Sunday, July 8, 2012
8:17 pm edt
Since 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.
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?
9:41 am edt
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:
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.
- 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
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.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Happy Fourth of July
10:39 am edt
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: www.servicewomen.org
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.