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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mistaken Identification

StateBarCone.jpgSince I became State Bar President, I encouraged everyone to bring forth their comments, suggestions, and criticisms of the State Bar.

That traffic you encountered on your way to work due to road construction?  No need to call or e-mail your complaints.  I can assure you that our State Bar had nothing to do with it.

8:17 pm edt          Comments

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Michigan Judicial Selection Task Force: Read and Understand the Issues
What do you think about our process of electing justices of the Michigan Supreme Court?

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Senior Judge James L. Ryan were concerned that the current system of selecting Supreme Court justices was partisan (political parties nominate candidates, even though the candidates ultimately appear on the ballot as “non-partisan”), costly (in 2010, alone, Supreme Court candidates spent nearly $9 million in campaign advertising), and devoid of transparency.  In late 2010, they convened the Judicial Selection Task Force and charged it with the task of studying how Michigan Supreme Court judges are selected. 

The task force had a diverse composition of lawyers and non-lawyers, lawyers with different practices, and people of different political affiliations.  
Its members evaluated extensive written materials and listened to speakers offering different viewpoints.  I encourage everyone to read the Judicial Selection Task Force Report and Recommendations, which was issued in April.  Among the recommendations were: 

  • disclosure of campaign funding sources
  • open, nonpartisan nominations and primaries
  • vacancies filled by the governor after a candidate screening process from a gubernatorial advisory commission (composed of lawyers and non-lawyers) that issues a “short list”
  • elimination of the age limit of 70 for judicial service
The report has been the subject of discussion and debate.  A supportive article published in the Huffington Post, written by Detroit lawyer and task force member Andrew Doctoroff, can be found here.  A different view, published by Dan Pero, can be found here.

State Bar members:  I encourage you to read the report carefully, educate yourself on the issues, and make an informed opinion.  Please feel free to comment on this blog.
9:41 am edt          Comments

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July
Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. 

 ~ Louis D. Brandeis

Photo credit:
10:39 am edt          Comments

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About Me

Thank you for visiting my blog.  My name is Julie Fershtman, and I was the 77th president of the 42,000-member  State Bar of Michigan from September 2011 through September 2012.  A member of the State Bar for over 26 years, I practice with the law firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, in its Farmington Hills office, where I'm a Shareholder.  My areas of practice include commercial litigation, insurance defense and coverage, sporting and recreational liability, agribusiness law and liability, and equine law.  As a lawyer, I especially enjoy trial work; I've tried cases before juries in 4 states (Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Connecticut) and have been admitted as pro hac vice counsel on cases in 12 jurisdictions nationwide.  Business will continue during my State Bar presidency, with assistance of lawyers in my firm and the cooperation of fellow counsel and judges.  

Aside from my law practice, I also enjoy speaking and lecturing on liability, insurance, and risk management at seminars, conventions, CLE programs, and conferences across the country, including the Insurance Skills Center.  In 2011 I spoke on a panel at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto; I also spoke as a panelist on ABA webinars in 2011 and 2012.  I also love writing.  I've written 2 books and have contributed to or co-authored 4 ABA books, most recently in 2009 and 2011, as well as 5 law journal articles for the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section.  My writings include about 200 articles on legal subjects.

I grew up in the Detroit area and graduated from Emory College in 1983 and Emory Law School in 1986.  On a personal level, my father (the late Sidney Fershtman) was a Michigan lawyer, and my husband is a lawyer.  Although work, family, and bar activities leave little time for hobbies, my favorite hobby is horses.  With an empty horse barn on our property in the Detroit suburbs, chances are good that I'll be riding horses some time after my service as State Bar President concludes.

Law Books

It has been a pleasure writing this blog to chronicle many of my travels and experiences as the 2011-2012 President of the State Bar of Michigan.  My one-year term ended in September 2012.  Throughout my presidency, your comments and suggestions were always welcome.  Please contact me at any time if you would like to discuss your own involvement in a bar association.

Julie I. Fershtman, Esq.• Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC • 28411 Northwestern Hwy. • Ste. 500 • Southfield, MI 48034
Direct Line: (248) 785-4731 • E-mail:

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