THE LIFE IN THEIR YEARS Asher Brothers’ Legacy Lives On

June 3, 2016
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When, on May 13, 2016, Anthony A. Asher, CEO and President of leading Michigan law firm Sullivan, Ward, Asher & Patton, P.C., addressed the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Class of 2016, and accepted a posthumous Doctor of Laws, honoris causa degree on behalf of his brother, George J. Asher, it certainly was a newsworthy event. But it certainly was not the whole story. To fully appreciate what is essentially only one chapter of a compelling tale, more details must be shared.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.” As many in the region can attest, the veracity of this statement has never been better demonstrated than in the lives and accomplishments of Michigan brothers George J., and Anthony A. Asher.

The brothers were born to Syrian immigrants who died when the eldest son, George, was sixteen. George left school at that time to support and raise his younger siblings, including Anthony, thirteen (13) years his junior. George subsequently entered the University of Detroit School of Law at night while working by day as a Labor Relations Representative.  He developed a reputation for relentless pursuit to end fraud in the building trades, for fostering ethical business practices, and for establishing consumer safeguards. Eventually, George became the Executive Secretary of The Better Heating & Cooling Bureau. Tragically, in 1963, shortly before completing his law degree, George died of complications of hemophilia.

Inspired by his older brother, Anthony followed in George’s footsteps to the University of Detroit School of Law, and was a first year law student at the time of George’s death. Anthony developed his law practice to include the issues and interests shared by his brother. Today, forty years later, he represents numerous trade and professional organizations, and counsels companies in the construction, automotive and industrial fields. Known for holding service providers responsible and accountable for their services to Taft-Hartley Funds, Anthony has negotiated some of the largest multimillion dollar settlements in the country. Along the way, he rose to become a named partner, and President and CEO, of Sullivan, Ward, Asher & Patton, P.C., one of Michigan’s most respected law firms.

To honor his brother and mentor, and to underscore George’s dedication to service, Anthony made a generous gift to the law school both brothers attended, to purchase and renovate the building that now bears George’s name: George J. Asher Law Clinic Center. The historic building was dedicated in 2012 and to date has provided pro bono (free) legal services to hundreds who otherwise could not afford legal counsel and representation.

Perhaps the best part of this story is that the final chapter is yet to be written, and may never be, thanks to the integrity, determination, and passion of beloved George Asher.