Duly Noted

Mary Massaron Ross elected president of National Defense Attorneys Organization


On Oct. 27, Mary Massaron Ross of Grosse Pointe Woods became only the second woman and the first Michigander to serve as president of the 22,000 member, 50-year old DRI, one of the three largest professional organizations for attorneys in the US and the largest exclusively representing members of the defense bar.

“Mary brings so much to DRI: great strategic thinking, formidable legal skills, and an instant connection with people. DRI will thrive under her leadership,” said Henry Sneath, outgoing president.

Massaron Ross was born in Grand Rapids in 1951 and attended Immaculata High School in Detroit. She graduated summa cum laude from Marygrove College in 1982 and summa cum laude from Wayne State University Law School in 1990.

She has eight siblings. Her mother held two masters degrees and taught in the City of Detroit public school system.  Her father helped found and co-chaired for many years, The Urban Alliance, a voter-rating group that engaged in voter education and candidate rating in the City of Detroit.
Massaron Ross, a member of the Board of Directors of Plunkett & Cooney PC (Bloomfield Hills), is head of the firm’s appellate practice group. She has served as a member and brief writer for DRI's Amicus Committee, filing briefs in cutting edge cases in the US Supreme Court as well as several state courts of last resort.

Mary is a past chair of DRI’s Appellate Advocacy Committee and a co-editor of DRI’s “A Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Appellate Practice.” She is a past chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs where she supervised preparation of numerous briefs filed in the US Supreme Court.
“DRI has chosen well,” said John R. Kouris, DRI’s Executive Director. “Clearly, the legal profession is transitioning into a 21st Century model with no real clarity yet on what that will look like. Mary has the prescience to help define that model and the demeanor to lead the defense bar smoothly towards it.”

A former law clerk to Associate Justice Patricia J. Boyle of the Michigan Supreme Court, she has won numerous victories before the Michigan Supreme Court for clients in both the public and private sector. Mary has also handled appellate matters before the Supreme Courts of Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Michigan, and California, and the Third, Sixth, and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal.

For seven consecutive years, she has been honored as a “Best Lawyer” in Best Lawyers in America® and in 2008 was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.