When I joined the State Bar of Michigan, I was a law student. However, I was also a designer and had a few decades under my belt teaching design to undergrads. So while I was thrilled to be joining the SBM, I was frustrated by the process needed in order to join this organization. How can I help other law students join the State Bar of Michigan? I wrote this
Tutorial for Law Students on How to Join the State Bar of Michigan
- Go to http://www.michbar.org
- In the upper right, click on “Member Area”, which will re-direct you to https://e.michbar.org/eCommerce/login/login.aspx
- Click on the “Click here” link next to “Prospective New Attorneys, New Law Student Section Members”.
- Of course, there’s too much text on this page. IGNORE IT. Then select “Law Student” at the bottom of the page. And Continue.
- This page pertains to you. But it’s wordy. So basically here’s what you are being told: it costs $15 to join the SBM and it goes from Oct 1 – Sept 30
- Go through the form to join.
Now you get the “free” stuff like the Michigan Bar Journal in print form, attendance to the annual meeting (which was in Grand Rapids in 2016… you have to go to this next year in Novi because it is an amazing networking experience, but that will be explained in a future blog post).
Other things you’ll see:
- Casemaker is trying to be Westlaw Next. It’s free for SBM members.
- You, as a student, can’t edit your limited Zeekbeek profile b/c you are a student. But that’s ok, most of the referrals I’ve seen are through the list servs (see below) and word-of-mouth referrals. Zeekbeek is an online attorney referral service much like Avvo or Lawyers.com.
Joining the SBM alone is good. But what might be more important for law students is to join a section area to get on their list serv (e-mails sent to you). You may not know if the list serv you are on is active or not before you join it, though. Thankfully the costs are low, but you might have to pay (of course).
I’m on solo- it’s a ghost town.
On family law, I get 10-30 e-mails a day. I’ve been told the list serv goes out to 1000 attorneys and judges. You’ll see who is a frequent poster and see their expertise. If you post, be prepared to get not only feedback but maybe teased a bit. I posted, and now I have contacts (who contacted me off-list) that know my legal interests. And they are a really passionate group.
I’ve been told insurance is also bustling.
A practical tip I learned regarding these list serves: Create a new e-mail account that is just for receiving e-mails from the list servs. If not, your main e-mail will become clogged with list serv e-mails.
How law students can join the sections area…
- Log into the Member Area of the SBM site
- On the right side of the screen is a link called “Section Membership”. Click it.
Joining the SBM was easy for me to do. But it was a painful experience to join the family-law list serv; it took me weeks of e-mails to resolve. Hopefully the SBM will improve upon this experience (or perhaps it was just unique to me) because they have told me they want to get students integrated better into the SBM.
If you have a problem and can’t find their contact info, e-mail me.