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State Bar of Michigan Blogs
Lansing, MI
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Michigan lawyers should be on high alert, as scammers are impersonating State Bar of Michigan leadership in an effort to collect gift cards. The emails usually have a subject line of “STATE BAR of MICHIGAN REQUEST” and are sent from an email address that is clearly not associated with SBM. The State Bar of Michigan will never contact you to ask for gift cards. If you receive such an email, you should not reply. We are working with law enforcement to stop this scam. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission for recognizing scam emails and more information... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court’s State Court Administrative Office and the State Bar of Michigan have collaborated on a survey to gather feedback from attorneys navigating the practice of law during the COVID-19 pandemic. All survey responses are confidential. The information collected will be used to help improve the practice of law in Michigan and enhance the resources available to lawyers working to stay safe and maintain their practice throughout the pandemic. Take the survey here. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The following individuals have been selected to receive 2020 State Bar of Michigan and State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly awards. 2020 State Bar of Michigan Award Recipients Roberts P. Hudson Award: Barry L. Howard Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award: Ronald J. Frantz and Anita L. Hitchcock Champion of Justice Award: Thomas P. Boyd, Hon. Susan L. Dobrich, and James H. Fisher John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award: Prof. Paul D. Reingold John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award: Heidi A. Naasko Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award: ATJ Mid-Northern Michigan Expungement Project Liberty Bell Award: Timothy Skubick... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2020 at SBM Blog
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Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 2020-17 provides direction to state trial courts for resuming landlord/tenant cases, which the Court, the state, and the federal government had temporarily halted. According to a press release from the Court, the order “focuses on making sure that the health of all participants is protected, cases are filed and disposed of in a reasonable period of time, and defendants are made aware of their right to legal counsel and of the availability of resources to help pay rent.” Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack said in the release that the Court is “pioneering a new... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2020 at SBM Blog
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A toll-free legal aid hotline is now available to victims of Michigan’s recently declared flood emergency in Midland, Arenac, Iosco, Saginaw, and Gladwin Counties. The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer to aid in flood-related matters, is a partnership between the State Bar of Michigan, the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, Lakeshore Legal Aid, Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, and private law firms who are volunteering services including Dykema, Bodman, Honigman, and Miller Canfield. Flood victims facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer may call 1 (866) 418-8315 between 9:00... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2020 at SBM Blog
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As the state’s trial courts move to reopen, a new page on the Michigan Supreme Court’s website will make all their reopening plans easily accessible. Pursuant to Administrative Order 2020-14, each court must have a Local Administrative Order outlining its plans for a phased reopening approved by the State Court Administrative Office. As those LAOs are approved, they will be added to the page. “As Michigan continues to reopen, our courts are also working to reopen their buildings safely by taking a consistent, phased approach that reflects local conditions,” Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack said in a news release. “In... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2020 at SBM Blog
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It is time to vote in the 2020 State Bar of Michigan election. This year, elections are being held for positions on the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Board of Commissioners in Districts H and I, and the Representative Assembly in Circuits 6, 7, 16, 22, and 40. Unless your address on file is in one of the districts or circuits where there is a contested race, you will only receive a ballot for the Judicial Tenure Commission race. All active Michigan attorneys with an email address on file with the State Bar may vote securely online. Beginning on May 22,... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2020 at SBM Blog
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As the Midland area deals with the impact of two dams failing and mass evacuations, we are compiling resources that we hope will be of use to Central Michigan attorneys during this difficult time. If you need more help, please call our Practice Management Resource Center Helpline at (800) 341-9715 or email pmrchelpline@michbar.org. Here is a checklist of things you might find helpful to think about following a flood: 1. Within the first 24 hours following a disaster, or when safe, an initial damage assessment should be made. This is a cursory review of damage caused by an emergency or... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court announced that the Board of Law Examiners has shelved the traditional two-day format for the July 2020 bar examination in favor of a single-day, essay-only, remote option. Uncertainty regarding the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the ability to accommodate in-person gatherings necessitated the change. Originally scheduled for July 28-29, the modified test will be held on Wednesday, July 29. The 15-question essay exam will cover both state and federal law topics similar to those that would be addressed in the 200-question Multistate Bar Exam, which cannot be administered online this year. “The board conducted extensive research and... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court announced today that public access to court proceedings has expanded dramatically, thanks to an enhanced Virtual Courtroom Directory. According to the release, new features “allow users to search courts where virtual hearings are being held, sort by judge or hearing officer, click on a county to view if a specific court is offering streaming abilities, and add a public calendar to virtual courtroom search results.” Chief Justice Bridget McCormack said in a press release that she is proud of the way Michigan courts have stepped up to increase access to proceedings. “With just two or three... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered all Michigan courts to “adhere to the phased return to operations as determined by policy guidelines established by the State Court Administrative Office." Administrative Order No. 2020-14 instructs that courts “should consider expanding in person operations with diligent regard for health and safety practices as determined in consultation with local health officials and considering the capacity of the community’s health system, and as approved by SCAO.” According to the Order, there is “some consensus—nationally and locally—about the best way to approach returning to more normal work practices in a way that ensures access to... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2020 at SBM Blog
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Executive Order 2020-74, issued May 5, 2020, extends Executive Order 2020-41, which encouraged the use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. E.O. 2020-74, which took effect immediately, continues through June 30, 2020. These orders facilitate the completion of legal documents that are more crucial now than ever, but were otherwise difficult or impossible to handle during the pandemic. “The problem of how to validate critical legal documents in a quarantine environment was a difficult and crucial issue,“ State Bar of Michigan President Dennis M. Barnes said when E.O. 2020-41 was issued. “The State... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The 2020 Economics of Law Practice survey is more important than ever, as it will capture information from 2019—providing a crucial benchmark for how things were before the COVID-19 pandemic. The information collected is used to update a comprehensive database that many Michigan courts reference to determine attorney fees. We take your privacy very seriously. Your secure response will be anonymous, and all results will be reported in aggregate only—no individual responses will be identifiable. The 2020 Economics of Law Practice Survey is closing soon. If you have not yet completed the survey, please take a few minutes to do... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2020 at SBM Blog
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Bar of Michigan will not publish a May issue of the Michigan Bar Journal. We will continue to offer timely news and updates of interest to Michigan lawyers on michbar.org. Make sure you stay in the loop by signing up for our newsletters, and connecting with us on social media. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We look forward to returning with a Michigan Bar Journal in June. We plan to feature articles related to the scheduled theme of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, we’re looking for online article submissions related to COVID-19 and the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The latest executive order from Gov. Whitmer encourages the use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 2020-41 will facilitate the completion of legal documents that are more crucial now than ever, but were otherwise difficult or impossible to handle during the pandemic. “The problem of how to validate critical legal documents in a quarantine environment was a difficult and crucial issue,“ State Bar of Michigan President Dennis M. Barnes said. “The State Bar thanks the governor for the thorough and thoughtful guidance provided in the executive order. We also applaud the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed its April oral argument session, scheduled to run from April 20 through April 29, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows the postponement of its March session, and creates some uncertainty as to whether the Court will complete its full docket before it recesses in late July. According to the Court’s press release, it “will consider rescheduling some cases from the March and April sessions before the end of the Term, if circumstances permit in light of public health and safety guidance at that time.” It will also “consider a range of scheduling options... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2020 at SBM Blog
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Vacancy information and nominating petitions are available on the State Bar Election Notice for the 2020 elections. Petitions are used to submit your name for one of the leadership roles at the State Bar of Michigan or Judicial Tenure Commission. Petitions must be filed with the State Bar between April 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 situation, please follow the following procedures for completing and submitting petitions: Please scan and email your completed petitions, rather than fax or mail. They can be sent to mbossenbery@michbar.org or csharlow@michbar.org. As a substitute for physical signatures, we will accept... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2020 at SBM Blog
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Clio, the world’s most widely used, cloud-based practice management system and a State Bar of Michigan member benefit partner, has pledged $1 million to help lawyers and firms navigate the challenges they face in light of the coronavirus pandemic. According to company co-founder and CEO Jack Newton, Clio’s COVID-19 Legal Relief Initiative is available to the entire legal community. “If your firm needs to figure out how to maintain business continuity or collaborate across a newly remote workforce while still providing quality services to your clients, we’ll help you navigate that,” Newton said in a statement on the company's website.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2020 at SBM Blog
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold. New Executive Order. Today, Gov. Whitmer issued an Executive Order directing all Michiganders to stay in their homes for at least the next three weeks, except for under very limited circumstances. Here are the highlights for lawyers: The order does not specifically exempt attorneys from the stay at home order as "critical infrastructure workers" necessary to sustain or protect life. The order allows individuals to leave home to attend legal proceedings for essential or emergency purposes as ordered by a court. For purposes of managing and maintaining a law practice, the members of your... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The Law School Admission Test scheduled for March 30, 2020, has been cancelled. “Cancelling the March test is a difficult step, but we believe it is the most responsible course of action to protect test takers, test center personnel, and the broader community,” the Law School Admission Council wrote in an update on its website. The Council is hopeful that the April and June tests will proceed as planned, but will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. Meanwhile, the National Conference of Bar Examiners has created a web page with COVID-19 updates related to the bar exam, MPRE,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The Michigan Supreme Court has issued a unanimous order authorizing trial courts to take emergency measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19. All courts are still handling emergencies. Some courts have closed business operations to the public via local administrative order. Here is a running list of those LAOs. Please check back often. Here are more resources for attorneys and FAQs about COVID-19. If you are a court administrator or other court employee and you see a discrepancy in your court's listing, please notify Elizabeth Couch at ecouch@michbar.org at your earliest convenience so we can ensure that all of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2020 at SBM Blog
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Updated March 18, 2020 In the interest of the health and safety of our members and their families and colleagues, the 50-Year Golden Celebration originally scheduled for May 11, 2020, at the Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth is postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. We will be exploring options for rescheduling and refund options. Given the uncertainty of the spread of the coronavirus, it is unlikely any rescheduling would happen until July or later. Members will be updated as decisions are made. Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2020 at SBM Blog
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The State Bar of Michigan is committed to helping Michigan lawyers respond optimally to the developing COVID-19 coronavirus situation. This page will be updated regularly during this rapidly evolving situation. Please check back often for the latest guidance from the State Bar of Michigan. Our recommendations are based on advisories from the CDC and other government agencies. Resources about risk management, working remotely, and emergency planning are available from the Practice Management Resource Center. Questions & Answers Have any State Bar of Michigan services been disrupted by the coronavirus? The State Bar of Michigan continues to offer all services as... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2020 at SBM Blog
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In the wake of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's emergency declaration, the Michigan Supreme Court has made several recommendations to trial courts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Michigan attorneys should be aware that the recommendation on docket management advises consideration of: Adjourning all civil jury trials Adjourning all criminal jury trials where the defendant is not in custody Adjourning hearings involving vulnerable people Allowing remote hearings whenever possible The latest updates from the Judicial Branch can be found here. Related: Resources for Attorneys & FAQ About Coronavirus Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2020 at SBM Blog
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We ask for five minutes of your time for a very important initiative. We are now collecting responses to the 2020 Economics of Law Practice Survey, and we need your help. The State Bar of Michigan conducts the survey every three years to update a comprehensive database that’s used by many courts to determine attorney fees. We’re asking every attorney in every occupational area to participate, so we can capture information that’s relevant to all Michigan lawyers. The 2020 Attorney Income and Billing Summary Report & Desktop Reference Report will be available on the State Bar of Michigan website in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2020 at SBM Blog