Page 1


M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 3

Your Silent Partners

Having a subscription to Michigan Lawyers Weekly is like having a team of lawyers working in your office, dedicated to making your law practice easier, more efficient and more successful. With your subscription, your partners will bring you: • The Latest Law.

We review the latest decisions from Michigan’s state and federal courts and give you easy-to-read digests.

• Verdicts & Settlements.

We scour Michigan to get case results you can use for determining what your cases are worth for trial or settlement.

So hire our team to work for you and subscribe to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Here’s some good news you may not have expected: We actually work cheap, only six and half bucks a week.

• Practice Bulletins.

We’ll flag the important changes – new rules, statutes, cases – that alter the way you do your job as counsel.

• The News You Need.

We’ll bring you the most current legal news in our newspaper, on our website and in the MiLW Blog.

Get a subscription today by calling 1-800-451-9998 or by going to

Remember, you and we have one common goal: Your success. So contact us today and we’ll get right to work. For YOU.

THE GRAND RAPIDS LAWYER is published by the Grand Rapids Bar Association Waters Building 161 Ottawa Ave., NW, Suite 203-B Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616.454.5550 / 616.454.7707 fax Editorial Anne Marks-Gaertner Advertising Coordinator Debbie Kurtz STAFF Executive Director Kimberly Coleman/ext. 105 Executive Assistant/Membership/ Inns Administrator Debbie Kurtz/ext. 101 Lawyer Referral Administrator Nancy King/ext. 107

OFFICERS & TRUSTEES President T.J. Ackert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.831.1730 President-Elect Kristin M. Vanden Berg. . . . . . . . . . 616.456.2468 Vice-President Thomas R. Behm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.235.5500 Secretary Nikole L. Canute. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.632.8000 Treasurer A. Todd Almassian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.364.2100 Immediate Past President Mark R. Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.235.3500 Trustees David E. Bevins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.235.3500 Dennis J. Donohue . . . . . . . . . . . 616.752.2192 Elizabeth Joy Fossel . . . . . . . . . . 616.336.6000 Patrick F. Geary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.458.5358 Benjamin H. Hammond. . . . . . . 616.458.3600 Sarah Riley Howard. . . . . . . . . . . 616.752.2541 Hon. William G. Kelly. . . . . . . . . . 616.554.0717 Edward P. Perdue. . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.458.1300 Suanne Watt-Stay . . . . . . . . . . . . . 616.732.1741

ON THE COVER: GRBA Leadership for 2013: T.J. Ackert, Immediate Past-President Kristin Vanden Berg, President Tom Behm, President-Elect Patrick Geary, Vice President


May/June 2013

4 President’s Perspective By T.J. Ackert

8 Law Day 2013 By Deborah J. Hughes

14 Criminal Notes By Timothy K. McMorrow

5 YLS Update By Ross D. Plont

9 WLAM v. Judges Charity Softball

15 Marriage Equality By Richard Roan

7 E.D. Torial By Kimberly A. Coleman

10 Photo Opportunity

17 Member Notes

12 Upcoming Events

17 Minority Clerkship Program Update

7 Welcome New Members

13 GRBA Golf Outing

MAY 2013 1 2 3 4

JUNE 2013 1

JULY 2013 1 2 3 4 5 6

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

14 Ask-the-Lawyer Social Security Disability 6:00pm Grand Rapids Public Library

5 Summer Clerkship Reception 5:00pm TBD

16 Board of Trustees Meeting Noon Waters Building

5 Labor & Employment Section Noon University Club

22 Family Law Section Noon University Club 27 Memorial Day Office Closed 30 Probate Section Annual Meeting 4:30pm-6:30 pm SpeakEZ

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 4 Independence Day Offices Closed

15 WLAM v Judges Softball 5:00pm Fifth Third Ballpark 20 Board of Trustees Meeting 11:45am University Club 27 New Trustees & Officers Orientation Noon GRBA Office

GRBA Summer Office Hours: Beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2013, the Grand Rapids Bar Association office hours will be modified to the following: Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm Friday: 8:00am – 1:30pm Bar staff will resume our regular hours (8:30-5:00pm M-F) on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer




s my term as President comes to a close, I am reminded of the advice provided me at the ABA Bar Leadership Conference in early 2012: the primary role of the President of a Bar Association is to stay out of the way! It was good advice. The Grand Rapids Bar Association is healthy and works daily to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law. The GRBA has over 1400 members who are served by 17 practice sections with ample and diverse educational and practice development programs. Programs are created to serve the diverse needs of our members ranging from young to senior lawyers, litigators, mediators, corporate, family, labor, criminal and real estate, to name a few. We continue to work to improve and expand the opportunities for you to enhance and grow your practice. Thank you to all the Section Chairs and the individuals who volunteer time to assist the Sections. The Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative continues to work on its award winning plan to promote and achieve greater diversity and inclusion in the West Michigan legal community through education, hiring, retention and promotion. You will soon be learning more about the grabLaw initiative to recruit and retain minority and women professionals. I want to thank all of


The Grand Rapids Lawyer


May/June 2013

those involved in the Collaborative for their continued hard work and dedication to these efforts. The Legal Assistance Center continues to serve the needs of the underserved and poor in our community. The LAC served over 16,000 individual patrons in 2012 on matters ranging from family law, landlord-tenant, probate and other civil matters. In considering the family members who benefit from the services provided to the individual patron, the LAC serves the interests of over 45,000 people each year. The work of the LAC deserves the continued support of the GRBA and its members. The GRBA Executive Director, Kim Coleman, and the staff have tirelessly worked on the efforts of the Bar to modernize communications, operations and interactions with our members; all the while addressing the demanding needs of the Sections, Diversity Collaborative, members and planning for the various social events of the Bar. The Grand Rapids Lawyer is now delivered to you electronically. This enhancement provides expanded avenues to communicate with and link our members to content, registrations for events and provide feedback to the Bar while being cost effective and environmentally friendly.


Further, GRBA has implemented a new member and financial management software program known as Affiniscape. The program, along with updates to the GRBA website, provide the Bar with greater opportunities to track member interests, coordinate Section programs, manage registrations for events, provide for electronic payment methods, and enhance interaction with and feedback to the Bar. Members have already commented on the ease in finalizing payment on annual dues and Section fees. As the staff further understands the scope of the Affiniscape program you will notice additional enhancements to the GRBA experience. I want to thank Kim Coleman for her vision and leadership of the GRBA; her guidance has kept the GRBA a leader in the State. Thank you to our staff, including long-time member Debbie Kurtz, for their efforts to support the day-to-day functions of the GRBA. We also thank our out-going Secretary, Nikole Canute and Treasurer, Todd Almassian, along with Trustees Dennis Donohue, Pat Geary and Suanne Watt-Stay for their service to the Bar. Finally, thank you - our members - for your support of, and involvement with, the Grand Rapids Bar Association. It is an honor to work within your midst and to have served you as your President.


YLS Update

… . . . t u o b A l l A It’s

e c n a Ba l P BY ROSS

s a young attorney, it is easy to jump into our new profession and allow it to fully consume oneself. After enduring three years of law school, surviving the bar exam, and finally receiving a “license to practice law” the drive to get to work early and stay late comes naturally.


Whether you are a solo practitioner just starting your practice, an associate in a 200-plus-attorney firm, or somewhere in between, if you have chosen the law as your profession, then you likely share the same motivation and zeal for hard work as most attorneys. This trait is valued and promoted professionally, but can destroy other aspects of a young attorney’s life. I am lucky enough have all seven of the partners of the firm at which I work be willing to share advice from their nearly 200 years of combined experience practicing law. Fortunately for me, the culture of our firm is such that family life is not only encouraged but expected to be prioritized above work life. This is not to say that the office is vacant by 5:00, quite the opposite in fact. The trait that I have learned from my mentors is that in order for me to have



S & PY L M


sustained success, I have to be able to balance my professional life and personal life. Working long hours is inevitable in this field; but, working to excess can be more damaging than beneficial. This is where having a good mentor (or in my case, seven good mentors) is so handy. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the mentors that I have who also happen to be my bosses. My advice for young attorneys is to—by all means—work hard and be willing to put in long hours. But don’t forget about your personal and family life and always strive to find the appropriate balance. If you are just starting out as a solo practitioner or simply haven’t been able to find a mentor within your own firm, the Young Lawyers Section has a mentoring program through which you can request a mentor and you will be paired up with a more senior member of the bar. Contact Stephanie Newton at Newton Law Offices PLC for more information on the mentoring program:


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer




What we provide:

Protecting your health. Today. You plan every detail of your practice to ensure its success. Nothing is left to chance. Don’t take chances with your health insurance. You and your staff deserve a quality Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Michigan health plan. • Group plans • Individual plans • Recognized worldwide • Solutions tailored to your needs To learn more about the affordable BCBSM plans, contact Member Insurance Solutions. Call 800.878.6765 or visit today. Protecting tomorrows. Today.

Member Insurance Solutions is a marketing name of MDA Insurance & Financial Group. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.


The Grand Rapids Lawyer


May/June 2013


E.D.Tor ial


Welcome New Officers

New Members Kenneth Breese


Marcia Boyce


n behalf of the staff and the Trustees of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, I am delighted to welcome our new officers and trustees whose terms will begin on July 1, 2013. Congratulations to: Patrick F. Geary, vice president, Randall L. Velzen, secretary, Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer, treasurer, and Marcus R. Jones, Brian K. Lawson and Courtney L. Quist, trustees. We are looking forward to working with you in the years ahead. Many thanks to all the exceptional candidates who agreed to stand for election this year and to the Nominating Committee who worked so diligently on the 2013 Elections. As is the case each year, you, our Members, identified and selected outstanding candidates to lead and support your Bar Association. Congratulations on a job well done!

Catherine Brainerd Charles Curcio Steffany Dunker Anthony Greene Lisa Hagenauer-Ward

In this, our third year of online voting, we were pleased to report our voter participation. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback and we hope to continue to improve our election process.

Anita Hitchcock Marcus Jones

As we welcome our new Officers and Trustees, we also want to take time to recognize the hard work and dedication of our outgoing Officers and Trustees. Special thanks to outgoing President, T.J. Ackert, Secretary, Nikole Canute, Treasurer, Todd Almassian and Trustees, Dennis Donohue, Patrick Geary and Suanne Watt-Stay. The leadership you provided to the association has been greatly appreciated. Best wishes to you now and in the future.

Diana Nordlund Daniel Packard Katerina Vujea

- Kim Coleman

Michael Warren Clay West Beth Wickwire

Patrick F. Geary Vice President

Randall L. Velzen Secretary

Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer Treasurer

Marcus Ray Jones Trustee

Brian K. Lawson Trustee

Courtney L. Quist Trustee


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer


“Everyone there was helpful and kind to my situation. I never would have accomplished [this] without them.” ~ LAC Patron

Law Day 2013




ustice, due process, fairness, dignity, respect and acceptance are among the values held by lawyers and celebrated on Law Day 2013. These are the values we all work together to bring to life at the Legal Assistance Center. As a legal self-help center we assist those in our community who are trying to solve basic legal problems on their own. We help people help themselves. Our goal is to guide people to be better informed, better prepared, and to have an opportunity to be heard – a chance to tell their story.

You may know of someone who needs this kind of help. Anyone can walk in to the Center, Kent County Courthouse, 5th Floor, Tuesday to Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm or call 616-6326000. Help is free. There is a low cost for copies and some case packets. These patron contributions also help to support the LAC.

We listen to those who are lost, frustrated and feel they have nowhere to turn. We provide information about basic legal matters and offer forms that will help them to use the courts on their own. We provide connections to lawyers and community resources. We suggest mediation. The people we help don’t choose to do it on their own. They simply don’t have an option. But with a little help they can decide how to try to solve their legal challenges. They do have an opportunity to tell their story. Our staff and volunteers listen and offer information and options, not advice. Some options use the courts, others do not. Still their task is not an easy one. They come before the court alone. There are more rules and challenges than they will ever grasp. But they understand a bit more. And they hope to do a bit better for themselves and for their families. On this Law Day 2013 we thank you, members of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, for helping to provide dignity, respect, fairness and justice in our community by assuring that everyone has access. Without access, there is no justice. 8

The Grand Rapids Lawyer


May/June 2013


“Access to justice is a dream. We must make it a reality.” ~ John W. Cummiskey

WL AM vs. Judges Annual Charity Softball Game Women’s Lawyers Annual Challenge Poem:

The Judges Response:

“Our Year”

(RHYME: MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB) The Judges want a victory, Victory, victory, The Judges want a victory, As sure as sure can be.

Judges, you’ve come from courts far and wide; You always seem to have luck on your side. Although injuries have plagued us in the past, Your winning streak just won’t last.

And everyone should come and watch, Come and watch, come and watch, And everyone should come and watch, The game at Fifth Third Park.

While the record may show four wins in a row, This year, the women will make you eat crow.

The date this year is June 15th, June 15th, June 15th, The date this year is June 15th, We hope to see you there.

Two women in the in-field is the game rule; Your blind disregard of which just wasn’t cool. With hits down the line, We’ll earn one base at a time.

The women lawyers want to win one game, Win one game, win one game, They surely want to win one game, But the Judges can’t be stopped.

We only have to beat you by one; Your years of winning will soon be done.

The Judges are true athletes, Athletes, athletes, The Judges are true athletes, Who live and breathe this game.

So let these words incite great fear; This 30th anniversary will be OUR year.

We wish the women lawyers luck, Lawyers luck, lawyers luck, We wish the women lawyers luck, In this our 30th game.

Saturday June 15 • 5:00pm Fifth Third Ballpark

They will need a miracle, Miracle, miracle, They will need a miracle, To have a chance to win.

Whitecaps game follows at 7:00pm Stay late for the post-game fireworks!

Tickets are $15 for Adults & $10 for Kids (ages 3-12) To order tickets, contact Linda Jo Carron at

Respectfully submitted, Coach Sara Smo

Proceeds benefit YWCA of West Central Michigan


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer


L aw Day

New Attorney Orientation

Fellows Reception

Legal Careers

Annual Meeting Special Thanks to Our Annual Meeting Sponsors Adamy Valuation D4 Office Staffing, division of Axios, Inc. Pasman GSC Financial Paul Goebel Group Plante Moran

Upcoming Events etc. Constitution Day September 17, 2013 Want to be part of Constitution Day 2013?

Contact Kim Coleman at 616-454-5550

Criminal Law Update Timothy K. McMorrow of the Kent county Prosecutor's office presents an update on decisions that impact the practice of criminal law in Michigan.

September 18, 2013 at Noon University Club

• • • •

with two chairs Fully carpeted expo hall Four exhibit personnel name badges Company description listing in on-site program and mobile app Post-conference attendee roster

State Bar of Michigan ANNUAL MEETING &▶icLe SoLo & SMaLL firM DIAMOND GAVEL SPONSOR $3,000 | (choose one) INSTITUTE 1. State Bar Awards Banquet, Wednesday Evening


Each registrant receives a conference totebag.


$2000 or SUPPLY 1500 LANYARDS

Each registrant receives a conference lanyard.

Helping you catch up case-by-case, project-by-project Paralegal 12 The Grand Rapids Lawyer

Project Specialist l

May/June 2013

Notary l



QUESTIONS? Contact Stacy Marciniak (517) 346-6315 R E A C H H U N D R E D S O F D E C I S I O N Mor KERS IN ONE PLACE Presented by the GRBA Criminal Law Section.

Jessica Elin

 2. State Bar Inaugural Luncheon, Thursday  3. Cyber Café located in Exhibit Hall Center, Lansing September 18-20 Lansing PACKAGE INCLUDES:  Double exhibit booth space ($1,900 value)  Company name and logo on the convention web page ($500 value)  Company name and logo in all preconference marketing ($500 value)  Complimentary full-page black & white ad in the onsite program ($400 value)  One approved marketing or collateral piece inserted in conference tote bag ($300 value)  Event sponsor signage where applicable ($100 value)  Sponsorship acknowledgement in the Michigan Bar Journal following the event.

Cost is $25 per person and includes materials and buffet lunch.

O: 616.425.9327 C: 847.452.2327



Joseph E. Budnick Limited License Psychologist

and Executives



C a a Y



Golf Outing

Sponsored by the Justice Foundation of West Michigan & The GRBA Young Lawyers Section

August 15, 2013 • Thornapple Pointe Golf Club Join us for this 18 Hole, 4 golfer scramble with a shotgun start. Teams compete in the Firm (4 golfers from same firm) or Mixed (any combination of firms) division. A travelling trophy goes to the winning firm. Many other awards and prizes are presented.


Cost is $100 per person (includes 18 holes of golf with cart, prizes, boxed lunch and dinner. ) Registration begins at 12:00pm with lunch available. Shotgun start at 1:00pm. Dinner and awards presentation to follow (must be present to win) Cash Bar at the 19th Hole!

Reservation Form — GRBA Golf Outing Please register the four people listed below for the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s 2013 Golf Outing. The person listed as “Golfer #1” will serve as the team contact. Golfer #1 Name:_______________________________________________

Please enter us in the following division: q Firm (all players from the same firm) q Mixed

Firm:________________________________________________________ Address:_____________________________________________________

Return this reservation form and check(s) totaling $400 (payable to GRBA) to:

City:_____________________________ State:_________ Zip:__________ Phone:_______________________________________________________ Email:________________________________________________________

Grand Rapids Bar Association 161 Ottawa Ave NW, Ste 203B Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Golfer #2 Name:______________________________________________ Phone:____________________________Firm:_______________________

Reservations must be received by August 8, 2013

Golfer #3 Name:______________________________________________ Phone:____________________________Firm:_______________________

Questions? Call 616-454-5550

Golfer #4 Name:______________________________________________ Phone:____________________________Firm:_______________________


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer




A nother Pro-Defense Decision Justice Scalia BY TIMOTHY K. McMORROW • KENT COUNTY PROSECUTORS OFFICE


t is widely perceived that Antonin Scalia is a law-and-order Supreme Court Justice who will side with the prosecution in most cases. That perception persists even in the face of Justice Scalia having authored in the past several years most of the significant defense victories in the United States Supreme Court. For example: Crawford v Washington, 124 S Ct 1354 (2004), strengthening the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment and greatly restricting the prosecution’s ability to use hearsay evidence; Blakely v Washington, 124 S Ct 2531 (2004), invalidating sentencing schemes that allowed maximum sentences to be increased by facts not pled and proven beyond a reasonable doubt; Kyllo v United States, 121 S Ct 2038 (2001), invalidating the use of a thermal imaging device without a warrant to reveal heat sources in a home; and United States v Jones, 132 S Ct 945 (2012), finding that the placement of a GPS device on a car constitutes a search for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. The trend continues. In Florida v Jardines, decided March 26, 2013, Justice Scalia, against writing for the majority, said that a police officer may not without a warrant bring a drug sniffing dog to the front of a house, and then use the dog’s alert to establish probable cause to later obtain a search warrant. The use of the dog itself constituted a search without a warrant, Justice Scalia wrote, and was itself a violation of the Fourth Amendment. 14 The Grand Rapids Lawyer


May/June 2013

The decision caught many people by surprise, since the Court just a month earlier, in Florida v Hayes, 133 S Ct 1050 (2013), had unanimously reversed a Florida Supreme Court decision that had circumscribed the use of drug sniffing dogs generally. And it has long been held that a police officer may do what any citizen may do, walk to the front of a door, knock on the door, and attempt to engage in conversation with the people inside. Breard v Alexandria, 71 S Ct 920 (1951); Kentucky v King, 131 S Ct 1849 (2011). So, what is the difference between a police officer walking up to the front door, and the officer bringing the drug sniffing dog with him?

to linger longer) leave. Complying with the terms of that traditional invitation does not require fine-grained legal knowledge; it is generally managed without incident by the Nation’s Girl Scouts and trick-or-treaters.” “An invitation to engage in canine forensic investigation assuredly does not inhere in the very act of hanging a knocker.” Justice Scalia further noted that “to find a visitor knocking on the door is routine (even if sometimes unwelcome); to spot that same visitor exploring the front path with a metal detector, or marching his bloodhound into the garden before saying hello and asking permission, would inspire most of us to – well, call the police.”

The difference, Justice Scalia wrote, was in the different intent of the two circumstances. The front door was part of the curtilage of the home, an area entitled to protection under the Fourth Amendment. But there is an implied license for the public, and for a police officer for that matter, to simply walk up to the front door and knock on the door or ring the doorbell. That, indeed, is the purpose of having a front door. Still, the area of the door remained part of the curtilage of the home. Thus, while “the knocker on the front door is treated as an invitation or license to attempt an entry, justifying ingress to the home by solicitors, hawkers and peddlers of all kinds,” this “implicit license typically permits the visitor to approach the home by the front path, knock promptly, wait briefly to be received, and then (absent invitation

While I certainly don’t welcome opinions that restrict law enforcement, I cannot argue with the logic of this opinion. And it is entertaining, a wonderful example of legal writing. The dissents are equally well reasoned and written, if not with the same flair as Justice Scalia’s lead opinion. It (assuming that ‘It’ refers to ‘the opinion’ in the phrase that follows, then the sentence can simply read ‘In any event, the opinion…”) is in any event, the opinion is consistent with Justice Scalia’s approach “that when it comes to the Fourth Amendment, the home is first among equals.” The next time someone tells you that Justice Scalia is a prosecutor’s rubber stamp: don’t believe it. He in fact may be, in the area of the Fourth Amendment, the best friend a criminal defendant has on the United States Supreme Court.


Observing Historical Marriage Equality Arguments in the US Supreme Court


n my capacity as Chair of the LGBT/Alternative Family Committee of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), I attended the March 26 and 27 oral arguments on the two Marriage Equality cases submitted to the Supreme Court, Hollingsworth v. Perry addressing California’s Proposition 8 and U.S. v. Windsor representing Edith Windsor’s challenge to the federal estate tax impact of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). The AAML LGBT/A F Committee worked with the AAML Amicus Committee to identify and ultimately recommend to the AAML National to sign on to one brief in each case.


The sentiment of the people was heard with a collective chant “Edie - Edie - Edie” as the Plaintiff waved to the assembled crowds on the street, and descended the steps, pink scarf waving in the brisk wind like a banner of hope and victory.

In preparation for the first hearing, an all-night curbside wait in 37degree weather was tempered by the hopeful mood of hundreds of people in the lines, some having waited days to bear witness to this moment of history. Walking almost silently and in single file, we passed through the brass gates and past the heavy red velvet draperies into the Chamber itself. Soaring three stories high, the ceiling caps a room that exudes solemnity and the promise, carved into stone over the entry portal, “equal justice under the law”. With all eyes glued to the huge clock centered on the front wall above the Chief Justice’s chair, precisely at the stroke of 10:00 am a buzzer sounded and the Justices appeared from behind the red velvet draperies and took their seats. After allowing the attorneys to argue “overtime” for approximately 20 minutes, at 11:30 am Chief Justice Roberts abruptly stated the case was submitted, everyone rose, and the Justices disappeared behind the red velvet drapes. On March 27th the Court heard arguments in the Windsor case challenging Section 3 of DOMA in which Edie Windsor was charged a Federal Estate tax when she inherited the entirety of the marital estate accumulated with her wife Thea, over 44 years. Fourteen months prior to Thea’s death, knowing the end was near, the couple flew to Toronto and legally married because their home state did not recognize same sex marriage. Had Thea been a “Theo”, there would not have been an inheritance tax as such property transfers upon death of a spouse are exempt. Arriving at the High Court this morning with her shock of blonde hair and a dramatic bright pink scarf around her neck, 83 year old “Edie” as she prefers to be called, stood out in the crowd of court watchers and media folks. The arguments concluded after 2 intense hours of questions, answers, and more probing. When the Justices left and the courthouse emptied, throngs of supporters cheered as the attorneys and spectators came down the marble steps.  The sentiment of the people was heard with a collective chant “Edie - Edie - Edie” as the Plaintiff waved to the assembled crowds on the street, and descended the steps, pink scarf waving in the brisk wind like a banner of hope and victory. Until my involvement on the AAML committee, I never perceived myself as an activist. I had worked representing parties in domestic relations actions in Grand Rapids for twenty-five years, helping LGBT folks, one client at a time who have come to me for legal advice, counseling and representation. Now suddenly, on a national stage, I find it empowering and humbling to work to effect change and to ensure more equality for the LGBT community in the Marriage Equality movement. Similar to the civil rights marches on Washington in the 1960’s, being present for these oral arguments at this historic moment was a life-altering experience. The Court releases its decisions in these two cases by the end of June. The complete transcripts of the oral arguments are available at the Supreme Court website at


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer


FACILITATIVE MEDIATOR Years of Experience on Federal VFM Panel and on multiple Circuit Court Panels. Over 30 Years Litigation Experience in Michigan and Other Jurisdictions. Administrative Practice and Facilitation in Multiple Regions. • Past-Chair, Grand Rapids Bar Association ADR Section. • Multi-Year Peer Recognition Best Lawyers® and Superlawyers®. • AV-Pre-eminent Martindale-Hubbell rating. • Experience with individual parties and Fortune 100 companies.

DUSTIN P. ORDWAY, ESQ. 300 Ottawa Avenue, N.W., Suite 801 Grand Rapids, MI 49503

616.451.2177 16 The Grand Rapids Lawyer


May/June 2013


Public Notice for Reappointment of Incumbent Magistrate Judge The current term of office of United States Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley is due to expire on December 20, 2013. The United States District Court is required by law to establish a panel of citizens to consider the reappointment of the magistrate judge to a new eight-year term. A full public notice for the magistrate judge position is available on the court’s Internet website at www.miwd. and posted in the offices of the clerk of the district court at: U.S. District Court 399 Federal Bldg. 110 Michigan St., NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503

U.S. District Court 410 W. Michigan Ave. Kalamazoo, MI 49007

U.S. District Court 315 W. Allegan St. Lansing, MI 48933

U.S. District Court 229 Federal Bldg. Marquette, MI 49855

Comments from members of the Bar and the public are invited as to whether the incumbent magistrate judge should be recommended by the panel for reappointment by the court and should be directed to Tracey Cordes, Clerk of Court, U.S. District Court, 399 Federal Bldg., 110 Michigan St., NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. EOE Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2013.


Thank You

to Firms Participating in 2013 Minority Clerkship Program This Minority Clerkship Program along with the Floyd Skinner Bar Association is designed to bring first-year law students from diverse backgrounds to Grand Rapids for a summer internship with a firm or company. This year, the program received applications from many highly qualified students. We are grateful to the Floyd Skinner Bar Association for their continued support, and to the following organizations that accepted clerks from the program:

Christine P. Gilman has been named Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. Chris has been with the Center for a number of years as both an active mediator, a board member, and most recently as interim ED. Learn more about the DRCWM at their website Rhoades McKee Labor and Employment Attorney, Mary Ann Cartwright was re-appointed to the Ottawa County Community Mental Health Board for a three-year term. Cartwright is a member of its Executive Committee and Chair of the Finance Committee. Cartwright has served as a board member since 2007. Law Weathers law firm was named among the 101 “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For� for 2013. This is the ninth year the firm was named to the exclusive list of West Michigan employers chosen by the Michigan Business & Professional Association. Law Weathers is one of three law firms that received this award.

Visit our website for more news from your fellow Bar members.

The goal of this program is to increase diversity in the Grand Rapids legal community. The number of clerkships available is limited only by the local law firms and companies participating. To learn how your firm or company can be part of the clerkship program, please contact the Grand Rapids Bar Association at 616-454-5550. Increasing the number of clerkships available will, we believe, benefit both exceptional law students and our legal community.


May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer


18 The Grand Rapids Lawyer


May/June 2013


Health Insurance

Now more than ever, having a dependable, trusted health care insurance partner providing expert advice and service is a key component in the continued success of your firm

Our Commitment remains unchanged • To provide ideas, strategies, and tools to better understand the current health insurance market. • To serve as valuable resource to you and your firm by bringing real solutions and practical ideas. • To present you with clear and concise coverage options, and give you the highest level of customer service. No matter what the situation, the staff of Paul Goebel Group is ready to assist you.

Phone: 800-632-4591



May/June 2013


The Grand Rapids Lawyer





Accountants & Consultants


161 Ottawa Ave. NW Suite 203-B Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Our expertise in Litigation Services can help you with: • •

  

• • • •

Business valuations Evaluation of issues and formulations of strategies Depositions Damage theory and calculations Settlement negotiations Expert testimony

CONTACT: Leslie N. Prangley III, CPA CVA

11th Floor, Bridgewater Place 333 Bridge Street NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504 Ph: 616-774-9004 Fx: 616-774-9081

Grand Rapids Bar Association Newsletter - May/June 2013  
Grand Rapids Bar Association Newsletter - May/June 2013  

Grand Rapids Bar Association Newsletter - May/June 2013