FOCUS: Voluntary State Bar Legislation
Senate Bill 743 (SB 743), calling for voluntary membership in the State Bar of Michigan, was introduced on January 23 by state Senator Arlan Meekhof. Read the full text of the bill on the Michigan Legislature website.
Some key elements of SB 743:
- Change the membership of the State Bar of Michigan from mandatory to voluntary
- No longer require that individuals pay a periodic fee for continued membership in the State Bar
- Require that individuals who designate themselves "attorneys or counselors" be licensed to practice law in Michigan
- Require that all individuals who practice law in the state do so in compliance with the requirements of the Michigan Supreme Court
Where is the State Bar on this issue?
The State Bar must wait 14 days until advocating a position before the Legislature under the provisions of Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 2004-01, which restricts formal action on legislation until 14 days after notice has been posted on the State Bar website. This notice was posted on January 23 and states that the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners will meet at 10 a.m. on February 6 by teleconference to consider a position on SB 743.
"The State Bar of Michigan has demonstrated in its 79-year history that a mandatory bar association is a great, no-cost benefit to Michigan's taxpayers and the most cost-effective way to regulate the legal profession and protect the public," said SBM Executive Director Janet Welch. "Since the general topic of deregulating the practice of law in Michigan was raised last year, the overwhelming sentiment we have heard from our members, judges, many policymakers, and the public is pride in a state bar that has earned a national reputation for excellence in providing services to the legal profession and working to improve the justice system."
All members are encouraged to express their opinions to the State Bar of Michigan through the Member Comment form of the Public Policy Resource Center.
Look for further developments in the SBM Blog or the Public Policy Resource Center. As a reminder, the State Bar's NewsLinks provides a daily round-up of news of interest to lawyers, and our weekly Public Policy Newsletter (subscribe) describes ongoing public policy developments.
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