Maura Corrigan graduated from Mary Grove College with an undergraduate degree in Sociology. She had always been concerned with social reform and change. While in her fieldwork placement at the Recorder’s Court in Detroit, Corrigan decide to pursue a law degree, despite her father’s disapproval and admonishment to not “take a man’s seat.”1 She became the first woman to be elected student bar president at the University of Detroit Law School. Corrigan was also voted to represent her school as a delegate to the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. The all male organization was finally forced to change its rules in order to seat her. After graduating from law school, Corrigan became the first woman to hold the position of the Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit as well as the first woman to serve as the Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Maura D. Corrigan views herself as a caretaker both in the judicial system and at home. Family has always been a very important part of her life and career. When she was young, her family would gather together every night and engage in heated discussion and debate around the dinner table. These family dinner table conversations were her father’s way of encouraging his daughters and son to think for themselves. In 1998, family played a major part in Corrigan’s decision to run for a position on the Michigan Supreme Court. Her husband, Joseph Grano, had been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when Corrigan was presented with the opportunity to take a seat on the bench. She saw it as both a chance to serve the people of Michigan and to gain better control of her working hours so that she could care for her ailing husband and spend more time with her family. Corrigan won the election and was later chosen Chief Justice in 2002. True to her role as caretaker, one of Corrigan’s most important contributions as Chief Justice was the use of her administrative talents to help the Michigan child support enforcement system comply with federal regulations.
1 Interview: Maura D. Corrigan, 2002.