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.
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.
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 Institute. For more information about scholarships, contact Stephanie Fisher via snail mail at 1020 Greene St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1444.
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 Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation board of trustees, the vice chair of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and a trustee or director on the boards of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Zoological Society, City Year Detroit and both The Jewish Fund and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (previously serving as president of each).
He earned an LL.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College. In addition, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Page is survived by his wife, Andrea, children, Mark, Jason and Sarah, and grandchildren.
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 some senior centers hosting the seminar multiple times. View the complete list of seminar times, dates and places.
“A Living Trust Education Initiative: Who Should You Trust? Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes,” will provide senior citizens, including veterans applying for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with essential estate planning information and caution them about deceptive sales practices that could potentially jeopardize their economic stability. It will include a short presentation by licensed Michigan attorneys and a dynamic question and answer period to allow program participants to obtain accurate information about estate planning matters. Seminar participants will receive a folder containing estate planning information and other materials to help them avoid estate planning mistakes and becoming victimized by persons selling annuities for their own economic gain.
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 occupations, such as those working as in-house counsel, in government service, non-profit organizations, academia, legal services and more.
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 portion and a 15-question Michigan law-based essay portion.
The Michigan BLE is a separate entity from the State Bar of Michigan. It was created by the Michigan legislature and is overseen by the Michigan Supreme Court. Board members, including Gerald Marcinkoski, Hon. Christopher M. Murray, Eric J. Pelton, Hon. Joseph J. Farah and Hon. Donna Robinson Milhouse, are nominated by the Michigan Supreme Court and then appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve for five-year terms.
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 M. Eisenberg, Samantha J. Orvis, Anne E. Linder, Patrick D. Crandell, Alan B. Koenig, Mark A. Holsomback, Brian D. Rahilly, Wilson D. Brott, Lea Ann Sterling, R. Timothy Kohler, Martin J. Hillard, Victoria A. Vuletich, Ronald L. Foster, Robert M. Backus, Elizabeth C. Jolliffe, Nels A. Christopherson, Daniel J. Florip, Ellsworth J. Stay Jr., Kimberly A. Breitmeyer, Darling A. Garcia, Gregory T. Stremers, Theresa J. Cypher, Jennifer A. Frost, Matthew W. Antkoviak and Adam D. Pavlik.
Nancy J. Diehl won a three-year term on the Judicial Tenure Commission that will expire on Dec. 31, 2017.
Nine attorneys won terms on the SBM Young Lawyers Section Council that will expire in 2016: Ryan Zemke, Mwanaisha A. Sims, Jerome Crawford, Tanya N. Cripps, Choi Tanaha Portis, Jade J. Edwards, Shenique A. Moss, Aysha J. Kasham and Roberta L. Sacharski.
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 Bridget McCormack and Michael Cavanagh, that because Miller changed the variety of sentences available for the those juveniles sentenced to life prior to Miller, that the Miller precedent should apply retroactively.
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 the same problems Mr. L did.
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.
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 in regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services.” Ibid. States also have a strong interest in allocating to the members of the bar, rather than the general public, the expense of ensuring that attorneys adhere to ethical practices. Thus, our decision in this case is wholly consistent with our holding in Keller.
But, what, then, to make of the pronouncement in Harris, without citation, of a "bedrock principle that, except perhaps in the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support"? Does such a "bedrock principle" have implications for the public advocacy that mandatory state bars across the country have been carrying out under the imprimatur of Keller?
At Volokh Conspiracy, conservative legal scholar Eugene Volokh questions both the Harris reasoning and the validity of the "bedrock principle":
[A] unanimous Court in Keller v. State Bar (1990), defended the government’s ability to express its views with tax money by saying, “Government officials are expected as a part of the democratic process to represent and to espouse the views of a majority of their constituents. With countless advocates outside of the government seeking to influence its policy, it would be ironic if those charged with making governmental decisions were not free to speak for themselves in the process. If every citizen were to have a right to insist that no one paid by public funds express a view with which he disagreed, debate over issues of great concern to the public would be limited to those in the private sector, and the process of government as we know it radically transformed.”
... If there indeed were a “bedrock principle that, except perhaps in the rarest of circumstances, no person … may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support,” then “the government is representative of the people” wouldn’t be an adequate argument for an exception when the “third party” is the government. That the government can indeed compel us to subsidize speech by it (and by its employees, contractors, and grant recipients) that we don’t wish to support, it must be because there really is no First Amendment problems with compelling any funding of third-party speech — not that there’s a bedrock principle against such compelled funding, and compelled funding of government speech just gets a bye from that principle. It’s true that government officials should be able to espouse the views of a majority of their constituents; but the permissibility of such government speech simply reflects the fact that taxpayers’ First Amendment rights aren’t really burdened by the government’s using their taxes for speech that the taxpayers disagree with.
In Keller, we considered the constitutionality of a rule applicable to all members of an “integrated” bar, i.e., “an association of attorneys in which membership and dues are required as a condition of practicing law.” 496 U.S., at 5. We held that members of this bar could not be required to pay the portion of bar dues used for political or ideological purposes but that they could be required to pay the portion of the dues used for activities connected with proposing ethical codes and disciplining bar members. Id., at 14.
This decision fits comfortably within the framework applied in the present case. 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 in regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services.” Ibid. States also have a strong interest in allocating to the members of the bar, rather than the general public, the expense of ensuring that attorneys adhere to ethical practices. Thus, our decision in this case is wholly consistent with our holding in Keller.
This language offers some comfort to supporters of the mandatory bar, given the troubling signs in Harris that Abood is on very thin ice. Prof. John Eastman, writing today in SCOTUSblog, said "One can almost see the ghoul of Abood walking ever more slowly, arms outstretched, as its legs are shot out from under it piece by piece."
“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.
Governor Rick Snyder has appointed Mark S. Braunlich, Monroe County district judge, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of 38th Circuit Court Judge Michael LaBeau. Judge Braunlich has served on the district court bench since 2003, and served as chief judge from 2008-2010. Prior to that he served as Monroe County assistant prosecuting attorney. He is the board president for Monroe Center for Healthy Aging and a past president of the Monroe County Bar Association. He is a graduate of Notre Dame University, and earned his law degree at the University of Toledo.
The Michigan Supreme Court issued an order yesterday stating that the State Court Administrative Office and the 36th District Court have developed a pilot program to automate the process of issuing writs for income tax garnishment.
The 36th District Court will begin operating the pilot program immediately through a web-based system called GarnIT.
Administrative Order 2014-13 outlines in detail the procedures associated with transmission of requests and writs through GarnIT and the rules designed to address issues unique to the implementation of the program.
The forum will address working relationships among the court systems of the state, tribal and federal jurisdictions in Michigan.
The following will serve two-year terms on the forum: Hon. Susan Dobrich, Hon. William Hupy, Hon. Jeffrey Nellis, Hon. Larry Nelson, Hon. George Quist and Hon. Frank Szymanski. The following will serve three-year terms on the forum: Hon. Robert Butts, Hon. William Ervin, Hon. Cheryl Hill, Hon. James Lambros, Hon. Timothy Connors and Justice Michael Cavanagh.
In addition, chief tribal judges will appoint a judge to the forum to represent each of Michigan's 12 federally recognized American Indian tribes: Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Hannahville Indian Community, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe).
Justice Bridget McCormack will serve as the Supreme Court liaison to the forum.
After that decrease in dues takes place, how expensive will Michigan's dues be compared to those in other states?
First, it's important to note that every state in the country and the District of Columbia require attorneys to pay some sort of licensing fee or membership dues to practice law.
There are 33 mandatory bar jurisdictions, which are comprised of 32 states and the District of Columbia. There are six jurisdictions (comprising 18.2 percent of all mandatory jurisdictions) with required dues and fees that will be less expensive than the new State Bar of Michigan dues, and 26 jurisdictions (78.8%) that will be more expensive than the new SBM dues. The mean of the dues of the 33 mandatory bar jurisdictions is $378 and the median of the dues of the mandatory jurisdictions is $385.
So the State Bar of Michigan's dues will be less expensive than those charged to attorneys in more than 75 percent of mandatory bar states.
There are 18 voluntary bar jurisdictions, but within these voluntary jurisdictions, attorneys are still required to pay dues or fees. Taking these into consideration in combination with the 33 mandatory jurisdictions (the District of Columbia and all of the states, totaling 51 jurisdictions), 18 jurisdictions (35.3%) have required dues and fees that are less expensive than the SBM, and 32 jurisdictions (62.7%) are more expensive. The mean of dues and required fees of the 51 jurisdictions is $323 and the median is $325.
In sum, it will be cheaper to practice law in Michigan than in more than 60 percent of all other jurisdictions, mandatory and voluntary combined, across the country.
Posted by Samantha Meinke Statistics were compiled by SBM Director of Finance and Administration Jim Horsch, from data gathered by the American Bar Association
The Michigan Supreme Court issued the following order on Friday, June 20:
In 2011, the Court directed the discipline portion of the dues members pay to the State Bar of Michigan to be reduced by $10 (to $110) in light of the $5 million surplus of the discipline system. Today, there is an even greater surplus. Therefore, the Court directs that the amount of discipline dues be adjusted to $90. This change will be reflected in the dues notice for the 2014-2015 fiscal year that is distributed to all bar members under Rule 4 of the Rules Concerning the State Bar.
Governor Rick Snyder announced yesterday that he appointed 15 people to the newly created Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.
The commission was created to collect and compile data necessary for the review of indigent defense services in Michigan, create standards to ensure all systems providing indigent defense meet constitutional obligations for effective assistance of counsel and develop requirements by which a person may establish a claim of indigence so those truly in need of a public defender will have one.
John Campbell, Kevin Oeffner and David Schuringa will all serve initial one-year terms expiring in April of 2015.
Frank Eaman, Brandy Robinson, William Swor and Kimberly Thomas will all serve initial two-year terms expiring in April of 2016.
Richard Lindsey, Shela Motley, Michael Puerner and Cletus Smith will all serve initial three-year terms expiring in April of 2017.
Thomas Boyd, Nancy Diehl, Jim Fisher and Gary Walker will all serve initial four-year terms expiring in April of 2018.
After the initial terms, members will serve four-year terms.
Did you know that no matter where you travel in Michigan, you are never far from at least one Michigan Legal Milestone plaque?
We encourage you to check out the plaques on your road trips across Michigan this summer. SBM has created a handy interactive Google map of the milestones, with the locations of all of the maps marked on it. Click on the plaque you're interested in visiting and a description of where it is located will pop up for you.
Bonus: If you take a selfie with a plaque, send it to me (SBM Communications Manager Samantha Meinke) at email@example.com, and I will share your photo on SBM Blog.
A newly launched legal aid clinic, Capuchin Soup Kitchen Legal Clinic, was created to serve the needs of metro-Detroit's 35,000 homeless people.
The clinic, a collaboration between Bodman PLC and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, began operating in February, to fill the gap left by the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (H.E.L.P.) clinic's hiatus. Word spread quickly about the new clinic and lines of people in need of legal assistance began to form.
The clinic is held twice a month on Thursday mornings. Volunteer attorneys from Bodman, Dykema, Kitch, Dickinson Wright, Jaffe, Ford, and Clark and Schoenbeck have consulted with metro Detroit's homeless population about legal issues, including outstanding tickets, child support issues, employment matters, obtaining birth certificates and IDs and landlord-tenant issues.
In its first few months of opeation, the CSK Legal Clinic has helped dozens of low-income people.
If you are interested in volunteering at the CSK Legal Clinic, contact Kim Paulson at Bodman at (313) 392-1068 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a Pro Bono or Community Service story to share? Submit it today to be included in our "A Lawyer Helps" story bank.
The State Bar of Michigan Practice Management Resource Center is currently offering Lunch and Learn, a series of educational seminars held during the noon lunch hour. Participants learn to utilize current technology within their law practices while enjoying soup from Zoup! The next Lunch and Learn seminar, at noon on Wednesday, June 18, will cover "Facebook 101":
You think you're a Facebook Jedi master—you can post photos of your cat from your smart phone like nobody's business. You shared "What does the Fox Say" from YouTube before your friends had even heard of it. You always have the best snarky comeback to your sarcastic teenage nephew's posts. You don't need an introduction to Facebook, right? Wrong. This session is an introduction to using Facebook professionally, teaching you to set up a page for your firm or professional organization to help you reach the site's one billion users.
More upcoming Lunch and Learn seminars will cover "Unleash the Acrobat in Adobe" on June 26, or "Create a Presentation in Prezi" on July 8.
Recent news headlines have focused on lawyers being at high risk for suffering from depression and becoming victims of suicide.
The State Bar of Michigan offers help and support for those suffering from depression and other mental health and substance abuse disorders in the form of the SBM Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program — LJAP for short. LJAP provides free, confidential telephone and in-person consultations for lawyers and judges and their families with licensed and certified mental health and addiction professionals. LJAP also offers educational seminars and consultation services for law firms.
Over time in a busy practice, legal professionals can suffer the same symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by their clients. In the therapy world, we call this vicarious traumatization. It is understood that professionals who work with people needing their help begin to experience the same emotions and even some of the same symptoms as their clients. Judges are particularly susceptible to vicarious traumatization because they are exposed to many more cases than attorneys.
If you or a lawyer you know needs help coping with a mental health or substance abuse problem, please don't hesitate to reach out to LJAP today at (800) 996-5522.