Wayne Law alumnae, former dean elected to top state offices


Wayne State University Law School alumnae Megan Cavanagh and Dana Nessel, and former dean Jocelyn Benson took Michigan by storm last Tuesday, earning the titles of Supreme Court justice, attorney general and secretary of state, respectively.

Cavanagh graduated from Wayne Law in 2000. A shareholder at Garan Lucow Miller in Detroit, she has more than 15 years of experience as an appellate attorney, including serving as chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Nessel, a 1994 graduate of the Law School, will be Michigan’s first openly gay statewide office holder. She was the principal lawyer in DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan case that was part of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision holding unconstitutional the ban against same-sex marriage.

A member of the law faculty since 2005, Benson served as dean from December 2012 to September 2016, appointed first as interim dean and later to a full term. At the time of her appointment as dean, at age 36, she became the youngest woman ever to lead an accredited U.S. law school. In 2010, her book, State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, was published. It is the first major book on the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws.

Benson, Cavanagh and Nessel are among more than 50 members of the Wayne Law community elected to office in Michigan last week.