SBM NEXT Conference Set for Sept. 27-29 in Detroit

Members of the legal community will gather Sept. 27-29 at Cobo Center in Detroit for the largest legal conference in the state, the State Bar of Michigan NEXT Conference.

Among this year's highlights:

Dan Abrams, chief legal analyst for ABC News and founder and CEO of Abrams Media, will deliver the keynote presentation about "High Profile Trials and Clashes Between Lawyers and the Media" at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 28. Mr. Abrams has a long and celebrated career in legal journalism, previously serving as co-anchor of Nightline, chief legal correspondent and analyst for NBC News, and general manager of MSNBC. Abrams is the founder of eight web properties of the Abrams Media Network that together serve close to 15 million unique visitors per month.

Members of the legal profession who have achieved the highest honors in the areas of leadership, professional integrity and pro bono and community service will be recognized at the SBM Awards Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27. Award winners from the Michigan State Bar Foundation, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and Michigan Association for Justice will also be recognized. SBM President Lawrence P. Nolan and SBM President-Elect Donald G. Rockwell will present the awards.

World-class educational tracks, which can also be attended as a la carte sessions, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 28 and Friday, Sept. 29, featuring many helpful topics on the most up-to-date legal technology; judicial perspectives; marketing and managing your practice; updates in estate planning, criminal law, tax law, immigration law, international issues in marriage and divorce, and selling the small business; tips for health and disability planning; law firm branding; starting your own practice; and the balanced practice. The faculty includes these top-notch speakers and many more:

  • Hon. David M. Lawson, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • Hon. Kurtis T. Wilder, Michigan Supreme Court
  • Hon. Christopher Murray, Michigan Court of Appeals
  • Hon. Lita Masini Popke, Third Judicial Circuit Court
  • Barron K. Henley, Affinity Consulting Group LLC
  • Ross Fishman, Fishman Marketing
  • Paul J. Unger, Affinity Consulting Group LLC

On Thursday, Sept. 28, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman will swear in the 83rd president of the State Bar, Donald G. Rockwell, and other officers. In addition, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Riordan will swear in the 2017-2018 chair of the Representative Assembly, Joseph P. McGill, and the Michael Franck and Unsung Hero awards will be presented at the assembly business meeting.

Also on Thursday, the All-Member Reception will take place at Cobo Center from 4-5 p.m., and the Celebrating Diversity Reception will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Punchbowl Social in Detroit. Hosted by the Justice Initiatives Committee, the reception will celebrate the diversity of the State Bar, and acknowledge the work accomplished over the past year in support of achieving greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession in Michigan.

On Friday, the 50-Year Golden Celebration Luncheon will take place from noon to 2 p.m. This event honors lawyers for 50 years of membership in the State Bar of Michigan.

For more information on NEXT Conference, visit