The State Bar of Michigan today announced that John T. Berry will step down as Executive Director of the organization in October. Berry, who began working with the Bar in November 2000, has accepted a position with The Florida Bar where he will oversee lawyer regulation and professionalism. He will also work with the Florida Supreme Court’s Professionalism Commission to expand professionalism efforts throughout the state, including programs for law schools.
“I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to assist in the growth of the State Bar of Michigan,” Berry said. “The Bar is poised for the future and after careful reflection, I find this to be the perfect time to look to my own future as well. I wish to become more involved in the development of younger attorneys and to share my acquired knowledge and experience in new ways."
Among the many accomplishments achieved during Berry’s tenure as Executive Director are the establishment of an ethics school that serves as a diversion program for the grievance process, the strengthening of the justice initiatives program, the development of a public policy resource center on the web, and a new practice management resource center.
Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Clifford W. Taylor said, “ John's leadership has seen the State Bar of Michigan through a time of transition to one of stability. He leaves this organization stronger and more vibrant than he found it, the best record of any leader's success. The Court congratulates him on his achievements and wishes him all the best."
The Board of Commissioners will appoint a search committee to lead the process for recruitment of qualified candidates for the position. Principal responsibilities of the Executive Director include providing vision, leadership and motivation to the Bar; implementing policies and procedures; fostering teamwork; managing the financial, operational and administrative activities with the executive committee; working and communicating effectively with the Board of Commissioners; and serving as a spokesperson for the Bar.
State Bar President Thomas W. Cranmer expressed his appreciation of Berry’s service to the more than 38,000 members of the State Bar of Michigan. “It is a testament to John’s emphasis on professionalism that he was honored with the American Bar Association’s Michael Franck Award for achievement in the field of ethics and professionalism. With John’s assistance, the State Bar of Michigan has regained financial strength while adding new programs that benefit our members and the public. Under his leadership, the Bar has placed a high priority on improved relations with the courts, the public, and our members. Our staff, the Board, the Representative Assembly, and our committees and sections have all become more efficient.”
Cranmer added that Berry’s extraordinary professional and visionary skills helped to shape the direction of the State Bar of Michigan. “His leadership was instrumental in the adoption and implementation of our Strategic Plan, which serves as our guide for future planning. Although he leaves us for a warmer climate, he will be remembered warmly here for his work in Michigan for many years to come.”