Wayne State University

News and Announcements Archive

Return to News Listing Bookmark and Share

Wayne Law Alumna Marilyn Kelly Named Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

January 14, 2009

DETROIT (Jan. 14, 2009) – Wayne State University Law School 1971 alumna and Wayne Law Board of Visitors Member Marilyn Kelly has been named the new Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. She is the fifth woman, since the Court was first established in 1805, to serve as the Court's leader.

Kelly was elected on Jan. 8, 2009, by her colleagues to serve a two-year term. The seven Justices voted 4-3 to elect Justice Kelly.

“I congratulate Justice Kelly on being named Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Wayne Law Dean and Professor Robert M. Ackerman. “The distinction is well-deserved, and I am confident that Chief Justice Kelly will be a superb leader of the state's judicial system.”

He added, “Justice Kelly's impact on the community, state and students here at the Law School continues to be remarkable.”

Kelly taught French at the high school and college level and served on the Michigan State Board of Education before she began her legal career. Upon graduating from Wayne Law with honors, she served as an attorney for 17 years in Michigan before taking the bench.

Kelly won election to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1988, and served on that court for seven years. She was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1996 and was re-elected in 2004. Her current term expires Jan. 1, 2013.

Kelly is a former president of the Michigan State Board of Education, the Women’s Bar Association, the Women Lawyers’ Association of Michigan, and the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. She is currently active in national, state and local bar organizations, as well as with a number of community boards and advisory committees.

She is editor of the 6th Edition of “Michigan Family Law,” published by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and has written articles for Colleague Magazine, the Michigan Bar Journal, and the Women Lawyers Newsletter.

In 2005, Kelly was honored by the Law School at the Treasure of Detroit Gala for her remarkable accomplishments in and contributions to the law.

In a release issued by the Michigan Supreme Court, the Detroit native said she welcomes the opportunity to serve as Chief Justice. “I view this as an honor and a great responsibility,” Kelly said. “I will be working every day to deserve the title of Chief Justice – with my fellow Justices, with the Michigan judicial branch, and with the people of Michigan.”

About Wayne Law

Wayne State University Law School has educated and served the Detroit metropolitan area since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located at 471 West Palmer Street in Detroit's re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media and distance learning classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation's 40 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized and expert faculty, Wayne Law students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, five client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, are experts in their disciplines and include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities.

Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan