Left to right: Thomas Linn, managing partner, Miller Canfield, greets ATJ Southeast Michigan Corporate Committee members and special guests: Reginald M. Turner, Clark Hill; Robert Gilbert, Miller Canfield; E. Christopher Johnson, General Motors Corporation; Dennis W. Archer, Dickinson Wright; Stephen Murphy, U. S. Attorney, Eastern District of Michigan; Bruce Peterson, DTE Energy; and David Leitch, Ford Motor Company. Missing from photo: committee member Jon W. Bilstrom, Comerica Inc.
The Southeast Michigan Access to Justice (ATJ) Corporate Committee hosted over 30 large law firm and corporate leaders at a Detroit luncheon on November 14, 2005. The purpose of the luncheon, held at the Detroit offices of Miller Canfield and led by E. Christopher Johnson, General Motors North America vice president and general counsel, was to recognize and thank Detroit-area law firms and corporations for their support of the ATJ Fund, which included Ford Motor Company for their gift of $50,000. David Leitch, senior vice president and general counsel of Ford Motor Company attended the event.
"When the State Bar asked corporations several years ago to join them in their work to support the non-profit programs that deliver civil legal services to the poor, we knew it was an important initiative," Johnson told the group. "Since then, over five and a half million dollars has been raised for the ATJ Fund, and a significant portion of that has been contributed by corporations and large law firms."
Bruce Peterson, senior vice-president and general counsel for DTE Energy, recognized gifts made in 2005 from Bodman ($25,000), Howard and Howard ($21,000), and Sommers Schwartz ($10,000).
State Bar President Tom Cranmer greeted lunch guests and thanked the corporate committee for their work. "Without the leadership of people like those on our corporate committee, the Access to Justice Campaign would not enjoy the success it has," he told guests. "The State Bar is truly appreciative of the work of the committee and the support of their corporations, the large law firms, and all donors to the ATJ Fund," he said.
The corporate committee has also discussed the possibility of creating a two-tiered pro bono donation standard, raising the recommended annual donation to $500 for those with the capacity to contribute more than the current $300 standard.