.”

The Julian Abele Cook, Jr. – Bernard A. Friedman FBA Civility Award shall be awarded yearly at the Chapter’s Annual Dinner.

In selecting an attorney to receive the award, the following criteria shall be utilized:

1. The attorney has been significantly engaged in the practice of civil law;
2. The attorney demonstrates the highest levels of legal competency and Professionalism;
3. The attorney’s conduct is in accordance with the highest standards of professional integrity and personal courtesy as set forth in the Civility Principles of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan;
4. The attorney has demonstrated, while fulfilling the fundamental duty to represent clients vigorously, a mindfulness of the equally important obligation to the administration of justice, which is a truth-seeking process designed to resolve human and societal problems in a rational, peaceful and efficient manner; and
5. The attorney is guided by a fundamental sense of dignity, decency, candor and fair play.

This award is a fitting capstone for the Bill’s prolific career of character-centered service to numerous firms and individuals. It is added to his already impressive list of accomplishments documented below:

Mr. Sankbeil is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as the Chair of the Michigan State Committee (2002-2004). He is listed in the Bet the Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation and Antitrust Law categories in the “Best Lawyers in America” (in all editions since its inception), “Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business”, and in “Michigan Super Lawyers”.  He is also a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, a former President of the Wayne State Law Alumni Association (1985-1987), is currently serving on the Executive Committee, Board of Visitors Wayne State University Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and served as the Chairperson, Antitrust Law Section in 1981-1982 and was a member of the Mediation Rule Committee, appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court in 1994. He is a member of the American Bar Association and served as a Council member of the Antitrust Law Section from 1992-1995, was Vice Chair of the Antitrust Law Section in 1995-1996, Chaired or was Vice Chair of various other committees, and served on numerous other task forces. Mr. Sankbeil is also a member of the Litigation Section. He is listed in “An International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers” and in “A Guide to the World’s Leading Competition and Antitrust Lawyers”. Mr. Sankbeil has been a speaker at numerous seminars and programs concerning various aspects of litigating complex cases. Mr. Sankbeil is a graduate, cum laude, of Wayne State University Law School. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University.

For me, no matter how impressive Bill’s awards are, what I am most impressed with is for forty-plus years, Bill practiced the legal profession with class and character. Few, in the rough and tumble legal atmosphere, can claim that victory. Congratulations Bill Sankbeil, your dignity, decency, and integrity are a model for the next-generation of barristers around the world.


Orrin Woodward

61 Responses to “Bill Sankbeil: Cook-Friedman Civility Award”

  1. wow! It is so inspiring to read this story. It fill me with hope for a world where so often we hear of people with no character, and here, in the midst of all that, is a man who stands tall by his moral conviction! Thank you Bill Sankbeil for what you have done for Orrin Woodward and the entire TEAM, congratulations on your much deserved award, and most importantly to me, thank you for being a shining light in our world!

  2. Alex Obiden said

    It is truly incredible to have men of this caliber serving society in such a whole hearted and caring way. To sacrifice personal pleasure, vacation time, to serve others is remarkable, and very noteworthy. It was my privilege to read this blog, and I am glad I did. Bill’s example is something we mustn’t take lightly. A life of service is a life of legacy. Thank you Bill.

  3. Tim Marks said

    You got right Orrin, simply put: Big Bill is the man! And totally deserves this award

  4. Rob Crichlow said

    It is good to see good people being recognized for living a life of high standards and a servant heart. Thanks for posting this Orrin.

  5. Chuck said

    A wonderful tribute, especially given industry and its reputation and tendancies.

  6. Deach said

    Sounds like this guy is a real gem! You didn’t fall in with such an honorable person by chance. Thanks for sharing, it’s a wonderful story (=^_^=)

  7. Maribel Damphousse said

    Thank you Orrin for introducing Mr Sankbeil and the man of character that he is by who he is, his beliefs, his work ethics and his results. He is a light of hope in a public service that can easily be corrupted. Congratulations to Mr. Sankbeil!

  8. Rob Robson said

    Sure am grateful he’s on our side!

  9. george guzzardo said

    Orrin, Bill is a very busy man. I had a similar experience with him. I had called him about something that on a scale of 1 to 10 on importance ranked 1. He called me back as soon as he was free and was willing to give me personal attention on the matter even though i know he had a mountain of important issues. I can’t tell you how that one experience impressed me. Congratulations on your achievement Bill! Thanks for all you do. George

    • Michelle Mielke said

      I don’t know Bill, yet through this article I have learned valuable insight in what it takes to be a master at your profession. Thank you Bill, even though I’ve never met you, your influence with people I care deeply about has trickled down to me. I pray someday we will meet, but not for legal counsel of the negative type.

  10. Randy Donais said

    It certainly pays to know the right people and its nice to have somebody on your side who is not just a professional but a friend.

  11. Jeanette said

    This represents the type of modern day heros our children need to hear, see, & learn from! It does give hope to know that people of this caliber are still out there within America’s legal system! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Bill Eder said

    Wow! Guess this makes all the negative stories about lawyers just that, negative drivill. It is so refreshing to hear aboat men of integrity and character such as Bill Sankbeil. Our culture sure needs more men of this caliber. Thanks Orrin for the continuing messages of hope.

    • Bill, it really does give us hope that there are people out there who will go the extra mile and do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. You too exemplify those qualities just like Bill Sankbeil.

  13. Juleen Ray said

    Mr Sankbeil, congratulations on your award!!! America…the world…needs more role models of excellent living in action.

  14. jimmy varghese said

    awesome!congrats! great to hear our leaders surround themselves wit the best of the best!

  15. Joanne Brandtjen said

    Impressive! It is great to hear the story of Bill Sankbeil, know he is on our side and that there are people of character in a profession that is oftentimes known for some shady operations.
    Congratulations to Mr. Sankbeil for holding the line on integrity!!

  16. Elaine Mallios said

    Kudos to Mr. Sankbeil. I will be sure to mention his name for my friends in Michigan.

    • Elaine,

      You know the power of networking and you and Charlie know everyone so I am sure there might be a connection that knows both Bill and you.

  17. Wes Smith said

    Amazing story of a man Living Intentionally For Excellence.

  18. Imelda Roman said

    Congratulations to Mr. William “Bill” Sankbeil! It is great to hear such great accolades about someone in a profession that has so many times been tarnished by the wrong doers. Stories like these keep hope and faith alive.

  19. Great post Orrin and congratulations to Bill Sankbeil! I am sure we will be hearing more great stories about this man as he seems to have played a large part in where we are today with LIFE.

  20. Brandon Perry said

    Awesome! Great to see there are some great men and women out there doing right with their lives. Thank you for continuing to point out these individuals for all of us to read about.

  21. Marlaena said

    Orrin – Awesome edification!

  22. Dennis Squires said

    Thank you for sharing, it is important that we be reminded of the good in professions rather than just the bad….much like ours. It’s no wonder that God would send such a man to help you and our cause. A righteous cause draws righteous men.

  23. Eric Schilling said

    Thanks so much for your dedication!

  24. Ken Hendon said

    Wow, a great person dedicated to the rule of law! Fantastic!

  25. Tammy Broderick said

    Thank you Orrin for edifying Mr. Sankbeil. Too often all we hear about attorneys is what shysters they are!!!. Thank you for pointing out an outstanding example of service above self!

  26. Soupie Shaw said

    This is one of the many reasons for reading Orrin’s blogs it is just good news! Congratulations Mr. Sankbeil,

  27. Peggi Kern said

    Congratulations, Bill and thank you, Orrin for sharing his story! In a world where you hear all the negative, it’s so refreshing to shout about someone’s GREAT accomplishments!

  28. Denny Suggitt said

    Congradulation Bill !! It’s great to see there are still people of character that are willing to serve in a proffession where that has seemed to disappear.

  29. Travis said

    awesome, great to see a person dedicated to serving be awarded for it even when it sounds like he would’nt expect it. a joy to read blog, thanks.

  30. Keith Sieracki said

    Congratulations sir! What a great accomplishment!

  31. Thanks Orrin…great people associate with great people…thanks for leading the way!

    • Patrick Pflederer said

      Eric, I agree with you, it is such a privilege to be able to associate with great people and know that there are people that stand up for what’s right.

    • Tim Samuels said

      Eric, I have to say that the caliber of people I have meet and continue to associate with is incredible. Congratulations to Bill for his achievements and character.

    • Jason Winkler said

      Eric, how true on association – glad to be in such amazing association!

  32. Larry Chetham said


  33. Tom and Liz Moris said

    Thanks for shining light on the person that Bill is and his great achievement. If this kind of edifying and encouraging news would be in the mainstream media our world would be a very different place. Congratulations to you Bill…it sounds like you have been a blessing in many people’s lives!

  34. teri smith said

    It is always wonderful to hear the inspiring true stories of people with character being honored in a society that glosses over the good and hurries on to the sensationalism that sells. Congratulations to Mr.Sankbeil and a heart of gratitude for his knowledge and guidance for Orrin and the Team.

  35. Jim Martin said

    Right on Orrin, the time I worked with Bill he did everything with professionalism and character, this award is well deserved. Way to go Bill!!!!!

    Thanks for all you do,

  36. Kim Decker said

    Orrin, It’s good to know there a few lawyers to actually do their job I have experienced and I am sure many others have the crookedness in the field they say they mastered. Honesty and integrity are hard to come by in any profession. Thank you for another great story on superiority

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Kim, Yup the distribution of lawyers, like all professions follow Sturgeon’s Law with 10% pretty good and 1% really good! Bill is a .001%. 🙂 thanks, Orrin

      • Steven Johnson said

        It looks like that can’t be more true! Thanks to Bill for serving. I do wonder if Bill has any good lawyer jokes, though.

  37. Orrin, what a great post about a man that will fight for justice. Bill Sankbeil is in a league with a very special friend of mine Judge Keith Anderson that passed away last week. The affect of these men in the judicial system will go on for many years. God bless men who stand for TRUTH

  38. I enjoy reading the PC blogs, they are amazing at edifying people, great examples to follow.

  39. Mary Hermsen said

    Congratulaitons, Bill! Without having read the others’ comments, I know undoubtedly that Bill has effected all of our lives. Thanks to all of you for putting up the good fight!

  40. Debra Mohr said

    IT is great to hear about men of his caliber serving. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Mary Spengler said

    Congratulations to you, Bill, and to all those who have benefited from your mentoring. How fortunate they are to know you and how fortunate for the people they will advise throughout their own careers. You have led the way, Bill, and young attorneys will be proud to say they “stood on your shoulders.” You are a giant in your profession and more than worthy of these accolades.

  42. Yancy Chaj said

    Congratulations Bill for your accomplishments and mostly demonstrating such courage , integrity , and honesty. What an example to so many people now a days we need to hear of people like you that exemplify a person of character. Thank you Orrin for showing us that example of great people like Bill and and letting the world know since most of the media mostly focus on the negative and rarely mentioning great people of today.
    Thank You

  43. Laurie Tallio said

    Congratulations to Bill Sankbeil on this award. It was easy to read how sincere your edification of him was, and there is a gratefulness that he was there during a time of great need.

  44. Mike Bouknight said

    Thank you Orrin for spotlighting men of great integrity like Mr. Sankbeil.

  45. Kirk Birtles said


    Bill gives lawyers a ‘Good-name’!

    Great post,


  46. Gyorgy & Anna Veszpremi said

    Dear Mr. Bill Sankbeil,

    Welcome to LIFE Leadership! We are all honored to have you on board.

    Dear Orrin,

    Fantastic job. Congratulations. It was great to see you in Madison last Saturday.

    Gyorgy & Anna Veszpremi

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