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April 2020

Petitions for the 2020 SBM Election are due by April 30

2020 Economics of Law Practice SurveyThe following State Bar of Michigan elections will be held in June 2020:

  • A statewide election for a non-judicial member of the Judicial Tenure Commission
  • Elections for the members of the Representative Assembly in 38 judicial circuits
  • Elections for members of the Board of Commissioners in four commissioner districts
  • Elections for members of the Young Lawyers Section Executive Council in three districts

If you’d like to submit your name for one of these roles, you must file a petition with the State Bar by April 30, 2020. A list of the Circuits and District where there are vacancies can be found here, and information about how to electronically collect nomination support and file your petition during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

All ballots will be electronic and sent to all active State Bar attorneys by June 1, 2020, to the email address we have on file. Ballots must be completed online no later than June 15, 2020.

Business Continuity WebinarA free webinar for Michigan lawyers: Business Continuity for Law Offices in the Face of Coronavirus

The State Bar has made available, free and on-demand, an all-inclusive webinar from attorney and legal technologist Barron Henley. He covers the steps you need to take to develop your remote practice—from setup to running at full throttle. Mobility and efficient remote access were important even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but in a situation like this they can be the difference between the life or death of your practice. Watch the webinar here.

Here are some other resources we hope you’ll find helpful:

Thank you to all Michigan attorneys and the 45 Leadership Firms that made the 2019 Access to Justice Campaign a success

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Michiganders than ever will need civil legal aid. Legal aid programs have already seen an increase in unemployment, eviction, and domestic violence issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stress of the pandemic affects everyone in Michigan, and for the foreseeable future more people than ever will turn to civil legal aid.

The Access to Justice Campaign is grateful for the increased donations received during the 2019 campaign that will be extremely helpful to legal aid programs and their ability to respond to the immediate legal needs caused by this pandemic. It is now more important than ever to support the work of civil legal aid programs and protect the livelihoods, homes, and safety of low-income families. For more information about the Access to Justice Campaign and the full recognition lists, visit the Access to Justice Campaign.

The 2020 Pro Bono Honor Roll submission deadline has been extended to May 18, 2020

A Lawyer Helps ButtonThe deadline to submit your 2020 Pro Bono Honor Roll Application & Pro Bono Service Reporting Survey has been extended to Monday, May 18, 2020. Even if you or your firm do not want to be publicly recognized for your pro bono service or do not qualify for this year’s Pro Bono Honor Roll, you are encouraged to report your pro bono service hours to the State Bar by submitting the application and voluntary reporting survey, available now on SBM’s A Lawyer Helps website.

The 2020 Honor Roll will recognize individual attorneys, law firms, and corporations at one of three recognition levels for providing 30, 50, or 100+ hours of pro bono service in the 2019 calendar year. Check out the 2019 Pro Bono Honor Roll here.

The pro bono service information you submit will be used for informational purposes only and will not be shared or publicized unless you explicitly authorize SBM to include your name on the published version of the Honor Roll. SBM is also looking at other opportunities for Michigan lawyers and firms to be recognized for their pro bono service, so please make sure you submit an application and voluntary reporting survey. SBM will publicize the Honor Roll through press releases, frequent postings on the web and social media platforms, and by other printed and electronic methods. If you have questions about the Honor Roll, please contact Robert Mathis.

A Lawyer Helps Banner If you know any frontline pandemic responders, please tell them about the Frontline Responders Legal Helpline

The State Bar’s Frontline Responder Legal Helpline is up and running, providing free legal services (simple/statutory wills, medical powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney) to anyone on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. If you know any workers in medical facilities who are involved with the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients, ambulance crews, the cleaning crews that support their efforts, police or EMTs, please tell them about the Frontline Responder Legal Helpline. We are hoping to spread the word to all the Michiganders risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe.

We’ve also launched the COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline, where anyone with a legal need related to the pandemic can find a Michigan lawyer who will promptly provide legal services. The State Bar thanks everyone who is involved in these important initiatives.

The Michigan Bar Journal will be back in June

Michigan Bar Journal LogoDue to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Bar has focused its communications efforts on urgent needs concerning the pandemic. As a result, we will not publish a May issue of the Michigan Bar Journal. We will continue to offer timely news and updates of interest to Michigan lawyers on our website. Make sure you stay in the loop by signing up for our newsletters and connecting with us on social media. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

We look forward to returning with a Michigan Bar Journal in June. Meanwhile, we’re looking for online article submissions related to COVID-19 and the practice of law. If you’re interested in sharing your story or expertise as a lawyer practicing during the pandemic in an article on our website, we’d love to hear from you. Information about submitting an article can be found here. Please contact editor Linda Novak with any questions. If you have questions about advertising, please contact Stacy Ozanich.

The 2020 Economics of Law Practice Survey is still open

2020 Economics of Law Practice SurveyEvery three years, the State Bar conducts the Economics of Law Practice Survey to update a comprehensive database that is used by many Michigan courts to determine attorney fees. We launched the 2020 survey in early March, hours before the state announced its first COVID-19 cases. We understand that a lot has changed in the world since we first contacted you about the survey. One thing that hasn’t changed is the important role it plays in Michigan’s legal profession. If you can respond to the 2020 Economics of Law Practice Survey, we would really appreciate your help with this undertaking.

We take your privacy very seriously. Your secure response will be anonymous, and all results will be reported in aggregate only—no individual responses will be identifiable.

How we’re looking to the future

As governmental decision makers work to determine what should happen next in response to the pandemic, the State Bar has been doing the same thing—considering what Michigan lawyers, the courts, and the public they serve need as we emerge from the quarantine. The voices of lawyers are critical in decisions about how to prioritize and balance the significant interests of safety with the need to provide a fully-functional, open, fair, and accessible justice system, and the State Bar is pleased to be situated to assist those voices in being heard. For the next phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, a 7-day “sprint” State Bar task force has been created to make specific, practical recommendations on safe and effective practice. Stay tuned.

A note from the Board of Law Examiners about the July 2020 Michigan Bar Examination

The Board of Law Examiners continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation, and the impact the crisis may have on the July 2020 Michigan Bar Examination. In deciding whether to conduct the exam in July or at another alternative time provided by National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), we are in close contact with the Michigan Supreme Court, NCBE, and other jurisdictions. We anticipate a decision from the NCBE on or around May 5, 2020, regarding the administration of a July bar examination and the possibility of a fall bar examination. Once the NCBE announces its decisions, the Board will then determine the most prudent course to take for Michigan, and will update its website, notify law schools, and our July applicants.

The safety of our examinees and staff are of paramount importance during this unprecedented health crisis. We understand the concerns that bar candidates have and are diligently working to arrive at solutions that will best protect everyone’s health and safety while still maintaining the integrity of the bar licensure process. As any additional information becomes available, the Board will update this information. We thank you for your patience and understanding.