State Bar to be honored at U.S. Supreme Court

Next week, the State Bar of Michigan will be at the Supreme Court of the United States — not as a means of seeking justice, but in recognition for helping others do so.

The SBM is one of five organizations chosen to receive the 2012 American Bar Association Grassroots Advocacy Award, for its efforts to increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation.

LSC helps provide legal aid for low-income Americans and is the nation’s single largest provider of civil legal aid to citizens who live on incomes below or near the poverty line.

In a statement, the ABA noted that in 2011 SBM “played an exemplary role in advancing access to justice by successfully advocating for adequate funding for LSC during the congressional budget allocation for fiscal year 2012. The State Bar of Michigan advocated for LSC funding through an ongoing grassroots legislative advocacy campaign that included urging congressional members on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to push for increased LSC funding.”

The bar “worked to prevent a potentially devastating $104.2 million (25.7 percent) proposed cut to the LSC budget of $404.2 million in fiscal year 2010. While the House of Representatives proposed funding LSC at $300 million, the Senate favored an allocation of $396 million. Ultimately, funding was set at $348 million, thanks in large part to efforts such as” the SBM.

The award will be presented April 18 as part of ABA Day 2012.


Community Legal Resources rebrands for a statewide presence

After 12 years of being known as Community Legal Resources, the Detroit-based pro bono legal and technical assistance group is changing its name to Michigan Community Resources.

The group, which serves low-income people and nonprofit organizations, said that recent growth and a diversification of services prompted the name change to something that more accurately reflects its capabilities and increased range.

Over its course of existence, the group has grown from four to 17 employees, relocated its Detroit office, and added a Lansing branch.

The Huffington Post Detroit recently honored Michigan Community Resources with the “HuffPost Detroit Impact Award,” and was one of only 11 groups chosen for 2011.