SBM Real Property Law Section to Host Summer Conference in July

Grand_traverse_resortThe State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section will host its Summer Conference, “Mission Possible: Traversing Michigan’s Real Estate Landscape,” July 19-22 at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme.

The conference will begin Thursday, July 19, with an expert panel discussion focused on the practical implications of common contract terms. Educational workshops on Thursday and Friday will address technology, insurance, tax incentives for agricultural and forested lands, leasing, alternative energy and the real estate implications of estate planning. An update on recent Michigan legislation and court opinions will be complemented by interactive roundtable discussions on topics like mineral rights, survey requirements, title objection letters and drones. The Saturday morning session will conclude with “Expecting the Unexpected: The Wild State of Politics Today,” a special presentation by Susan Demas, owner of Inside Michigan Politics, a biweekly newsletter analyzing political and policy trends.

The RPLS Summer Conference will also feature many networking events, including a welcome reception on Wednesday evening, a golf scramble on Thursday afternoon, a reception and casino night on Thursday evening, and roundtable discussions each morning.

Prior to May 14, the registration fee is $285 for RPLS members who are also first-time attendees, $325 for other RPLS members and $375 for non-section members. After May 14, the registration fee is $325 for RPLS members who are also first-time attendees, $385 for RPLS members and $430 for non-section members. Members of the Young Lawyers Section can register for $100 both before and after May 14. To register or learn more about the Summer Conference, visit the RPLS website.

For more information, contact Karen Schwartz at For more information on other upcoming RPLS events, visit the RPLS website or become a fan of the section on Facebook.

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Attention Northern Michigan Attorneys: Legal Services of Northern Michigan Needs Your Help

ProbonologoLegal Services of Northern Michigan, Conflict Resolution Services, Grand-Traverse-Leelanau-Antrim Bar Association and Women Lawyers Association will host an expungement clinic to clear old criminal convictions that cause barriers to employment and housing for people with felony and misdemeanor convictions. The expungement clinic will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, at Conflict Resolution Services offices, located at 521 S. Union Street in Traverse City. 

If you're an attorney in Northern Michigan, they need your help. Volunteer attorneys are needed from 9 a.m. to noon on June 3. Individuals will meet one-on-one with volunteer attorneys to complete forms. You will leave having participated in a very meaningful pro bono experience. 

Clients who need expungements must call in advance (now) to register and complete a screening process. 

For more information, to register for an expungement or to sign up to participate as a volunteer attorney, contact Heather Abraham at or 231-941-0771, Ext. 205. 

This clinic is supported by grant funding from Equal Justice Works, Rotary Charities of Traverse City and the Michigan State Bar Foundation. 

Legal Services of Northern Michigan is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to promoting equal access to justice by providing free civil legal services to people living at or below the federal poverty line who are 60 years old or older. LSNM serves Michigan's 36 northernmost counties. Conflict Resolution Services is a northern Michigan nonprofit that provides free and low-cost mediation services using volunteer mediators to resolve all types of conflicts. It serves Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Missaukee and Wexford counties. 

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SBM Probate & Estate Planning Section Hosting Third Annual Happy Hour May 19

Grand_traverse_resortThe State Bar of Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Section will host a third annual happy hour for new or young lawyers, non-members and current members looking for ways to network with peers and get more involved with and learn more about the section from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, May 19, on the 17th floor of Grand Traverse Resort in Acme.

In conjunction with the Institute of Continuing Legal Education Probate & Estate Planning Institute in Acme and sponsored by Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, the happy hour will feature complimentary hors d'oeuvres, an open bar and fun, relaxed conversation. 

Put on your casual clothes, take the elevator to the top and enjoy the views as you learn how section membership can help you improve your practice. 

For more information, contact Nick Reister at or (616) 458-8286.


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Trust Accounts Seminar Set for June 27 in Lansing

Generic_buildingThe State Bar of Michigan will present a seminar, “Lawyer Trust Accounts: Management Principles and Recordkeeping Resources,” from 1:15-4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27 at the State Bar of Michigan Michael Franck Building, located at 306 Townsend Street in Lansing.  

This half-day ethics seminar will feature presentations on how to ethically manage lawyer trust accounts and effectively use forms, checklists and other recordkeeping resources. The seminar, open to lawyers and their staff members, is an excellent way to learn more about 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.

View the event agenda or register for the event. The registration fee is $50 for lawyers and $25 for non-lawyers. Payment and the completed registration form must be received by Friday, June 23. No walk-in registrations will be accepted. For more information contact Karen Spohn with the State Bar of Michigan Professional Standards Division at (517) 346-6309 or via e-mail at

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Attention Michigan Attorneys: We Need Your Help

VolunteersneededMichigan attorneys: we at the State Bar of Michigan need your help, expertise and passion to implement our new strategic plan. Please consider signing up to volunteer to help advance the core mission of the State Bar to promote the professionalism of lawyers; advocate for an open, fair and accessible justice system; and provide services to lawyers that enable them to best serve clients.

You will see from this year's volunteer application that while we maintain our commitment to the traditional matters of the mandatory bar, we are also looking carefully to match your passion, talents and work style preferences to exciting new opportunities. We hope the application will also help us ensure that our efforts reflect as many viewpoints, talents, backgrounds and experiences as possible. The application offers an opportunity to upload a resume so remember that as you consider your choices.

An e-mail address on record with the Bar is a requirement of volunteer service. If you have questions about the application, you can e-mail or call (517) 346-6300 during regular business hours. If you are a current committee member, your staff liaison is ready to assist you.

Please take a look at and complete the application before the end of May, as SBM President-Elect Don Rockwell will begin making appointments to committees and workgroups in June. He will also continue to make appointments as volunteer opportunities arise throughout the 2017-2018 bar year. The State Bar of Michigan's reputation as a leader in upholding the values of the profession, serving the public, and delivering value to our members has been built over decades, mostly via extraordinary volunteer work of thousands of members like you. We look forward to working with you.


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SBM Young Lawyers Section Announces Recipient of 2017 Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Marcuz HeadshotThe State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section will present Katherine Marcuz with the Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer Award on Saturday, April 29, at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville.

Marcuz is an appellate attorney at the State Appellate Defender Office and principal attorney for the Appellate Investigation Project, an innovative collaboration between SADO and the Michigan Assigned Appellate Counsel System to provide MAACS roster attorneys with greater access to investigators and training on spotting and litigating extra-record issues in need of expert witnesses. Prior to beginning her work at SADO in 2012, Marcuz clerked for Hon. Catherine Easterly of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Prior to becoming an attorney she worked as a high school English teacher in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, a master’s degree in education from Brooklyn College and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

The Young Lawyers Section also named two finalists for the Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Ryan Berman runs his own law firm in Bloomfield Hills, working on international business law, real property law and criminal law. He is also a licensed real estate salesperson, mediator, political consultant, law enforcement trainer, reserve police officer, charter member of the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association and a judge for the Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University Law School. Abril Valdes is an attorney with Clement and Hurst in Troy, focusing her practice on immigration, family law and criminal defense. She serves as secretary of the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan, director of membership for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Wayne Region and a Barristers Board member of the Detroit Bar Association. She is a graduate of California State University and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

The award is named for Regeana Myrick, who was a very active member of the SBM Young Lawyers Section Executive Council when she died in 1997. It is presented annually to a young lawyer in Michigan who has demonstrated many of her best qualities, including an overwhelming commitment to public service, exemplary service to the State Bar, and exceptional professional accomplishments.

The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will be presented as part of the SBM Young Lawyers Section 10th Annual Summit. The Summit contains a full day of seminars that will cover substantive and skill-based tracks on such topics as family law, civil rights law, insurance law, mediation, trial skills and advocacy, practice management and client development. It will also feature a keynote address from Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Markman.

For more information about the Summit, visit or contact Shenique Moss at

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SBM to Present “Tips and Tools” For a Successful Practice Seminar on May 2

TipsandtoolsThe State Bar of Michigan will present “Tips and Tools for a Successful Practice” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at the State Bar’s Michael Franck Building in downtown Lansing.

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 law office management. The seminar presents 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. To view the agenda or make a reservation, visit The registration deadline is Friday, April 28.

For more information contact Karen Spohn with the State Bar of Michigan Professional Standards Division at or (517) 346-6309.

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Attention Detroit-Area Attorneys: Lakeshore Legal Aid Needs Your Help

ProbonologoLakeshore Legal Aid and the City of Detroit Clean Slate Project will host an expungement fair to help low-income people expunge their non-violent criminal records in order to get jobs. The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2080 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit. 

If you're an attorney in the metropolitan Detroit area, they need your help. They're expecting about 1,500 people to attend the fair and they will all need help learning if they are legally eligible for expungements. If they are eligible, they'll then need help preparing State Court Administrative Office pleadings. 

No prior experience in handling expungements is necessary, and you can sign up to participate in all or part of the day. You will NOT leave with cases. You WILL leave having participated in a very meaningful pro bono experience. 

For more information or to sign up to participate, contact Lynda Krupp at 

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International Society of Barristers Names Lecture Series for Professor John Reed

The International Society of Barristers has created an annual lectureship to honor John W. Reed, Thomas M. Cooley Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Michigan Law School and retired Wayne State University Law School dean.

On March 24, Michigan State Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack delivered the inaugural John Reed Lecture at the 2017 meeting of the International Society of Barristers. Titled "The Forensic Science Frontier: It's up to the Lawyers," the lecture drew on Justice McCormack's extensive involvement with studies of the validity of forensic evidence.

Professor Reed became an academic fellow of the Society in 1978 and served as administrative secretary and editor of its journal, Quarterly, from 1979 to 2010. For the last 20 years of his tenure in the Society, Professor Reed gave the concluding speech at each annual convention, urging the fellows on to a sense of high purpose.

The Society was created in 1965 and is dedicated to preserving trial by jury, the adversary system and an independent judiciary. Its founders conceived the organization to bring together the best of the trial bar in a setting devoid of partisan interests. The emphasis of the organization is on warm fellowship among professionals without regard to their orientations as plaintiffs' or defendants' advocates. In such a setting it becomes possible to consider, rationally and in good will, issues of ethics and excellence in advocacy and the role of litigation in society.

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Attention Genesee County Attorneys: We Need Your Help

MiFreeLegalAnswersWe at the State Bar of Michigan want to help low income people get answers to their pressing legal questions. 

In order to accomplish that goal, we're launching, a pro bono website that is beginning in Genesee County that we hope will expand across the state, and will make it very easy for attorneys to provide quick, correct answers to the important and urgent questions of low income people. 

We're working on this project in collaboration with Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, the Genesee County Bar Association and the American Bar Association. 

In order to get this project up and running we need attorneys in Genesee County to sign up and participate. Once you sign up, you decide where and when you'll participate. You do not have to meet any time commitments. And clients will be given the understanding that you will not go to court with them or prepare any paperwork for them. By participating in the program, you will be provided with free malpractice coverage for legal guidance you provide via 

To find out more about how works, watch this short video. For more information, visit attorney FAQs or email 

If you're ready to join us, visit and click "Get Started." 

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