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Experience

Successful Defense of State Bar of Michigan in First Amendment Challenge

Warner successfully represented the State Bar of Michigan and its officers in a First Amendment challenge that spanned from federal district court to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A lawsuit challenged the requirement that licensed attorneys be members of and pay dues to the State Bar alleging that the State Bar’s mandatory membership and dues requirements violate First Amendment rights to free speech and association.

This case had the potential for serious repercussions for the existence of the State Bar and for Michigan’s regulation of the legal profession.

Warner defended the State Bar’s position and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan granted summary judgment in our client’s favor. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.

A petition was filed for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court denied the petition, leaving the lower court rulings intact and upholding the State Bar’s membership and dues requirements.