The State Bar of Michigan is committed to helping Michigan lawyers respond optimally to the developing COVID-19 coronavirus situation. Our recommendations are based on advisories from the CDC and other health agencies.
This page will be updated regularly during this rapidly evolving situation. Please check back often for the latest guidance from the State Bar of Michigan.
Resources about risk management, working remotely, and emergency planning are available from the Practice Management Resource Center.
Questions & Answers
Have any State Bar of Michigan services been disrupted by the coronavirus?
The State Bar of Michigan continues to offer all services as usual. Lawyers and the public will be notified if any changes to services are necessary.
Can I still hold a meeting at the State Bar of Michigan building?
The State Bar of Michigan building remains available for lawyers who wish to use it for meetings. We will promptly notify any participants scheduled to attend a meeting at the State Bar building if this changes. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been set up around the building. Lawyers, sections, and committees are encouraged to offer dial-in numbers for people who would prefer to attend meetings remotely.
Will the July bar exam be held as usual?
The Board of Law Examiners, which oversees the investigation and examination of State Bar of Michigan applicants, plans to administer the July 2020 bar exam as usual (as of March 9), and says it will have a contingency plan if needed.
How should my firm prepare for a potential outbreak in my community?
The American Bar Association offers disaster guidance for legal professionals, much of which could be applied during an outbreak or pandemic. The ABA offers a preparedness checklist, including questions that attorneys should be able to answer, such as:
- Can you access critical client records remotely?
- Have you prioritized your firm’s functions by criticality?
- Do you have a “go kit” of office items you would need if you could not access your primary office?
Employers should also revisit their emergency preparedness plans and be ready to respond to varying levels of severity were an outbreak to occur. The CDC advises employers to prepare for the possibility of:
- Widespread absenteeism, especially if employees need to care for sick family members
- Many, or all, employees needing to work remotely
- The need to suspend some business operations
What special legal needs might the public have during an outbreak?
Attorneys would face unique concerns during a severe outbreak as they would need to work to ensure that the rule of law is respected and protected. Attorneys should be prepared to work with clients whose employers’ emergency policies aren’t consistent with existing workplace laws.
What precautions can I take now to help prevent an outbreak?
The top three Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization preventive recommendations are:
- Encouraging sick employees to stay home
- Reminding all employees to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often
- Regularly cleaning all office surfaces that are frequently touched