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SBM Blog
Lansing, MI
Edited by Janet Welch
Recent Activity
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The Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society has elected new officers and its board of directors. Charles R. Rutherford has been elected president. He will replace Wallace Riley, who has served as president since the society was founded in 1988. Carl W. Herstein will serve as vice president, Lawrence P. Nolan as secretary and John P. Jacobs as treasurer. Seven members of the board of directors were reelected to three year terms, including the Hon. Avern Cohn, John G. Fedynsky, Julie I. Fershtman, Frank Kelley, Mary Massaron, John W. Reed and Janet K. Welch. Susan E. Gillooly was elected to her... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at SBM Blog
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On May 15, 1935, Governor Frank Fitzgerald signed into law the bill establishing the State Bar of Michigan. Today, the integrated State Bar of Michigan turns 80. Happy birthday to us! Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan presented Wade H. McCree Jr. Awards for the Advancement of Justice to 11 journalists at the 2015 Journalism Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on April 19 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. A photo gallery of the evening is available on the SBM Facebook page. The first McCree Award went 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... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Gov. Rick Snyder appointed the Hon. George “Jay” Quist to the 17th Circuit Court seat vacated by Judge James Robert Redford in Kent County. Judge Quist has served on the Kent County Family Court since 2012. He began his legal career as a civil litigator with Kluczynski, Girtz & Vogelzang in Grand Rapids and then joined Roberts Betz & Bloss. He served on the Workers' Compensation Board of Magistrates from 1999 and then as chief magistrate in 2011. He also served as director of employment services for the Michigan Administrative Hearing System in the Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs.... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The justices of the Michigan Supreme Court will travel Wednesday to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor to hear oral arguments in Estate of Beals v State of Michigan. The hearing, scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m., will allow all Ann Arbor high school students, as well as high school students from many surrounding areas, to watch actual oral arguments in a real Michigan Supreme Court case. This trip is just the latest in many undertaken as part of the Court Community Connections program. In the past, the program has taken justices to Lapeer, Hastings, Saginaw, Centreville, Auburn Hills, Berrien... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2015 at SBM Blog
Unfortunately, this seminar will not be available on video. Your wish that it be made available on video has been shared with the creators of the seminar, in hopes that future seminars will be recorded and made available.
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Elizabeth “Betty” Weaver, a retired justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, died in her Glen Arbor home at the age of 74. Weaver served as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1995 to 2010, and served as chief justice from 1999 to 2001. Prior to her time on the Supreme Court, Weaver served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals, from 1987 to 1994. She established a national reputation for her strong views on juvenile justice during her service as a Leelanau County probate judge from 1974 until 1987. She also worked as an attorney and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Robert Griffin, the 96th justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and a former United States Senator, died April 16, 2015 at the age of 91. Justice Griffin served in the U.S. Army before returning to attend law school at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1950. He began his legal career as a law clerk for Michigan Supreme Court Justice John Dethmers, before moving to Traverse City where he practiced law until 1956. That year, Griffin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1966, and was re-elected in 1972.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Michigan attorney Eugene Wanger will donate his collection of artifacts related to the death penalty to the National Death Penalty Archive in Albany, New York. His collection is one of the largest privately owned collections in the country, composed of books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, photographs and other memorabilia, memorializing the history of the death penalty in the United States and across the globe. The National Death Penalty Archive will hold a dedication ceremony to incorporate the Eugene G. Wanger and Marilyn M. Wanger Death Penalty Collection into the archive at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 17 at the University at... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program will offer a seminar, "Attorney Under-Earning: Signs, Causes and Solutions to Help You Start Earning What You're Worth," from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 24 at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. Attendees will walk away with knowledge of the seven successful methods for overcoming under-earning. Speakers include Ann Guinn, a law practice management consultant and author of "Minding Your Own Business: The Solo and Small Firm Lawyer's Guide to a Profitable Practice," and Tish Vincent, program administrator of the State Bar of Michigan Lawyers and Judges... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section (RPLS) will host its 2015 Summer Conference, "Knowing the Ropes for the Voyage: The Michigan Real Estate Recovery Sails On," July 15-18 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Programs and workshops have been developed to educate both experienced and newer practitioners, and will cover such topics as “Bridging the Gap: Financing Alternatives to Traditional Bank Lending," "Title Insurance and Real Estate Remedies," "Management and Transfers of Family Property," "Oil, Gas and Mineral Rights" and "Advanced 1031 Exchanges." John U. Bacon, author of six books on sports and business, will provide... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Ann Arbor Community High School students claimed victory over University of Detroit Jesuit High School students in a very close contest at the 2015 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament State Championship on March 28 at the Veterans Memorial Courthouse in Lansing. The state champions advance to the national championship on May 14-16 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The tournament, run by the Michigan Center for Civic Education, consisted of four regional rounds in Washtenaw, Kent, Macomb and Oakland counties. The top 10 teams moved on to the state championship, where they were judged by presiding judge, the Hon. Carl Marlinga,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at SBM Blog
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Governor Rick Snyder seeks applicants to fill the 46th District Court seat being vacated by the Hon. William Richards. Visit the governor's website for more information on the post, and to access the application form you must fill out and submit with your resume to be considered for the opening. Applications are due by April 22. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2015 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Court of Appeals celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Since its opening, 82 judges have served on the court and it has issued over 151,700 dispositive opinions dealing with many of the most important legal issues ever to have faced Michigan's citizens. The court invites attorneys who have appeared before it to participate in the celebration by sending reminiscences or commemorations to COA-Fifty@courts.mi.gov. They will include your contribution on their anniversary webpage. Posted by Samantha Meinke Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2015 at SBM Blog
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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 Mar 25, 2015 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 Mar 19, 2015 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 Mar 19, 2015 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