State Bar of Mich. v. City of Lansing, No. 25

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtKELLY; DETHMERS
Citation105 N.W.2d 131,361 Mich. 185
PartiesSTATE BAR OF MICHIGAN, a public body corporate, Plaintiff and Appellee. v. CITY OF LANSING, a Michigan municipal corporation, Lester N. Pressley, its assessor, John F. Webb, its treasurer, School District of the City of Lansing, a public corporation, and County of Ingham, a municipal corporation, Defendants and Appellants. Paul L. Adams, Attorney General of the State of Michigan, Intervenor.
Docket NumberNo. 25
Decision Date16 September 1960

Page 131

105 N.W.2d 131
361 Mich. 185
STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN, a public body corporate, Plaintiff and Appellee.
v.
CITY OF LANSING, a Michigan municipal corporation, Lester N.
Pressley, its assessor, John F. Webb, its treasurer, School
District of the City of Lansing, a public corporation, and
County of Ingham, a municipal corporation, Defendants and
Appellants.
Paul L. Adams, Attorney General of the State of Michigan, Intervenor.
No. 25.
Supreme Court of Michigan.
Sept. 16, 1960.

[361 Mich. 187]

Page 132

Joseph Lavey, Lansing, for appellant City of Lansing, Hubbard, Fox, Thomas & Born, Lansing, of counsel.

MacLean & Seaman, Lansing for appellant City of Lansing School Dist.

Jack W. Warren, Lansing, Pros. Atty., for appellant County of Ingham.

Joseph W. Planck, Everett R. Trebilcock, Lansing, for appellee.

Paul L. Adams, Atty. Gen., Samuel J. Torina, Sol. Gen., Lansing, for intervenor-appellant.

Before the Entire Bench.

KELLY, Justice.

This controversy involves certain real and personal property belonging to the State Bar of Michigan, including the land upon which the present State Bar headquarters were at time of trial being erected, and the personal property of the State Bar which was at that time situated in the Hollister building, Lansing, Michigan.

[361 Mich. 188]

Page 133

The real estate involved had been assessed for city, school and county taxes for the years 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958, and all of said taxes had been paid under protest.

Plaintiff appeared before the board of review of the city of Lansing and filed a written claim of exemption from taxation, claiming that it is a public body corporate, created by statute, organized and regulated under the rules of and under the direct and immediate control of the Supreme Court of Michigan, and that it is an educational and scientific institution and, therefore, exempt from taxation under the general property tax laws.

The exemption was denied by the board of review. The State Bar of Michigan filed a petition for declaration of rights.

At the hearing, Mr. Raymond Dresser, then president of the State Bar of Michigan, testified that the State Bar association Maintained offices at 384 Hollister building, Lansing, Michigan, on leased property and that the quarters were not adequate; that the State Bar had about 8,900 members and was in the process of completing new headquarters; that the new building would house executive offices of the State Bar, including administrative work of the State Bar Association as well as the work of its 49 regular committees and 28 grievance committees and the board of bar examiners; that there were no plans for any charge for use of the building that there is a large lounge in the building for entertainment purposes with limited facilities for the service of food through a catering service; that the building contains a large meeting room, primarily for the use of committees and sections of the State Bar; and that, although members of the public might be permitted the use of the facilities, the facilities were primarily intended for the members of the bar; that 'if the public has matters which are germane to the [361 Mich. 189] functions of the State Bar, they will probably use the building, but to open it up for general public purposes, any meetings they might want to hold, I know of no plans for that'; that the State Bar of Michigan controls the building subject to the rules adopted by the Supreme Court; that the money for the construction of the State Bar building came from lawyers and donations from the public; that no money was contributed by the State of Michigan and there is no obligation of the State of Michigan on any bonds in connection with the building; that the land was purchased from funds of the State Bar and the building constructed through voluntary contributions from lawyers, banks, trust companies, and relatives of deceased lawyers; that funds used to purchase the land came from dues contributed by lawyers, which dues were set by the Supreme Court, plus small additional revenues from advertising in the Bar Journal and a few other sources; that no funds are received by the State Bar from taxes collected by the State of Michigan.

Mr. Milton Bachmann, executive secretary of the State Bar, testified that action had been taken by the board of commissioners seeking a change of the rules of the Supreme Court relative to the designation of the State Bar of Michigan as a public body corporate just before the State Bar made the final determination to construct its building; that a commissioners' committee of the State Bar presented recommendations to the board of the State Bar and the board approved presentation of the recommendations to the Supreme Court; that the petition of the State Bar was approved by the Supreme Court, as the result of which the rules were changed so as to refer to the State Bar of Michigan as being organized and existing as a public body corporate; that he books of the State Bar Association are not audited by any division of the government of the State of [361 Mich. 190] Michigan, and no accounts are filed with any division of the State government except the clerk of the Supreme Court; that none of the employees of the State Bar are paid out of tax funds collected by the State of Michigan; that it was not contemplated that the State of Michigan would maintain

Page 134

the building; that the operating expenses would be paid for out of funds accruing to the State Bar through dues; that 18 of the commissioners of the State Bar are elected by lawyers of their respective congressional districts and four are appointed by the Supreme Court at large, making a total board of 22, and that neither the governor nor the legislature has anything to do with the appointment of the State Bar commissioners.

E. Blythe Stason, A.B., B.S., J.D., after having been qualified as an international authority on legal education, testified that the legal education of a lawyer begins in a formal way somewhere in the middle of college years, continues through college and law school and into post graduate years, for the reason that the body of the law is constantly changing and the lawyer today must deal with problems that differ from those yesterday and the day before yesterday; that the need for continuing legal education is being met by...

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23 practice notes
  • Sweeney v. Cannon
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • March 29, 1965
    ...367 U.S. 820, 81 S.Ct. 1826, 6 L.Ed.2d 1191 [annual fee of $15 held not unreasonable]; State Bar of Page 188 Michigan v. City of Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 105 N.W.2d 131; Petition of Florida State Bar Ass'n, 40 So.2d 902 [Florida]; 7 C.J.S. Attorney and Client § Section 467-a of the Judiciary......
  • Miller v. Robert Emmett Goodrich Corp., Docket No. 18420
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • May 2, 1974
    ...See Michigan Towing Association, Inc. v. Detroit, 370 Mich. 440, 456, 122 N.W.2d 709, 715--716 (1963); State Bar of Michigan v. Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 195, 105 N.W.2d 131 (136) (1960). Failure to do so would result in denial of due process. Giaccio v. Pennsylvania, 382 U.S. 399, 86 S.Ct. 5......
  • Smith v. Department of Public Health, Docket Nos. 71016
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • October 12, 1987
    ...historic principle of law, enjoys more than the customary presumption of constitutional validity. See State Bar of Michigan v. Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 195, 105 N.W.2d 131 23 See Rethinking sovereign immunity after Bivens, 57 NYU L R 597, n 4 (1982) (citations omitted) ("All three dissents i......
  • Falk v. State Bar of Michigan, No. 60722
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 29, 1981
    ...two decades later when it held the State Bar's property in Lansing to be tax exempt public property in State Bar of Michigan v. Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 194, 105 N.W.2d 131 "The provisions of this act (1935 P.A. 58) are such as to clearly indicate that it was the intent of the legislature[41......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Sweeney v. Cannon
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • March 29, 1965
    ...367 U.S. 820, 81 S.Ct. 1826, 6 L.Ed.2d 1191 [annual fee of $15 held not unreasonable]; State Bar of Page 188 Michigan v. City of Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 105 N.W.2d 131; Petition of Florida State Bar Ass'n, 40 So.2d 902 [Florida]; 7 C.J.S. Attorney and Client § Section 467-a of the Judiciary......
  • Miller v. Robert Emmett Goodrich Corp., Docket No. 18420
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • May 2, 1974
    ...See Michigan Towing Association, Inc. v. Detroit, 370 Mich. 440, 456, 122 N.W.2d 709, 715--716 (1963); State Bar of Michigan v. Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 195, 105 N.W.2d 131 (136) (1960). Failure to do so would result in denial of due process. Giaccio v. Pennsylvania, 382 U.S. 399, 86 S.Ct. 5......
  • Smith v. Department of Public Health, Docket Nos. 71016
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • October 12, 1987
    ...historic principle of law, enjoys more than the customary presumption of constitutional validity. See State Bar of Michigan v. Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 195, 105 N.W.2d 131 23 See Rethinking sovereign immunity after Bivens, 57 NYU L R 597, n 4 (1982) (citations omitted) ("All three dissents i......
  • Falk v. State Bar of Michigan, No. 60722
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 29, 1981
    ...two decades later when it held the State Bar's property in Lansing to be tax exempt public property in State Bar of Michigan v. Lansing, 361 Mich. 185, 194, 105 N.W.2d 131 "The provisions of this act (1935 P.A. 58) are such as to clearly indicate that it was the intent of the legislature[41......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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