The legal community gave generously to the State Bar of Michigan's Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign last year, contributing approximately one million dollars in new cash and pledges. This boosts total contributions, pledges and planned gifts for the ATJ Fund to more than six million dollars. Last year's contributions from 1,753 donors was about $225,000 more than the average collected in previous years.
These contributions are used to ensure that low-income individuals and families have access to the justice system to resolve their civil legal disputes. The Michigan State Bar Foundation, which receives and manages donations to the ATJ Fund, distributed more than $632,680 in cash and payments on pledges designated by donors for operations support to 36 individual programs.
State Bar President Thomas W. Cranmer praised the generosity of all attorneys who have contributed to ATJ. "The need for civil legal services is critical in ensuring that low-income people can get help with matters such as family law, housing, employment and consumer issues. I applaud the leadership shown by ATJ donors who support the Bar's efforts to ensure that civil justice is available to all Michigan citizens, regardless of their ability to pay," Cranmer said.
Corporate giving played a big role in the success of the 2005 campaign. Ford Motor Company contributed $50,000. Additional gifts included contributions totaling $56,000 from the law firms of Bodman, Longley and Dahling, Howard and Howard and Sommers, Schwartz, Silver and Schwartz.
Large law firms also continued with their key support with over $201,100 received from the continued participation of the west Michigan firms of Howard and Howard; Law, Weathers and Richardson; Mika, Meyers, Beckett and Jones; Miller, Johnson, Snell and Cummiskey; Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt and Howlett; and Warner, Norcross and Judd. Contributors in the Southeast Michigan area included Dickinson Wright; Dykema Gossett; Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn; Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone; and Sommers, Schwartz, Silver and Schwartz.