Learn about ongoing and upcoming events. Discover opportunities to link into the West Michigan legal network.

Ongoing Events


Luncheon Series

The Western District FBA plans and sponsors a series of presentations on issues of interest to the local bar. The sessions run from noon to approximately 1:30 P.M. and are held at the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building. The program is free, but advanced registration and a fee of $15.00 is required if you would like a lunch to be ordered for you.

Our luncheon topics have included a Supreme Court Year In Review presentation by John Bursch, former Michigan Solicitor General, and AUSA Jennifer McManus; a panel presentation on prisoner civil rights litigation, and a primer on effective advocacy by 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton.


Hillman Advocacy Program

The Hillman Advocacy Program is an annual three-day seminar that has provided high-quality, professional courtroom training to hundreds of trial lawyers.

Formerly known as the Trial Skills Program, this learn-by-doing seminar is patterned after well-known techniques developed by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) in Boulder, Colorado. It gives 62 new attorneys a unique opportunity to develop courtroom skills under the guidance of some of Western Michigan’s top trial lawyers – all of whom volunteer their time. We keep the number of participants low to maintain a 3-to-1 student to teacher ratio.

Some years ago the Chief Justice of the United States called for improvement in the courtroom skills of trial lawyers. Responding to this challenge, Judge Hillman was determined that such criticism should not be directed to the trial practice in the Western District of Michigan. He enlisted the aid of his fellow jurists and several leading trial lawyers to form an instructional workshop where attorneys could learn by doing.

Learn more about the Hillman Advocacy Program at this link.


Bench Bar Conference

Held every three years, the Western District of Michigan Bench-Bar Conference offers an opportunity for judges and lawyers to interact and exchange ideas on improving the administration of justice throughout Michigan.

Please mark your calendars for the 2024 Bench Bar Conference. It will be held at Crystal Mountain Resort from September 18-21, 2024. This year’s Bench Bar Conference Chair is Kathy Smith-Kennedy from Pinsky, Smith, Fayette, & Kennedy, LLP. If you have any questions about the program, please reach out to Kathy at kskennedy@psfklaw.com.


Bankruptcy Seminars

The Bankruptcy Section of the Western District sponsors an annual seminar. For details concerning this year’s seminar, please visit the Bankruptcy Section webpage.

Upcoming Events


The Lessons of “To Kill a Mockingbird”

26 April, 2024
12:00pm - 1:30pm

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
150 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 1500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The West Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association invites you to a lunchtime panel to discuss the themes of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the role of race and […]