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May 2019

Volunteer to Serve on a State Bar Committee Today
Note: Complete the application before May 31 in any web browser except Internet Explorer. The application is not fully functional in Internet Explorer.

You are invited to apply to serve in one of the many volunteer opportunities offered by the State Bar of Michigan. We offer short-term, fast-moving opportunities to serve on innovative work groups and longer-term, more in-depth opportunities to serve on traditional standing committees. The streamlined volunteer application process will help you quickly identify the right opportunity to help us continue to advance our core mission of promoting the professionalism of lawyers; advocating for an open, fair, and accessible justice system; and providing services to members that enable them to best serve clients.

Please include your resume or CV and links to your online professional bio and social media sites to help us find the perfect fit for you. Please note that in order to serve as a volunteer, the State Bar requires that you have an email address on record. If you have questions, email or call (517) 346-6330 during regular business hours. If you are a current committee member and have any questions, contact your staff liaison. Find out more about SBM committees and work groups.

SBM Announces 2019 Award Winners
SBM Award WinnersThe following individuals will receive awards at a luncheon on September 26, 2019, at the Inauguration & Awards Luncheon in Novi.

2019 State Bar of Michigan Award Recipients

Roberts P. Hudson Award: Lawrence P. Nolan
Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award: Michael J. Talbot
Champion of Justice Award: Julie A. Gafkay, Robert F. Gillett, and Marla R. McCowan
John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award: Prof. Lawrence C. Mann and Prof. Suellyn Scarnecchia
John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award: Kimberly L. Scott
Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award: Michael J. Sullivan

The following individuals will receive Representative Assembly awards at the Assembly’s September 26, 2019, meeting in Novi.

2019 SBM Representative Assembly Award Recipients

Michael Franck Award: Mary Chartier
Unsung Hero Award: Clarence M. Dass

More information about each award recipient will be released prior to the Luncheon.

2019 Election Information
Electronic ballots for the 2019 State Bar elections will be distributed beginning on Friday, May 24. SBM members who do not have an email address on file will receive a paper ballot. Online voting will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 15, and paper ballots must be received postmarked no later than June 15.

There are contested races for the Judicial Tenure Commission, Board of Commissioners in Districts C & H, Representative Assembly in Circuit 3, and Young Lawyers Section Executive Council in District 1. Unless your address on file is in one of the circuits or districts where there is a contested race, you will only receive a ballot for the Judicial Tenure Commission race.

All eligible members with an email address on file with the State Bar may vote securely online. Beginning on May 24, eligible members will receive an email message informing them it is time to vote. Included in the message will be an embedded link taking the recipient directly to the voting site and a ballot containing only the races for which the member is entitled to vote.

The email will come from with the subject line "Vote Now in the 2019 State Bar of Michigan Election—E-Ballot enclosed" and not from the State Bar. To ensure that you receive your ballot, please add the email address to your contact list and let your IT department know to add this address to its "safe mail" list. Please be assured that the site is secure and you will have the same level of privacy and anonymity as if voting by mail. The system will prevent anyone from voting more than once.

If you have questions, contact Marge Bossenbery at or (517) 346-6327, or Carrie Sharlow at or (517) 346-6317.

Modest Means Program Needs Panel Members
The State Bar of Michigan Modest Means program faces a critical shortage of attorney panel members for family law referrals, particularly in divorce and child custody matters. Since the inception of the program one year ago, more than 600 modest means applications have been received and approved. The program, which operates through the SBM Lawyer Referral Service, is aimed at bridging the access to justice gap for the “missing middle”—people who don’t qualify for legal aid but cannot afford the market rate for legal services. Those in households with income less than 250% of the federal poverty level are eligible for services in the program. For those clients with incomes under 200% of the poverty level, your legal services will count toward the State Bar’s Voluntary Pro Bono Standard, and all panel members are exempted from the usual 10% remittance charge to the Lawyer Referral Service. Practice areas are limited to domestic/family law and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but other practice areas will be added soon. More information on becoming a Modest Means panel member.

Changes Coming to Next Conference/Annual Meeting
Some important changes to the SBM NEXT Conference/Annual Meeting will occur this year. Since the adoption of the State Bar’s Strategic Plan in 2017, the Board of Commissioners has been engaged in a systematic, data-driven examination of the functions of the bar based on the priorities in the new plan. After several months of analysis and discussion, the Board has determined that the NEXT Conference/Annual Meeting should be redesigned to better allocate State Bar resources.

The Board has voted to reduce the NEXT Conference/Annual Meeting to its core elements, as framed in the Supreme Court Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan. These elements include the swearing in of new officers, the inaugural meetings of the Representative Assembly and Board of Commissioners, and the presentation of the State Bar’s annual awards. Beginning this year, the annual meeting events will no longer include the Solo & Small Firm Institute, the vendor hall, receptions, or section annual meetings. Consolidation of some scheduled end-of-bar-year networking events will occur, and other events will move to different dates.

Order the 2019 April Resource Directory
The 2019 Resource Directory is now available and includes:

  • Comprehensive contact information for courts (information not readily available in one place)
  • Michigan state government contact information
  • Local government contact information
  • Lawyer associations contact information
  • Classified legal services advertising marketplace

If you opted to receive the printed Michigan Bar Journal April issue, you will receive a portable print version by mail. A digital version of the Resource Directory is also available online. You can also order extra print copies of the 2019 Resource Directory.

Note: The best way to access the most up-to-date attorney contact information is to use the online Attorney Search tools at The alphabetical member roster is no longer printed, but you can access a digital document by logging into and selecting Alphabetical Roster at the bottom of the page.

On Balance Podcast: How Lawyers Can Accomplish More in Less Time
On Balance Podcast from the State Bar of MichiganIn this episode, hosts Tish Vincent and JoAnn Hathaway talk to Allison Shields about how lawyers can do more in less time. They discuss the importance of setting goals and avoiding the discouraging pitfall of creating never-ending to-do lists. Lawyers who learn to prioritize tasks and manage their activities can accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time.

On Balance, on the Legal Talk Network, delivers useful and entertaining ideas on managing life as a lawyer. To subscribe to On Balance in iTunes, follow two easy steps: 1. Using your mobile device, start here. 2. Click the purple "Subscribe" button that shows up right under the name of the podcast. To access On Balance in Google Play, follow these three steps: 1. Using your mobile device, start here. 2. Click the subscribe button (located near the On Balance logo). 3. Click the subscribe button that appears in the pop up.

Mark Your Calendar: License Fee Renewal Due October 1, 2019
The new State Bar fiscal year begins October 1, 2019. At that point, you should be prepared to renew your license to continue practicing law for the 2019–2020 Bar year. In mid-September you will receive an email from the State Bar of Michigan inviting you to log into the member area, complete your annual disclosures, and pay your license fee online. You will also have an option to mail a check to the State Bar’s lockbox.

We will send you several reminder emails to complete the annual disclosure statement and invoice well in advance of the November 30 deadline, after which a $50 late charge will be assessed. Now is the time to update your member profile with a valid email address so that you will receive all important notices by email.


Upper Michigan Legal Institute—It’s Not Too Late To Register
June 14–15, 2019 • Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

There is still time to register for the Upper Michigan Legal Institute! You don't want to miss this opportunity to get the latest substantive law updates, invaluable technology tips to improve your productivity, and play Evidence "Jeopardy" to gain a better understanding of key evidentiary rules!

Don't wait! Save your spot at #SBMUMLI today!

For a complete schedule, registration information, and hotel information, visit the UMLI website and register now.

Lawyer Trust Accounts Seminar—Register Now
Date: Tuesday, June 25, 2019; 1:15–4:45 p.m.
Cost: $50 for lawyers; $25 for non-lawyers, law students, & unlicensed graduates
Location: State Bar of Michigan, Lansing
Register: online or mail form before June 21

This half-day ethics seminar will feature presentations on how to manage lawyer trust accounts, including how to effectively use forms, checklists, and other recordkeeping resources, and is also an excellent way to learn how to comply with Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15 and 1.15A.

Benefits & Discounts

 Wear Your SBM Love on Your Sleeve
Have a new Michigan attorney in your family? Or maybe you just want to wear your love of Michigan's bar on your sleeve? The State Bar of Michigan has a wide assortment of SBM labeled items for purchase such as travel mugs, t-shirts, polo shirts, micro-fleece coats, and much more.

To order your SBM gear, simply complete the paper form and mail it in with payment. If you have any questions about the products, contact Tracy Sproul in Member Services at (888) SBM-ForU or by email to

One Phone. Separate Personal and Business Phone Lines.
By porting your business number to Ruby Receptionists, you can use your mobile phone to return client calls and text messages without having to share your personal phone number with them. By having Ruby Receptionists host your business number, you can make calls and text from your business number on your personal phone through the Ruby app, allowing you to set reasonable boundaries between your personal and private life. The app also allows you to turn your Ruby service on and off with a single tap. As a member of the Michigan bar, you save 6% on Ruby’s monthly plans. For more information, visit Call Ruby.

Clio Launches Client Relationship Management Software
Clio has now launched Clio Grow, a new legal client relationship management (CRM) and client intake software that transforms the way you can engage with clients. Using the new CRM, you can create custom intake forms, e-signatures, and document automation to easily retain new clients. You can streamline data entry and follow-up emails to enable you to focus on what you do best. Advanced data reporting tools will allow you to identify your firm’s most valuable clients, helping you devote resources where they matter most. And, because you are a member of the Michigan bar, you get a 10% lifetime discount on Clio products. Find out more.

ABA Book Discounts

Shop. Save. Earn.

Newest ABA Publications

Save 15% on ABA books. The discount applies to all regularly priced book purchases at the ABA web store. Simply use the special discount code MICHBAR at checkout. To start saving 15% on your ABA book purchases visit Shop ABA or call (800) 285-2221 and use the special discount code MICHBAR at checkout.

Free e-Publications
The State Bar offers five electronic publications delivered to your email inbox at no cost.

e-Journal provides daily summaries of opinions released from the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Subscribe

NewsLinks provides a daily summary of law-related news articles, editorials, and columns carried in major local, state, and national media. Subscribe

Receive Practice Management updates sent directly to your inbox with tips and tools from the Practice Management Resource Center. Subscribe

Public Policy Update is a weekly journal highlighting public policy issues of interest to the profession. Subscribe

May Bar Journal—General
Read the May Bar Journal
Digital Version
(ideal for tablets, smartphones, and e-readers)

Online Version (PDFs)

Make the Most of Your SBM Status