OAKLAND COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
Working closely with the Oakland County Circuit Court, the OCBA has established an OMBUDSMAN to further assist in communications between the bench and bar.
WHO IS THE OMBUDSMAN?
Joel H. Serlin of Seyburn, Kahn Ginn, Bess & Serlin, P.C.
WHO MAY CONTACT THE OMBUDSMAN?
Only attorneys, and only on active matters before the Circuit Court.
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE OMBUDSMAN?
The purpose of the ombudsman program is to provide a discreet forum for the informal resolution of issues and matters in which there is no other established or preferred procedure to obtain redress. The ombudsman will serve as a neutral, vested with the authority to act as an intermediary between attorneys and judicial officers, and other personnel. Attorneys who litigate before the court now have the option of remaining anonymous while trying to resolve sensitive issues. The ombudsman program hopes to provide an outlet for delicate questions and issues that otherwise would have no appropriate outlet because lawyers may fear putting their clients’ interests at risk.
WHAT MATTERS ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THE OMBUDSMAN?
Attorneys, but not parties, with active cases may contact the ombudsman to discuss matters within his purview. The subject matter of inquiries within the jurisdiction of the ombudsman may not include any substantive aspect of any case before the court. The ombudsman will determine whether each inquiry falls within the scope of his duties and, if so, counsel the attorney making the inquiry and determine jointly whether any action is appropriate.
If a contact with the court is deemed appropriate, the ombudsman, acting confidentially and without identifying the attorney who initiated the inquiry, will contact the appropriate judicial officer, administrative official or staff member regarding the matter. Of course, the ombudsman may explain to the attorney, depending on the particular case or situation, the likelihood (or lack of likelihood) that the court will be able to determine who is making the inquiry.
In general, the ombudsman, using his discretion, will advise all counsel of record of his involvement and communication with the court. Upon conclusion of the matter, no record will be kept by the ombudsman regarding his handling of the matter or the inquiry and all related communications, once again, will be kept strictly confidential and not for use in any proceeding or otherwise.
HOW DO I BRING A MATTER TO THE ATTENTION OF THE OMBUDSMAN?
Contact Mr. Serlin directly via email or phone.
Phone: (248) 353-7620
For other questions, please contact the OCBA at (248) 334-3400.