Judge presented with law school's Integrity Award


Pictured during the “Integrity in our Communities” speaker series at the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus on Nov. 20 are (left to right) Helen Khouli, president of the Society for Personal and Professional Integrity; Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah, Integrity Award recipient; WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Joan Vestrand; and WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Lisa Halushka.

– Photo by John Mei

Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah was presented with the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Integrity Award during the law school’s “Integrity in Our Communities” speaker series on Monday, Nov. 20, at the Auburn Hills campus. The Integrity Award is given to legal professionals who demonstrate the highest integrity in their profession.

During his presentation, Farah, who has served as a judge since 1998, spoke to students about the emptiness of achieving scholastic honors in school by cheating, getting the high paying client by violating the rules of ethics, or issuing judicial opinions based on politics. He said that despite attaining these accomplishments, without integrity, it means nothing.

“There is something more than awards, more than clients, more than the dispensation of justice, and that is personal integrity,” said Farah. “In the end, the greatest reward is not victory, but adherence to the principles that are an integral part of our justice system.”

Farah continued with an analogy about former NFL player Ray Guy, and how commentators would talk about his form when punting the ball. Farah recalled an exchange about Guy between two television commentators.

“Do you see how high in the sky his follow through is?” one commentator said.

The other replied, “Let’s see how high his follow through is after he’s been beaten up in the NFL for 12 years.”

Judge Farah then asked those in attendance, “How high will your integrity be after several years? For the measurement of integrity occurs over the passage of time.”

Farah earned his law degree from WMU-Cooley and has served as an adjunct professor since 2009. He belongs to the Genesee County Bar Association, Michigan Judges Association, and Board of Law Examiners. He has also been involved with the West Flint Optimist Club and Metro Community Development Inc.

The “Integrity in Our Communities” event was co-hosted by the law school’s Society for Personal and Professional Integrity.