lawyers

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) - A conservative group is working on legislation to let lawyers opt out of paying mandatory dues to the State Bar of Michigan.

Greg McNeilly of the Michigan Freedom Fund, a proponent of Michigan's right-to-work law, says attorneys should have the same rights as other workers who can choose not to pay union fees. To practice law, lawyers must be in the Michigan bar and pay annually.

McNeilly says attorneys could still be required to pay license fees like other professionals, but they shouldn't be forced to pay dues under a 1935 law.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that a long-running lawsuit can continue that challenges the system of appointing lawyers for criminal defendants who can't afford them.

In a 2-1 decision released Wednesday, the court says a lower judge was OK to reject the state's contention that the case shouldn't be granted class-action status.

The suit says the rights of poor people have been violated because of the paltry pay for court-appointed lawyers.

Joe Gratz / flickr

Nearly half the people who took the latest state exam for aspiring attorneys failed.

Among first time test takers, just 62-percent passed; the lowest passage percentage in at least a decade.

Many in the legal community are blaming the sharp drop on the new way the test score is calculated.

Marcia McBrien is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Supreme Court. The court nominates the State Board of Law Examiners (BLE), which oversees the Michigan Bar Examination.

“The goal here is for those who pass the bar exam to have a certain level of competence and we think that’s what we’re doing,” McBrien said.

The board changed the formula it used to score the test in February and July this year.

Markedly more people failed both of those exams compared to previous years.