President's Page

President's Page--Executive Director Selection Process

by Alfred M. Butzbaugh

The State Bar has a wonderful opportunity to select its executive director to lead the State Bar and our profession into the new millennium. I will use this month’s article to report on the selection process.

The process began with a survey of section and committee chairs, past State Bar presidents, members of the Board of Commissioners and Representative Assembly, presidents of local bar associations and local bar executives, seeking input on the critical qualities for our next executive director and the names of prospective candidates. The critical qualities most often described were:



•Commitment to our profession and the Bar

The Executive Director position has been advertised through:

•American Bar Association—Division for Bar Services

•American Society of Association Executives

•Association of Black Meeting Planners

•Detroit Legal News

•Michigan Bar Journal

•Michigan Lawyers Weekly

•National Bar Association

•State Bar of Michigan website

Evaluation Criteria

The Board of Commissioners has established the specific criteria for evaluation of the candidates, on which the Advisory Council and the Search Committee will make their recommendations. They are:



•Personal integrity

•Successful interaction with the Supreme Court, legislators, and executive office

•Management skills

•Skill in building strong relationships and developing consensus

•Understanding the challenges that confront the justice system, lawyers and judges, and bar associations

•Commitment to

   -diversity and an open profession

   -access to justice for all

   -the improvement of the profession and the justice system

   -the unified bar

   -public service

•Understanding the challenges that are unique to Michigan

•Mastery over core bar association issues

•Professional success

•Standing in profession

•Ability to work with diverse groups

•Media savvy

Selection Process

The Board of Commissioners has established a three tier selection process, designed to provide input from a broad spectrum of our members.

Advisory Council

The first level of candidate review is the Advisory Council, the members of which are:

Lynn P. Chard, Director, Institute of Continuing,Legal Education

Peter H. Ellsworth, Member, Dickinson Wright, PLLC

Nancy Galloway, Retired employee of the State Bar of Michigan

David Haynes, Member, Public Affairs Associates

James R. Neuhard, Director, State Appellate Defender Office

Linda Rexer, Executive Director, Michigan State Bar Foundation

Honorable Victoria A. Roberts, Judge, Federal District Court,

Eastern Division; President, State Bar of Michigan (1996-97)

John F. Van Bolt, Executive Director, Attorney Discipline Board

Robert B. Webster, Member, Clark Hill, PLC; President,

State Bar of Michigan (1989-90); Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit

(Oakland County) (1973-82)

Selection Committee

The second level of candidate review is the Search Committee, consisting of 16 members.

Alfred M. Butzbaugh, Chair, President, State Bar, Butzbaugh & Dewane, St. Joseph

Thomas J. Ryan, Vice-Chair, President-Elect, State Bar, Thomas J. Ryan, PC, Sylvan Lake

Bruce W. Neckers, Vice President, State Bar, Rhoades, McKee, Boer, Goodrich & Titta, Grand Rapids

Reginald M. Turner, Jr., Secretary, State Bar, Clark Hill, PLC, Detroit

Scott S. Brinkmeyer, Treasurer, State Bar, Mika, Meyers, Beckett & Jones, PLC, Grand Rapids

Kimberly M. Cahill, Chair, Representative Assembly, Schoenherr & Cahill, PC, Center Line

Bruce A. Courtade, Vice-Chair, Representative Assembly, Law, Rhoades, McKee, Boer, Goodrich & Titta, Grand Rapids

Julie I. Fershtman, Clerk, Representative Assembly, Law Offices of Julie Fershtman, Bingham Farms

Nancy J. Diehl, Member, Executive Committee, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Detroit

Honorable Cynthia Diane Stephens, Member, Executive Committee, Chief Judge Pro Tempore, 3rd Judicial Circuit, Detroit

Lee B. Reimann, President, Michigan Association of Bar Executives, Executive Director, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Lansing

Honorable William J. Caprathe, Chair, Judicial Conference, Chief Judge, 18th Judicial Circuit, Bay City

Richard C. Lowe, Chair, Probate and Estate Planning, Section Council, Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Foster, PC, Lansing

Richard L. Manetta, Deputy General Counsel, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn

Roshunda L. Price-Harper, Chair, Young Lawyers Section Council, ANR Pipeline Company, Detroit

Richard E. Rassel, Chair, Multidisciplinary Practice Committee, Butzel Long, Detroit

Board of Commissioners

The Search Committee will recommend one or more candidate(s) to the 31 member Board of Commissioners, which will appoint our next Executive Director.

As I write this article, the Advisory Council is preparing its recommendations to the Search Committee.

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