The mission of the State Bar is to aid in promoting improvements in the administration of justice and advancements in jurisprudence, improving relations between the legal profession and the public, and promoting the interests of the legal profession in this state. Currently, the Bar has more than 42,000 attorney members.
The Michigan Legislature established the State Bar of Michigan in 1935. By law, members include all persons who are licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan. The State Bar is funded primarily by member dues and not by governmental appropriations. The State Bar operates under the supervision of the Michigan Supreme Court and is governed by the Michigan Supreme Court Rules concerning the State Bar of Michigan. A Board of Commissioners governs the State Bar. The Board of Commissioners has a system of standing committees, which provide oversight to the operations of the Bar in each of its areas of responsibility. A 150-member Representative Assembly is the final policymaking body of the State Bar. The State Bar employs a paid staff led by an Executive Director to carry out the mission of the Bar under the supervision of the Board of Commissioners.
State Bar Programs and Membership Services
The State Bar administers, operates, and provides a wide variety of programs and member services benefiting both the public interest and the members of the Bar. Among them:
- Conducting the Bar’s Character and Fitness investigations to ensure members admitted to the Bar meet appropriate professional standards (funded primarily by investigation fees paid by prospective members).
- Investigating and prosecuting parties involved in the unauthorized practice of law (UPL), which helps ensure legal services to the public are provided only by those members of the Bar who are in good standing.
- Providing ethics counseling and advising lawyers and judges about the propriety of their conduct with respect to the Code of Professional Conduct and Code of Judicial Conduct.
- Operating a lawyer referral service that provides referrals to the general public (partially funded by the attorneys who participate in the referrals).
- Administering the Bar’s justice initiatives programs, which include promoting the effective delivery of high quality legal services to all Michigan residents, especially those with lower incomes; raising both public and professional awareness of the fair delivery of justice in our state and promoting equal application of law for all citizens; and administering the Bar’s Access to Justice development fundraising campaign, which supports private giving to non-profit civil legal aid programs in Michigan.
The State Bar of Michigan also holds an Annual Meeting and Conference and an annual membership training for members, which provides for networking and continuing education updates.
You can find out more about the State Bar of Michigan at www.michbar.org.