Law School’s Joan Larsen named Michigan Supreme Court justice


Joan Larsen, special counsel to the associate dean and lecturer II in the Law School, has been appointed a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder for a term ending Jan. 1, 2017.

Joan Larsen

Larsen is the second Law School faculty member to join the court since 2013. Justice Bridget McCormack, an adjunct clinical professor of law, was elected to an eight-year term in 2012.

“Joan Larsen is a distinguished lawyer and legal scholar, who has earned a reputation with her colleagues for being approachable, thoughtful and responsive,” said Law School Dean Mark D. West, Nippon Life Professor of Law. “Joan has impeccable judgment and she will serve the people of Michigan with integrity.”

Larsen has taught at the Law School since 1998 and has served in numerous capacities, including as special counsel to the associate dean for student and graduate activities. She is a former clerk for the Hon. David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

From January 2002 to May 2003, she also served as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, where she provided advice to the White House, the attorney general, and government agencies regarding constitutional and statutory law.

“I have practiced law, taught the law, and enforced the law,” Larsen said. “Public service has always been my calling. I look forward to serving the people of Michigan by faithfully interpreting the constitution and laws of our great state.”

Larsen succeeds former Justice Mary Beth Kelly, who is returning to private practice, and will be the 111th justice of the state’s high court.

Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. said Larsen’s appointment was “a perfect fit with a court that is second to none in its commitment to the rule of law and legal scholarship.”

“Joan Larsen is an accomplished, nationally recognized legal scholar, successful teacher, and keen legal thinker,” he added.

Larsen would have to stand for election in November 2016 to fulfill the remainder of Kelly’s term, which runs through the end of 2018.

— Some information for this article was provided in a Michigan Supreme Court press release.


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