WMU-Cooley Law Review honors top scholarly briefs filed before the Michigan Supreme Court


The Hon. Christopher Murray, chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals, provided the keynote address.

The WMU-Cooley Law Review honored attorneys Mark Bendure, Sima Patel, and Jessica Zimbelman during the organization’s annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on Nov. 18. The ceremony, which recognizes the most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2021, was held virtually to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These briefs were evaluated by a panel of judges using seven set criteria: question 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. The judges included: Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Riordan, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul J. Denenfeld, Attorney Thomas Myers, and WMU-Cooley Law School Professors Bradley Charles, Richard Henke, and L. Graham Ward.

The winning briefs will be published in an upcoming edition of the WMU-Cooley Law Review.

Bendure, founding partner of Bendure & Thomas, was honored for his brief in the case of Bowman v St. John Hospital and Medical Center, et al. Patel, senior appellate attorney at Fieger Law, was recognized for her brief filed in the Law Offices of Jeffrey Sherbow PC v Fieger & Fieger. Zimbelman, managing attorney with the State Appellate Defender Office, was honored for her brief in the People of the State of Michigan v Betts.

During the ceremony, the Hon. Christopher Murray, chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals, provided the keynote address, stating: “The power of the written word, persuasion on paper, is what wins your client a day in court. These chosen briefs are examples of what all attorneys need to excel at: written advocacy.”

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