Asked and Answered

Judge Edward Sosnick is a longtime Oakland County judge who will have spent 24 years on the Circuit Court bench when he retires in January. Sosnick left private practice to become first a city attorney and then a prosecuting attorney for Oakland County, where he ultimately achieved senior trial attorney status. Prior to his election to Circuit Court, he served as a 48th District Court judge for four years. Sosnick was named chief judge of the Oakland Circuit Court for the 1996-1997 term and the 1998-1999 term. He was twice voted one of Michigan's Most Respected Judges by Michigan Lawyers Weekly poll. He is a co-founder, Oakland County Circuit Court's S.M.I.L.E. Program, an educational program for divorcing parents

Kirvan: If you were not a lawyer, what would you be?

Sosnick: A circus ringmaster. Actually I am one each summer when I help put on a circus performance and parade for my two granddaughters at their elementary school in Birmingham. I am in my element there.

Kirvan: Who’s your role model?

Sosnick: My mother, Ruth. She came from the Ukraine and worked hard to make a life for herself and her family, raising four kids with love and kindness. She was special. We always had an open door policy at our house thanks to her.

What can’t you live without?

My wife (Darlene), my kids (Karen and  Meredith), my grandchildren (Jane, Estee, and Abe), and, of course, my dogs, Scout and Gus. I am a blessed man because of all of them.
Kirvan: What is your favorite book?

Sosnick: “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. It is a classic tale, a great mix of heroism and fantasy. We need both in life.

Kirvan: What about your favorite way to unwind?

Sosnick: Reading. I can plow through four or five books in a row when I’m on a roll. I also love to spend time at the beach, preferably near a big body of water. There is something particularly soothing about being near the sound of water.

Kirvan: What is the quality you most admire?

Sosnick: Compassion, especially for those less fortunate. Much of our outcomes are dependent on where we started. Kids coming from broken homes, where there are no role models, little in the way of support, have such an uphill climb to make it. I see the heartbreak of it all in court every day.

Kirvan: Do you have a pet peeve?

Sosnick: Lack of civility and compassion. Again, I see it in court every day. A lot of people could use a crash course in basic manners. I have had a saying taped to my bench in court for years. It says: “Think it; don’t say it.” Good advice for most everyone.

Kirvan: How about a favorite movie?

Sosnick: “To Kill a Mockingbird” starring Gregory Peck. There is something special about the small town lawyer who believes that everyone should be treated fairly. What a novel idea.

What was your toughest case?

Sosnick: Any case where kids have been hurt. How anyone can hurt someone who is defenseless is beyond my comprehension. It is gut wrenching to see.

Kirvan: What’s ranked No. 1 on your bucket list?

Sosnick: To play more.


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