Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly Authors Foreword
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers special protections to soldiers against civil actions like divorce and foreclosure while they are deployed, however, varying state laws and interpretations can produce confusion in the law’s application.
A new effort among the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and attorneys with the Detroit Office of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP (Honigman) is bringing clarity to SCRA’s application for Michigan’s courts and, ultimately, providing another layer of support to Michigan servicemen and women.
Created by Honigman Partner Matthew Disbrow and Associate Shanta S. Anderson-Williams in the firm’s Labor and Employment Department, the Michigan Judge’s Guide to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act offers a state-specific view of the SCRA’s application for everything from procedural requirements to general provisions concerning evictions, auto leases and termination of cell phone service contracts. Cooley alumnus Ryan Plecha also assisted in developing the guide.
“While most judges generally are aware of the SCRA, there often is confusion about its application due to varying state laws and interpretations over the years,” said Disbrow. “The guide references case law from Michigan courts with the purpose of assisting the judiciary and other members of Michigan’s legal community in understanding SCRA and its protections for military personnel and their families.”
Supported by a grant from the Michigan State Bar Foundation, the user-friendly guide will be distributed to every Michigan judge and Friend of the Court office in the state. The full guide, which features a foreword by Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court Marilyn Kelly, will also be accessible at Cooley.edu/ethics.
“This document couldn’t come at a better time with thousands of military personnel returning to Michigan from deployment this year,” said Heather Spielmaker, director of Cooley’s Center for Ethics, Service and Professionalism which houses Cooley’s Service to Soldiers: Legal Assistance Referral Program.
Enacted by Congress in 2003, the SCRA was designed to protect the personal interests of servicemen and women at home while they protect the interests of our country abroad.
To obtain a copy of the guide, please contact Heather Spielmaker, director of the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism at Cooley Law School, at 517-371-5140 ext. 4112 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the country. Founded in 1972, it operates J.D. programs across Michigan in downtown Lansing, Auburn Hills and downtown Grand Rapids. Today, Cooley Law School has more than 13,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at cooley.edu.
Celebrating its 60th year, Honigman is a leading Michigan-based business law firm with an international practice. Headquartered in Detroit with offices in Lansing, Oakland County, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, the firm has more than 240 attorneys practicing in 40 different areas of concentration. Honigman’s highly-credentialed attorneys and staff, along with its customer-service focus, provide clients in a wide variety of industries timely and cost-effective counsel.
In 2008, Honigman was named the No. 1 corporate law firm in Detroit for the third consecutive year by Corporate Board Member magazine and received a No. 1 ranking within the state of Michigan from Chambers USA in four key practice areas: Corporate, Real Estate, Litigation and Employee Benefits. Honigman received recognition for 62 of the firm’s attorneys in the 2008 edition of Michigan Super Lawyers, leading for the second year in a row with more attorneys in the “Top 100” than any other law firm in the state of Michigan. The publication also recognized 27 of the firm’ s attorneys under the age of 40 as Rising Stars. Honigman was named in 2008 as one of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers, LLC. .
The Michigan State Bar Foundation is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1947 by Michigan lawyers and judges to support law-related charitable programs. The Foundation provides leadership and grants to improve access to justice, including support for civil legal aid to the poor, law-related education and conflict resolution. Since its inception, the Foundation has made more than 800 grants totaling over $100 million. For more information, see www.msbf.org.