Honored MSU Law Professor Emeritus, Detroit College of Law alumnus Bob Filiatrault dies

Michigan State University College of Law Professor Emeritus Bob Filiatrault passsed away on January 19.

A Detroit native, Professor "Fili" was the first in his family to enter law school, earning his J.D. from Detroit College of Law in 1970.

After graduating, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Fred W. Kaess, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

He then entered private practice, doing mostly civil litigation in a small firm.

He joined the faculty of Detroit College of Law in 1971 after DCL Dean Charles King, asked him if he would teach Federal Jurisdiction; and later primarily taught Civil Procedure and Evidence.

A longtime faculty advisor to the Moot Court & Trial Advocacy Board, Filiatrault also served as director of MSU Law externship programs.

He was honored with the MSU Law Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013; and was a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation. His article "The Riddle of Harmless Error in Michigan" was published in the summer 2000 issue of Wayne Law Review.

An avid sailor, Filiatrault was a past commodore at the Detroit Boat Club and the Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association; and for many years, was principal race officer for the Mills Trophy Race hosted by the Toledo Yacht Club.

As a member of the Bayview Yacht Club, he participated on the race committee for the annual Port Huron to Mackinac Island race.

He also was the chief statistician for the Detroit Lions football team for more than 20 years during the team's days at the Pontiac Silverdome.

MSU Law Professor Veronica McNally worked closely with Filiatrault.

"Professor Filiatrault played a critical role in providing students with opportunities for leadership and advocacy within a culture of collegiality and excellence," she said.

"His dedication to MSU Law and its students will be remembered for years to come."

Published: Thu, Jan 28, 2016