LANSING, MI--Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly has been named "Woman of the Year" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
Lawyers Weekly made the announcement at its annual "Women in the Law" awards ceremony in Troy on September 27. More coverage will appear in Lawyers Weekly's October 1 issue.
Citing Kelly's 48 years of public service, including her tenure as a justice and chief justice of the Supreme Court, Lawyers Weekly highlighted key accomplishments, noting "[Kelly's] push to make courts more accessible has resulted in last month's launch of a new legal self-help website, Michigan Legal Help." The site offers resources for those who represent themselves in legal proceedings; see http://www. michiganlegalhelp.org/.
Lawyers Weekly added that Kelly "was a loud and unwavering voice in the call for more comprehensive and fair indigent representation. She surely is gratified with HB 5804, to create the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, going to the full House with strong bipartisan support. That Commission would set standards, attempt to stabilize funding and promote best practices." Lawyers Weekly also noted that Kelly co-chaired, with Senior Circuit Judge James Ryan of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Judicial Selection Task Force. The task force's "comprehensive report" recommended ways to "make the judicial selection process more effective and transparent," Lawyers Weekly said.
Kelly has been a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court since 1996 and served as chief justice from 2009 to 2011. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University Law School, Kelly was a courtroom attorney for 17 years in private practice before she was elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1988. She was re-elected to the Court of Appeals in 1994.
Raised in Detroit, Kelly earned a B.A. degree from Eastern Michigan University; after a year's graduate study at LaSorbonne, University of Paris, France, she received her master's degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. She taught French language and literature in the Grosse Pointe Public Schools, at Albion College and Eastern Michigan University. She was elected statewide to the Michigan State Board of Education in 1964 and again in 1968, and served 12 years on the Board, the last two as its president.
Kelly is editor of the 6th Edition of Michigan Family Law, published by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. From 1999 through 2003, she served as co-chair of the Open Justice Commission of the State Bar of Michigan; she is on the governing board of the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and has served as its president.
Kelly has been awarded honorary doctor of law degrees by Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University College of Law, and Wayne State University Law School; Wayne State University also recognized Kelly with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. She was named one of Michigan's 95 most powerful women by Corp! Magazine and is the recipient of the Michigan Education Association's Distinguished Service Award. Among her many other honors are the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award from the State of Israel Bonds Attorney
Division; the State Bar of Michigan's Michael Franck Award for outstanding contributions to the legal profession; and the Guardian of Justice Award from the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee.
Published: Thu, Oct 4, 2012