The Lansing Report
When I was a kid growing up in Sterling Heights, my friends and I used to play "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and spy games. We would imagine that we were fighting enemies and struggling to protect the American Way. We pretended to have the same kinds of gadgets our super heroes had, like radio watches and utility belts.
It’s not the "Green Hornet" and "Batman" anymore, and it’s not pretend, but we still can all use high-tech gadgets to fight opponents and protect our clients.
Probably by the time you read this, the State Bar will have already launched its newest high-tech publication taking advantage of information technology. At the time of this writing, Nancy Brown and the State Bar’s Publications Department are preparing a new version of the e-Journal—basically it’s an e-Journal on the go. This version has all the same content, but it’s formatted and made available for your Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), including Palm and Windows CE devices.
What this means is that you’ll be able to keep up with all the precedential cases affecting your practice—whether you’re in the courtroom, at home, or travelling out of town. All the summaries of all the cases in the regular version of the e-Journal will be available for you to read on your hand-held computer, and since you can download each day’s edition of the e-Journal every time you "hot sync," you’ll be able to catch up whenever it’s convenient for you.
For those of you with PDA’s, I invite you to click on the ad in the e-Journal to find out how to make it all work. For those of you who don’t (yet) use a PDA, and for members who don’t yet use the e-Journal, just know that the State Bar of Michigan is working hard to continue to lead the country in using technology to serve its members.
Last year, the e-Journal won the prestigious Gold Circle Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). I am confident that this is just one of many national awards yet to come as the State Bar of Michigan continues to develop innovative ways to provide useful information and services.
It is critically important for the Bar to use technology to improve its service to members. Obviously, the e-Journal is an excellent example. The Bar has a history of taking advantage of technology: bringing the Annual Meeting’s State of the Law book to members on disk, providing the Members’ Daily E-mail Newsletter, partnering with Loislaw and offering OPeN. The State Bar’s website (www.michbar.org) is now updated daily and is a source of news and information that’s helpful for you, your practice, and the profession. In addition to the PDA version of the e-Journal, there’s more to come in the future.
The Bar’s role with respect to technology is not limited to using technology to provide you with information. It is important for the Bar to help you deal with the environment in which we find ourselves—a technological revolution. Technology will impact your ability to be competitive and the quality of your professional lives. So we’re developing ideas along those lines as well, because we are committed to seeing that the State Bar is important to you and your practice. The success of the State Bar of Michigan depends not on what has worked in the past, but on what will work in the future—on developing truly innovative ideas, programs, products, and services that will serve members throughout the 21st Century and beyond.
Access to Justice Development Campaign Update
One of the State Bar’s highest priorities is the Access to Justice (ATJ) Development Campaign, which is garnering support from across the state. The 22 judges on Genesee County’s circuit, probate, and district court benches have achieved 100 percent support for the Campaign. On March 23, George A. Googasian, a past president of the State Bar, joined the growing number of Campaign supporters by making a $25,000 gift to the ATJ Fund. His contribution pushed the Fund over the $1 million dollar mark in cash, pledges, and planned gifts. The short-term goal of the Campaign is to raise $2 million in cash and pledges by the end of calendar year 2000.
Corporate leaders are also showing their support for the Bar’s Campaign. The Access to Justice Task Force recently announced its Development Campaign Corporate Committee Co-chairs, comprised of Senior Vice President and General Counsel of General Motors Corporation, Thomas A. Gottschalk; Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Comerica Incorporated, George M. Madison; and Deputy General Counsel of Ford Motor Company, Richard L. Manetta.
As the Bar continues its efforts in this area, we want to raise awareness about the fact that we are currently in the midst of a major campaign. You will notice the ATJ Development Campaign logo appearing in conjunction with the State Bar logo on correspondence from the Bar, on our website, on the cover of the Michigan Bar Journal, and in the e-Journal.
The ATJ Campaign is a State Bar led effort to increase funding for nonprofit programs that provide civil legal help to low-income people throughout the state. In 1998, the State Bar received the Harrison Tweed Award from the American Bar Association, which is given to bar associations that have provided "extraordinary efforts to improve the availability of legal services to low-income persons."
Assistant Executive Director of Development Candace Crowley is responsible for planning and implementing the Bar’s ATJ Development Campaign fundraising efforts. She works with the Bar’s extensive volunteer network to identify and contact potential donors, and support solicitors as they implement the Statewide Campaign. Feel free to contact Candy at (800) 968-1442, extension 6319, if you have any questions about the Campaign or about how to make a contribution to the Fund. You can also visit the State Bar’s website at www.michbar.org/access/ for more information or to submit a pledge with our convenient, on-line form. I strongly encourage all State Bar members to join me and hundreds of other lawyers and judges and consider making a contribution to the ATJ Fund.