My term begins on September 15, 2011,
during the State Bar of Michigan's Annual Meeting and ends on September 20, 2012, when the State Bar holds
its Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
What is the State Bar of Michigan?
The State Bar of Michigan is the association of the members of the bar of this state,
organized and existing as a public body corporate pursuant to powers of the Supreme Court over the bar of the state. The State
Bar of Michigan shall, under these rules, aid in promoting improvements in the administration of justice and advancements
in jurisprudence, in improving relations between the legal profession and the public, and in promoting the interests of the
legal profession in this state.
Membership includes men and women engaged in a wide variety of business
pursuits. They are practicing lawyers, judges, professors, legislators, executives, in-house counsel,
association executives and staff, administrators, entrepreneurs, members of the armed services, and numerous others.
The State Bar takes pride in the diversity of its membership and actively strives to provide services and benefits for them.
Will I, As State Bar President, Do?
As President, I will serve as a spokesperson for the State Bar and help it fulfill
its Strategic Plan. I will also preside over meetings of the Board of Commissioners, appoint and work with the Bar's many standing and special
committees, continue fostering strong, positive relationships
with the Bar's many sections, and work with the State Bar's Representative Assembly (which I chaired in 2001-2002). I'll also
have the distinct privilege of working with Janet K. Welch, the State Bar's very capable Executive Director, as well
as the State Bar's staff at its headquarters in Lansing. Of particular interest to me is to represent the State Bar to the public and the profession in a positive
way. Many people are unaware of the tremendous efforts the Bar undertakes daily to improve the profession
and protect the public such as our attention to justice initiatives, Access to Justice Campaign, and Client Protection Fund, to name a few. Many are unaware
of our member service programs and benefits. The Bar currently offers valuable
and free services that include, for example, the Practice Management Resource Center, Career Center, Ethics Helpline, legal ethics resources, Public Policy Resource Center and weekly updates, SBM news links, publications, and the daily e-journal that many members — myself included — can't live without.
a former solo/small firm practitioner for 17 years, I am especially sensitive to members who operate small
firm practices and look to the State Bar to offer more resources to help with practice management.
In addition, the Michigan State Bar Foundation, on whose Board I have served as a Trustee, provides grants supporting civil legal aid to the poor, education, and conflict
resolution. Also, the public is often unaware of the substantial contributions of time and money that lawyers undertake in
pro bono and community service; the Bar's "A Lawyer Helps ™" effort spotlights some of these activities and offers our members opportunities to make contributions, but
thousands of others are unrecognized each year.
Also of particular
interest to me as I begin my year is to listen to our membership and to be a highly accessible State Bar President.
This blog is part of that effort, and I welcome your comments and suggestions.