Irish Legal 100


BRIDGET Mary McCormack is the chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. She joined the court in January 2013, and became chief justice in January 2019.

Before her election to the court in November 2012, she was a law professor and dean at the University of Michigan Law School where she continues to teach.

McCormack spent the first five years of her legal career in New York, first with the Legal Aid Society and then at the Office of the Appellate Defender. In 1996, she became a faculty fellow at the Yale Law School. In 1998, she joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty.

At Michigan Law, she taught criminal law, legal ethics and various clinical courses. Her scholarship focused on the professional benefits of clinical legal education. She also created new clinics at the law school, including a Domestic Violence Clinic and a Pediatric Health Advocacy Clinic.

In her capacity as professor and associate dean, she conducted and supervised many types of civil and criminal litigation at all levels of the state and federal courts. The University of Michigan Law School’s clinical programs are now recognized nationally as one of the best places to be trained as a lawyer.

In 2014, McCormack was appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to a newly-created National Commission on Forensic Science. In 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed her as co-chair of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.

McCormack earned a BA, with honors, from Trinity College, and a JD from New York University School of Law where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar.

Married with four children, McCormack’s paternal ancestors emigrated from Co. Mayo in 1840. Her maternal ancestors came to America in the mid to late 19th century from counties Cork and Mayo. She is a member of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers.

“One of my ancestors on my mom’s side, John Curry, was one of the people present at the miracle at Knock. He was only four but was questioned about it by the church in Ireland and then in New York City after he emigrated,” McCormack says.





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