Law Day Activities set at federal courthouse

By Debra Talcott

Legal News

"Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges" is the theme of this year's Law Day celebration planned for Monday, May 3 at the Theodore Levin U.S. District Courthouse in Detroit.

Various activities are planned, including an open house and tour of the Courthouse from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the official unveiling of a special exhibit called "The Presidents Wall" at 11:30. Other informative displays will feature counterfeit currency, confiscated firearms, and bomb-sniffing dogs. Complimentary light refreshments will be served.

The program is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the U.S. District Court and the Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of Michigan Chapter, the program includes an "Ask the Lawyer" pro bono program. Volunteer lawyers and law students will be on hand to give free legal advice to people who have cases pending in District Court but who have no attorney representation. These volunteers will answer questions related to specific categories such as employment, civil rights, fraud, truth in lending, and product liability.

"The pro bono part of this program is a real team effort on the part of many folks who come together to make it happen," says John Nussbaumer, associate dean of Cooley Law School - Auburn Hills.

Nussbaumer praised Judge Denise Page Hood and the District Judges Pro Bono Committee, Clerk David Weaver and his staff, the FBA, and the lawyers and students who have volunteered their time to ensure the program is a success.

"The need for this kind of pro bono assistance is greater than ever, and the FBA Pro Bono Committee is working with the District Judges Committee to explore ways we might be able to expand this program," says Nussbaumer. "It's a great opportunity for our students to see very busy lawyers take the time to fulfill their ethical obligations by working with those less fortunate than ourselves."

Nussbaumer and fellow attorneys Patrice Arend and Rick Haberman serve as co-chairs of this year's FBA Pro Bono Committee.

"The lawyers I have recruited from Dickinson Wright include Gary Vartanian, L. Pahl Zinn, Jennifer Newby, Charles Goedert, Tiffany Buckley, George Butler, Larry Campbell, and Michelle Alamo," says Haberman, who also is volunteering his time and services.

Volunteers from Cooley include Bob Beaupre, Henry Kopicko, Florise Neville-Ewell, John Nussbaumer, and Jerry Tschura. General Motors volunteers include Manuel Calderon, Michelle Fisher, and Deb Nowak-Vanderhoef. Miller Canfield volunteers include Matt Leitman, Marcy Rosen, and Rivka Schochet. Livonia attorney Carol Hainline will lend her services as well.

According to Charlene Gill, judicial secretary to Judge Hood, last year's "Ask the Lawyer" portion of Law Day events served 59 members of the community. This year invitations have been sent to more than 200 litigants.

The check-in area for Law Day is on the 1st floor in the alcove near Courtroom 100. Volunteers will direct participants and match anyone in need of legal advice with the appropriate attorney. Photo identification is required for entry into the Courthouse, and cell phones are not permitted in the building.

Published: Wed, Apr 28, 2010