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Inaugural John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award Presented

Award Named After Reed, '49, Honors the Best of Legal Educators

When the State Bar of Michigan wanted to establish an award to honor the best of legal educators, they needed look no further than Michigan Law's Emeritus Prof. John W. Reed to figure out whom it should be named after.

So the John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award—given for the first time this month, to Emeritus Prof. Harold P. Norris of the Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University School of Law)—is naturally one that focuses on the recipients' influence on future Michigan lawyers.

Reed was certainly one such positive influence. In a teaching career that began at Michigan Law in 1949, Reed influenced thousands of young lawyers as they learned their craft. During his time at Michigan, students repeatedly honored him for teaching excellence.

Now Michigan's Thomas M. Cooley Professor of Law Emeritus, Reed continued his mentorship role during a period away from the Law School, when he served as dean at the University of Colorado Law School. He came back to Michigan in 1968, leading continuing legal education efforts, then also served in retirement as dean of the Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit.

Some might be surprised that Michigan, with its emphasis on national and international legal scholarship, would also have such an impact on its home state—but not Reed, who has seen the influences firsthand. But he was typically modest in his reaction to being namesake to such a prestigious honor.

"It's nice to think that you can make a difference to the profession," Reed said.

Reed and Norris, both in their nineties, were on hand when the State Bar issued the inaugural award Sept. 14 at a banquet held in conjunction with its annual meeting. A steady stream of former students greeted both men as they sat near the podium.

After the program, the audience stood and applauded both for their lives of service to the law.

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