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SBM Blog
Lansing, MI
Edited by Janet Welch
Recent Activity
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The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed the Hon. Richard A. Santoni chief judge of the 8th District Court in Kalamazoo County for a term that will expire Dec. 31, 2015. Read the court's order. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted yesterday at SBM Blog
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Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed John Keuvelaar to the Bay County Probate Court. Keuvelaar has served as assistant prosecuting attorney in the Family Support Division for Bay County since 1998. He has managed dependent neglect, mental health and juvenile cases. Prior to his work in Bay County, he worked for the Gratiot County prosecutor's office. He is a Bay County child abuse protocol training instructor and has been a presenter to the Gratiot County Multi-County Sexual Assault Program, the State Court Administrative Office Child Welfare Conference, and the Department of Human Services family-to-family kick-off community. Keuvelaar earned a bachelor’s degree... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at SBM Blog
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Gov. Rick Snyder appointed David J. DiStefano to the Van Buren County Probate Court. DiStefano has most recently worked as a general practitioner focused on probate work in Van Buren County. He has also served as Bangor city attorney from 1987 to 2014 and as general counsel for multiple companies. He is a member of the Van Buren County Economic Development Corp. board of directors and the Van Buren County Restorative Justice Committee. He previously served on the Van Buren County Mental Health Board and the Bangor Public School Board. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan Pro Bono Initiative will sponsor the Annual Spring Pro Bono Workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 19 at the SBM Michael Franck Building in Lansing. The training will help legal services providers access the tools they need to recruit pro bono attorneys and to successfully and efficiently manage pro bono programs. Many topics will be discussed, including Future of Legal Services, ABA Pro Bono Standards, 2015 Update on Pro Bono Standards, Techniques for Recruiting Pro Bono Attorneys, Successfully Managing Your Pro Bono Program, Using Technology to Enhance Your Pro Bono Program, Planning and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan invites all law firms of two or more attorneys to apply for the 2015 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, which recognizes every firm that fully complied with the State Bar's Voluntary Pro Bono Standard during 2014. The application deadline is April 4. Both volunteer legal services for low-income individuals and organizations and financial support for eligible nonprofit organizations providing free civil legal aid for the poor are included in the Voluntary Pro Bono Standard. The Pro Bono Standard calls for lawyers to annually take three pro bono cases, devote at least 30 hours of pro... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Four teams have won top honors in the State Bar of Michigan 41st Annual Wade H. McCree Jr. Awards for the Advancement of Justice. The first McCree Award goes to a Michigan Radio team, including Jennifer Guerra, Sarah Alvarez and Sarah Hulett. Their series, called “Finding Home: A Documentary about Foster Care in Michigan,” investigated improvements made to Michigan’s foster care system, which oversees the care of over 13,000 children and has been under federal oversight since 2008. The series of reports introduced listeners to the system by examining the lives of the Kley family, who adopted three foster children.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at SBM Blog
State Bar of Michigan President Thomas C. Rombach has appointed distinguished legal leaders to a new 21st Century Practice Task Force to recommend how the State Bar can best support lawyers’ professional development in a rapidly changing legal marketplace. The task force will also look at the potential for modernizing Michigan’s attorney regulation in response to those changes. SBM Past Presidents Julie Fershtman, of Farmington Hills, and Bruce Courtade, of Grand Rapids, will co-chair the task force. Some of the other members of the task force include three other past presidents of the State Bar, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at SBM Blog
Eric Liu, a civics educator and founder of Citizens University, thinks we need to make civics education sexy again. He thinks we make civics sexy by empowering amateur political activists (ordinary citizens) to take action on local political issues, so that they begin to understand power and government within their local communities. What do you think? Do you have any ideas on how we can work together to make civics education better? How about ideas on improving Law Day or Constitution Day? All ideas are welcome. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Do you know a lawyer who always goes above and beyond the call of duty? A lawyer who has exhibited the highest standards of practice and commitment for the benefit of others? Please nominate him or her for an Unsung Hero Award today. The deadline for submitting your nomination is March 13. The State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly gives out Unsung Hero Awards each year at the SBM Annual Meeting. Last year's winner, Susan Reed, believes everyone deserves quality legal defense regardless of the horrific crimes they are accused of committing. She has represented drug dealers, serial rapists, and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at SBM Blog
James L. Shonkwiler, Jr. of Grand Ledge, died February 24 at the age of 79, after a long and exemplary career in criminal justice. He was a 1963 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, developing a passion for criminal justice by serving as court-appointed counsel for indigent criminal defendants, serving in leading capacities for most of Michigan's criminal justice enterprises. In 1967, he was appointed associate director of the Michigan Crime Commission. In 1970, when the Commission created the first state-level office in the United States to train and support county prosecutors -- the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section has launched a new “Everyday Justice” Instagram photo competition. There is a separate contest for middle school students (in grades six through eight) and high school students (in grades nine through 12). To enter the contest, middle school students must take a photo that illustrates what people in their community can do to exemplify justice every day, then upload the photo to Instagram on or before March 14 with the hashtag #SBMjusticeeverydayMS. High school students must take a photo that illustrates what people in their community can do to exemplify justice every... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed two federal members to the Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum. Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Jeff J. Davis will serve a term ending July 1, 2016. The Hon. Timothy P. Greeley will serve a term ending July 1, 2017. Read the order. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at SBM Blog
Governor Rick Snyder appointed T. David Law to the 52-1 District Court in Oakland County on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Law has served as assistant attorney general in the Children & Youth Division of the Michigan Department of Attorney General. He has also previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives and the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office. Law earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from the Detroit College of Law. He fills the seat left by the departure of the Hon. Dennis N. Powers. Posted by... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed a number of chief judges to courts across the state for terms that begin immediately and end Dec. 31, 2015. Judge Roy Hayes III has been appointed chief judge of the 33rd Circuit Court. Judge. Ward Clarkson has been appointed chief judge of the 35th Circuit Court. Judge Kathleen Brickley has been appointed chief judge of the 36th Circuit Court, the 7th District Court and the Van Buren County Probate Court. Judge Margaret Noe has been appointed chief judge of the 2A District Court. Judge Gregory Clifton has been appointed chief judge of the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at SBM Blog
The third annual State Bar of Michigan Law Day creative contest is now open for entries. Participants should submit a creative entry illustrating the 2015 Law Day theme, "Symbols of Freedom Under Law." Contestants are encouraged to tie one or more Michigan Legal Milestones to the 2015 theme in a creative project. Examples of creative projects include essays, debates, mock trials, podcasts, dramatic or musical plays, reenactments, short documentaries, board games, video games, and more. Electronic submissions are highly encouraged. More than $3,000 in prizes will be awarded to winning entries. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed the Hon. John Donahue as business court judge in Berrien County. The appointment is effective immediately and will expire April 1, 2019. Read the court's order. Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Governor Rick Snyder appointed Judge Paul J. Bridenstine to the Ninth Circuit Court and Christopher Haenicke to the Eighth District Court in Kalamazoo County. Judge Paul J. Bridenstine has served as chief judge of the Eighth District Court since 2000 and will be replaced by Haenicke. Judge Bridenstine will move into the seat vacated by Judge J. Richardson Johnson. Prior to serving on the bench, Judge Bridenstine served as assistant prosecuting attorney with the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office from 1992 to 2000. In addition to serving on the bench, Judge Bridenstine teaches political science at Western Michigan University. He has... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan Practice Management Resource Center will present a solo and small firm seminar called “Bootcamp: Starting a 21st Century Law Firm” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the State Bar of Michigan Michael Franck building, located at 306 Townsend St. in downtown Lansing. Victoria Vuletich, a professor who teaches professional responsibility at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, and Dan Linna Jr., an assistant dean for career development and professor who teaches litigation at Michigan State University College of Law, will present the seminar’s keynote address on the fundamental and irreversible changes occurring... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the Michigan Department of Attorney General had just cause to terminate Andrew Shirvell, and that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits. The appeals court affirmed a circuit court's order, which held that "there was competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record to support that there was just cause to terminate Shirvell and properly held that the termination was not arbitrary or capricious." The appeals court reversed the circuit court's order on Shirvell's unemployment eligibility, ruling that the circuit court "erred in concluding that Shirvell did not engage in misconduct that disqualified... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The justices of the Michigan Supreme Court selected Robert P. Young Jr. to serve for a third two-year term as chief justice of the court. Chief Justice Young has served on the court since 1999, and was elected and re-elected to the court in 2002 and 2010. He has served as chief justice since 2011. Chief Justice Young says he plans to continue implementing innovations that will better measure court performance and increase efficiency while improving service to the public. "Being allowed to stay on as chief justice allows us continuity to build on that record of success and move... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court reappointed Hon. Michael Smith, Hon. Mark Boonstra, Hon. James Redford, Hon. Michael Warren, Thomas Van Dusen and Thomas Waun, and appointed Gary Felty Jr. to the Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions. All will serve terms beginning Jan. 1, 2015 and ending Dec. 31, 2017. The Supreme Court also reappointed Hon. James Redford chairperson of the committee. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2015 at SBM Blog
The Michigan Supreme Court reappointed Rafael Villarruel and Mary Rubio and appointed Hon. Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger to the Foreign Language Board of Review. All three will serve terms beginning Jan. 1, 2015 and ending Dec. 31, 2017. Read the order. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Governor Rick Snyder has appointed David Fischer to the Judicial Tenure Commission for a three-year term that will expire Dec. 31, 2017. Fischer is the chairman and CEO of the Suburban Collection in Novi. He is chairman emeritus of the North American International Auto Show, on the board of trustees for the College for Creative Studies and an emeritus director for the Detroit Institute of Arts. He has a bachelor's degree in business from Parson's College. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2014 at SBM Blog
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An audio recording and materials from a program outlining best practices for language access in Michigan's courts are now available to the public on the State Bar of Michigan website. The materials were originally distributed at a panel discussion sponsored by the SBM Equal Access Initiative and Committee on Justice Initiatives on Friday, September 19 at the SBM Annual Meeting in DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. The Michigan Supreme Court adopted language access rules in September of 2013 to assure access to justice for people with limited English proficiency. All of the state’s trial courts have adopted plans to improve... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2014 at SBM Blog
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All Michigan attorneys are encouraged to participate in a day of service on the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The State Bar of Michigan has created an online resource guide to help lawyers find community service and pro bono volunteer opportunities within their local communities on Jan. 19. The new Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service resource guide will help lawyers search for pro bono service opportunities by county. Attorneys can also find younger attorneys to mentor on SBM’s mentor board or look for community service volunteer opportunities in their local communities. Attorneys who can’t dedicate time to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at SBM Blog