Category Archives: News

Nominations Open for Major State Bar Awards

GettyImages-1066310534Nominations are now open for major State Bar of Michigan awards that will be presented at a 2020 awards celebration.

The Roberts P. Hudson Award goes to a person whose career has exemplified the highest ideals of the profession. This award is presented periodically to commend one or more lawyers for their unselfish rendering of outstanding and unique service to and on behalf of the State Bar, given generously, ungrudgingly, and in a spirit of self-sacrifice. It is awarded to that member of the State Bar of Michigan who best exemplifies that which brings honor, esteem, and respect to the legal profession. The Hudson Award is the highest award conferred by the Bar.

The Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award recognizes extraordinary governmental service by a Michigan attorney holding elected or appointed office. Created by the Board of Commissioners in 1998, it was first awarded to Frank J. Kelley for his record-setting tenure as Michigan’s chief lawyer.

The Champion of Justice Award is given for extraordinary individual accomplishments or for devotion to a cause. No more than five awards are given each year to practicing lawyers and judges who have made a significant contribution to their community, state, and/or the nation.

The Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award was established in memory of the 2006–2007 SBM president, who died in January of 2008. This award will be presented to a recognized local or affinity bar association, program, or leader for excellence in promoting the ideal of professionalism or equal justice for all, or in responding to a compelling legal need within the community during the past year or on an ongoing basis.

The John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award, named after a Grand Rapids attorney who was dedicated to making legal services available to all, recognizes a member of the State Bar who excels in commitment to pro bono issues. This award carries with it a cash stipend to be donated to the charity of the recipient’s choice.

The John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award was introduced in 2011 and is named for a longtime and beloved University of Michigan Law School professor and Wayne State University dean. This award will be presented periodically to a professor from a Michigan law school whose influence on Michigan lawyers has elevated the quality of legal practice in the state.

All SBM award nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 14, 2020.

In addition, the Liberty Bell Award recipient is selected from nominations made by local and special-purpose bar associations. The award is presented to a non-lawyer who has made a significant contribution to the justice system. The deadline for this award is Friday, May 8, 2020.

An awards committee co-chaired by SBM Vice President Dana M. Warnez and SBM Secretary James W. Heath reviews nominations for the Roberts P. Hudson, John W. Reed, Champion of Justice, Frank J. Kelley, Kimberly M. Cahill, and Liberty Bell awards. The SBM Pro Bono Initiative Committee reviews nominations for the John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award. These recommendations are then voted on by the full Board of Commissioners at its April meeting.

Last year's non-winning nominations will automatically carry over for consideration this year. Nominations should include sufficient details about the accomplishments of the nominee to allow the committees to make a judgment.

Any SBM member can nominate candidates for awards. To apply online or download application forms visit the awards page. Cummiskey Award nominations can be directed to Robert Mathis at All other nominations can be submitted to Anne Smith at

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Labor and Employment Law Section Distinguished Service Award 2020

The Section is inviting nominations for its 2020 Distinguished Service Award that will be presented at the Mid-Winter Meeting on January 24, 2020. We are hoping you will take this opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of a colleague who is deserving of this honor. The award recognizes an attorney who has demonstrated, for a period of twenty years or more, that he/she:

  • Has made major contributions to the practice of labor and employment law.
  • Reflects the highest ethical principles, including principles of civility and professionalism.
  • Has advanced the development of labor and employment law.
  • Has a long-established commitment to excellence.
  • Is recognized and respected by constituents in the labor and employment community.

Please send the name(s) of all nominees and a statement as to their qualifications for the award to the attention of Michelle Crockett at or Jennifer Salvatore at, by no later than Friday, December 6, 2019.

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Third Annual Fundamentals of Taxation Boot Camp

TaxDate: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Location: Honigman Detroit, 660 Woodward Ave, #2290, Detroit
Cost: Section members—$50; Government employees—Free; Law students—$10; All other registrants—$85

Register: online or by mail form
Registration deadline November 8, 2019. Limited onsite registration available.

The program offers multiple tracks covering a wide range of tax topics and caters to all levels of tax practitioners. Happy hour & mixer sponsored by the Young Tax Lawyers Committee.

Registration & Lunch, 11:00 a.m.–Noon | Program, Noon–4:00 p.m. | Happy Hour, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

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"Tips and Tools" for a Successful Practice Seminar

GettyImages-1150307755Date: Thursday, November 7, 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Cost: $100 (attorneys licensed to practice less than five years, including law students and unlicensed graduates);
$125 (attorneys licensed to practice five years or more)
Location: State Bar of Michigan, Lansing
Register online or by mail/fax form before November 5

View the Agenda

The semi-annual seminar features presentations on how to maintain mutually beneficial client relationships, draft effective fee agreements, manage lawyer trust accounts, analyze ethical issues, and use innovative techniques and technology for effective law office management. Participants will receive seminar materials prepared by the distinguished faculty. The seminar is an excellent opportunity for solo practitioners and new lawyers to obtain ethical guidance and practical information from colleagues who have successfully implemented law office management techniques and utilized economically-priced technology to improve the efficiency of their law practices.

Registration costs $100 for lawyers who have been in practice for less than five years, and $125 for those who have practiced law for five years or more. The registration fee includes seminar materials, a continental breakfast, and buffet lunch.

For more information contact Karen Spohn with the Professional Standards Division at (517) 346-6309 or

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Business Boot Camp I: Basic Training for Every Business Lawyer

BusinessGrand Rapids—Amway Grand Plaza, Gerald R. Ford Room, 187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids,
November 4-5, 2019
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. each day

Are You Ready for Business?

This award-winning program will help you:

  • Develop confidence, attract clients, and impress partners.
  • Meet the lawyers doing the deals you want to do.
  • Learn the secrets of Michigan’s most successful business practitioners—our faculty describes the work they do day in and day out.
  • Take home time-tested, proven forms and explanatory materials you can put to use immediately.
  • Basic Training for Every Business Lawyer.

Business practice is varied and complex. Your success requires broad knowledge, the right tools, and knowing the right people. Sign up for the award-winning course that has given hundreds of Michigan business lawyers an advantage. Learn the ropes from experts at Michigan’s top firms. Take home practical tools you can put to use immediately. In just two days you will receive grounding in nine key areas of business practice with guidance from the leaders who handle them every day.

Directors of Training

  • Jeffrey S. Ammon, Miller Johnson, Grand Rapids
  • Timothy R. Damschroder, Bodman PLC, Ann Arbor
  • Daniel H. Minkus, Clark Hill PLC, Birmingham

Individual Registration: $200, register by October 31, 2019 and SAVE $20.
Register: online or by mail form

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Michigan Supreme Court Appoints New Grievance Administrator

The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Michael V. Goetz to the position of Grievance Administrator for the Michigan Attorney Grievance
Commission (AGC). Goetz will oversee the prosecutorial and educational functions of the AGC. The appointment is effective September 23, 2019.
“Mr. Goetz has both the management skills and professional experience to make sure the AGC continues to protect the public and hold the legal profession accountable,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “Just as important, Mr. Goetz has a deep commitment to public service and great ideas on how to engage the public and the bar in the Commission’s critical mission, and to manage and inspire AGC staff.”

Goetz received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1983 and a juris doctorate from Detroit College of Law in 1988. He most recently worked in the Michigan Office of the Attorney General, serving as Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division’s Drug Interdiction Unit for six years. In addition to more than 30 years of experience in prosecution at the state and county levels, Goetz also currently serves his community as an emergency medical technician-firefighter for the Orion Township Fire Department.

The Attorney Grievance Commission is the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Michigan Supreme Court for allegations of attorney misconduct. The AGC has jurisdiction over all attorneys licensed to practice law by the state Bar of Michigan and attorneys otherwise permitted to practice law in the State of Michigan. The AGC strives to maintain and promote the integrity of the Bar and to protect the public, the courts, and the legal profession.

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Lawyer Trust Accounts Seminar: Management Principles & Recordkeeping Resources

TrustAccountsDate: Tuesday, October 22, 2019; 1:15–4:45 p.m.
Cost: $50 for lawyers; $25 for non-lawyers, law students, & unlicensed graduates
Location: State Bar of Michigan, 306 Townsend St, Lansing
Registration: online or mail/fax form

Registration deadline is October 18. No "walk-in" registrations will be accepted.

View the Agenda & Faculty

This half-day ethics seminar will feature presentations on how to manage lawyer trust accounts, including how to effectively use forms, checklists, and other recordkeeping resources. The seminar, which is open to lawyers and their staff, is an excellent way to learn how to comply with Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15 and 1.15A.

Participants will receive practical information as well as materials prepared by the presenters: SBM Professional Standards Division Director Danon Goodrum-Garland, SBM Assistant General Counsel Nkrumah Johnson-Wynn, Professional Standards Assistant Counsel Alecia Ruswinckel, and Attorney Grievance Commission Senior Associate Counsel Rhonda Pozehl.

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