The State Bar of Michigan has hired Peter Cunningham as its new Director of Governmental Relations. He will replace Elizabeth K. Lyon, who is relocating to Alexandria Va., where she has accepted a position as Program Director with the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Ms. Lyon served the Bar for over eight years and is moving because of marriage.
Mr. Cunningham will begin in early July and will head a program that includes a large state and public policy agenda. He will be responsible for developing solutions and implementing the policy objectives and positions adopted by the State Bar's Board of Commissioners and Representative Assembly.
"Elizabeth has been instrumental in building a strong public policy program for the State Bar of Michigan," SBM Executive Director Janet Welch said. "We are pleased that in addition to his broad legislative experience, Peter provides continuity through his expertise in one of the Bar's top priorities -- improvements in Michigan's system of public defense."
Mr. Cunningham joins the State Bar after serving as the executive director of the Campaign for Justice, a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition working for public defense reform in Michigan. Prior to that, he served as legislative director and chief of staff to former Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, following seven years of service as House policy director and research analyst.
Mr. Cunningham managed a successful campaign to pass a $77 million bond proposal for Lansing Public Schools, which resulted in the construction of a new middle school and improvements at several existing schools. He has bachelor's degree in political science from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Penn., and a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.