All persons who are licensed to practice law in Michigan must be members of the State Bar of Michigan. In order to become a member of the State Bar, you must first take steps to become admitted to the State Bar. If you've recently passed the bar exam, the Board of Law Examiners has mailed you a certificate of qualification. A current, active member of the State Bar must file this certificate and a motion seeking your admission to the State Bar in the Supreme Court or a circuit court. You must also appear personally in open court to be administered the oath of office. View the rule describing the steps to follow in taking the oath of office as a lawyer. View a schedule of swearing-in ceremonies around Michigan.
After being sworn in to one of the circuit courts or the Supreme Court of Michigan, you will need to complete a membership application to join the State Bar of Michigan and pay your membership dues.
To complete the State Bar of Michigan new member application online and pay your member dues with a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card, please visit the Bar's Member Area and create an account as a "Prospective New Member & Non-Member" and continue with the membership application if you have already been sworn in. Do not create an account online until you have been sworn in. If you wish to complete the paper application and pay your member dues with a check, download new member application form.
After completing the new member application form and payment of the required dues, a true or certified copy of the Order of Admission certified by the County Clerk will need to be provided to the State Bar of Michigan. Some courts provide the Order of Admission directly to the State Bar. If you wish, you may mail your true or certified copy of the Order of Admission signed by the County Clerk to the State Bar of Michigan, Attention Finance, 306 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48933.
As soon as the State Bar of Michigan has issued you a P number, you will be a member in good standing and eligible to practice law.
The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed John Van Bolt interim grievance administrator of the Attorney Grievance Commission.
Van Bolt has served as president of the National Council of Lawyer Disciplinary Boards and served for more than 25 years as the executive director and general counsel of the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board. Prior to holding that position, Van Bolt investigated and prosecuted charges of attorney misconduct for six years as an associate counsel at the Attorney Grievance Commission.
[N]ot every new idea receives a universally warm welcome – - especially if we think more creatively about ways to solve the justice gap. And that’s exactly what we are doing when we venture into areas that seemed off limits in the past. One such area for the New York Judiciary is the work of non-lawyer advocates in our courtrooms to support unrepresented litigants. We know that there are many functions that only a lawyer is qualified to perform. Only lawyers have the education, training, examination standards, and ethical mandates that go hand in hand with full legal representation. But there are people without a law degree who nonetheless are more than capable of assisting unrepresented litigants. At a time when millions of litigants can neither afford to pay a lawyer nor are fortunate enough to have the services of a legal services provider, we need to look to others to step in. This is already done in the medical profession. There is no substitute for a medical degree, but that community has recognized for many years that people with health care needs can be served in some measure by practitioners with lesser qualifications – like midwives or home health care aides — providing specified services at lower rates.
A medical malpractice case in Idaho has caused a justice of that state's Supreme Court to pointedly question his colleague's impartiality in a dissent to the Court's decision in favor of the plaintiff. Justice Daniel Eismann :
Courts decide cases in one of two ways: (a) they apply the law to the facts and thereby arrive at the result or (b) they determine the desired result and then twist the law and/or the facts to justify it. The error made by the district judge was applying the law to the facts, which produced a result that the majority does not like.
A dissenting colleague who "entirely concurs" with the Eismann's legal reasoning nevertheless writes:
I am sad that Justice Eismann’s dissenting opinion lowers itself to personal attacks more suited to a school yard argument among teenagers than to a professional legal discourse that should be expected in a judicial opinion.
All of this prompts an Idaho lawyer who has just filed to run for a seat on the Supreme Court to note in an Idaho Statesman guest opinion that Justice Eismann had accused three other justices of being “untruthful” and questioned their impartiality and that the Idaho Supreme Court has sanctioned at least one attorney for far less offensive statements:
Make no mistake about it; the heat that is obvious from reading the Nield opinion smolders beneath every medical negligence case. The Topp case and Idaho’s ethical rules prevent judicial candidates from discussing their views on how special interests may have an effect on the outcome of medical negligence cases as a result of subtle political influence exercised upon the judicial appointment process.
Similarly, judicial candidates would risk sanctions under Idaho’s Code of Judicial Conduct by questioning whether the Nield dissenters’ interpretation of the law violates the Idaho and United States constitutions by applying an arbitrary and unreasonably strict standard to the admissibility of expert testimony that infringes upon the role of the jury. What constitutes the “appearance” of a “commitment” to a position is clearly in the mind of the beholder, adding vagueness to the constitutional problems with Idaho’s “announce clause.”
Meanwhile, it's interesting that the Court's opinion is a "substitute" opinion, and that the original issued the same day was "withdrawn." One can't help but wonder, what it more -- or less-- provocative?
Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/03/02/3057494/free-speech-rules-cost-ua-good.html#storylink=cpy
Meanwhile, it's interesting to note that the opinion prompting the furor is a "substitute" opinion, and that the original issued on the same day has been "withdrawn." One can't help but wonder -- was the original more, or less, controversial?
A Chinese woman walked into a law office in New York’s Chinatown and asked to see her lawyer. She had applied for asylum, claiming that she had been forced to get an abortion in China to comply with the country’s family-planning laws, and she was anxious about her coming interview with immigration officials.
She had good reason to be worried: Her claim, invented by her lawyer’s associates, was false.
But the lawyer, John Wang, told her to relax. The process, he said, was straightforward, and as long as she memorized a few details, everything would be fine. “You are making yourself nervous,” he said in Mandarin. “All you would be asked is the same few rubbish questions.”
Two separate stories from different sides of the ocean about associates perhaps being encouraged to engage in unethical behavior does make one wonder whether reliance on the efficacy of the traditional partner-associate mentoring is always well-placed. Above the Law recounts the story from Texas of an associate sent to hang out with potential jurors in a room forbidden to lawyers, because, says ATL, "if someone is going to get in trouble, let it be an associate." Meanwhile, a post from the UK blog Lawyer Watch comments on a "depressing case" involving allegations of interrelated dishonesty by a partner and the partner's assistant:
The problems faced by an assistant in this position are manifold. They are compromised by their own culpability or contribution to any mistakes or (if there were any) prior dishonesty. My sense from talking to lawyers in difficult ethical positions is that responsibility is shifted implicitly or overtly to the partner. The dangers are obvious, but as an assistant in a law firm the economic and social need is to serve the partner. The client (and their case) is theirs. They get to take the tricky decisions.
It's hard enough being an associate these days without being bumped off the straight and narrow by someone who's supposed to be guiding you to professional success.
According to a story in the Nation, when the National Security Agency realizes it has intercepted an attorney-client communication through its monitoring program it "minimizes" the impact by stopping the monitoring of that communication and "identifying it as an attorney-client communication in a log maintained for that purpose if the client is someone known to be under criminal indictment in the United States.” Otherwise, apparently even that protection does not apply.
The Associated Press reports that an Ohio public defender was temporarily suspended while officials investigated whether he coached his client to fake symptoms of suffocation and "put on a big show" during his January 16 execution to aid the cause of abolishing the death penalty. The charges were dropped for lack of substantiation. Which leaves the open question whether such coaching would be more like the ethical sin of encouraging a client to perjure himself, or like the tolerable practice of coaching an unremorseful client to show contrition at sentencing.