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Opportunities to Provide Assistance During COVID-19 Crisis

Invitation to Participate—URGENT

The State Bar of Michigan is launching two initiatives in response to the pandemic crisis that give you opportunities to help.

The First Responders Helpline will provide pro bono services to first responders seeking crucial legal documents including medical powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney, and simple/statutory wills.

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline will quickly connect members of the general public who have legal needs related to the crisis with lawyers who have agreed to provide services at reduced rates.

Given the urgency of the need, we encourage you to sign up within 24 hours of receiving this notice.


Pro Bono First Responders Helpline

The First Responders Helpline will connect pandemic first responders needing the following legal documents with lawyers who will provide services at no charge.
Crucial legal documents include the following:

  • Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Simple/Statutory Wills

Who's Eligible?
Any member of the State Bar of Michigan in good standing who provides proof of malpractice insurance coverage ($100,000 per occurrence/$300,000 aggregate). Members with current or recent probate experience will be given first priority.

Note: The Governor recently issued EO 2020-41 to allow and encourage the use of electronic notarization and remote witnessing of documents to assist with the execution of wills, powers of attorney, and other documents during this period.


COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline will quickly connect people with COVID-19 related legal matters to attorneys who agree to provide legal services at reduced rates for target areas of practice. The following target areas of practice have been identified as those that may experience heightened demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Estate/Disability Planning
  • Guardianship
  • Custody and Parenting Time Issues
  • Garnishment Defense and Other Consumer Matters
  • Labor and Employment
  • Unemployment

Who’s Eligible?
Any member of the State Bar of Michigan in good standing who provides proof of malpractice insurance coverage ($100,000 per occurrence/$300,000 aggregate).

Note: After this messaged was emailed, a question was raised about whether fixed fees and maximum hourly rates for the COVID-19 Rapid Response initiative might be an anti-trust violation. In an abundance of caution, until this question is resolved, the compensation conditions are no longer a condition of service on the helpline.

Attorney Commitment
By signing up for the COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline you agree to:

  • Contact a referred caller within 4 hours of receiving email notice of referral. (Referrals received after 3:00 p.m. may be responded to no later than 10:00 a.m. the following day.)
  • Provide consultation to referred caller of up to 25 minutes at no charge.
  • Charge no more than the prescribed maximum rates.
  • Complete a follow-up disposition report at the close of representation.

You must agree to these limitations on fees:

Maximum Rapid Response Fees

Retainer Fee—$350
Hourly Rate—$75

Flat Fee Rates

  • Power of Attorney/Patient Advocate—$50
  • Will—$125
  • Single Will Package (Will/POA/PAD)—$200
  • Joint Will Package (Will/POA/PAD)—$300

Other legal services you agree to perform for a client who comes to you through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Service are not subject to these limitations.

Fees
You will not be charged an administrative or registration fee to serve on the COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline, and no referral/percentage fees will be owed to the State Bar of Michigan for COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline referred cases.

Note that both initiatives will use the Lawyer Referral Service platform for registration, but lawyers signing up for the Pro Bono First Responders Helpline and/or the COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline will not become members of the regular Lawyer Referral Service.


Ready to Join the First Responders Helpline and/or the COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline?

  • To join the Pro Bono First Responders Helpline and/or the COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline click on this link SBM Lawyer Referral Service Registration and follow the instructions.
  • Have your malpractice insurance declaration page handy so that you can upload itregistration takes just a few minutes!

Need some guidance getting registered? Click this link: LRS Registration Step by Step Instructions

If you need assistance or have questions, please email Janna Sheppard at jsheppard@michbar.org

Thank you for your service!