Firms, legislation, trends and awards



Michigan’s top court kills lawsuit by wrongly imprisoned man

DETROIT — The Michigan Supreme Court stopped a man from suing the state after he spent more than a year in prison for a crime that wasn't a crime.

Court upholds secret hallway camera in southwest Michigan drug bust

PARCHMENT — A secret camera outside an apartment in southwestern Michigan didn’t violate the rights of a man who was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for a drug crime, an appeals court said.

Change of heart keeps foreign students in the U.S.

James McGrath, president of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, is breathing a sigh of relief.

Lawmaker panel OKs budget cuts, ‘rainy day’ cash for $2B gap

LANSING — A panel of Michigan lawmakers approved proposals Wednesday to dip into state cash reserves and make budget cuts, part of a wider plan to address a $2.2 billion budget hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

12 West Michigan attorneys, four law firms receive global recognition

West Michigan law firms Bodman PLC, Miller Johnson, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP and Varnum LLP were ranked as some of the top firms in private wealth law by the London-based Chambers High Net Worth 2020 Guide.

Federal aid helps Michigan fill $2.2B hole; more sought

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers will return to session to pass a multibillion-dollar plan to resolve the deficit caused by the coronavirus shutdown — with a mix of spending cuts, a drawdown of the state's savings and a big influx of federal rescue aid.

State’s virtual courtrooms surpass 500,000 hours

According to the Michigan Supreme Court, there have been more than 500,000 hours of online hearings held since March when Michigan legal proceedings were forced to be conducted on Zoom to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Michigan agency orders hearing for bar tied to outbreak

LANSING — Michigan liquor regulators on Thursday ordered an East Lansing bar to answer questions about a coronavirus outbreak that infected 186 people and was a factor in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's decision to halt indoor service at establishments that chiefly sell alcohol.

Michigan court denies absentee ballots that come after election

LANSING — The Michigan appeals court denied a request to require the counting of absentee ballots received after the time polls close on Election Day, ruling that the deadline remains intact despite voters' approval of a constitutional amendment that expanded mail-in voting.

Visa suspensions put employers in a bind

(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Some companies and businesses that have relied on foreign workers are feeling the impact of a sudden decision that President Donald Trump and his administration made to halt the approval of visas for people outside the U.S. for the remainder of the year.

Companies use work, school links to gain legal advantage

Corporations seek and secure favorable legal decisions by retaining attorneys who have worked for or studied with federal judges, a new study reveals.

Law could commercialize industrial hemp — with federal OK

LANSING — Michigan’s hemp farmers are looking to industrialize the cannabis plant in new ways and beyond its use in marijuana dispensaries.

Local attorney to head Grand Rapids Symphony board

A partner at Varnum LLP was named chair of a local musical organization.

Online dispute resolution tool comes to Muskegon, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties

Muskegon, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties are now the latest to have access to the Michigan Supreme Court Office of Dispute Resolution’s free online tool, MI-Resolve.

WMU Cooley to continue online classes

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School will continue its online classes for the fall 2020 semester.

Grand Rapids intersection lands at No. 8 on list of most dangerous intersections in...

Michigan Auto Law posted its annual list of the state’s most dangerous intersections based on police car accident report data for 2019.

Board finds it has authority on guns at Michigan Capitol

LANSING — A board overseeing Michigan's Capitol determined Tuesday that it has the legal authority to decide whether guns will continue to be allowed in the building and on its grounds.

Michigan judge allows restart of disputed oil pipeline

TRAVERSE CITY — A Michigan judge Wednesday allowed Enbridge to resume pumping oil through a Midwestern pipeline, nearly a week after shutting it down because of damage to a structure that anchors a section of the line running through a Great Lakes channel.

Smith Haughey shareholder inducted in national mediators organization

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge’s longtime attorney and shareholder Bill W. Jack Jr. was inducted as a fellow in the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, an organization that is made up of 150 mediators across the country.

Michigan drivers face new insurance choice starting Thursday

LANSING — Michigan drivers who renew or buy car insurance face a choice starting Thursday: stick with unlimited medical coverage, go with less or — for seniors with Medicare — opt out entirely.

Inside Track: Bocanegra climbs legal ranks

Juanita Bocanegra prides herself in having experienced both the defense and prosecutor’s sides of the courtroom.

Local LGBTQ leaders celebrate Title VII ruling

Local LGBTQ advocates have an extra reason to celebrate this Pride Month.

Michigan Legislature OKs cocktails to go to help restaurants

LANSING — People can order cocktails for pickup or delivery from Michigan bars and restaurants through 2025 under a bill that won final approval Wednesday and will be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Detroit police challenged over face recognition flaws, bias

A Black man who says he was unjustly arrested because facial recognition technology mistakenly identified him as a suspected shoplifter is calling for a public apology from Detroit police and for the department to abandon its use of the controversial technology.

Rhoades McKee adds three summer associates

Three law students joined Rhoades McKee’s summer associate program.