Daily Briefs, September 8

Miller Canfield takes part in jury reform webinar for ICLE
Miller Canfield principal, Mark T. Boonstra out of Ann Arbor recently served as the moderator and a faculty member for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Webcast, “Michigan Jury Reform – What You Need to Know Now.”

Boonstra, along with the Hon. Timothy G. Hicks of the Muskegon County Circuit Court and Mitchell Ribitwer, a criminal practitioner in Royal Oak, led the discussion about the newly adopted controversial jury reform amendments and revisions to the Michigan Court Rules (effective Sept. 1) and proposed revisions to the Michigan Model Civil Jury Instructions (comments due Oct. 1). The webcast included valuable information about understanding the various rule changes and expanded role of the court and jurors in jury trials, the biggest issues for civil and criminal practitioners, as well as and best practice recommendations.

At Miller Canfield, Boonstra is co-chair of the firm’s Appellate Section and is deputy leader of the Litigation Group representing various business and commercial disputes. Boonstra is a member of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Model Civil Jury Instruction Committee and is named a Best Lawyer in America for his work in Antitrust Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation. He received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, a Master of Applied Economics from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Michigan State University.

Obama administration nominates MSU lawyer to seaway board
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The White House has nominated a Native American law specialist on the Michigan State University faculty to a seat on the advisory board of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

The administration announced the nomination of Wenona Singel on Tuesday.

The agency is U.S. government owned and is responsible for operating the portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway within U.S. territory. The seaway runs from Lake Erie to the Port of Montreal in Quebec.

Singel is an assistant professor of law at Michigan State and associate director of the university’s Indigenous Law and Policy Center.

The 38-year-old Harvard Law School graduate teaches in Michigan State’s American Indian Studies Program and serves on the appellate court of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

First African-American woman on 6th Circuit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed Bernice Donald as a judge on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Donald will be the first African-American woman confirmed for that court.

Donald has broken through racial barriers throughout her career. She was the first African-American woman to be elected as a judge in Tennessee, serve on the federal bankruptcy court and sit as a U.S. district judge in her state.

The Cincinnati-based court serves Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.