FAQ About COVID-19 from Michigan Lawyers

FAQ About COVID-19 from Michigan Lawyers

The State Bar of Michigan is committed to helping Michigan's lawyers navigate the evolving legal uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. This page is updated regularly as the situation changes and new information becomes available. If you have a question about COVID-19 and its impact on Michigan lawyers, please email covid19@michbar.org.

If you have a question or concern that’s specific to your practice area, we encourage you to join the relevant State Bar of Michigan section. These communities are crowdsourcing and sharing information that is crucial to the practice area of the section.

Some attorneys have inquired how the MDHHS order effective November 18 to December 8 might apply to their ability to carry out their legal practice. As a reminder, during a period of more extensive restrictions in place beginning last spring, the Governor’s office issued the following guidance: Attorneys are only allowed to work outside the home or meet in-person with clients to extent that they cannot perform the work remotely or cannot comply with their ethical obligations by performing the work remotely. (Emphasis added.) 

What the State Bar can, and cannot, do for you in the pandemic crisis

We Can

  • Keep a round-the-clock watch on relevant developments and primary sources and make them quickly and easily available to you
  • Bring emerging problems to the attention of the judicial and executive branch
  • Advocate to the judicial and executive branch on solutions
  • Help you practice in this crisis

We Cannot

  • Give legal advice
  • Give medical advice

Questions & Answers

Have any State Bar of Michigan services been disrupted?

The State Bar of Michigan continues to offer all essential services to lawyers and the public, although our building is closed and our employees are now working remotely. We don’t anticipate any major disruptions to the essential services we provide, but we’ll notify lawyers and the public promptly if changes are necessary. 

For the time being, we will temporarily issue Certificates of Good Standing by email only. Requests will be processed each business day at no charge. You must complete the online request to receive the email certificate. If you have questions, contact the Lawyer Services Department at 888-726-3678.

What about the courts? 

Check courts.michigan.gov for the latest updates from the judicial branch, as well as guidance for courts preparing to return to full capacity

Other resources available include: 

Have any State Bar of Michigan events been cancelled?

Several events involving the State Bar of Michigan or SBM sections, including the 50-Year Golden Celebration, the Upper Michigan Legal Institute, and the Bar Leadership Forum have been cancelled or postponed. We are updating our events calendar with cancellations regularly. 

What does this mean for future lawyers?

Consistent with MSC Administrative Order 2020-2, as extended by MSC Administrative Order 2020-5, courts are encouraged to handle new attorney admissions to the State Bar of Michigan either by two-way interactive video technology or over the telephone to the extent possible. Specifically, the steps for confirming the motion for admission and for administering the oath may be done remotely, and not in person as would otherwise be required by State Bar Rule 15, Section 3. The exchange of requisite documents, such as the letter of recommendation from the Board of Law Examiners and the prepared order of admission, may be accomplished via email. After being sworn in, the applicant must mail the payment and the signed oath to the court. The court should file a signed order of admission with the county clerk, who is responsible for transmitting the certified order of admission to the Supreme Court and the State Bar of Michigan. The certified order for the Supreme Court may be emailed to MSC_RollOfAttorneys@courts.mi.gov. Orders for the State Bar of Michigan may be emailed to SBM-Fee-Billing@michbar.org.  

What mental health resources are available for lawyers during this difficult time?

While we all face uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are steps that can be taken to help calm uneasedecrease feelings of social isolation, and remain rational during difficult times. The State Bar of Michigan is here to offer support and resources, as is the SBM’s Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program, which is staffed by a team of clinicians with the knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to offer emotional support and resources to legal professionals in need.