Scholarly briefs filed before State Supreme Court honored


The Western Michigan University Cooley Law Review hosted its 31st annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on July 21 at the Country Club of Lansing. The event celebrates the best of Michigan’s practicing bar and formally recognizes authors of the three most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2015.

The briefs are judged on seven criteria: question presented, point headings, statement of the case, argument and analysis, style, mechanics, and best overall brief. The winning briefs will be published in an upcoming edition of the WMU-Cooley Law Review.

The briefs were judged by Michigan Supreme Court Justices Brian K. Zahra and Bridget Mary McCormack; Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina; Kent County Circuit Court Judges Patricia D. Gardner and Paul J. Denenfeld; and Michigan Court of Appeals Judges Kirsten Frank Kelly, Kathleen Jansen, Patrick M. Meter, Christopher M. Murray, and Michael J. Riordan.

This year’s top briefs were:

• Case Name: People v. Lockridge.
Law Firm: State Appellate Defender’s Office.
Attorneys: Brett DeGroff, Desiree Ferguson, and Michael L. Mittlestat.

• Case Name: People v. Uribe.
Law Firm: Eaton County Prosecutor’s Office.
Attorneys: Brent E. Morton and Douglas R. Lloyd.

• Case Name: People v. Seewald.
Law Firm: Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.
Attorneys: Joshua R. Van Laan, Victor A. Fitz, and Eric J. Smith.

In addition to dinner and an awards presentation, honorary guest Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Bernstein introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, fellow Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman.

Markman spoke about the importance of careful, thorough briefs. He highlighted the need for well-organized and well-written briefs, not only for effective advocacy for clients, but for helping the Supreme Court appreciate why the case is important to Michigan’s larger jurisprudence.