Got improv skills? Know the EEOC? Two events can help

Two State Bar sections are hosting upcoming seminars that emphasize audience participation.

First is the Young Lawyers Section’s “Think Fast! Boot Camp for New Lawyers” workshop, which takes place 3:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12 at Go Comedy! Improv Theatre in Ferndale.

Here, new lawyers will work on their improvisational skills, with improv actors teaching participants “Trust and Learning to Fail” (how to respond to an unexpected or unwanted ruling in court) and a “Yes, and …” exercise, which involves working with answers, or rulings, that seem impossible or unexpected There also will be a small informal dinner after the workshop, as well as an optional 8 p.m. show by the troupe.

Cost is $10 for the workshop and $5 extra for the following show. Space is limited to 25 participants. Register by May 5 at the SBM Young Lawyers Home Page at http://www.michbar.org/younglawyers. For more information, contact Syeda Davidson at (313) 207-4229 or sfhdavidson@gmail.com.

Then, at 4 p.m. June 7, the Labor & Employment Law Section hosts its annual Spring-Board series of roundtable discussions at The Reserve, next to Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham.

This year’s seminar will focus on the “ABCs” of agency practice, with agency representatives, investigators, administrative law judges, and experienced practitioners discussing how to effectively represent clients before the EEOC, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, NLRB, MERC, and Unemployment Insurance Agency.

It’s all followed by a networking session along with complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres.

Cost is $50 in advance and $60 at the door.  For more information, contact Susan Hiser at (248) 540-4987 or shiser@vmclaw.com.

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MSC denies AG request in U of M grad student union case

The Michigan Supreme Court has denied to hear a request from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to stop a hearing to determine if graduate assistants at the University of Michigan can unionize.

According to the order, released this afternoon, MCL 24.301 only allows interlocutory appeals in contested cases. Chief Justice Robert P. Young noted that “While the proposed intervenors [Schuette and a group opposed to the research assistants organizing] present nonfrivolous arguments rejecting that claim, the Court of Appeals does  not have jurisdiction in this particular matter … .”

Justice Stephen J. Markman concurred even though he said he shares the “unsuccessful intervenors’ concerns regarding the manifest unfairness of the fact-finding hearing now underway before the administrative law judge as a result of [Michigan Employment Relations Commission]’s denial of the two motions to intervene … . ”

He said that because the university and the Graduate Student Research Assistants agree that the assistants are public employees, “there is no party to represent the alternative legal position that GSRAs do not constitute ‘public employees’ under [Public Employee Relations Act].”

MERC denied a motion to intervene, stating: “We must carry out our statutory responsibility … without interference from non-parties opposed to the very rights provided to public employees by PERA.”

However, Markman wrote that “It would seem that in carrying out its statutory responsibility, MERC might have viewed it as helpful, rather than as a matter of ‘interference,’ that it be presented with arguments on both sides of an issue under consideration.”