WMU-Cooley Law School students honor 17th Circuit Judge Christina Elmore


In celebration of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Black Law Students Association honored Kent County Circuit Court Judge Christina Elmore on March 1. Celebrating Elmore's achievements for being the first African-American woman elected to the circuit court bench in Kent County, faculty and students gathered at Forty Acres Soul Food restaurant in Grand Rapids.

“Grand Rapids was ahead of the curve when it elected John Letts as Kent County's first African American judge in 1967, but we've not had another African American circuit court judge until now, and we've never had a woman,” said WMU-Cooley Law Professor Christopher Hastings. “Judge Elmore's election to the Kent County Circuit Court is historic, and great news for our

Judge Elmore, who was elected to the 17th Circuit Court last November after serving as a judge on the 61st District Court since Feb. 2016,  began her legal career as a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force, where she served for 13 years on active duty and in the reserves. She has also worked as an assistant prosecutor for the Kent County Prosecutor’s office before she became an Assistant Attorney General for the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

For the eight years preceding her appointment to 61st District bench (she was appointed in Feb. 2016 and elected in Nov. 2016), Judge Elmore was in private practice, where she was defense counsel on felony and misdemeanor criminal cases; represented parents and children in child abuse and neglect cases; advocated for juveniles in delinquency cases; and assisted clients with various other legal issues. While in private practice, she continued to prosecute individuals for failing to pay child support as a Special Assistant Attorney General. Judge Elmore also taught military law briefly at WMU-Cooley Law School.

Judge Elmore earned her law degree from Tulane Law School and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She is also an alumnus of Ottawa Hills High School.

Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. In addition to Grand Rapids, there are campuses in Lansing and Auburn Hills, Mich., and Tampa Bay, Fla.