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SBM Blog
Lansing, MI
Edited by Janet Welch
Recent Activity
The State Bar of Michigan dedicated the 39th Michigan Legal Milestone at noon on Thursday, Aug. 28, on the campus of Ferris State University. The milestone celebrates the perseverance of Governor G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams in ensuring that Ferris State University became a public university, even after the majority of campus burned down in a devastating fire in February of 1950. For more information, read a Michigan Bar Journal article about the most recent milestone. Visit the Michigan Legal Milestones website for more information on the program, overseen by the SBM Law Related Education and Public Outreach Committee, chaired by... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at SBM Blog
The State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly will present its Michael Franck and Unsung Hero awards to two outstanding members of the legal community on Thursday, Sept. 18 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. The presentation will take place at 9:30 a.m. during the assembly's general session, which is being held in conjunction with the SBM Annual Meeting. Michael Franck Award Julie I. Fershtman is a brave and bold leader. She paves the way in her field of equine law, traveling the country trying cases, writing books and a blog, and speaking to attorneys as an equine expert. She has... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at SBM Blog
The State Bar of Michigan Equal Access Initiative and Committee on Justice Initiatives will present a panel discussion on “Language Access – Best Practices in Michigan Courts” at 9 a.m. 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 access to the courts for those with limited English proficiency, and they are working with legal practitioners and their local communities... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at SBM Blog
The United States Department of Justice seeks applicants for the Attorney General’s Honors Program and the Summer Law Intern Program. Law students and eligible graduates can apply for the program online before Sept. 2. There are 207 Honors Program positions, including openings in the following components: Antitrust Division (14) Civil Division (29) Civil Rights Division (12) Criminal Division (12) Regular Trial Attorney (8) – These are permanent positions. Asset Forfeiture Fellowship Program (4) – This is a three-year fellowship which may be extended or converted to a permanent position. Drug Enforcement Administration (3) Environment & Natural Resources Division (15) Executive... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at SBM Blog
The State Bar of Michigan congratulates the SBM Young Lawyers Section for winning First Place Awards of Achievement in two out of four categories from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, as well as the Outstanding Public Service Award from the American Bar Endowment. The awards were presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston on Aug. 9. The SBM YLS won the Comprehensive Award of Achievement for the full breadth of new and expanded programs they offer throughout the 2013-2014 bar year, including their New Member Orientation, Sports & Entertainment Symposium, Annual Summit, public speaking workshop, immigration law... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at SBM Blog
The Hon. Claudia House Morcom died Aug. 17. A true civil rights giant, 50 years ago Judge Morcom risked her life to register minority voters and desegregate public facilities in Mississippi. She devoted her life to establish racial and gender equality through her work as an attorney. Judge Morcom earned her juris doctor at Wayne State University Law School and became the first African American woman to work at one of the nation's first integrated law firms, Goodman, Crockett, Eden, Robb, and Philo. She served as the southern regional director of the National Lawyers Guild Committee for Legal Assistance and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at SBM Blog
Diane Akers, of counsel to Bodman PLC in Detroit, has received the ninth annual Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award from the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section. Akers worked as a key leader in the effort to establish business courts in Michigan, through the SBM Business Law Section and as a member of the SBM Judicial Crossroads Task Force. Business cases were once very expensive to handle and unwieldy in the circuit court system. So Akers and others began working together in 2001 to streamline the process, and it took them over nine years to get a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at SBM Blog
Thomas M. Cooley Law School announced this afternoon that the school is now officially Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Cooley held a news conference this afternoon to launch its new visual identity and to announce a number of new initiatives, including that WMU will offer first year law classes at the Kalamazoo campus in the fall of 2015, and that both schools will develop a law minor and a 3 + 3 program that will allow students to earn a bachelor's degree and law degree in just six years. For more information, visit the Western Michigan University Cooley Law... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at SBM Blog
How much do you know about the legal issues involved in crowdfunding? If you've heard about sites like Kickstarter and you've wondered about the legal ramifications of utilizing them, you're in luck. The SBM Arts, Communication, Entertainment & Sports Section will host a program called "Crowdfunding: The Next Frontier of Financing Start-Ups & the Legal Issues Associated with It" from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, September 19 at the SBM Annual Meeting at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. A panel moderated by Todd Redden will discuss legal issues related to crowdfunding on such websites as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, peer-to-peer... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at SBM Blog
Court: 61st District Court Location: Grand Rapids Judge Vacating: Hon. J. Michael Christensen Application Submission Deadline: August 20, 2014 If you are a State Bar member who meets the legal qualifications for this office and are interested in applying, please refer to Governor Snyder's website for further information and the judicial application. Please be aware that in order to be appointed you must reside within the judicial district. Along with the application, please submit a copy of your resume to Office of the Governor, Legal Division, 111 S. Capitol Avenue, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909. Cheri Arwood Executive Administrator... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at SBM Blog
The Board of Law Examiners is aware that some applicants are experiencing technical difficulties uploading their essay answers to ExamSoft. Accordingly, the Board has extended the deadline for uploading to 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday July 30th. The Board will continue to monitor this situation very closely. Additional steps will be taken as necessary to ensure that all applicants have sufficient time to upload their answers after the technical issue is resolved. Posted by Nancy Brown Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at SBM Blog
Join the State Bar of Michigan to celebrate the growing diversity in the legal profession at our Celebrating Diversity Reception, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 18 at H.O.M.E. in the B.O.B. in Grand Rapids. Ann Arbor's all-lawyer band Soultivity will perform. The Celebrating Diversity Reception is one of many fun networking events taking place as part of this year's SBM Annual Meeting. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at SBM Blog
Noted technology cheapskate journalist Rick Broida will teach attorneys at the State Bar of Michigan 2014 Solo & Small Firm Institute how to find great deals on technology that lawyers need. And, as you can see from the You Tube clip below, he's not afraid to let lawyers know what technology is unnecessary and overly expensive as well. Join the State Bar of Michigan and Institute for Continuing Legal Education September 18 and 19 in Grand Rapids for this year's Annual Meeting and Solo & Small Firm Institute. Scholarships are still available for slots at the Solo & Small Firm... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at SBM Blog
David K. Page, a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, passed away on July 1 at the age of 80. Page's legal practice focused on corporate transactions, including corporate governance, financing, acquisitions, sales and mergers, public offerings and private placements. He was an active and committed community leader and was the chairman of the board of Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Inc., a company with nearly $3 billion in assets based in Southfield, Michigan. His personal list of volunteer work with charitable organizations is extensive. Along with leadership roles at many area nonprofit organizations, he was the chair of the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at SBM Blog
Members of the State Bar of Michigan Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, in partnership with members of the SBM Elder Law and Disability Rights Section and SBM Probate and Estate Planning Section, will visit senior centers in 51 Michigan counties to present a one-hour seminar to inform and empower senior citizens about estate planning decisions. Committee and section members will begin presenting the seminar on Wednesday, Aug. 6, and will make a few additional presentations on other dates ranging from early August through October. Local senior centers have set the times and dates of each presentation of the seminar, with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at SBM Blog
The 2014 State Bar of Michigan Economics of Law Practice survey report has been posted online. The survey is conducted every three years and the results are used daily throughout the state in courtrooms, law firms and by lawyers in all occupational areas. As referenced by the Michigan Supreme Court in Smith v. Khouri, it is the primary resource used by trial courts to determine attorney fees. It provides the benchmark for more than 50 specific fields of practice by geographic location. Survey results also contain data about salaries, benefits, hours worked and job satisfaction for attorneys in non-private practice... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at SBM Blog
The Michigan Board of Law Examiners announced that they have created a new and improved scoring system for the Michigan Bar Exam that they will begin to utilize while scoring the July 29 exam. The BLE says they expect the new scoring system to more accurately measure test takers' competence by ensuring that essay test scores across administrations reflect the same skill level and reflect differences in the difficulty between the multiple choice and essay portions of the exam. The Michigan Bar Exam is administrated each February and July, and has two parts: a 200-question multiple choice multistate bar exam... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at SBM Blog
Seven attorneys won election to the SBM Board of Commissioners and will serve three-year terms expiring at the close of the 2017 Annual Meeting: James W. Heath, E. Christopher Johnson Jr., Gregory L. Ulrich, Donald G. Rockwell, Shauna L. Dunnings, Jennifer M. Grieco and Richard J. Siriani. Thirty-eight attorneys won races to serve on the SBM Representative Assembly: Jill L. Nylander, Scott A. Dienes, , Audrey R. Monaghan, Joseph P. McGill, Douglas A. Kaye, Thomas M. J. Lavigne, Katherine Kakish, Daniel D. McLean, Aaron V. Burrell, James H. Fisher, Dennis M. Flessland, J. Scot Garrison, Carl L. Collins III, David... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at SBM Blog
Thanks for clarifying that, Tim. I appreciate your input! - Samantha Meinke
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled four to three in People v Carp, People v Davis and People v Eliason that those offenders sentenced as juveniles to life without the possibility for parole prior to the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Miller v Alabama will not be eligible for new sentencing hearings. Justice Stephen Markman wrote for the majority that since the changes made by the Miller precedent were merely procedural, no sentencing hearings were required for those juveniles sentenced to life prior to Miller. Justice Mary Beth Kelly wrote for the dissent, signed on to by Justices... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at SBM Blog
When Mr. L's minivan broke down and required expensive repairs, he was in danger of losing more than his method of transportation. He was also on the verge of becoming homeless. Because he couldn't pay to have the van fixed, the repair shop declared it abandoned and the police impounded it and prepared to have it towed for scrap. That's when Chris Bernard, an attorney at Bodman in Ann Arbor, stepped in to provide pro bono legal counsel to Mr. L. Find out how he helped Mr. L and worked with the city attorney to ensure nobody else ever faced... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at SBM Blog
State Bar of Michigan Practice Management Advisor Diane Ebersole will lead a Tech Tuesday Practice EZ Lunch and Learn seminar on "Prezi for Presentations" at noon Tuesday, July 8 at the SBM Michael Franck Building in Lansing. Prezi is a relatively new presentation software application that approaches presentation design from a totally different concept than the linear approaches of PowerPoint and Keynote. Anyone can try out the web-based version of the application for free. Register online for the seminar for $25. Soup by Zoup! will be provided for all those in attendance. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at SBM Blog
As noted in this post, yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on the unionization of home health care workers, Harris v. Quinn, was watched closely by mandatory state bars, given the potential for the decision to unsettle the reasoning of Keller v. State Bar of California, the case defining what mandatory state bars are allowed to do with mandatory dues. The decision expressly addressed that concern: Licensed attorneys are sub­ject to detailed ethics rules, and the bar rule requiring the payment of dues was part of this regulatory scheme. The portion of the rule that we upheld served the “state’s interest... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at SBM Blog
According to today's U.S. Supreme Court decision Harris v. Quinn, not much. Mandatory state bars, including Michigan's, were watching Harris closely (see the amicus brief submitted by 21 past presidents of the District of Columbia Bar), worried that if, as some amici urged, the court repudiated the seminal Michigan public union case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the decision would undermine the reasoning of Keller v. State Bar of California, the case defining what mandatory state bars are allowed to do, because Keller referred to Abood by analogy. Instead, the decision today expressly offers this reassurance to mandatory state... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at SBM Blog
The State Bar of Michigan is proud to announce the 2014 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence, which recognizes every firm that fully complied with the State Bar Voluntary Pro Bono Standard during the 2013 calendar year. “Lawyers have a unique ethical responsibility to support legal services for the poor, and the law firms recognized today in the 2014 Circle of Excellence are our leaders in this important obligation,” said SBM Executive Director Janet Welch. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at SBM Blog