6 Posts found

Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck on Mar 18, 2021

Over the past 2 years, the Black and Brown Cannabis Guild (BBCG) has planned and organized expungement screening events with the aim of providing pro-bono legal assistance to those in our community who wish to have their criminal records expunged.

To that end, BBCG will be working along with Legal Aid of Western Michigan and National Expungement Week to organize and host an expungement screening event in anticipation of the new Clean Slate Expungement Law which is slated to go into effect on April 11, 2021. Please click here to learn more about this volunteer opportunity.

Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck on Mar 15, 2021


Grand Rapids, MI Thacker Sleight was ranked number two in West Michigan as a Top Family Law Firm in 2020 by Grand Rapids Business Journal. Connie Thacker, Allison Sleight, and Terri Koenig created the woman-owned and operated firm only three and a half years ago. The firm has grown to what it is today through leadership and teamwork. Connie and Allison are also proud owners of their own building, where they operate the firm. The building is located in Heritage Hill; the Damon Hatch residence was built in 1840 and completely restored by Connie and Allison in 2020.

Requests for firm information were sent to all Family Law firms in West Michigan for their participation. Thacker Sleight continues to expand with Family Law Attorney Tiffany Burks’ addition in late 2020 and Attorney Courtney Sierra in March of 2021. The firm is looking forward to very successful years to come.

Ms. Thacker is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Only 1,600 Attorneys across the entire country are members of this prestigious organization. Connie is also designated as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. Ms. Thacker recently was recognized as a 2021 “Michigan Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers.

Ms. Sleight was named “Super Lawyer’s Rising Stars” in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 as well as “Up & Coming Lawyers” in 2016 by Michigan Legal News. Allison was selected to Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Business Leaders Class of 2019. Ms. Sleight focuses her practice in Business and Family Law, providing representation when the issues to be resolved or litigated include complicated compensation issues, accounting, and business valuation issues.

Thacker Sleight is a boutique law firm specializing in sensitive, life-altering events and the legal issues surrounding them — from divorce, child custody, spousal support, collaborative divorce, estate planning, business formation, business valuation, and property settlements.

Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck on Dec 11, 2020

A special thanks to Neil Marchand (Miller Johnson), GRBA Board Member & Litigation Section Chair, who was kind and thoughtful enough to share a recording of an informative webinar that may be of interest to the broader GRBA membership, concerning professionalism in presentations to the court.
Please click the link, below, to view the webinar entitled, Written/Oral Advocacy. This webinar was a collaboration between the Kalamazoo County Bar Association, Federal Bar Association - West Michigan Chapter and the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Featured presenters include:
U.S. District Judge, Paul L. Maloney
Michigan Court of Appeals Judge, Thomas C. Cameron
Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor, Heather S. Bergma
Click here to view this informative seminar.

Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck on Oct 27, 2020


"Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared

to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Please click here to view interviews and debates, related to the 2020 Elections.

Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck on Oct 12, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS - On Friday, October 9, 2020, WGVU's radio segment, Mutually Inclusive, welcomed the GRBA board treasurer, Michael Adams. Weekly, Mutually Inclusive focuses on the work of area individuals and organizations advancing inclusion and equity in our community. Michael Adams spoke about the diversity initiatives of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and its commitment to equity and inclusion within the Grand Rapids legal community. Joining the discussion was WGVU Grants Manager Steve Chappell, as well as the program host, Shelley Irwin. This weekly radio segment is part of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Click here to listen to the GRBA featured on Mutually Inclusive.

Posted by: Kenneth Williams-Buck on Aug 5, 2020


To view Dean Brame’s acceptance remarks, please click:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Michigan Lawyers Weekly named WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean Tracey Brame as Lawyer of the Year. In February, Brame and WMU-Cooley graduate Michael Rutkowski (Fitzgerald Class, 2006) of Rutkowski Law Firm in Bloomfield Hills, were two of 30 lawyers named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “Leaders in the Law” Class of 2020. Because of COVID-19, the annual presentation was moved from April and held virtually on Aug. 3. 


Brame was selected as Lawyer of the Year by members of the Leaders in the Law Class of 2020.

The selected honorees for the Leaders in the Law Class were chosen for their outstanding contributions to the practice of law in Michigan, continually setting an example for other lawyers, demonstrating tremendous leadership, and offering a wealth of expertise in many areas of the law.


“I am so humbled and so overwhelmed to be considered among Michigan’s Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly,” Brame said during her acceptance remarks.


Sharing how she became inspired to work in the area of social advocacy, Brame spoke about  listening to a presentation by attorney and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson.


“When he finished speaking, I was determined that wherever he was, that’s where I wanted to go,” Brame said. “And I was fortunate enough to go to Alabama for a semester and get experience in death penalty work alongside Bryan.”


Brame, who is passionate about criminal law and defense cases, has a strong disposition for advocacy work and feels there are far too many African Americans in prison who did not receive the appropriate legal representation. This belief has led her to become heavily involved in the Grand Rapids community, providing pro bono work that focuses on enriching the lives of the community’s youth.


Within her first year at WMU-Cooley (2006), Brame, in partnership with the Grand Rapids Bar Association, opened the Access to Justice Clinic at the law school’s Grand Rapids campus, where she currently serves as director. Staffed by students under faculty supervision, the Access to Justice Clinic offers free legal services to low-income and under-represented residents of Kent County who face barriers due to their criminal history and seek expungement of their convictions. To date, under Brame’s leadership, the Access to Justice Clinic has helped 100 individuals get their criminal records expunged.


In collaboration with the Kent County Probation Department, Brame also helped establish a Teen Court, offering an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders. In addition, by volunteering with the 3R’s Program, a partnership between the Grand Rapids Bar Association and Grand Rapids Public Schools, Brame has helped promote respect and understanding of the rule of law and the Constitution, as well as, provide mentorship and career direction for students.


“I have been fortunate enough to have this wonderful career where I happen to be doing work that I absolutely love, but also has been impactful on the community,” said Brame.


WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel, who nominated Brame to be considered as a member for the Leaders in the Law Class of 2020, said Brame’s selection as Lawyer of the Year is deserving because of her leadership by example. “There was a full slate of 30 attorneys who were recognized Monday evening as Leaders in the Law,” said McDaniel. “Half are partners at the most prestigious firms in Michigan; five of them are the managing partners of those respected firms. Our own Grand Rapids Associate Dean Tracey Brame was selected as Lawyer of the Year, by this group. The reasons are simple: her bright, shining social conscience is a beacon for all to follow and her life of service is an example for every lawyer.”