Attorney Jody Aaron wants to ensure that integrity is inherent in the legal community. As the incoming Chairperson of the Negligence Section of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Executive Board of the Oakland County Inns of Court, she looks forward to having great impact in that regard.
Aaron’s been involved with the Inns of Court for more than 15 years. She values the international group, dedicated to excellence in professionalism as well as ethics, civility and legal skills. “A circuit court judge I knew encouraged me to join as they had so few plaintiff lawyers. Once I went I loved it – I learned so much and met so many people I never would have met otherwise.”
A collection of judges and lawyers from across the state, the organization exists to mentor younger lawyers as well as to promote civility in the law. Her role as Executive Board secretary of this popular group (there is a waiting list) means she is one of those responsible for connecting with a National group, designing the program, assigning teams and bringing in speakers for the year.
Teams make presentations on numerous relevant issues at monthly meetings. “Members get to experience how others work, ask questions, exchange information and learn from other lawyers as well as old and new judges. It’s invaluable, especially those who are solo practitioners.” The combination of education as well as support for those in the legal profession speaks to her on many levels.
Aaron’s dedicated involvement in the Negligence Section of the State Bar is in keeping with her other efforts. The group focuses on the legal community in terms of negligence law with the primary goal of defending the right to a jury trial, an issue she sees as more important than ever “Extremist interests are constantly trying to diminish our right to jury trials and access to our courts, especially in negligence cases. I am committed to working to fight any hurdles in that regard,” she said.
As a medical malpractice attorney, this is an area where Aaron feels she can make a real difference. She knows the commitment is well worth her time. “We want to keep everyone aware of what’s going on. It’s about keeping things balanced and fair.” Perhaps what is most unique about the group in that it is a bipartisan effort. “We address critical issues and speak in a united voice – if there is not consensus, we won’t take a position.”
Also, whenever there are major decisions in the Supreme Court or pertaining to legislature, the Negligence Section notifies membership of updated developments in the law. “These are people with substantial knowledge organizing to keep people informed. It’s a marvelous organization and remarkable how often we agree despite different viewpoints. We work very hard together.”
Aaron’s husband, Jack is a criminal defense lawyer. And both of her children and stepdaughters are all in education. Something that runs in the family, as she was a special education teacher before going to law school – something that may have inspired her current passions. “Success as a litigator requires effective communication and persuasive education of the jury and judge; we’re always teaching in one way or another.”