State Bar Biz

Photo 1: The State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section’s Commercial Litigation Committee, In-House Counsel Committee, and Small Business Forum presented “Governmental and Internal Investigations: What In-House and Outside Counsel Need to Know” on Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Columbia Center in Troy. Douglas Toering (far right) of Toering Law Firm was one of the moderators for the event, which featured speakers (l-r) Mark Chutkow, assistant U.S. attorney; Joseph Papelian, Delphi deputy general counsel-litigation; Thomas Cranmer of Miller Canfield; and Richard Zuckerman of Honigman. “As a result of a number of highly publicized investigations of companies in our area, we thought that it would be helpful for business attorneys, as well as litigation attorneys, to know some of the principles that would be involved in criminal and civil investigations instituted by the government and in turn by corporate investigations that result from the governmental investigation,” said Toering who is chair of the Commercial Litigation Committee and Small Business Forum. The discussion addressed many scenarios such as advising a corporate client on an investigation by the government or representing a panicked employee who finds out the company has begun an internal investigation. The discussion also helped attorneys identify the client, address conflicts of interest, determine whether the U.S. Department of Justice (or the company) will keep the investigation confidential, and more.
Photo 2: The State Bar of Michigan (SBM) Intellectual Property Law Section and Pro Bono Initiative launched the Michigan Patent Pro Bono Project at a reception on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent & Trademark Office in Detroit. Providing welcoming and opening comments were (l-r) SBM Pro Bono Service Counsel Robert Mathis, SBM Treasurer Jennifer Grieco, SBM President Thomas C. Rombach, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Pro Bono Coordinator Jennifer McDowell, and SBM Intellectual Property Law Section Secretary-Treasurer David Berry. The Michigan Patent Pro Bono Project will connect low-income Michigan inventors with Michigan patent professionals for patent preparation and prosecution legal services on a pro bono basis in order to enable the low-income inventors to protect their patents. The program is being established as part of a nation-wide initiative of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office as the result of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.