Your State Bar Staff

A Closer Look at the People Behind the Bar’s Programs and Departments


by Angela Bergman

A graduate of Christopher Newport University in Virginia and a native of Zimbabwe, Sylvia C. Foya is a well-traveled and well-rounded person. Sylvia has used her B.S. in Governmental Administration and her Associate’s in Legal Assisting to work in the legal community for several years. Currently attending the weekend program at Thomas M. Cooley Law School and working at the State Bar, Sylvia is enjoying her continued exposure to the legal profession. "I wanted to be associated with a legal entity, and working here has provided me the opportunity to work in a professional setting and to get valuable mentoring from the attorneys in the department."

Sylvia is the senior administrative assistant for the senior director of special projects in the Access to Justice Department, focusing specifically on pro bono legal services. She works extensively with the Pro Bono Honor Roll, works with the pro bono coordinators and directors of legal services programs to encourage pro bono donations reporting, and requests nominations for the John Cummiskey Award. She also provides administrative support for the Michigan Litigation Assistance Partnership Program, the Pro Bono Involvement Committee, and the Legal Services Corporation Advocacy Steering Committee. Sylvia says that her "love for the law and desire to assist others" makes this position perfect for her. She finds the pro bono focus of her job very fulfilling, particularly enjoying "being able to offer assistance to low-income Michiganians in need of civil legal representation."

The Access to Justice Department has worked to ensure that attorneys are recognized for their pro bono involvement. Sylvia explains, "we will be featuring an annual list of thousands of attorneys who have been providing assistance to legal services programs by contributing time, money, or both, as well as the Pro Bono Honor Roll Circle of Excellence, which honors law firms that fulfill the pro bono requirement for every attorney on staff." Why is it so important to recognize pro bono work? Sylvia feels that giving attorneys the recognition they deserve for sacrificing time and money to help those in need provides both a reward and an incentive.

Sylvia expects to graduate from Cooley in 2003 and hopes to focus on corporate law and finance in her future legal career. For now, spending time with her husband Christopher and daughter Olivia and completing nine credits per semester keeps her busy outside of work.

 

As the administrator for the Client Protection Fund, Kristine Reigler is an important liaison between the client and the Client Protection Fund Committee. She is responsible for the initial review, investigation, and analysis of reimbursement applications submitted by clients who have been victimized by attorneys. After an application is submitted, Kristine gathers the applicable information, carefully reviews the file, and then presents it to the committee with a recommendation. The committee reviews the file and presents recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, who make the final decision.

With a degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and previous experience in the foster care program and the Bar’s Character and Fitness Department, Kristine was well prepared for the challenges of her position. Her interests in investigative techniques and her desire to aid the public tie into her role perfectly. "I enjoy the variety my job offers; no two claims are exactly alike." She says that it is "rewarding to work in a position where the purpose is to provide some relief to those who have been victimized."

While the Fund helps the public, she also points out that it affects all members of the State Bar. "The purpose of the Fund," she says, "is to uphold the reputation of attorneys. The majority of Michigan attorneys observe high standards of integrity when entrusted with client money and property, but the dishonest conduct of a few can affect the public’s image of and confidence in all legal professionals. By reimbursing eligible claims through the Client Protection Fund, we hope to restore public confidence in the legal profession."

Besides being the Protection Fund administrator, Kristine is also the State Bar’s librarian. Kristine’s dual roles keep her plenty busy at work, but she still finds time to have some fun playing softball, golfing, camping, and spending time with her husband, Mike.

 

Lindsay Rosenberg is responsible for many of the attractive State Bar publications that have recently found their way into the hands of members. While she officially works in the Publications Department, Lindsay provides graphic design work for all of the State Bar’s departments. Her current focus is redesigning the State Bar’s website, www.michbar.org "We are working to make the site easier for members to navigate and find the information they need and on making it more visually appealing."

Trained in illustration, with a B.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, Lindsay didn’t expect to be working in the field of graphic design. It wasn’t long after graduation, however, that she discovered that a majority of the jobs available to artists involved graphic design and website development. She does get to incorporate some of her illustrations into different publications, and she has discovered that she enjoys the variety her position offers. "I probably have the most fun job in the building," Lindsay explains. "I get to deal with people on a positive level all of the time, and I get to help each department, event, and local or special purpose bar I work with develop their own individual identity." "It’s fun," she adds, "to present creative ideas to others and see their own creativity activated by the possibilities."

Lindsay’s time has most recently been divided between designing advertisements to be placed on the e-Journal, designing brochures and mailers for various Bar departments, and designing websites for those local and special purpose bars that have requested them. In addition, she has played a major role in the redesign of the Annual Meeting program, helping to create a program that is easier to read and follow. "As with any publication," Lindsay says, "a visually appealing program will make the information it contains easier to absorb."

Lindsay and her fiancé, Chuck, both artists who met at SCAD, plan to marry next summer. Lindsay hopes to someday return to an illustration career; her eventual goal is to illustrate children’s books. For now, however, she is enjoying the opportunity the State Bar has provided her to express her creativity and her personality through her work. "I get to be myself here," she says, "and I am comfortable doing what I do."



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