Crossroads: MAJ leader takes helm at 'pivotal' time in Michigan

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By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

This fall figures to be an especially busy time for attorney Stuart Sklar, the new president of the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ), the 70th in the history of the storied organization of more than 1,300 lawyers who represent individuals in injury, employment, and civil rights matters across the state.

Tuesday, Nov. 8 is the date of the mid-term election that will have short- and long-term consequences for those concerned about the future of justice in Michigan, according to Sklar, the managing shareholder at Fabian Sklar King & Liss in Farmington Hills.

“It’s a pivotal election in Michigan with the races for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and other offices at stake,” said Sklar, who succeeds Southfield attorney Ron Weiner as president of the MAJ. “As an organization, we have always been on the front lines fighting for justice in this state.

“It is our goal to ensure that we have a fair and impartial judiciary that is diverse and is representative of the people of this state.”

Of equal importance is the organization’s commitment to preserving a bedrock principle of our justice system, according to Sklar.

“Our democratic institutions have been under attack in recent years and it is our duty to safeguard them against such threats,” said Sklar, who has been an MAJ member since 1991. “We have a sacred responsibility to preserve the rule of law and to promote a bipartisan approach to problem-solving.”

Sklar, who earned his bachelor and law degrees from Michigan State University, began his presidential tenure June 1, noting that he has “big shoes to fill” in succeeding Weiner.

“MAJ has been a constant in my legal career for over 30 years, and I’m honored to serve in this elevated capacity and to offer my experience as a resource to move this great organization forward,” he said earlier this month.

“Trial lawyers are dedicated to their profession,” Sklar said. “MAJ members not only bring extremely important issues to light, but also provide a confident voice to those who would otherwise be overlooked. It’s a great pleasure to work with these talented professionals on a daily basis.”

In August, Sklar will preside over the launch of the new MAJ Leadership Academy, a program designed to “cultivate the next generation” of leaders for the organization, he indicated.

“Our first class will begin the Leadership Academy this summer and will attend six multi-day sessions over the next year, climaxing with a graduation ceremony in the spring,” said Sklar. “There will be 10 young lawyers in our first class and that number might grow in the years ahead.

“We are very excited about it and we’ve received a positive response from our membership about the program,” he added. “To keep our organization strong in the years ahead, we need to build from within and to encourage our younger members to play a role in its future. This program is designed to help participants develop new skills and to provide a current perspective on leadership.”

Sklar is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities in the U.S. on conducting fire and explosion investigations.

He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) through the National Association of Fire Investigators and serves as the principal member of the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Fire Investigator Professional Qualifications.

Sklar previously served for 20 years on the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Investigations.

“We are thrilled to have Stuart as our 70th president,” said Steve Pontoni, executive director of the MAJ. “He is devoted to his profession, a highly regarded attorney who is committed to our organization and is dedicated to fighting for the rights of his clients. We know Stuart will accomplish incredible things for our organization during his tenure.”

Along with Sklar, the new MAJ officers for 2022-23 include: President-elect Jennifer McManus, of Fagan McManus in Royal Oak; Vice President Eric Steinberg, of the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg in Southfield; Secretary Nicholas Andrews, of Liss Seder & Andrews in Bloomfield Hills; Treasurer Barry Conybeare, of Conybeare Law Office in St. Joseph; and Immediate Past President Ron Weiner, of Lipton Law Center in Southfield.

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