Honorable Thomas E. Brennan
Founder, Former President, Dean Emeritus
Judge Thomas E. Brennan was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1953 and practiced law in Detroit for nine years. He was elected to the Detroit Common Pleas Court in 1961, advancing to the Wayne County Circuit Court and finally to the Michigan Supreme Court, where he served as Chief Justice in 1969 and 1970.
In 1972, Judge Brennan founded the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. In 1974, he resigned from the Court to become the school's first full-time Dean. During his decanal tenure, Judge Brennan founded the Cooley Legal Authors Society, the Student Bar Association, the Scholastic Review Board, the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, and he designed the school's year-round, three-divisional system.
Judge Brennan served as President of the law school from 1979 until he retired on January 19, 2002, and also served on the Board of Directors from 1972 until 2002. The Honorable Thomas E. Brennan Law Library is named in his honor.
Judge Brennan recently wrote a series of articles reminiscing about the challenges and rewards of founding The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. You can see these articles in print in several of the Detroit Legal News publications. It is also available as a download compiled into our 35th anniversary publication called Starting a Law School (PDF).
Judge Brennan is the author of numerous legal articles. In 1995 he published Judging the Law Schools, a ranking of all accredited American law schools according to data published by the ABA.
Library Dedication (PDF) - Benchmark, Trinity Term 2002
Commencement Remarks (PDF) - Benchmark, Hilary Term 2002
Lessons in Leadership: President Brennan's Legacy and Why it Matters (PDF) - Benchmark, Michaelmas Term 2001
Judge Brennan, Personal Views (PDF)- Benchmark, Michaelmas Term 2001