FAQ About COVID-19 from Michigan Lawyers
Updated June 10, 2020
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 ask us here.
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.
Here are some other resources we have available to you:
What the State Bar can, and cannot, do for you in the pandemic crisis
- 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
- Give legal advice
- Give medical advice
Questions & Answers
Can I return to my office?
Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-110, which rescinded the Safer at Home order, law offices are no longer ordered closed, but are subject to the following conditions:
- Any work that is capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) must be performed remotely.
- Any business or operation that requires its employees to leave their home or place of residence for work is subject to the rules on workplace safeguards in Executive Order 2020-97.
The State Bar has resources available specifically designed to help Michigan lawyers with the transition back to safe in-office operations.
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?
On May 18, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court announced that the Board of Law Examiners has shelved the traditional two-day format for the July 2020 bar examination in favor of a single-day, essay-only, remote option. Originally scheduled for July 28-29, the modified test will be held on Tuesday, July 28. The 15-question essay exam will cover both state and federal law topics similar to those that would be addressed in the 200-question Multistate Bar Exam, which cannot be administered online this year.
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 unease, decrease 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.