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Erika R. Breitfeld

Erika Breitfeld

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

B.A.  Michigan State University, 2001
J.D., cum laude, Michigan State University College of Law, 2004
[email protected]

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelou

You will often hear me say to students, “if it is important to you, it is important to me.” Law school is a transformative educational experience, and I am committed to helping you along the way.

I have taught Criminal Law, Advocacy, Appellate Advocacy/Moot Court, Research and Writing, and regularly served as a faculty advisor for students in criminal-law based externships. I joined the full-time faculty in 2013, after serving as a Visiting and Adjunct Professor since 2009.

Before coming to Cooley, I was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Macomb County, Michigan, from 2005–2011. I worked in the district, circuit, and family court divisions prosecuting all misdemeanor and felony cases. In addition to my court assignments, I also served as the 37th District Drug Court assistant prosecutor providing alternative sentencing and substance-abuse treatment for non-violent criminals. In 2011, I was promoted to the Child Sex Crimes Unit, where I prosecuted child rape and child molestation cases.

Before my career as an assistant prosecutor, I was an associate attorney for Ward, Anderson, Porritt & Bryant, P.C., in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where I defended insurance companies in no-fault insurance and negligence matters.

I am actively involved in the legal community and committed to criminal-justice reform.  I am a member of the Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellows program, which recognizes distinguished lawyers and supports the Foundation in providing leadership and grants to improve the administration of justice and the delivery of legal aid to the poor. I am also a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Access to Justice Committee, where we review and make recommendations on proposed court rules and legislation concerning access to justice, particularly policy issues that impact underserved populations.

I also serve on the board of directors for the Macomb County Veterans' Court and am a hearing panelist for the Attorney Discipline Board. Recently, I joined the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Racial Justice Advisory Council, which is dedicated to addressing the racial disparities in the criminal-justice system. Finally, I am a member of the Oakland County Inns of Court, which focuses on professionalism and career development for Oakland County lawyers.

As a law student, I was the recipient of several scholarships, including the Walter Oberer Scholarship for trial-advocacy excellence, and the Eve August Moot Court scholarship for oral advocacy. I competed nationally in moot court and trial competitions while attending MSU College of Law and also clerked at Church, Kritselis & Wyble, P.C., in Lansing, Michigan.


  • Erika Breitfeld, Hot-Car Deaths and Forgotten-Baby Syndrome: A Case Against Prosecution, 25 Berkeley J. Crim. L. 72 (2020).
  • Erika Breitfeld, Criminal Law: Annual Survey of Criminal Law, 65  Wayne L. Rev. 525 (2020).
  • Erika Breitfeld, Criminal Law: Annual Survey of Michigan Law, 63 Wayne L. Rev. 541 (2018).
  • Erika Breitfeld, Criminal Law: Annual Survey of Michigan Law, 60 Wayne L. Rev. 597 (2015).

Books and Chapters in Books

  • Bradley Charles & Erika Breitfeld, Research the Law Advanced, (Thomas M. Cooley Law School 2014).
  • Bradley J. Charles, Erika Breitfeld, & Toree Randall, Reasoned Legal Research: Multi-Media Workbook, and Thirty Instructional Videos, (Thomas M. Cooley Law School 2012).

Short Works

  • Erika Breitfeld, Changing Lives One Book at a Time: The Kimberly Cahill Reading Program, 92 Mich. B.J., May 2013, at 34.