State Bar pays tribute to former attorney general

Former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley has been named the 42nd Michigan Legal Milestone, an honor reserved for the most impactful people and events in Michigan legal history.

Kelley served as the 50th attorney general for the state of Michigan from 1961 to 1999 and was selected in 2020 as the Michigan Legal Milestone for his bipartisan service to the people of Michigan.

The former attorney general died in March.

The Michigan Legal Milestones program, created by the State Bar of Michigan, recognizes significant legal cases and personalities in Michigan’s history. Bronze plaques honoring each legal milestone honor their historical significance and are on display at sites throughout the state.

The plaque honoring Kelley is currently housed at the Library of Michigan.

To commemorate Kelley’s selection as a Michigan Legal Milestone, the State Bar of Michigan created a video featuring interviews from friends and colleagues from throughout Kelley’s career.

They share insights into Kelley and his work as a Michigan and national leader, a trailblazer who helped define the role of attorney general, a committed public servant, a boss who treated everyone as a colleague, and a friend who is greatly missed.

The full video is available to view online at

A shorter tribute video is also being shared on State Bar of Michigan’s social media channels. See it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

The videos includes interviews with Patricia Anderson, Kelley’s longtime secretary; former Gov. James Blanchard; Robert Buchanan, president of the State Bar of Michigan; Dennis Cawthorne, partner at Kelley-Cawthorne; Deborah Devine, retired assistant attorney general; Robert Easterly, president of the Davis-Dunnings Bar Association; former Gov. John Engler; Brian Gilmore, interim director of the Frank J. Kelley Institute of Ethics at University of Detroit Mercy; Robert Ianni, retired assistant attorney general; and Steven Weyhing, former associate at Kelley-Cawthorne.