Mary Beth Kelly

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Mary Beth Kelly Served from 2011 through 2015

Justice Mary Beth Kelly was elected to an eight-year term on the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2010; she retired from the Court on October 1, 2015, to re-join the private sector as an attorney with Bodman PLC. She served on the Wayne County Circuit Court for 11 years, having been appointed by Governor John Engler in 1999; she was elected to the court in 2000 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008.

In 2002, the Michigan Supreme Court appointed Kelly the chief judge of the Wayne Circuit Court, making her the first woman to lead that bench.  She served as chief judge through 2007, focusing on budget deficit reduction, timely dockets, jail overcrowding, and the court’s Family Division. Under her leadership, the Family Division doubled in size to devote more judicial resources to cases concerning children and families. She also led efforts to improve the racial diversity of the Wayne County jury system, working with the National Center for State Courts to gather data and recommend county-wide solutions. Her leadership on this issue has been recognized by The Detroit News.  She has been praised as “one of the most effective chief judges in the history of the Michigan Court system” by then-Chief Justice Clifford Taylor.

Justice Kelly has received numerous honors for her judicial leadership, including the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Council’s Distinguished Leadership Award. For her work on children’s issues, she was named Vista Maria’s Child Advocate of the Year and was also recognized by the Ennis Center for Children as Advocate of the Year.  Justice Kelly serves as an advisor to Vista Maria and to the University of Michigan’s Detroit Center for Family Advocacy. She is an adjunct law professor at the University of Detroit- Mercy Law School.

Before becoming a judge, Justice Kelly was a successful commercial litigation partner with the law firm Dickinson Wright, which she joined in 1987. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Kelly retired from the Supreme Court on October 1, 2015, in order to join Bodman PLC in Detroit as a partner and vice chair. She was elected to the 3rd Circuit on November 3, 2020.