Detroit attorney sworn in as new SBM president

W. Anthony Jenkins, of Detroit, has been sworn in as the 76th president of the State Bar of Michigan.

The chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Marilyn Kelly, officiated at the Thursday, Sept. 30, ceremony.

The swearing-in took place in conjunction with the SBM Annual Meeting at the Amway Grand Plaza and DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

Jenkins is a partner and chief diversity officer at Dickinson Wright PLLC, where he focuses on corporate and public finance and real estate law.

Also sworn in as officers for 2010-2011 were President-Elect Julie I. Fershtman, of Farmington Hills; Vice-President Bruce A. Courtade, of Grand Rapids; Secretary Brian D. Einhorn, of Southfield; and Treasurer Thomas C. Rombach, of New Baltimore.

Jenkins will lead an organization of more than 41,000 members that works to improve the administration of justice, promote the legal profession, and build public understanding of the legal system.

He has been a member of the SBM Board of Commissioners since 1997, and on the BOC Executive Committee since 2005.

While serving on the BOC, he has provided oversight to many SBM operations, including finance, public policy, and member services. He has been a member of SBM’s Real Property Law Section for 29 years.

He is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, past president of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (1996), and has been a member of the Wolverine Bar Association since 1981.

Since he began practicing law 30 years ago, Jenkins has been active in the American Bar Association.

He is a current member of the American Bar Association’s Federal Judiciary Committee, a group that provides peer reviews to the president of the United States on his nominations to the district, circuit, and U.S. Supreme courts.

Jenkins has served on the ABA’s Board of Governors and has been a member of the House of Delegates since 1998.

He has also served on various other committees and commissions dealing with justice initiatives, multijurisdictional practice, rules and calendar, and access to lawyers.

He is a nationally recognized expert in the certification of minority-owned businesses and the structuring and documentation of joint ventures with such companies. For more than 10 years he served voluntarily as the chairperson of the certification committee of the Michigan Minority Business Development Council, to help minorities set up and grow their businesses.

He also writes and speaks regularly at business forums to address different aspects of minority business enterprise certification.

Jenkins is also very active in Detroit civic life, having served on the boards of numerous groups, including the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners (2000-2002), Detroit Institute of Arts (1997-2003), Detroit Medical Center (2004-2006), Detroit Urban League (1995-1998), Big Brothers Big Sisters (1997-2000), Kids Voting Project (1994-1999), and the Detroit Sports Commission (1991-1996).

Jenkins has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University (1974), a Master of Public Affairs degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (1979) and a law degree from New York University School of Law (1980).

He and his wife Sondra have been married for 28 years and reside in Detroit.

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