Carrying on During COVID-19

March 26, 2020

First, an important update from the Michigan Supreme Court. This morning, Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-4 was issued, ordering that “the deadlines for all filings, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional, in the Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are suspended as of March 24, 2020, the effective date of Executive Order 2020-21, and will be tolled until the expiration of EO 2020-21 or a subsequent EO that extends the period in which citizens are required to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.”

The full text of the Court’s order is available here, and we’re compiling other primary documents we believe you’ll need during this tumultuous time here.

A Message from the PresidentDennis M. Barnes

In the midst of this evolving crisis, I have never been prouder of Michigan lawyers; the patience, commitment to clients, perseverance, and creative problem solving that attorneys have shown in difficult situations is truly remarkable. I am also proud of the work of our State Bar during this time. As an arm of the Michigan Supreme Court, the State Bar has played an integral role in communicating with both the Court and the Governor’s Office to keep us informed on how this emergency is affecting our courts, our clients, the public, and the practice of law in Michigan. The State Bar has worked tirelessly to help get answers to your questions and to find solutions to help you perform your essential services under difficult circumstances.

The State Bar is receiving a lot questions about the stay-at-home order and how it affects the legal profession. While we don’t yet have complete answers and can't offer legal advice, we do want to offer some perspective. Of course what we do is important and of course it is essential. No one has questioned that. The issue raised by the public health threat we face is whether and when it is “essential” for you to risk your health and safety, and that of others, to leave your home to carry out your work. The order, read in conjunction with Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-2, is clear that there are still situations where it will be necessary for lawyers to leave the safety of their homes (for example, going to court for those activities related to the functions proceeding under AO 2020-2, or attending to crucial functions of running a practice).

Lawyers are problem-solvers and it is remarkable how quickly so many have been able to adjust to working effectively from home to the maximum extent possible. We look forward to continuing the work of sharing resources, getting answers to your questions, and helping you continue to persevere.

Dennis M. Barnes

President, State Bar of Michigan