Charles R. Toy of Lansing has been sworn in as the 75th president of the State Bar of Michigan.
The chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Marilyn Kelly, officiated at the Sept. 17 ceremony. The swearing-in took place in conjunction with SBM's Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn. Mr. Toy is associate dean of career and professional development at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Also sworn in as officers for 2009-2010 were President-Elect W. Anthony Jenkins of Detroit, Vice-President Julie I. Fershtman of Farmington Hills, Secretary Bruce A. Courtade of Grand Rapids and Treasurer Brian D. Einhorn of Southfield.
Mr. Toy will lead an organization of over 40,000 members that works to improve the administration of justice, promote the legal profession, and build public understanding of our legal system. He has been a member of the SBM Board of Commissioners since 2000, and on the BOC Executive Committee since 2004. While serving on the BOC, he has provided oversight to many SBM operations, including finance, public policy, and member services. From 1992 to 1998, Mr. Toy was a member of the SBM Representative Assembly, the Bar's final policymaking body. A long-time member of the Bar's Environmental Law Section, he spent more than two decades on its council, and served as its president in 2001. Mr. Toy is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates, which determines policy and goals for the ABA. He also belongs to the Eaton and Ingham County Bar Associations.
Becoming the 75th president of SBM is only the most recent of many career highlights for Mr. Toy. Last year, he took over his current role at Cooley Law School. He serves Cooley students and graduates by preparing them for a successful job search and overseeing the school's Career and Professional Development office.
Since graduating as a top student from Cooley in 1981, Mr. Toy has enjoyed a long association with the institution. He spent more than 20 years as a member of the Cooley Alumni Association Board of Governors, and served as the organization's president in 2004. Since 2001 he has been an adjunct professor teaching Conflicts of Law, and he was on the school's board of directors from 2005 to 2008. Mr. Toy received the Cooley Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 2005.
Prior to accepting his current position at Cooley, Mr. Toy practiced law for 24 years with the Lansing firm of Farhat and Story, and concentrated on environmental, property, and oil and gas law. During that time he also served as a contract administrative law judge for two state departments ― first from 1986 to 1992 with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and then for five months in 1997 with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Mr. Toy began his legal career in 1981 as a clerk to Judge Donald E. Holbrook Jr. at the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1982 he took a position as assistant prosecuting attorney in the appeals division of the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office, where he remained until joining Farhat and Story in 1984.
Mr. Toy's involvement isn't limited to the legal community. He sits on the Free Methodist Church of North America Board of Administration, a position he's held since 2003, and participated in the denomination's Court of Appeals from 2004 to 2007. He is a former member of both the Lansing Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and the Boy Scouts of America Chief Okemos Council.
A native of Lansing, Mr. Toy graduated from Oakland University in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and minors in chemistry and physics. He earned a Master of Science degree in park and recreation resources from Michigan State University in 1980. Between earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees, Mr. Toy worked as a shipboard oceanographer for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institute of Oceanography, traveling around the world twice while researching subsurface ocean circulation. He and his wife Mary Ellen reside in Lansing. They have four children.