WMU-Cooley Law Review hosts Distinguished Brief Award ceremony

The WMU-Cooley Law Review hosted its 31st annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on July 21 at the Country Club of Lansing.

The event celebrates the best of Michigan’s practicing bar and formally recognizes authors of the three most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in 2015.

The briefs are judged on seven criteria: question presented, point headings, statement of the case, argument and analysis, style, mechanics, and best overall brief.

The winning briefs will be published in an upcoming edition of the WMU-Cooley Law Review.

The briefs were judged by Hon. Brian K. Zahra, Michigan Supreme Court;  Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court; Hon. Rosemarie E. Aquilina, Ingham County 30th Circuit Court; Hon. Patricia D. Gardner, Kent County 17th Circuit Court;  Honorable Kirsten Frank Kelly, Michigan Court of Appeals First District;  Hon. Kathleen Jansen, Michigan Court of Appeals Second District; Hon. Patrick M. Meter, Michigan Court of Appeals Fourth District; Hon. Christopher M. Murray, Michigan Court of Appeals First District; Hon. Michael J. Riordan, Michigan Court of Appeals First District; and Hon. Paul J. Denenfeld, Kent County 17th Circuit Court.

This year’s top briefs were:

•  Case Name: People v. Lockridge
Law Firm: State Appellate Defender’s Office
Attorneys: Brett DeGroff, Desiree Ferguson, and Michael L. Mittlestat

• Case Name: People v. Uribe
Law Firm: Eaton County Prosecutor’s Office
Attorneys: Brent E. Morton and Douglas R. Lloyd

• Case Name: People v. Seewald
Law Firm: Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office
Attorneys: Joshua R. Van Laan, Victor A. Fitz, and Eric J. Smith

 In addition to dinner and an awards presentation, honorary guest Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Bernstein introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, fellow Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman, who spoke about the importance of careful, thorough briefs.

Markman highlighted the need for well-organized and well-written briefs, not only for effective advocacy for clients, but for helping the Supreme Court appreciate why the case is important to Michigan’s larger jurisprudence.