Court date: New magistrate returns to familiar surroundings

By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

In a sense, it was a homecoming October 7 for attorney Rob Morad when he was sworn in as the newest magistrate of the 52-1 District Court in Novi.

Morad, a University of Michigan alum who earned his law degree in 1996 from the University of Detroit School of Law, began his legal career with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, initially serving as an assistant prosecutor in the Novi court.

Years later, while heading his own criminal defense firm in Birmingham, Morad periodically returned to the 52-1 District Court in a public defender capacity, a role he augmented with work in service to its Sobriety Court.

Then, of course, there have been the frequent appearances he has made on behalf of clients facing criminal charges in the court, legal troubles that have ranged from misdemeanor to serious felony cases.

“Let’s just say that I have been a regular visitor to that court,” Morad said with a smile.

His presence there figures to go up another notch now in the wake of the swearing in ceremony, which drew a host of friends and family members to the judicial complex located off Grand River Avenue in Novi. Among those on hand for the occasion were Morad’s parents, Marcia and John, along with his three siblings, John, Mike, and Julie.

His 80-year-old father, who has been a general practitioner for more than 50 years over the course of his career, has long served as Morad’s legal role model.

“My dad has done it all as a general practitioner and is someone I’ve tried to pattern myself after as I embarked upon my career in the law,” said Morad, a product of Birmingham Brother Rice High School. “I have learned so much from him.”

His parents, not surprisingly, were beaming with pride at Monday’s ceremony.

“My wife and I are so very proud of Rob,” said Mr. Morad. “He is an excellent attorney and his strong point has always been his preparation. He is very much imbued with the idea that fair play applies for everyone.”

His pursuit of fairness was in evidence at an early age on the golf course, where Morad currently plays to a near scratch handicap at Oakland Hills Country Club, one of the premier championship courses in the nation.
There, as a teen, Morad appeared to have won the club’s junior championship by one stroke over his nearest challenger.

“But Rob didn’t want to sign his scorecard to make it official until he checked with the pro about whether there was a penalty for hitting a small rock on his backswing in a sand trap,” his father related. “The pro determined that Rob should be assessed a penalty, which ended up costing him the championship by one stroke. That story tells you all you need to know about Rob’s sense of honesty and integrity.”

Judge Joseph Fabrizio, chief of the 52nd District Courts in Oakland County, administered the oath of office to Morad at the Monday afternoon ceremony. The event also was attended by a number of other judges and magistrates from the 52nd District Courts.

In his new role, Morad will serve in a part-time capacity, filling in “where and when needed.” His magistrate responsibilities, which likely will ramp up in 2020, will preclude him from practicing in the 52nd District Court system.

Following law school, Morad spent 10 years with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. In 2009, he shifted gears to the legal defense side with Miller Canfield, where he worked with the likes of such prominent attorneys as Tom Cranmer, Clarence “Rocky” Pozza, and Gerry Gleeson. In 2009, Morad opened his own firm in Birmingham, building a criminal law practice that touches city, county, state, and federal courts.

“I’m really looking forward to my new responsibilities, which will offer me another legal perspective than I’ve experienced in my career,” said Morad. “I’ve worked on the prosecutorial and defense sides, and now I will have the chance to view the legal system from a different angle. It should give me a greater appreciation for the challenges that magistrates and judges face each day.”

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