To all of our members: We are so grateful for all that you do! Happy Love Your Lawyer Day! Take part in sharing your love for your fellow attorneys by using #loveyourlawyerday on Facebook and Twitter today.
Attorneys in Louisiana are reeling as the result of devastating, once-in-1,000-years floods. The New York Times reported that the floods have killed 11 and caused 30,000 people to need rescues. An estimated 40,000 homes are affected, and many of those do not have flood insurance because they are not located in areas known to flood. The Louisiana governor has declared a state of emergency and has issued an emergency suspension of legal deadlines.
In response to the disaster, the Louisiana State Bar Association has put together a disaster response website filled with information, announcements, tools and resources to help its members recover and assist them as they seek to offer legal assistance to people in their communities.
The Louisiana State Bar Association runs a program called SOLACE, (Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel - All Concern Encouraged). The sole purpose of the program is to allow the legal community to reach out in meaningful and compassionate ways to judges, lawyers, court personnel, paralegals, legal secretaries and their families who experience a sudden catastrophic loss. SOLACE is currently accepting assistance requests from attorneys and other people for non-monetary needs. People can make requests for office space, gift cards, furniture, temporary housing, food, and more. Undoubtedly, the SOLACE program is stretched to its limit by this disaster.
The American Bar Association Judicial Division awarded their 2015 Judicial Education Award to the Michigan Judicial Institute on July 31 in Chicago. The award recognizes the MJI for its successful efforts in providing high quality judicial education and training to Michigan judges.
MJI provides educational resources to Michigan judges, judiciary employees and the general public in the form of materials such as reference guides for judges, live seminars and webinars for judicial employees, oversight of the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, juror orientation videos and IMPACT email and podcast service that delivers summaries of recent court and legislative activities.
"The resources we offer help courts statewide be more efficient and enhance service to the public," said MJI Director Dawn McCarty. "This award is a credit to our most valuable resource — our staff, who is dedicated to serving the trial courts."
The MJI is a unit of the State Court Administrative Office, the administrative arm of the Michigan Supreme Court.
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 Albany Science Library in Albany New York. The event will feature Eugene Wanger as a speaker, as well as Henderson Hill, executive director of the Eighth Amendment Project; Richard Dieter, of the Death Penalty Information Center; William Bowers, director of the Capital Jury Project; Margaret Vandiver, professor at the University of Memphis; Constance Putnam, PhD, co-author of In Spite of Evidence; Eric Freedman, professor at Hofstra Law School, Daniel Linke, archivist and curator of public policy papers at Princeton University; and Charles Lanier, PhD, of Lanier Consulting and research.
Eugene Wanger served as a delegate to the Michigan Constitutional Convention in 1961-1962 and authored the provision in the current Michigan Constitution prohibiting the death penalty in the state.
It was almost 20 years ago to the day that former SBM Executive Director Michael Franck received the first ever Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award from the American Bar Association. He received his award on May 31, 1994 at the Chicago Yacht Club.
On May, 31, 1994, a great man was paid tribute by the legal profession he had nurtured and sustained throughout his life. For his outstanding contributions to the profession, Michael Franck was honored by the American Bar Association with the establishment of the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award.
On June 28, 1994, Michael Franck passed away leaving a legacy of the law as a high calling, of justice as a defendable right, and of public service as the beacon of a life's work.
For those of us fortunate enough to have been linked with Mike throughout his career, we learned through him that the law was illuminating and empowering and that reform was only one good debate away.
As stated by his colleague Robert Hetlage, past Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, on the occasion of the establishment of the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award:
You have done more than any lawyer I have known in my many years of work in the Bar to advance the cause of professional practice, by example, by personal commitment and dedication, by foresight and a remarkable sense of what is right and what works, by sound judgment and leadership, and by pure hard work.
The seeds of Michael Franck's journey as the champion of professional responsibility began in New York City in the early days of professional regulation. For a decade he dominated the scene as the Chief Litigator of the Committee on grievances of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. There he acquired the reputation as tough minded prosecutor and persuasive advocate.
Apparently, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners inadvertently reposted the results of the July 2013 exam, and mistakenly labeled them as being results from the February 2014 exam. Meaning that everyone who failed the July 2013 bar exam believed that they had failed the 2014 exam as well.
Massive confusion and heartbreak ensued for a couple of hours until the mistake was caught and corrected.
Former State Bar of Michigan president, American Bar Association president, Michigan Supreme Court justice and Detroit mayor Dennis Archer will head up the newly appointed ABA Task Force on Financing a Legal Education.
In a story on MLive, Brian Smith reports that the task force will make recommendations on how law schools can control the rising cost of attending law school.
"As law school tuitions and educational debt loads increase at the same time employment opportunities for recent graduates are constrained, the ABA needs to lead a thorough examination of the financing of legal education and law schools,” Silkenat said.
MLive created a searchable database of information on employment after graduation from Michigan's five law schools. Scroll to the bottom of the story to utilize it.
Three years ago SBM Blog reported that President Obama's rate of judicial confirmations was significantly behind his two immediate predecessors' rates. We just reported it straight, ignoring the many posts (yes, we're talking about you, Jeffrey Toobin) decrying the President's apparent indifference to this important Presidential function. Now, Politico reports that President Obama has nominated 301 judges and gotten 237 confirmed, and that at the same point in his presidency, President Bush had nominated 267 judges and had 234 of them confirmed. Although President Obama's first term judicial nominations were indeed both notably slow in coming and unsuccessful, filibuster changes have allowed the Administration to overcome its record slow start.
How Obama's Judicial Confirmation Record Compares to Bush's and Clinton's - See more at: http://sbmblog.typepad.com/sbm-blog/2011/07/how-obamas-judicial-confirmation-record-compares-to-bushs-and-clintons.html#sthash.MsMxsisn.dpuf
SBM Blog saw this coming over two years ago. Remember "Who's the Client? Penn State General Counsel and PSU Employees" from February 2012? We described howPenn State's Athletic Director and its senior vice president for finance and business both mistakenly thought they were being represented by Penn State's general counsel when they testified before the grand jury in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse investigation. Now the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Graham Spanier, Penn State's former president, is asking a federal judge to throw out misconduct charges against him because, he says, the prosecutor knew that Penn State's general counsel was representing Penn State, not Spanier, during the President's grand testimony, but allowed Spanier to testify anyway.
On April 22 (Earth Day and the birth of V. I. Lenin and death of Richard Nixon, probably just a coincidence), the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, a constitutional challenge to an Ohio law that criminalizes false statement during an election campaign about the voting record of a candidate or public official, and the dissemination of any false statement about a candidate, either knowing it is false or with reckless disregard for whether it is true, with the goal of electing or defeating the candidate. Or, to put it more drily and precisely, the Supreme Court will consider:
(1) Whether, to challenge a speech-suppressive law, a party whose speech is arguably proscribed must prove that authorities would certainly and successfully prosecute him, as the Sixth Circuit holds, or should the court presume that a credible threat of prosecution exists absent desuetude or a firm commitment by prosecutors not to enforce the law, as seven other Circuits hold; and (2) whether the Sixth Circuit erred by holding, in direct conflict with the Eighth Circuit, that state laws proscribing “false” political speech are not subject to pre-enforcement First Amendment review so long as the speaker maintains that its speech is true, even if others who enforce the law manifestly disagree.
As reported in the New York Times, which makes it official, to aid the Court the Cato Institute and humorist P.J. O'Rourke ("America's leading political satirist"1 and an H.L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute) have submitted an amicus brief in support of the constitutionality of the law. Its main assertions are:
Truthiness, Insinuations, And Allegations Are A Vital Part Of Political Speech
Truthiness, Insinuations, And Allegations Are Protected By The First Amendment
The Public Interest In Political Honesty Is Best Served By Pundits And Satirists
Cato did not ask me to write their brief for the same reason that you do not ask me to perform your appendectomy. … I was asked to read it and give it my endorsement because I am an expert on being run out of Ohio. Ask my mother.