Mobile Version

Today at the State Bar of Michigan

October 2009

Tips & Tools
Award Winner
Supreme Court Videos
October is Pro Bono Month
Do You Have a Story?
Practice Management Tip
Are You Connected?
Bar Journal Online


Featured Discount Program

Midwest Transaction Group

Accepting credit card payments can mean the difference in being paid on time or being paid at all.

That's why over 300 law firms have taken advantage of the State Bar of Michigan's credit card processing program through Midwest Transaction Group–they make it easy to get started, they offer members some of the lowest rates in the industry, and they even provide free PCI compliance support.

To offer your clients the option of paying by credit card, simply call Midwest Transaction Group at (888) 599-2209, ask for the State Bar of Michigan program, and they'll take care of the rest.



Casemaker 2.1—Your Newest Legal Research Service

    The State Bar of Michigan has partnered with Casemaker to bring premium state and federal research materials to its membership. The new service provides case law, constitution, and statutes for all 50 states, including the District of Columbia. In addition the service provides Michigan primary law, administrative code, state court rules, federal court rules, attorney general opinions, and the model civil jury instructions. The entire 50-state collection is available until September of 2010 to the entire State Bar membership.

    Members also have access to several advanced legal research tools, including a case citation tool that simultaneously runs a search for secondary and/or third part treatises and publications, and a tool capable of searching all customized books within any state and/or federal library in a single query.

    In order to help members become familiar with Casemaker and their search engine, a community educational outreach program has been created that will include live city tours, continuing webinars, online tutorials, and live support.

    To access this new member benefit simply log in to our member area and select the Casemaker tab on the left. There are several helpful user guides published within the Casemaker system. In addition, you can click on Live Training at the top of the Casemaker site and then Event Center to sign up for specially designed Michigan Casemaker webinars training.

    Access Casemaker in 4 Simple Steps

Tips & Tools for a Successful Practice

    Date: Tuesday, November 17
    Time: 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
    Location: State Bar of Michigan, Lansing
    Cost: $100-$125, see registration form for details
    by November 10

    This one-day seminar is designed to assist lawyers in managing and strengthening their legal practices. Featuring presentations on maintaining mutually beneficial client relationships, drafting effective fee agreements, managing trust and business accounts, using innovative techniques and technology for law office management, and analyzing ethical issues. Participants will receive a course book containing seminar materials prepared by presenters representing the public and private sector.

    For more information on the seminar, contact Karen Spohn from the Professional Standards Division at (517) 346-6309 or via e-mail at

Equal Access Initiative Wins Corp! Magazine's Diversity Champion Award

    Corp! magazine has announced that the State Bar of Michigan Equal Access Initiative (EAI) is among the winners of its Diversity Champion Awards.

    The EAI develops policies and programs for underserved populations as well as groups with special needs or people who face barriers to access to justice.

    “The effective functioning of the legal system requires the respect of those it represents, and it must reflect society as a whole in order to truly engender that respect from all quarters,” said Gregory Conyers, who formerly headed the SBM's Justice Initiatives division, and was recently named Director of Diversity.

    Visit Corp! magazine's diversity awards for a full report on all award recipients.

Michigan Supreme Court Video

    Video from the Michigan Supreme Court October oral arguments and Public Administrative Conference has been posted on the State Bar of Michigan Virtual Court web page.

    The Court's seven Justices heard the first case of the new term in the Old Courtroom in the Capitol. The Court then adjourned and resumed hearing oral arguments in its courtroom on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice.

    Agendas and background information for the oral arguments and the Public Administrative Conference are also posted on the Virtual Court web page.

October is Pro Bono Month

    Pro Bono Month is underway, and it is not too late to get involved. October was designated pro bono month in Michigan to honor attorneys who provide volunteer legal services to those in need and to facilitate activities that encourage continued pro bono efforts by lawyers. The effort is in conjunction with the American Bar Association's national recognition of Pro Bono Week.

    Governor Granholm signed a proclamation naming October 2009, as Pro Bono Month to build "support for pro bono work and swell the ranks of those involved … so that all people may receive adequate appropriate representation and protection in the legal system regardless of their economic standing." The Pro Bono Initiative of the State Bar of Michigan is encouraging everyone in the legal profession to identify volunteer opportunities, make connections to volunteer services, and donate funds for legal aid organizations in Michigan.

    In addition the month is also being used as an opportunity to facilitate trainings and other events to expand pro bono legal services. The month will end in a capstone event at the Hall of Justice on October 29, 2009.

Do You Have a Story?

    A Lawyer HelpsDo you have a story of pro bono or community service? Submit it today to be included in the A Lawyer Helps story bank. A Lawyer Helps is a State Bar of Michigan program with two goals: to recognize how lawyers make a difference every day to individuals and communities, and to provide tools for lawyers to continue doing so. Shining a light on lawyers who provide free legal help to the poor, donate for nonprofit legal aid programs, and give back to their communities provides examples that other lawyers can look to in continuing the public service traditions of the legal profession and lets others know of the positive role that lawyers have in the community. Share Your Story

Today's Practice Management Tip

G.M. Filisko has written a well organized compilation of “70 Sizzling & Lawyer Friendly Apps” for the October issue of the ABA Journal. This article has the applications organized into six categories that make searching for a solution quick & easy. The sections Word Up, Research and Reference, Productivity, Accessibility, Task Management, and Maps, Fun, and Games contain applications for a wide variety of mobile device OS as well as Windows and MAC computers. Cost for these apps ranges from pricey to free. Read this very informative article.

Are you Connected?

    The State Bar offers four electronic publications delivered to your e-mail inbox at no cost to you.

  • e-Journal provides daily summaries of opinions released from the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Subscribe Online
  • SBM News provides a daily summary of law-related news articles, editorials, and columns carried in major local, state, and national media. Subscribe Online
  • Public Policy Update is a weekly journal highlighting public policy issues of interest to the profession. Subscribe Online
  • Disability News is a quarterly newsletter addressing issues faced by people with disabilities in the courthouse setting. Subscribe Online

Bar Journal Online

    Read the October Issue Online

    Bar Journal OnlineThe October 2009 Environmental Law issue of the Michigan Bar Journal is now available online at This month's issue introduces the State Bar's 75th president, Charles R. Toy, and provides a comprehensive look at new and changing areas of environmental law, including new renewable and clean energy legislation and "green" contracts. Highlights include:

    General articles:

  • Michigan's Clean Energy Legislation: Charging Toward a New Energy Future
  • MDEQ Seeking Major Overhaul of Michigan's Key Environmental Remediation and Brownfield Laws
  • Got Green?
  • The Advent of Carbon Credit Trading in Michigan: Out of Chaos Comes Opportunity
  • To Arrange or Not to Arrange: Intent is the Question
  • Monthly columns:

  • Continuum (President's Page)
  • Still Another Example from the Proposed New Federal Rules of Evidence (Plain Language)
  • Sources to Help New Attorneys "Bridge the Gap" Instead of Step in It (Libraries and Legal Research)
  • Ain't No Cure for the School-Time Blues (Practicing Wellness)
  • Lawyers at Midlife: Laying the Groundwork for the Road Ahead (Book Review)
  • Of interest:

  • Charles in Charge: 75th president is teacher at heart; passionate about leading by example