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Distinguished Brief Awards

The Cooley Law Review held its 38th annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on May 30, featuring guest speaker John Bursch, and honoring attorneys (L-R) George Sinas, Lauren E. Kissel, Mark R. Granzotta, Nick Curcio, and Thomas R. Alward.

George Sinas
Lauren Kissel
Mark Granzotto
Nick Curcio

The ceremony recognized the most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2023. These briefs were evaluated by a panel of judges, using seven criteria: questions presented, point headings, statement of case, argument and analysis, style, mechanics, and best overall brief. 

The purpose of the award is to promote excellence in legal writing and to celebrate outstanding work by practicing lawyers. The winning briefs will be published in an upcoming edition of the Law Review.

Sinas, Kissel, and Granzotta were honored for their brief in Andary et al v. USSA Casualty Ins. Co. et al. That case concerned the medical-benefit reductions in the 2019 auto no-fault reform legislation. The question was whether those reductions could be applied retroactively to persons whose policies predated the new legislation and who were injured before its effective date.

Attorneys Curcio and Alward were honored for their brief in Schaaf v. Forbes. The question was whether trustees appointed under the Michigan Trust Code can hold property, in their individual capacities, in a joint tenancy with other persons. The brief argued that such an arrangement was prohibited by common law.

During the event, Bursch, the former solicitor general for the State of Michigan, discussed collegiality among U.S. Supreme Court justices and advocates as a model for modern political discourse.

“The U.S. Supreme Court practice modeled by justices and advocates in the clerk's office [should] be a beacon of light, a path that political members of this this system should be looking towards, as we try to have a more civil dialogue in our country," said Bursch.

DBA speaker

Distinguished Brief Award Keynote Speaker John Bursch spoke on on Collegiality Among U.S. Supreme Court Justices & Advocates as a Model for Modern Political Discourse. 

Mark Cooney

Cooley Law School Professor Mark Cooney recognized honorees during Cooley Law Review’s 38th annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on May 30, 2024.

Jun 06 2024