21st Century LawWhat Comes Next

Unlike many task force assignments, our Task Force was not charged with completing or perfecting the work of our predecessors. Instead, we were asked to help our profession step out into the unknown. And predicting what comes next when your work is an attempt to write on the clouds of the future can be a fool’s errand.

We acknowledge up front that many of the ideas generated by this Task Force are unlikely to take hold exactly as we have described them. The more ambitious and promising they are the more they will be tumbled and shaped by new ideas and information and forces we cannot envision today.

But we send these ideas into the future with this hope and blessing: that they will not fail because the work is too hard. We are confident in the commitment of our profession to access to justice. If our ideas fail to come to fruition, may it be because they have yielded to better data and better ideas.

For today, these are the primary authorities to which we send our ideas out into the world:

The State Bar of Michigan has created this Task Force and has ownership of its work product. The State Bar has two distinct decision-making bodies: the Board of Commissioners and the Representative Assembly. As the final policy-making body of State Bar, the Representative Assembly has authority to make the broad policy recommendations of the Task Force, in particular those concerning rule and statutory changes, the policy recommendations of the State Bar. In its role overseeing the operation of the State Bar and its budget, the Board of Commissioners will determine whether and how to use the committee infrastructure of the organization and its staff to advance Task Force recommendations.

The Michigan Supreme Court has ultimate authority over changes to the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, the Michigan Court Rules (including the rules governing Professional Disciplinary Proceedings), and the Rules for the Board of Law Examiners, as well as appointment authority and oversight over the Board of Law Examiners and the two bodies of the attorney discipline system, the Attorney Grievance Commission and the Attorney Discipline Board.

The Michigan Legislature created the Board of Law Examiners and has established some of the conditions of admission, as well as the prohibition of the unauthorized practice of law.