Advocacy


WLAM Supports Amicus Curiae Brief

The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan is an organization comprising members of the legal profession in the state of Michigan.  As an organization dedicated to promoting improvements in the administration of justice and to promoting equality and social justice for all people, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan believes that excluding prisoners from the protections of our state civil rights law fails to promote equality and social justice for all people.

Date: February 12, 2016
Amicus Curiae Brief

WLAM Supports Diversity in the Michigan Judiciary

Date: September 9, 2015
Letter to Governor Snyder re: Diversity in the Michigan Judiciary, 3rd Circuit Court
Letter to Governor Snyder re: Diversity in the Michigan Judiciary, Supreme Court

Date: April 21, 2015
Letter to Governor Snyder re: Diversity in the Michigan Judiciary

WLAM Supports Equal Pay Day

Date: April 14, 2015
For several years now, women’s organizations in Michigan, like ours, have been working toward legislation to accomplish the following:
• Strengthen the Elliot Larson Act to include equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender;
• Increase penalties for wage discrimination based on gender;
• Establish pay equity committee;
• Allow women, and other employees, to compare their wages to know if they are being equally paid.
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One way organizations have worked together to build awareness of inequities in pay in Michigan is to recognize Equal Pay Day at the Capitol. Tuesday, April 14, 2015 is Equal Pay Day this year – symbolizing the day in the year that women have to work until to catch up with their male counterparts for the previous calendar year. WLAM is proud to lend support to raise awareness of Equal Pay Day. View a current list of 2015 Pay Equity Bills in the 98th Michigan Legislature. View photos from the 2015 event: 1 2 3

WLAM Supports Marriage Equality

The National Women’s Law Center asked for and received WLAM’s support for their amicus briefs advocating for marriage equality. From the NWLC: “Our brief explores the close relationship between sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination, and in particular the key role played by gender stereotypes in both types of discrimination.” WLAM has supported the NWLC’s Amicus Briefs in 4th Circuit, 5th Circuit, 6th Circuit, and 9th Circuit Courts. View Brief (6th Circuit, includes Michigan.)
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Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (“WLAM”) was founded in 1919. WLAM works to secure the rights of women in society. The mission statement for WLAM is to advance the interest of women members of the legal profession, to promote improvements in the administration of justice, and to promote equality and social justice for all people. WLAM has participated as Amicus Curiae in cases before to secure equal treatment of women under the law. With more than 700 member attorneys, judges and law students, WLAM has substantial expertise related to equal protection, including discrimination based on sex. WLAM has an interest in the continued recognition by Courts that sex classifications warrant heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. WLAM supports the Amicus Brief provided by the National Women’s Law Center to the extent that all people should be afforded the rights provided under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

Update: On October 6th, the US Supreme Court refused, without explanation, to address the marriage equality question for the cases that were on appeal from the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits (MI is part of the 6th circuit). Within hours after the Supreme Court denied review in these cases the 4th Circuit (Virginia) put its ruling into immediate effect and so did the 10th Circuit (Oklahoma and Utah). The 7th Circuit (Indiana and Wisconsin) has yet to act. This clears the way for same sex couples to wed in five more states and probably an additional six states in the coming weeks. If that happens, it will mean same-sex marriages would then be legal in 30 states and Washington D.C. Many observers are stating that the decision to let the appeals court rulings stand, without an explanation, will have an enormous practical effect on marriage equality.

WLAM Opposes Optional Membership in the State Bar of Michigan

Date: March 14, 2014
The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) opposes the proposed Senate Bill 743 that would make participation in the State Bar of Michigan – and the fees associated with membership – voluntary.
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The State Bar of Michigan (SBM), through its use of membership dues, over 600 volunteers and 28 standing committees, offers legal support and education to the disenfranchised and destitute. The SBM strives to increase diversity statewide, offers mentoring programs to junior attorneys, and promotes programs to ensure access to legal aid for all in Michigan.
A mention of just a few of the State Bar’s projects and accomplishments evidence the profound effect the compulsory Bar program has on women and securing the legal rights of women throughout the State, both in and out of the legal community:
• The Access to Justice Campaign and the Pro Bono and Equal Access Initiatives offer civil legal aid to the poor through projects, programs and training to benefit underserved populations, focusing on issues such as race and ethnicity, gender, and disability.
• The State Bar increased signatories to the Michigan State Bar Pledge to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion in 2013 to 622 individuals, 258 law firms, 39 voluntary bar associations, 34 state bar sections and committees, 16 governmental and law-related entities, seven corporations, nine legal aid providers, and five law schools.
• The State Bar participated in a commission and workgroup to support the introduction and eventual passing of an overwhelmingly supported bill to create a permanent Michigan Indigent Defense Commission in 2013.
• The Standing Committee on Domestic Violence offered free training on the Introduction to Domestic Violence Family Law, and formed a workgroup to examine and address issues with conciliation, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods occurring in the Friend of the Court in cases involving domestic violence.
• The Public Policy Program reviewed a combined 81 bills and court rules in 2013 and led the advocacy on approximately 69 formal legislative and court rule positions; these included but were not limited to: the Social Welfare Act, Court procedures on Evictions, the Eligible Domestic Relations Order Act, Joint Custody and Grandparenting Time under the Child Custody Act of 1970, the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act, the Adult Foster Care Facility Licensing Act, and Adoption, Supervisory Periods, Responsible Father Registry, and Human Trafficking under the Probate Code of 1939.
It is our belief that the needs and legal rights of women throughout Michigan will be compromised without a compulsory Bar and the resulting infrastructure and resources the State Bar provides to promote the legal needs of all. Therefore, WLAM respectfully requests that you oppose SB 743.