WCBA hosts 25th annual Bench-Bar Conference: Retiring Shelton and outgoing bar president lauded for service


 ByJo Mathis 

Legal News
Michigan’s cyber security chief has spoken to many groups around the world, but until last week at the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee 25th Annual Bench-Bar Conference, he’d never talked to a group of lawyers.
“This is very intimidating,” joked Dan Lohrmann, who oversees Michigan’s cybersecurity, physical security, department emergency management and critical infrastructure protection. “My wife said, ‘Maybe you need to get a lawyer to look at your speech or hire someone to make sure it’s all OK.’”
During Lohrmann’s speech—“Cybersecurity: The Top Things That Keep Me Up at Night”—the 125 guests learned about common security breaches to watch out for, and discussed in small groups situations they’ve faced, and how they’ve handled them.
“No matter where you’re coming from— whatever you use as far as technology, the threat is real,” said Lohrmann, during his hour-long address at the Travis Pointe Country Club in Saline.
Prior to Lohrmann’s talk, State Bar of Michigan President Brian D. Einhorn told about how the controversy over mandatory versus voluntary bar membership in Michigan came to be, which he suggested is political retaliation for the bar’s position on transparency in ad funding in judicial campaigns.
In January, Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, introduced Senate Bill 743 [see related story below] in the legislature that would make State Bar membership voluntary.
Thirty-two states have mandatory state bars, while 18 license the practice of law administratively without requiring bar association membership. 
The annual conference is also a chance for local judges—in this case, Joe Burke, Charles Pope, Cedric Simpson, and David Swartz—to say a few words about what is happening in their courts, 
Washtenaw County Trial Court Chief Judge David Swartz was happy to report the overwhelmingly positive results of a survey taken last year by members of the public who had used the Washtenaw County Courthouse. He also said the implementation of the new case management system is right on target for October, and will make the old system look like a Model T compared to a Maserati.
The audience gave a standing ovation to Judge Donald Shelton, who after 24 years of service to the court, recently announced his retirement on Sept. 1 to take on a new role at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Swartz said it is expected that a visiting judge will take over Shelton’s duties until the November election, when the winner of that race takes the bench as soon as possible.
14B District Court Judge Charles Pope said there has been much doom and gloom in the past few years in the form of staff and budget decreases, and fewer people are doing more with less, but that things have stabilized into “the new normal.”
“We’re never going to be where we were in the past, and that’s the new reality,” he said.
He also talked about the new Washtenaw Women’s Court he oversees at 14B that partners with the University of Michigan Human Trafficking Clinic. It began March 1 to help a population of women whose needs, he said, are great and varied and typically include substance abuse, family problems, unemployment, trauma, and mental health concerns.
“It’s exciting work,” he said.
Emcee Elizabeth Jolliffe led the crowd in a round of applause for Delphia Simpson, who completed her last official duty as WCBA president that day.
The 2014 sponsors of the 25th Annual Bench-Bar Conference included:
Bodman, PLC;  Conlin, McKenney & Philbrick, P.C.;  Washtenaw County Public Defender Lloyd E. Powell;  Dykema; Eby Conner Smillie & Bourque; FindLaw;  Garris, Garris, Garris & Garris, P.C.; Hooper Hathaway, P.C.;  ISM Surety Bond Agency; Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.;  Keusch, Flintoft & Conlin, P.C.; Law Offices of Weipert-Winter; Manchester & Associates; Andrew S. Muth, P.C.;  Nichols, Sacks, Slank, Sendelbach & Buiteweg, P.C.; Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C.;  Reach Law Firm;  Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge;  Joseph H. Spiegel, P.L.L.C.;  The Vincent Law Firm, P.C.; and The Washtenaw County Legal News.