Judicial Spotlight: Michael Riordan, Michigan Court of Appeals

Michael Riordan

1. What has been your most memorable case (in practice and/or as a judge)?

All have been interesting. I loved being an advocate/prosecutor and now love being an appellate court judge.

2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Attend my children’s sporting & school events. I also love to read.

3. Who was the most influential person in your life/profession?

My parents. I went to law school because my mother suggested it.

4. What’s the most unusual thing in your desk drawer?

A card from the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

5. What has been the most difficult decision you have had to make as a judge?

Choosing which office to take at Cadillac Place.

6. Do you have a pet peeve when on the bench?

Not yet.

7. What advice would you give to litigants before you?

Be prepared. Write clearly and concisely. Verbosity and volume get you nowhere.

8. Do you have any advice for new lawyers or law students?

Get active in every bar association possible.

9. Football, Hockey, Baseball or Basketball (or other)?


10. What is your favorite music?

‘70’s and traditional Irish.

11. How would you finish this sentence: “If I was no longer on the bench I would be…?”

working as a lawyer. I have young kids and they are very expensive.

12. What law school did you attend? Did you “enjoy” the experience and can you share your fondest memory?

I graduated from the University of Detroit School of Law. I loved it there. I had wonderful professors, received a top-notch legal education and made some of my closest life-long friends there, including my wife.

13. Before becoming a judge where did you practice?

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

14. Did you have any mentors as you gained experience in the law and practice?

Many older attorneys and judges have been very kind and helpful to me over the years. There are far too many to mention.

15. How old where you when you had the worst hair cut ever and what style was it?

Not sure. I really like Sam the Barber in the Chrysler House/Dime Building.

16. What was the hardest part of transitioning from law practice to being a judge?

So far, so good. I think.

17. Do you take an active role in assisting parties in settlement discussions?

Do you prefer independent facilitation/mediation? Not at the Court of Appeals.

18. If you could be any animal what would it be and why?

Not sure.

19. Do you prefer attorneys to remain at the lectern in trials if they are speaking or questioning?

At the Court of Appeals, attorneys need to stay at the lectern so that the lectern microphone can capture the sound of their voices so that they can be audio recorded.

20. Without embarrassing anyone, do you have a memorable courtroom gaffe of yours or an attorney you can share?

Not really in a courtroom but I once taught a law school class with an unknown tear in the back of my pants.

Categories: Volume 7-2

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