Court makes appointments to ‘well-being’ panel

The Michigan Supreme Court recently approved recommendations made by the Commission on Well-Being in the Law to appoint and reappoint members from various stakeholder groups representing the courts, law schools, legal practitioners and mental health professionals to the 34-member body.

“Fostering a healthier legal culture in our state is essential for maintaining the highest level of professional performance and client service — not to mention public trust in the legal system,” said MSC Justice Megan K. Cavanagh, who co-chairs the commission and serves on the executive team. “These recommendations encompass an incredibly diverse and talented group of individuals who represent every aspect of the legal profession.”

For a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2024:

• James Brennan (on behalf of the Michigan Association of District Court Magistrates)

• Judge Kathleen Galen (on behalf of the Michigan District Judges Association)

• Ieisha Humphrey (on behalf of University of Detroit Mercy Law School)

• Judge Michael Jaconette (on behalf of the Michigan Probate Judges Association)

• Marla McCowan (on behalf of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission)

• Steven Meerschaert (law student)

• Wendy Neeley (on behalf of the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board)

• Cindy Rude (on behalf of the Michigan Probate and Juvenile Registers Association)

• Judge Brock Swartzle (on behalf of the Michigan Court of Appeals)

• Tish Vincent (licensed mental health professional)

• Karissa Wallace (attorney, mid-size firm)

For a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2025:

• Cynthia Bullington (on behalf of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission)

• Nicole Clay (attorney, large firm)

• Jeff Getting (on behalf of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan)

• Judge Andrew Griffin (on behalf of the Michigan Judges Association)

• Tierney Hoffman (on behalf of Wayne State University Law School)

• Judge Lisa Martin (on behalf of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan)

• Marissa Navarro (law student)

• Katharine Smith (attorney, practicing less than five years)

• Abijah Taylor (on behalf of Michigan State University College of Law)

• Tanya Todd (on behalf of the Michigan Court Administration Association)

For a term expiring on Dec.  31, 2026:

• Judge Monte Burmeister (on behalf of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission)

• Matthew Fletcher (on behalf of the Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum)

• Maribeth Graff (on behalf of the Board of Law Examiners)

• Kathy Griffin (on behalf of the Michigan Association of Circuit Court Administrators)

• Lisa Hamameh (on behalf of the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners)

• Linda Harrison (on behalf of the Referees Association of Michigan)

• Ramji Kaul (on behalf of the University of Michigan Law School)

• Sarah Kuchon (licensed mental health professional)

• Arvin Pearlman (attorney, solo practitioner)

• Amy Timmer (on behalf of Cooley Law School)

Individuals serving by virtue of their role, all of whom make up the executive team:

• Justice Megan Cavanagh, Michigan Supreme Court (Commission Co-Chair)

• Molly Ranns, Director, SBM Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program (Commission Co-Chair)

• Peter Cunningham, Executive Director, SBM

• Tom Boyd, State Court Administrator

Last August, the former Task Force on Well-Being in the Law (a collaboration between the MSC and SBM) released a report with 21 detailed recommendations with strategies to address the high rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use in the legal profession.

To facilitate implementation of the recommendations, the task force called for the court to name a permanent Commission on Well-Being in the Law.

The commission works to build upon the work already accomplished by the task force and to continue the forward momentum to change the climate of the legal
culture by promoting well-being within the legal profession.