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Bylaws

Article I

NAME AND PURPOSES

    SECTION 1. NAME. This Section shall be known as the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

    SECTION 2. PURPOSE. The purposes of this Section shall be to encourage a high order of ethical and professional attainment; to further education among members of the Section; to support and carry out the programs, purposes, aims, and goals of the State Bar of Michigan; and to establish good fellowship among Section members, the State Bar of Michigan, and the members of the legal community at large.

Article II

MEMBERSHIP

    SECTION 1. QUALIFICATIONS FOR SECTION MEMBERSHIP. A person shall be deemed to be qualified for Section membership if the person is currently employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency, or other entity engaged in the practice of law, in a capacity or function which involves the performance under the direction and supervision of an attorney of specifically delegated substantive legal work, which work, for the most part, requires a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts such that, absent that legal assistant, the attorney would perform the task, and which work is not primarily clerical or secretarial in nature, and:

      a. who has graduated from an ABA approved program of study for legal assistants and has a baccalaureate degree; or

      b. has received a baccalaureate degree in any field, plus not less than two years of in house training as a legal assistant; or

      c. who has received an associate degree in the legal assistant field, plus not less than two years of in house training as a legal assistant;

      d. who has received an associate degree in any field and who has graduated from an ABA approved program of study for legal assistants, plus not less than two years of in-house training as a legal assistant; or

      e. who has a minimum of four (4) years of in house training as a legal assistant.

    Any affiliate member of the State Bar of Michigan, upon request to the Executive Director of the State Bar of Michigan and upon payment of dues for the current fiscal year (October 1 September 30), shall be enrolled as a member of the Section.

    SECTION 2. DUES.

      a. Affiliate Members of the State Bar of Michigan. Each affiliate member of the State Bar of Michigan who applies for and is accepted as an affiliate member of the Section, and who meets the criteria of Article II, Section 1 shall pay annual dues of Fifty Dollars ($50.00) per fiscal year, which fiscal year is October 1st through September 30th. However, if a person applies for and is accepted as an affiliate member of the Section after April 1st, the State Bar dues for the remainder of the fiscal year shall be Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00). Additionally, each affiliate member of the State Bar of Michigan joining the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section shall pay annual section dues of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per fiscal year, regardless of the date of application and acceptance.

      b. Active Members of the State Bar of Michigan. Active members of the State Bar of Michigan shall pay annual Section dues of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per year, October 1st through September 30th.

      c. Annual Dues. Thereafter, the annual Section dues shall be due and payable on or before the 1st day of October of each year thereafter or shall be due and payable immediately upon receipt of receiving the dues notice from the State Bar of Michigan, whichever is later. Members so enrolled and whose dues are so paid shall constitute the membership of the Section.

      d. Delinquent Dues. Any member of the Section whose annual dues shall not be paid by December 31st shall thereupon automatically cease to be a member of the Section.

Article III

OFFICERS AND COUNCIL

    SECTION 1. OFFICERS. The officers of this Section shall be a Chairperson, Chairperson Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. No person shall serve as Chairperson or Chairperson Elect for two (2) consecutive terms.

    SECTION 2. COUNCIL. There shall be a Section Council consisting of eleven (11) members, including the Chairperson, Chairperson Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer, all of whom shall be members of the Section, together with seven (7) other members, six (6) of whom shall be elected by the Section as hereinafter provided. The retiring Chairperson shall also remain a member of the Council for one (1) year immediately following the expiration of his or her term as Chairperson and shall be referred to as the "Ex Officio Chairperson." This additional one (1) year term shall not be considered a second consecutive term for the purposes of Section 3 of Article IV.

Article IV

NOMINATION AND ELECTIONS

    SECTION 1. NOMINATING COMMITTEE. By June 1st of each year, the Chairperson, with the advice of the Chairperson Elect, shall appoint a Nominating Committee of three (3) members of the Section. By August 1st of each year, the Nominating Committee shall make and report nominations to the Section for the offices of Chairperson Elect, Secretary (when applicable), Treasurer (when applicable), and those Council member positions which will expire at the close of the annual meeting and to fill vacancies then existing for unexpired terms. Additional nominations for elected positions may be made from the floor by members of the Section during the annual meeting of the Section. Prior to nominating candidates, the Committee shall consider the need for representation on the Council of members with diverse responsible legal viewpoints and who reside in various geographic areas of the State.

    SECTION 2. ELECTIONS. The following officers and Council members of the Section shall be elected at the annual meeting of the Section as specified in Article VII of these Bylaws:

      a. Chairperson. The present Chairperson-Elect shall assume the position of Chairperson at the next election.

      b. Chairperson-Elect. The Chairperson-Elect shall be nominated and elected, as specified in these Bylaws, at each annual meeting of the Section, to hold office for a term beginning at the close of the annual meeting at which he or she shall have been elected and ending at the close of the next succeeding annual meeting of the Section (and until his or her successor has been elected and qualified).

      c. Secretary and Treasurer. The Secretary and Treasurer shall hold office for a period of two (2) years. The Secretary and Treasurer shall be nominated and elected, as specified in these Bylaws, at every second consecutive annual meeting of the Section, beginning with the annual meeting to be held in September of 2000, to hold office for a term beginning at the close of the annual meeting of the Section.

      d. Council Members. Three (3) Section members shall be elected, as specified in these Bylaws, at each annual meeting of the Section to serve on the Council for a term of two (2) years, which term shall begin at the close of the annual meeting of the Section at which the Council member is elected.

    SECTION 3. ELIGIBILITY FOR ELECTION. No person shall be eligible for election to a position on the Council if that person is currently a member of the Council and has been continuously a Member of the Council for a period of two (2) full terms.

    SECTION 4. CONTESTED ELECTIONS. Any contested elections shall be by written ballot.

Article V

DUTIES OF OFFICERS

    SECTION 1. CHAIRPERSON. The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Section and of the Council. The Chairperson shall formulate and present at each Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan a report of the work of the Section for the past year. The Chairperson shall perform such other duties and acts as usually pertain to the office.

    SECTION 2. CHAIRPERSON ELECT. Upon the death, resignation, disability of the Chairperson, or upon the Chairperson's refusal to act, the Chairperson Elect shall perform the duties of the Chairperson for the remainder of the Chairperson's disability.

    SECTION 3. SECRETARY. The Secretary shall conduct all correspondence on behalf of the Section and shall be custodian of all books, records, papers, documents, and other property of the Section. The Secretary shall keep a true record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Section and of the Council, whether assembled or acting under submission. The Secretary shall assist the Chairperson in preparing the Annual Report of the Section. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Chairperson, and as authorized by the Council, shall attend generally to the business of the Section.

    SECTION 4. TREASURER. The Treasurer shall keep a true record of all monies received and disbursed and shall report to the Council whenever requested. Annually, the Treasurer shall submit a financial report to the membership of the Section. Consistent with the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan, the Treasurer shall be responsible for forwarding all monies of the Section which come into the Treasurer's hands, to the Bookkeeping Department at State Bar Headquarters in Lansing, Michigan for deposit and credit to the account of the Section. Further, unless waived on a meeting-by-meeting basis by vote of the Council, the Treasurer shall present a current financial report at each meeting of the Council. The Treasurer, in conjunction with the Chairperson and as authorized by the Council, shall attend generally to the financial business of the Section.

Article VI

DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE COUNCIL

    SECTION 1. DUES AND POWERS. The Council shall have general supervision and control of the affairs of the Section, subject to the provisions of the Bylaws of the Section, the Supreme Court Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan and the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan. It shall specifically authorize all commitments or contracts which shall entail the payment of money, and shall authorize the expenditure of all monies appropriated for the use or benefit of the Section. It shall not, however, without prior approval of the State Bar Board of Commissioners, authorize commitments or contracts which shall entail the payment of more money during any fiscal year than the total of: (a) all income received by the Section, including but not limited to Section dues for such fiscal year; and (b) any expended funds remaining in the Section treasury from prior years.

    SECTION 2. COMMITTEES. The Council may authorize the Chairperson to appoint committees consisting of Section members to perform such duties and exercise such powers as the Council may direct, subject to the limitations of these Bylaws and the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan. Further, the Council, at its discretion, may discontinue any Section Committee. The Chairperson shall appoint the Chairperson and members of such committees and may, or on direction from the Council shall, remove any members so appointed.

    SECTION 3. VACANCIES. The Council, during the interim period between annual meetings of the Section, may fill vacancies in its own membership or in the office of Secretary, Treasurer, or in the event of a vacancy in both the office of Chairperson and Chairperson Elect, in the office of Chairperson. Members and officers of the Council so appointed shall serve until the close of the next annual meeting of the Section. At the annual meeting the vacancies shall be filled for the remainder of their respective terms by a special election conducted concurrently with the regular elections as provided in Article IV herein.

    SECTION 4. REGULAR MEETINGS. Regular meetings of the Council may be called by the Chairperson or by a majority of the voting members of the Council at such times and place as either may determine. At least one regular meeting of the Council shall be held in each fiscal year.

    SECTION 5. SPECIAL MEETINGS. Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Chairperson or a majority of the voting members of the Council at such time and place as either may determine.

    SECTION 6. QUORUM OF THE COUNCIL. Six members of the Council physically present shall constitute a quorum at both regular and special meetings of the Council.

    SECTION 7. VOTING. The Council shall act pursuant to a majority of a quorum of those present at a regular or special meeting of the Council. Voting by proxy is not permitted.

    SECTION 8. RESIGNATION. If any Council member fails to attend two (2) consecutive Council meetings without an excused absence, or fails to attend three (3) consecutive Council meetings for any reason, such failure shall constitute an automatic, irrevocable, notice of resignation. The Council shall then fill the vacancy in accordance with Section 3 of this Article.

    SECTION 9. PROPOSITIONS. The Chairperson of the Section at any time may, and upon the request of any three (3) members of the Council shall, submit or cause to be submitted in writing, to each of the members of the Council, any proposition upon which the Council may be authorized to act. The members of the Council shall vote upon such proposition or propositions so submitted by communicating their vote to the Secretary. The Secretary shall record upon the minutes each proposition so submitted; when, how, at whose request the proposition was submitted; and the vote of each member of Council. The Secretary shall retain on file documentation of such votes. Action supported by a majority of all the Council members entitled to vote with respect to a proposition submitted in that manner shall constitute binding action of the Council.

    SECTION 10. ELECTRONIC MEETINGS. The Council or any committee designated by the Council, may participate in a meeting of the Council or committee by means of conference telephone, e-mail or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can communicate with each other. Participating in a meeting pursuant to this Section shall constitute presence in person at the meeting.

Article VII

MEETINGS OF THE SECTION

    SECTION 1. ANNUAL MEETING. The annual meeting of the Section shall be held during and at the same place as the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan and shall include such programs and order of business as may be arranged by the Council.

    SECTION 2. SPECIAL MEETINGS. Special meetings of the Section may be called by the Chairperson or by a majority of the members of the Council at such time and place as either may determine.

    SECTION 3. QUORUM. Twenty (20) members or ten percent (10%) of total membership of the Section physically present at any Section meeting, whichever is less, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

    SECTION 4. VOTING. All actions of the Section other than the amendment of the Bylaws shall be taken pursuant to a majority vote of a quorum of the members present.

    SECTION 5. PROXY. Voting by proxy is not permitted.

Article VIII

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

    SECTION 1. FISCAL YEAR OF THE SECTION. The fiscal year of the Section shall be the same as that of the State Bar of Michigan.

    SECTION 2. DEBTS OF THE SECTION. All debts incurred by the Section, before being forwarded to the Assistant Executive Director - Finance of the State Bar of Michigan for payment, shall first be approved by the Chairperson or the Treasurer; or, if the Council shall so direct, by both of them.

    SECTION 3. COMPENSATION. No salary or compensation of any kind shall be paid to any Section member, officer, Council or committee member.

    SECTION 4. REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES. Reasonable expenses of Section members, officers, Council or committee members incurred while engaged in Section business or when acting on behalf of the Section will be reimbursed pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII, Section 2 and any and all guidelines as specified by the State Bar of Michigan and the Council.

    SECTION 5. APPROVAL OF BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OR REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY. Any action made by this Section as an official act of the State Bar of Michigan must be approved by the Board of Commissioners or the Representative Assembly of the State Bar of Michigan before it become effective. No public statement of a Section or Council position may be made unless in full compliance with the provisions of Article IX of the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan. Any resolution adopted or action taken by the Section may, on request of the Section, be reported by the Chairperson of the Section to the Board of Commissioners or Representative Assembly of the State Bar of Michigan for action.

    SECTION 6. EFFECTIVE DATE OF BYLAWS. These Bylaws shall become effective upon their adoption by the Section and the approval thereof by the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan.

Article IX

AMENDMENTS

    SECTION 1. VOTING. These Bylaws may be amended at any annual meeting of the Section by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the members of the Section physically present and voting, provided there is a quorum; and provided further that any such proposed amendment shall first have been submitted for its recommendation to the Council; and provided further that no amendment so adopted shall become effective until approved by the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan.

    SECTION 2. PETITION AND PUBLICATION. Any proposed amendment of these Bylaws shall first be submitted in writing to the Council in the form of a petition signed by at least ten (10) members of the Section and considered by the Council at a regular or special meeting prior to the annual meeting of the Section at which it is to be addressed. The Council shall consider the proposed amendment at such a meeting and shall prepare recommendations; and those recommendations, together with a complete and accurate text of said proposed amendments, shall be published in the Michigan Bar Journal or Section newsletter at least thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Meeting of the Section at which the amendment is to be considered.

Created 1990
Amended 10/1999
Amended 9/27/2002

     

 

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State Bar of Michigan
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Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248