Cooley Law Review honors scholarly briefs

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Photos by Cynthia Price
 

The WMU-Cooley Law Review celebrated the best of Michigan’s practicing bar during its 32nd annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony at the Country Club of Lansing on Thursday, July 27. The event formally recognized authors of the most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2016 as determined by a panel of judges and professors from across the state.

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

 The winning briefs that were recognized during the ceremony included:

• Case Name: Kevin S. Reffitt v. Dawn M. Bachi-Reffitt

Law Firm: Bursch Law PLLC

Attorney: John J. Bursch

• Case Name: Kevin S. Reffitt v. Dawn M. Bachi-Reffitt

Law Firm: Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

Attorney: Conor B. Dugan

• Case Name: Freemont Insurance Company v. Gro-Green Farms, Inc.

Law Firm: Bursch Law PLLC

Attorney: John J. Bursch

• Case Name: Freemont Insurance Company v. Gro-Green Farms, Inc.

Law Firm: Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

Attorney: Matthew T. Nelson

• Case Name: Freemont Insurance Company v. Gro-Green Farms, Inc.

Law Firm: Stertz & Weaver PC

Attorney: H. William Stertz

• Case Name: Freemont Insurance Company v. Gro-Green Farms, Inc.

Law Firm: Stertz & Weaver PC

Attorney: Michael E. Korn

During the ceremony, Tim Baughman, who has spent more than four decades handling appeals for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, presented the keynote.  Baughman offered his perspective on how the Michigan Supreme Court’s practices today differ from the court’s past practices. He also offered the audience concrete advice on making appellate briefs more persuasive, clear and effective.

Baughman began his employment with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in 1975, and became chief of research, training and appeals in 1986. He has appeared in the United States Supreme Court seven times, and has argued successfully on all but one occasion. He has also supervised the briefing and argument of four other cases in that court, as well as appearing more than 70 times in the Michigan Supreme Court. He is the author of two book  and various articles on criminal law and criminal procedure. Baughman served for eight years as an adjunct professor of law at Wayne State University Law School.