The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and Museum will commemorate the 40th anniversary of President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 by hosting a symposium focusing on President Ford's constitutional legacy at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.
The symposium, co-hosted by the National Constitution Center and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, will present two panel discussions featuring such noted public figures as retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeff Rosen, former United States Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, Benton Becker, who served as special counsel to President Ford, and Steve Ford, President Ford's son.
The first panel discussion will focus on "President Ford and the Rule of Law." The second panel discussion will focus on "President Ford and the Pardon of Richard Nixon.
The panel discussions will be open to the public, but reservations are required to attend them.
Meinecke won election to the 44th District Court in 2012, after serving for more than 10 years in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office in the special victims unit, focusing on domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse and sexual assault.
In 2011, he won the Courage to Lead Award from Oakland County S.A.V.E. (Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly) for his efforts to prevent elder abuse, and in 2009 he awarded the Domestic Violence Prevention Award from Oakland County Coordinating Council Against Domestic Violence for his work to end domestic violence, prosecute abusers, empower victims and educate police officers and members of the community about the dynamics of abuse.
Meinecke earned his law degree at Wayne State University and worked as a law clerk to the Hon. Daniel Sawicki prior to his work in the prosecutors office.
Michigan Court of Appeals Judge William Whitbeck will retire on Nov. 21 after serving three terms on the court of appeals, including six years as the court's chief judge.
“Bill Whitbeck’s service to Michigan in both the judicial and executive branches of government is a testament to his keen legal intellect, administrative skill and policy-making acumen,” said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. in a written statement. “Those qualities combined to help him to make the Court of Appeals worthy of national recognition as a model appellate court while he served as its Chief Judge.”
Whitbeck decided to retire because he thinks the time is right.
“I am 73 years old and I’m cognizant of the fact that the human machine wears down over time,” Whitbeck told Michigan Lawyers Weekly. “It’s sort of like athletics — you want to go out on the top of your game and it’s a good time for me to do that."
Whitbeck will work on his second novel in his retirement. his first novel, "To Account for Murder," is currently for sale on Amazon.
Starting in January of 2015, students can continue their classes at any of the law school's any other campuses in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids or Tampa Bay, Fla. In August, the law school told students that should the campus close, it would provide early registration at other campuses; a $1,500 cash stipend to help cover costs of attending another campus; a $3,500 stipend for a bar review course for graduates; specialized advising for registration, financial aid, housing and other issues; a possible adjustment to available financial aid and additional consideration to students with special circumstances.
The plan is subject to approval by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission.
In Cheboygan Sportsman Club v. Cheboygan County Prosecuting Attorney, the club sought to find out if conducting target practice at their shooting range within 150 years of occupied residences without the homeowners' consent violated MCL 324.40111.
The case involves a man who purchased residential property within 150 yards of the shooting range, after the range had been operating for decades. The man found a stray bullet on his property that he asserted had been fired from the shooting range. The local prosecutor informed the sportsman club that, “any individual discharging a firearm within 150 yards of a residence should face criminal prosecution for violating MCL 324.40111.”
The shooting club sued the prosecutor's office, and the National Rifle Association submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiff, asserting that the sportsman club was immune to a civil suit under MCL 691.1541. The trial court agreed with the NRA's argument, and held that unless the prosecutor could show that the sportsman club did not comply with the MCL 691.1541, the prosecutor could not prosecute its members.
Find out how a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on that opinion in Monday's e-Journal.
The e-Journal is a free daily online and email publication of the State Bar of Michigan that provides case summaries organized by areas of legal practice, legal news and updates, public policy updates, a calendar of events, and classified and fields of practice listings. Sign up for your subscription.
Francine Cullari and Carl Ver Beek are two of the finest and most distinguished members of the legal profession. They were granted the State Bar of Michigan's highest honor, the Roberts P. Hudson Award, at the SBM Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.
Francine and Carl have been leaders in the law, by being highly competent practitioners and mentors, and by taking on leadership roles within the legal profession. To find out what each of them did to earn this highest honor, visit State Bar of Michigan Award Winners. To see more photos of Francine and Carl, visit our Facebook page, which contains a complete photo gallery from the Awards Banquet.
In Rataj v. City of Romulus, plaintiff Michael Rataj, a Detroit-area attorney, learned that a Romulus police officer had assaulted a citizen who was under arrest while the citizen's hands were handcuffed behind his back at the Romulus Police Department in the early morning of Aug. 1, 2012. It was later revealed that the arrested citizen had provoked the police employee by spitting on him and calling him a racial epithet.
An employee of the police department confirmed that the assault did take place, and that it was caught on video.
When Rataj requested a copy of the video under Michigan's FOIA law, the city told him it was exempt from disclosure because the video would "constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy," that it was related to "departmental discipline," and that it "consisted of police personnel records."
So, Rataj sued in Wayne County Circuit Court, which ruled that the video, and some other requested records, were exempt from disclosure under MCL 15.243(1)(a). Rataj appealed.
The e-Journal is a free daily online publication of the State Bar of Michigan that provides case summaries organized by areas of legal practice, legal news and updates, public policy updates, a calendar of events, and classified and fields of practice listings. Sign up for your subscription.
Low-income Spanish speaking persons who cannot afford to hire an attorney and need legal help can now access help on a Spanish-language version of MichiganLegalHelp.org. Since the English-language version of the site launched in 2012, 760,000 visitors have accessed free, accurate legal information and forms to help them handle simple legal matters on their own.
The University of Michigan Law School will host an American Bar Association exhibit on the Magna Carta 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from Oct. 1 through Oct. 23 at the Law Library, in the Smith Addition (Underground Law Library) at 801 Monroe St. in Ann Arbor.
The exhibit, "Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015," is open to the public and was created by the ABA and curated by the Library of Congress to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the document. It will feature spectacular images on free-standing banners that will tell the story of the Magna Carta and its catalyst role in promoting the rule of law.
The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Alan M. Gershel administrator of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. Gershel will assume his new post Oct. 13.
Prior to taking on his new role of grievance administrator, Gershel served as a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing and as an attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.
He will oversee a staff of 28, including 13 attorneys and 15 support staffers.
The State Bar of Michigan welcomed the new lawyers of 1964 to the annual Golden Celebration. Held in conjunction with the 2014 SBM Annual Meeting, the event celebrates attorneys for 50 years in the practice of law.
Thomas C. Rombach, of New Baltimore, has been sworn in as the 80th president of the State Bar of Michigan. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. officiated at the Sept. 18 ceremony, which took place in conjunction with the SBM Annual Meeting at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
Mr. Rombach is a solo practitioner and focuses his practice on representing criminal and civil litigants.
Also sworn in as officers for 2014-2015 were President-Elect Lori A. Buiteweg, of Ann Arbor; Vice-President Lawrence P. Nolan, of Eaton Rapids; Secretary Donald G. Rockwell, of Flint; and Treasurer Jennifer M. Grieco, of Birmingham.
Mr. Rombach will lead an organization of over 43,000 members that works to improve the administration of justice, promotes the legal profession, and builds public understanding of the legal system. He has been involved in State Bar work for almost a decade and has served on many of its committees and groups. He was elected to the SBM Board of Commissioners in 2006 and has served as treasurer, secretary, vice president, and president-elect.
He is an elected member of the National Conference of Bar Presidents and an elected member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates. He was the chairperson of the SBM Representative Assembly in 2002-2003. He has served as president of the Macomb County Bar Association and as a member of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. He has also served on the boards of directors of 15 charitable and civic organizations.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Vanessa Peterson Williams, of Southfield, has been sworn in as the chair of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) Representative Assembly for 2014-2015. The Hon. Cynthia D. Stephens officiated at the Sept. 18 ceremony, held during the SBM Annual Meeting at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
The 150-member Representative Assembly (RA) is the final policy-making body of the State Bar. It was created in 1971 by the Michigan Supreme Court at the request of SBM's Board of Commissioners in order to increase geographical representation and member participation in SBM policy. Ms. Williams represents Oakland County.
Ms. Williams served as editor-in-chief of “The Brief,” journal of the Tort Insurance and Trial Practice Section of the American Bar Association, and has also served as president of the Association of Defense Trial Council, a member of the board of directors of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, and she serves on the ABA House of Delegates. She is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Since 2013, Ms. Williams has been the vice president, chief legal counsel and global privacy officer at iHS Automotive in Southfield. Prior to that she served as vice president, deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer at R.L. Polk & Co., a senior attorney at Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association, and an associate at Plunkett & Cooney P.C.
She graduated from the University of Alabama in 1992, earned her law degree from the College of William and Mary – Marshall Wythe Law School in 1995, and received her M.B.A. from Wayne State University in 2008.
The State Bar of Michigan mourns the loss of its 39th president, Carl H. Smith Jr., who died Sept. 9 at the age of 87.
Current State Bar President Brian Einhorn and Executive Director Janet Welch expressed deep sadness at his passing.
“Carl and his father represent the finest professional tradition of giving back through public service," Einhorn said. "The State Bar extends its deepest condolences and appreciation to the Smith family."
A 1953 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Smith served in a number of State Bar leadership capacities. He was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1966, and elected State Bar treasurer in 1970, vice president in 1971, president-elect in 1972, and president in 1973. He and his father, Carl Smith Sr., are the only father-son duo to have both served as president of the State Bar. Carl Smith Sr. served as the State Bar’s 15th president from 1949-1950, soon after founding the law firm of Smith & Brooker in Bay City. Carl Smith Jr. joined that firm after graduation from law school, and he practiced there for more than 50 years.
Smith also followed in his father’s footsteps in the military. Carl Smith Sr. served in World War I, losing his left arm in 1918 at Soissions Juvigney and earning the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star and Purple Heart. Carl Smith Jr. and his brother Richard both served as Marines during World War II. Carl Smith, Jr. was stationed in Guam and Panama from 1944 until the end of the war.
He is survived by his wife Diane; children Jane H. Smith of Bay City, Peter T. Smith MD and (Molly Mann) of St. Clair Shores, MI., Roy A. Smith JD and (Amy) of Minneapolis, MN., Elizabeth J. and (David) LeValley of Bay City, MI., Abigail Smith and (Eric) Briggs of Whitmore Lake, MI; four grandchildren Sarah E. Niemczura (Jerry) of Arlington, VA, Caroline E. and (Greg) Tobias of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Spencer Carl Briggs and Vivian Marie Briggs of Bay City, MI and one great grandson, Andrew Smith Latterell of Minneapolis, MN.
Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, and 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at the Trahan Funeral Chapel, located at 256 N. Madison Ave. in Bay City. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at the Trahan Funeral Chapel.
Members of the legal community will gather Sept. 17-19 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids for the State Bar of Michigan Annual Meeting and Solo and Small Firm Institute.
Among this year's highlights:
Members of the legal profession who have achieved the highest honors in the areas of leadership, professional integrity and pro bono and community service will be recognized at the SBM Awards Banquet, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Award winners from the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and Michigan Association for Justice will also be recognized. SBM President Brian Einhorn, SBM President-Elect Tom Rombach, former SBM President Wallace Riley, MSBF Board of Trustees President Margaret Nichols, MDTC Immediate Past President Ray Morganti, and MAJ President Scott Goodwin will present the awards.
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.
Speakers from the dedication ceremony, from left to right, include the 49th Circuit Court Judge Ronald Nichols, SBM Executive Director Janet Welch, Osceola County Prosecuting Attorney and President of the Mecosta-Osceola County Bar Association Tyler Thompson, Ferris State University President David Eisler, and SBM President Brian Einhorn.
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 long been a leader at the State Bar, heading up the Young Lawyers Section, Representative Assembly, and serving as president of the Board of Commissioners in 2011. During her SBM presidency, she spearheaded the creation of the Bar’s mentoring center. She takes her role as a mentor seriously, encouraging young female attorneys to follow in her footsteps. She wrote a section for an America Bar Association book on women lawyers who took risks to form their own practices and was chosen out of 100 authors to share her experiences at the ABA Annual Meeting.
Unsung Hero Award
Susan F. 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 murderers. She is currently representing a notorious handyman-turned-alleged hitman in a very tough case since the defendant gave multiple stories to police and details of the murder have been leaked to local media. The judge said he assigned the case to Reed because he believes she does an exceptional job with clients in challenging situations. Beyond representing clients other attorneys may not want, Reed works to improve the work of all defense attorneys. A longtime active leader in the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar, she currently serves as the organization’s president.
Click the caption below each photo to download a high resolution version of each award winner's photo. Note: We have provided the highest resolution photo available of each award winner. More information about the Annual Meeting can be found in the SBM Annual Meeting Media Kit.
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 to implement the new rules.
The panel discussion, moderated by SBM Equal Access Initiative Co-Chair Maya Watson, will review MCR 1.111, MCR 8.127 and the American Bar Association Standards for Language Access in Courts. The panel will include Hon. Christopher Yates, Hon. William Kelly, Donna Bos and Angela Tripp. They will show attendees how to use the request and order form for interpreters on the Michigan Legal Help website and introduce the Spanish version of the website. The panel will discuss judicial discretion in determining the need for interpreters, criteria and tests for certification of foreign language interpreters, practical tips for how to work with interpreters and best practices for courtroom and courthouse operations.
The program is free to attend for anyone who is interested, but organizers hope as many judges, attorneys, court staff members, access to justice advocates, language interpreters and community partners as possible will attend. Registration is requested to allow for proper facilities planning. Visit the SBM Annual Meeting page for more details or to register.
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:
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 workshop, back to school program, and much more. Visit the YLS website for a complete list of their programs and projects.
The YLS won the Service to the Public Award of Achievement for a new program they launched March 1, “Cracking the Legal Field Pipeline Diversity Mock Trial Competition.” The mock trial competition hosted approximately 80 metropolitan Detroit area students aged six to 18 at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. The day-long program taught students criminal courtroom procedures from attorney volunteers. Elementary students served as bailiffs in their respective courtrooms, and older participants were split by age into teams of four. Half of the students served as prosecutors and the other half as defense attorneys, and each team prepared an opening statement, direct examination and closing statement. Local judges presided over competition rounds, and attorney and law school volunteers served as witnesses and helped draft arguments and questions. A more complete summary of the program appeared in the May 2014 Michigan Bar Journal.
The YLS also received the American Bar Endowment Outstanding Public Service Award for its “Cracking the Legal Field Pipeline Diversity Mock Trial Competition.” The American Bar Endowment sponsors a special award for outstanding public service in recognition of an exceptional, unique and exemplary project of a young lawyer bar group.
The first place finishes in the ABA Young Lawyers Division Awards of Achievement contest are especially significant because this year, for the first time, the SBM Young Lawyers Section exceeded 8,000 members, and they competed for awards with the biggest state bar association young lawyer divisions in the country.
Pictured in the image above, from left to right: YLS Ex Officio Felicia Johnson, Shenique Moss, Kara Hart-Negrich, YLS Diversity Committee Chair Donald Rencher YLS Diversity Committee Chair, YLS Chair Hope Shovein, Mwanaisha Sims and YLS Chair-Elect Andrea Irons
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 director of Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services Program for the indigent. She became the first African American woman appointed to Wayne County Circuit Court in 1983 and served as a delegate to the United Nations Council on Human Rights.
For her work, she received the Wayne State University Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Peace Award, the Wayne State University Outstanding Alumni Award, Damon Keith Humanitarian Award, Center for Constitutional Rights Award, State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women Outstanding Community Leadership Award and the American Civil Liberties Award.
A visitation will be held 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 22 at Swanson’s Funeral Home, 806 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 23 at Plymouth United Church of Christ, located at 600 E. Warren in Detroit. The service will be preceded by a family hour at 10 a.m.
Memorial donations may be made to the Judge Claudia House Morcom Annual Scholarship and sent to Wayne State University's Fund Office at 5475 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.
Posted by Samantha Meinke
Donald E. Martin died Jan. 11, 2012. He was a graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law and served as Ingham County Prosecutor from 1986-1996, before joining the law firm of Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith. He served on the State Bar of Michigan's Judicial Qualifications Committee, as chair of the Appellate Defender Committee of the State Appellate Defender Office, and for one year as president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.
Funeral services for Don Martin are set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lansing. His arrangements are being handled by Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. For more information about Mr. Martin, read this article in the Lansing State Journal or Mr. Martin's obituary.
- See more at: http://sbmblog.typepad.com/sbm-blog/2012/01/in-memoriam-donald-e-martin.html#sthash.0b3do90F.dpuf
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 law passed establishing business courts. They are now up and running across Michigan.
Akers was also involved in an effort to lessen the pressure that law enforcement officials at the federal and state levels were putting on businesses to waive the attorney client privilege in criminal investigations in order to gain favor with investigators. This effort was led by SBM Business Law Section's Attorney Client Task Force.
“We wanted to raise awareness as to how dangerous this practice can be. As a business owner if you think something internally going on is improper, you should conduct an investigation. But if there is a risk that if you find out something has happened that is against the law, and you let investigators know, they could use that information against you,” Akers said. Moreover, waiver of the privilege for one purpose constitutes waiver for all purposes, so the consequences can be very far-reaching, she added.
So Akers and many of her colleagues worked to raise awareness with Michigan businesses and met with prosecutors to change attitudes and practices.
Akers has held numerous leadership positions within the State Bar of Michigan, including service as chair of the 3,500 member Business Law Section, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Climate Change and Sustainability, co-chair of the Task Force on Attorney-Client Privilege, chair of the Business Court Ad Hoc Committee, chair of the Commercial Litigation Committee of the Business Law Section, and a member of the Judicial Crossroads Task Force and co-chair of its Business Impact Committee. She is a former member of the executive committee of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association.
The Business Law Section established the Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award in 2006, to be presented annually and to honor business lawyers who consistently exemplify the highest quality of professionalism and practice and an unwavering dedication to service, ethical conduct and collegiality. It was named after Prof. Stephen Schulman, a beloved Wayne State University Law School professor who was instrumental in drafting much of Michigan’s corporate law.
Past recipients of the Schulman Award include Cy Moscow, Martin Oetting, Hugh Makens, James Bruno, Charlie McCallum, Verne Hampton, G. Ann Baker, Justin Klimko, Alex DeYonker, James Cambridge, Jeffrey Ammon, and Daniel Minkus.
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.