A new Michigan Supreme Court task force will work to decide if the State Bar of Michigan should continue as a mandatory bar attorneys must join in order to practice law in Michigan. The Supreme Court issued an order today to create the task force in response to a request made by the State Bar that the court facilitate this discussion.
The new task force will determine whether the State Bar's duties and functions can, "be accomplished by by means less intrusive upon the First Amendment rights of objecting individual attorneys," consistent wilth Falk v State Bar of Michigan and Keller v State Bar of of California. "At the same time the task force should keep in mind the importance of protecting the public through regulating the legal profession, and how this goal can be balanced with attorneys' First Amendment rights," the order said.
The task force will be chaired by former SBM president and retired Berrien County Chief Judge Alfred Butzbaugh. Justice Bridget McCormack will serve as the court's liaison to the task force and Supreme Court Commissioner Nelson Leavitt will serve as its reporter. Other task force members include SBM Commissioner Danielle Brown, SBM Past President Thomas Cranmer, Michigan State Bar Foundation Board Trustee Peter Ellsworth, SBM Past Commissioner John McSorley, SBM Commissioner Colleen Pero, SBM Commissioner and Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael Riordan, SBM President-Elect Thomas Rombach, University of Michigan Law School Professor and former dean John Reed, Michigan State Representative and Speaker Pro Tempore John Walsh, SBM Executive Director Janet Welch, and SBM Representative Assembly Vice Chair Vanessa Williams.