Law Review Honors Scholarly Briefs Filed Before the Michigan Supreme Court

Dishtinguished Brief Award Group

(From left to right) WMU-Cooley Law Review Symposium Editor Courtney Sierra, WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc, Hon. Stephen Markman, Distinguished Brief Winners Desiree Ferguson, Brett DeGroff, Brent Morton, and Joshua Van Laan, and WMU-Cooley Professor and law review adviser Mark Cooney

The WMU-Cooley Law Review hosted its 31st annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on July 21, 2016, at the Country Club of Lansing. The event celebrates the best of Michigan’s practicing bar and formally recognizes authors of the three most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2015.

The briefs are judged on seven criteria: question presented, point headings, statement of the case, argument and analysis, style, mechanics, and best overall brief. The winning briefs will be published in an upcoming edition of the WMU-Cooley Law Review.

The briefs were judged by Hon. Brian K. Zahra, Michigan Supreme Court;  Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court; Hon. Rosemarie E. Aquilina, Ingham County 30th Circuit Court; Hon. Patricia D. Gardner, Kent County 17th Circuit Court;  Honorable Kirsten Frank Kelly, Michigan Court of Appeals First District;  Hon. Kathleen Jansen, Michigan Court of Appeals Second District; Hon. Patrick M. Meter, Michigan Court of Appeals Fourth District; Hon. Christopher M. Murray, Michigan Court of Appeals First District; Hon. Michael J. Riordan, Michigan Court of Appeals First District; and Hon. Paul J. Denenfeld, Kent County 17th Circuit Court.

This year’s top briefs were:

  • Case Name: People v. Lockridge
    Law Firm: State Appellate Defender’s Office
    Attorneys: Brett DeGroff, Desiree Ferguson, and Michael L. Mittlestat
  • Case Name: People v. Uribe
    Law Firm: Eaton County Prosecutor’s Office
    Attorneys: Brent E. Morton and Douglas R. Lloyd
  • Case Name: People v. Seewald
    Law Firm: Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office
    Attorneys: Joshua R. Van Laan, Victor A. Fitz, and Eric J. Smith

In addition to dinner and an awards presentation, honorary guest Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Bernstein introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, fellow Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman.

Markman spoke about the importance of careful, thorough briefs. He highlighted the need for well-organized and well-written briefs, not only for effective advocacy for clients, but for helping the Supreme Court appreciate why the case is important to Michigan’s larger jurisprudence.

Richard H. Bernstein

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Bernstein introduces keynote speaker and fellow Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman during WMU-Cooley Law Review’s 31st annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony.

Stephen J. Markman

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman speaks about the importance of careful, thorough briefs during WMU-Cooley’s Distinguished Brief Awards on July 21.

About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.



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