Patricia J. Boyle decided to give up her tenured federal judge position in 1983 in order to accept an appointment to the Michigan Supreme Court. She was elected to the Court in 1986 and re-elected in 1990 to an eight-year term.
Boyle did not always have such incredible opportunities set before her. In fact, in 1963, upon graduating from Wayne State University Law School as the first-ranked in her class and the only woman in her class, she was “the last to have a job.”1 It was extremely difficult for women to find work in the legal field at this time, despite their qualifications. She finally secured a position filling in as a law clerk for a federal judge whose clerk had been injured in a severe auto accident. This job proved to be her window of opportunity and led to a position in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. It was during this time that she contributed her talents to the drafting of the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act of 1974. Boyle was a Judge in the Recorders’ Court in the City of Detroit from 1976 until 1978 before she was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where she served from 1978 until 1983. Boyle gave up her prestigious, lifetime federal judgeship in 1983 in order to take on a challenging position on the Michigan Supreme Court. Boyle’s decision was inspired by her love for appellate law, her dedication to public service, and her desire to have a greater impact on Michigan.
Boyle is known for her “scholarly, highly organized legal mind and informal, disheveled personal style.”2 Despite her prestige and intelligence, she manages to set those around her at ease. She is a woman who loves to take on challenges and embrace risks and excels at whatever task she is given.
1 Patricia J. Boyle, Vertical Biography File. Library of Michigan.
2 Patricia J. Boyle, Vertical Biography File. Library of Michigan.