Publications & Website Advisory

As a result of the reorganizational measures taken by the Board of Commissioners in 2002, the former Bar Journal Advisory Board was reconstituted as the Publications and Website Advisory Committee for 2002-2003, and given additional responsibilities for advising and assisting staff with, essentially, all State Bar publications, including the website, the e-Journal, the newsletter, and in-house publications, as well as the Bar's publication, the Michigan Bar Journal. We promptly reorganized ourselves to divide these new responsibilities among three new vice-chairpersons.

Candace Elliott Person brings her considerable expertise in cyberlaw and her equally considerable technical sophistication to her post as the vice-chair in charge of the Bar's electronic publications. She promptly went to work with our consultant and other committee members and staff to plan the redesign of the Bar's website and integrate all of the Bar's electronic publications as thoroughly as possible.

Brian Draper, vice-chair in charge of print publications other than the Journal, has oriented himself to the constellation of in-house publications for which our little staff is responsible and begun the process of evaluating these operations and keeping the Committee apprised of what we are now responsible for in this new realm, and how we can make this segment of the Bar's conventional print publications operation (including the mammoth directory issue) as efficient as possible.

Deborah Luyster is vice-chair in charge of the (11-issue) Journal, probably the least demanding post among our new triumvirate, if only because we have been doing this for a collective 200 years or so, but nevertheless one that presents some real challenges in light of the strict space limitations we have been obliged to cope with since budgetary reductions slimmed us from 128 pages to 88 without any concomitant reduction in mandated content.

Somehow, we have had to find ways to keep ad revenue in line with our budget, implement the Journal redesign we were in the midst of when the page reduction occurred, and continue to provide a forum for member authors and Sections who want space in the only State Bar publication that all members receive.

So far, so good, but it is sometimes a tightwire act, one that we certainly could not hope to pull off without Director of Communications Nancy Brown, Managing Editor Amy Ellsworth, Sales Executive Stacy Sage, Media Specialist Naseem Stecker (our first and only reporter, who has added a new dimension to the book), and the new (to the Committee) cadre of staffers we are getting to know as we learn all of the operations for which they (and now we) are responsible: legal opinions (if you are not using the e-Journal to stay abreast of Michigan decisions, state and federal, including full text opinions, you are wasting money and time: our service, free to members, is peerless) are abstracted and published within 24 to 48 hours in most cases, and you can thank Sharon Barnes, Caroline Gamble, and Lucille Willis for putting them in your laptop, presto; graphic design (for all publications, print, and electronic), for which we rely on Mike Smith; print on demand (the new in house technology that makes it possible for us to publish economically in almost any quantity) and the guru of same, Print on Demand Coordinator Julie Henderson; and desktop publishing (its coordinator is Susan Oudsema), which gives us in house design and creative capability to serve not only the Bar itself, but also the vast majority of Bar sections for which the Bar is now publishing newsletters, allowing both the Bar and its sections to achieve significant economies by performing services for which we used to require outside (and expensive) assistance. We have good people like Sarah Nussbaumer (manager of publications), Lauren Nowenstein (publications content coordinator), and Carrie Pickett (electronic publications coordinator) who bring to the range of services we now provide in house the kind of professionalism and capability that we barely dreamed of in the early 90s when we made our first tentative steps into the 21stcentury by persuading the Board of Commissioners to begin acquiring the technology that now enables us to publish so much so well and so fast.

Nowhere does the State Bar demonstrate its commitment to providing cost effective service to our members more clearly and effectively than in its Communications Division, and nowhere do the Bar's volunteers (in this case, the 21 members of the Committee) assist more effectively in that effort. We welcome the challenge of the wider responsibilities with which the Board has charged us in its reorganization and we welcome your comments and suggestions for the constant process of improvement that has been our mission since the humble days of the pamphlet Bar Journal that most of our members do not even remember. Thank you, staff and Committee members, for all of your good work.