Great Opportunity to Increase Your Visibility and Attract New Clients

CallcenterThe SBM Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) currently receives more than 500 calls each week from people looking for lawyers. Many of these are unable to find a match because there are not enough attorneys in some geographic areas or in some practice areas.

The SBM has revised and improved LRS. The resulting system produces far better matches for attorneys and consumers alike. We're ready to begin a significant marketing initiative to consumers and need to “stock the shelves” by adding more SBM members as LRS panel members.

Better matching technology means a higher likelihood of securing paying clients than ever before. The new online platform also automates tracking and reporting.

In addition to traditional cases, LRS has added Modest Means panels for family law and bankruptcy, and opportunities for attorneys to market their Limited Scope practice.

Learn more about LRS.
Learn more about joining one or more of our LRS panels.
Learn more about Limited Scope practice.

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SBM Announces 2019 Election Results

SBM Board of Commissioners

Three attorneys—E. Thomas McCarthy Jr., Thomas G. Sinas, and Erika L. Butler—won contested seats in this year’s Board of Commissioners elections. All will serve three-year terms expiring at the close of the 2022 Annual Meeting.

McCarthy and Sinas were elected to serve District C, representing Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Newaygo, Kent, Osceola, Mecosta, Clare, Isabella, and Gladwin counties. McCarthy, a shareholder at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, has been an elected member of the Board of Commissioners since 2013. Sinas practiced in Minnesota until 2013, when he returned to Michigan and opened the Grand Rapids office of the Sinas Dramis law firm.

Butler was elected to serve District H, representing Monroe, Lenawee, and Wayne counties. She has been a Michigan lawyer for almost 20 years with a solo practice representing nonprofits, small businesses, and individual clients throughout Metropolitan Detroit and beyond.

Four attorneys won unopposed races in the State Bar Board of Commissioners:

Suzanne C. Larsen, a partner with Kendricks Bordeau Keefe Seavoy & Larsen PC in Marquette, was elected to serve District A, representing the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.

Danielle M. Anderson of Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone PLC’s Kalamazoo office, was re-elected to serve District F, representing Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties.

Sarah E. Kuchon and James W. Low were elected to serve District I, representing Oakland County. Kuchon is a partner with Hohauser Kuchon in Troy. Low is with The Dollar Law Firm PLLC in Southfield.

Judicial Tenure Commission

Thomas J. Ryan of Sylvan Lake won a contested election for a three-year term on the Judicial Tenure Commission that will commence January 1, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2022.

Representative Assembly and Young Lawyers Executive Council Results

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Lunch & Learn—Tips & Tricks for Administrative Hearings & Appeals

GavelDate: Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Time: 11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Location: University Club of MSU, Lower Level Ballroom, 3435 Forest Rd, Lansing
Register: online or by mail form

To help ensure an accurate lunch count, registrations must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 13.

Cost: $20 for Admin Law and Young Lawyers Section members; $25 for non-section members; $15 for law students

Learn valuable insights from attorney Bret Totoraitis of Consumers Energy Company and William Fahey of Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC about how to successfully present cases before Michigan administrative tribunals as well as best practices for being successful in administrative appeals.

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Connecting with Your Clients

OnbalanceDr. Noelle Nelson gives listeners simple techniques for connecting with all types of clients and teach lawyers how to communicate, even if they disagree with their client.

Disconnects in lawyer/client communication often lead to unhappy clients or even the loss of their business. But the State Bar of Michigan: On Balance Podcast has good news—better relationships with clients can be achieved! Hosts Tish Vincent and JoAnn Hathaway talk to Dr. Noelle Nelson about her book, “Connecting with Your Client: Success Through Improved Client Communication Techniques.” Dr. Nelson offers simple techniques for connecting with clients of all personalities and temperaments and teaches lawyers how to be an ally, even if they disagree with their client. Later, they also discuss communication within law firms and offer strategies for creating supportive, respectful workplaces.

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a respected psychologist, speaker, author, and trial consultant who provides trial/jury strategy, witness preparation and focus groups to attorneys.

Listen to the podcast

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June Michigan Bar Journal

The June 2019 issue of the Michigan Bar Journal, focusing on Labor and Employment Law, is available online. Articles include: 

  • Balancing Customer Care and Employee Civil Rights
  • A Warning to Employers About Communications with Employees
  • Representing Employees of Educational Institutions in the #MeToo Era
  • Working in a State of Flux: LGBTQ Employment Law Update
  • Recruiting in the Robot Age

Other features include:

  • President's Page A Century Later: An Examination of Women in the Law by Jennifer M. Grieco
  • Plain Language Evolving They by Brad Charles and Thomas Myers
  • Best Practices Best Practices in Determining Whether a Claim Sounds in Ordinary Negligence or Medical Malpractice by Donna M. MacKenzie and Jules B. Olsman
  • Future of Law The Uniform Bar Exam: Whither Michigan? by Otto Stockmeyer
  • Libraries and Legal Research Employment and Labor Law Research Using Michigan Business Court Opinions by Ruth S. Stevens
  • Law Practice Solutions Be Flexible, Be Successful, Be Essential by Roberta Tepper

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Tax Pro Bono Program Training Webinar

GettyImages-873898412Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Time: Noon–1:30 p.m.
Register Today

The State Bar of Michigan’s Tax Pro Bono Program (Tax Program), a statewide partnership between the Taxation Section of the State Bar of Michigan and Access to Justice Committee, will be conducting a free webinar training. This training is excellent for attorneys who are new to the area of tax law, as well as experienced attorneys looking for a refresher course. The webinar will survey the most common tax-related issues facing clients of the Tax Program.

Training topics will include:

IRS notices (notice of intent to lien or levy; notice of deficiency)
IRS liens or levies
Collection alternatives
Offers in Compromise
Installment Agreements
Currently Not Collectible
Innocent/injured spouse relief
ID theft and tax preparer fraud
Recovering back tax refunds (VITA sites)
Corresponding Michigan issues (Michigan collection alternatives)
Private collection agency actions

The training will be conducted by Professors Nicole Appleberry, Joshua Wease, and Christina Thompson, instructors at the low-income taxpayer clinics at MSU and U of M Law Schools.

If you are unable to attend the training but would like to be placed on the Tax Pro Bono Program’s pro bono attorney panel, please register here.

A recording of the training will be made available to all pro bono attorney panel members.

Robert G. Mathis, J.D., M.P.A.
Pro Bono Service and Justice Initiatives Counsel
State Bar of Michigan

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ICLE Michigan-Specific Limited Scope Training Free to All Michigan Attorneys

GettyImages-1062933252In partnership with the State Bar of Michigan Affordable Legal Services Committee, ICLE has produced a program made up of three on-demand seminars. Each on-demand seminar is designed to help Michigan lawyers become practice ready in limited scope matters, and includes learning objectives, a video recording, written materials, optional self-assessments, and an evaluation. A certificate of completion is available for each on-demand seminar:

Begin a Limited Scope Representation Practice (30 minutes)
Handle Complex Limited Scope Representation Issues (50 minutes)
Demonstration: Communicate with Limited Scope Representation Clients (15 minutes)

Before entering the ICLE store to access the on-demand seminars, watch a brief welcome message from Affordable Legal Services Committee Co-chair Thomas C. Rombach. Hear from Limited Scope Representation Education Chair Hon. Cylenthia L. Miller with closing remarks and a hearty thank you for your participation. Learn how the bench and court staff are eager to connect the public with your services.

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Vote Now in the 2019 SBM Election

VoteIt is time to vote in the 2019 State Bar of Michigan election. This year, elections are being held for positions on the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Board of Commissioners in Districts C and H, the Representative Assembly in Circuit 3, and the Young Lawyers Section Executive Council in District 1. Unless your address on file is in one of the districts or circuits where there is a contested race, you will only receive a ballot for the Judicial Tenure Commission race.

All members with an email address on file with the State Bar may vote securely online. Beginning on May 24, members will receive an email message informing them it is time to vote. Included in the message will be an embedded link taking the recipient directly to the voting site and a ballot containing only the races for which the member is entitled to vote.

The email will come from with the subject line "Vote Now in the 2019 State Bar of Michigan Election—E-Ballot enclosed" and not from the State Bar. If you have not received your electronic ballot, please check your SPAM filter. All active members who do not have an email on file will receive a paper ballot in the mail.

Online voting will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 15, and paper ballots must be received postmarked no later than June 15.

If you have questions, contact Marge Bossenbery at or (517) 346-6327, Carrie Sharlow at or (517) 346-6317, or contact Election Services Co. at

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SBM Real Property Law Section to Host Summer Conference July 10-13, 2019 at Boyne Mountain

The State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section (RPLS) will host its 2019 Summer Conference, "Great Lakes, Great Times: Michigan Real Estate from the Mountaintop,” from July 10-13, 2019 at Boyne Mountain, Boyne Falls, MI.

The conference begins Thursday with an expert panel discussion of public-private partnerships (sometimes referred to as “P3”). Thursday’s and Friday’s workshops will address marijuana and real estate, short-term rentals, online auctions, shopping center debt considerations, workouts and foreclosures, and technology. There will also be an update on recent Michigan legislation and court opinions, as well as 12 interactive roundtable discussions on a variety of topics such as subleasing, amendments to the marketable title act, opportunity zones, liquor licensing, and 1031 exchanges.

Of course no summer conference would be complete without a full array of recreational and social activities, beginning with a cocktail reception on Wednesday evening. A golf scramble is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, followed by a cocktail reception and the traditional Section dinner. The evening will end with family entertainment – a chance to have fun and win lots of prizes with Trivia Night. Finally, the Saturday morning session will conclude with a special presentation by former United States Congressman and Michigan lawyer David Trott.

Registration is FREE for Real Property Law Section members who are also first-time attendees. Prior to May 31st, the registration fee is $325 for Real Property Law Section members and $375 for non-section members. After May 31, the registration fee is $385 for Real Property Law Section members and $430 for non-section members. Members of the Young Lawyers Section can register for $100 both before and after May 31. More information and registration forms can be found on the SBM website at

For more information about the conference, contact Karen Schwartz at For more information on upcoming RPLS events, become a fan of the section on Facebook by visiting

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12th Annual SBM Young Lawyers Section Summit

NetworkingDate: May 17-18, 2019
Location: MotorCity Casino & Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
Cost: $45; Register by May 14, 2019
Register online

The 12th Annual Young Lawyers Section Summit is a gathering of the state's young attorneys in celebration of camaraderie and education. The event will include a host of practical skills sessions, basic law overviews, and plenty of networking. The Summit is also when the section presents its Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.

Accommodations: A block of rooms have been reserved at the MotorCity Casino & Hotel. Contact the hotel at (866) 782-9622 or online and use group code "051719MYLS" by May 3, 2019, to get the discounted rate.

Flyer & Speaker Information

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