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Issues for Consideration at Representative Assembly

Dear SCBA members -
John Lozano and I are this Circuit's Representatives on the Representative Assembly of the State Bar, which meets twice a year.  Today the SCBA Board received a report on the issues for the April 29th meeting and it was agreed that I should send SCBA  listserve members a summary of the issues to be considered at that meeting. These include:
Family law court rules in uncontested cases
Mandated notice to SBM re: overdrawn client trust accounts
Enforcement of statute requiring deed entry book
Approval of Bar's strategic plan
If you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, you may contact John Lozano and/or me.  However, FYI I will be out of the office for most of the next week and may not get back to you right away. 
My personal current inclination is to support each of these proposals, but I am still reviewing information about each of them, so if you have significant concerns about any of them, please let me know. 
A detailed description of the agenda and issues to be decided (and exact language of proposed rules )  can be found at:
Please note that even if the State Bar votes to call for a court rule change, it is ultimately up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to publish a proposed rule, and to approve the final wording of such rules, after notice and comment.


  1. Should Michigan have court rule requiring that state bar be notified by financial institution if a client trust fund is overdrawn?

Proponent:  Client Protection Fund Committee

35 states already have similar overdraft notification programs.  It is an ?early warning? system.

Notification is not meant to result in discipline in every case (especially if there are good faith clerical errors)  but will trigger review, and warnings or discipline when appropriate. 


2. Should Michigan adopt court rules Amendments to establish separate terminology and procedures in divorce/separate maintenance cases where there are Pre-filing settlement agreements entered by two represented parties  


Family Section is proponent ?

Should court rules include procedures that apply to agreements that are signed BEFORE the divorce or separate maintenance action is filed?  (See link above for exact language under consdieration)


Should terminology and procedures be changed for pre-filing agreements ( no summons, answer, mediation,  pretrial conference,  60 day waiting period, less contentious titles and wording).   Only available in cases where both litigants are represented by counsel.  Litigants must ensure proposed JOD complies with necessary laws.  Judges can waive usual 6 months waiting period under current law if they find "compelling circumstances".


3      Should SBM support enforcement of statutory requirement that register of deeds maintain ?entry books? of deeds?


Proponent ? Real property section


County entry book is supposed to protect ?notice? until permanently indexed in liber/page books. Since Michigan is a race/notice state this can be very important.  In some counties, growing gap between time when document is left at Register of Deeds and when recorded ? as many as 180 days in Wayne County.  If SBM supports enforcement, then could result in state bar staff attorneys undertaking enforcement action if they determine they have standing to do so. 


4. Should SBM appoint liaison to National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and pay expenses?

Proponent ? Michigan Law Reform Commission

Should SBM appoint a liaison to attend meetings, report back to bar and pay expenses? Would be about $2500 per year.


5.  Should State of Michigan (note - this is the state government NOT the state bar) rejoin the NCCUSL and pay past due  assessment ?

Proponent -- Michigan Law Reform Commission  

State dues $50,000 per year Michigan belonged for 113 of 115 years but stopped in 2004. Now dues in arrears $154,000.  Would have to pay these plus current dues to join.  


6. Revised Strategic Plan for State Bar of Michigan - should it be approved?

      The State Plan is revised every 3 years.  New elements of proposed revised plan:  

?         Create a practice management resource center

?         Strengthen character and fitness program

?         participate in establishment of efficient e-filing

?         explore feasibility of specialization and certification

?         establish bar as a reliable source of info on legal issues for media, public & members



Terri L. Stangl
Executive Director
Center for Civil Justice
320 South Washington 2nd Floor
Saginaw, Michigan 48607
(989) 755-3120
(989) 755-3558 FAX

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