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Legal Milestone List

  The Great Ferris Fire
  Berrien County Courthouse
  Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  Milliken v. Bradley
  Elk, Oil, and the Environment
  Whisper to Rallying Cry
  Poletown & Eminent Domain
  Prentiss M. Brown
  Otis Milton Smith
  Freedom Road
  President Gerald R. Ford
  Mary Coleman
  Committee of One
  Milo Radulovich
  Striking Racial Covenants
  Murphy's Dissent
  Conveying Michigan
  Ending Jim Crow
  Pond's Defense
  Mount Clemens Pottery
  Emelia Schaub
  Rose of Aberlone
  Protecting the Impaired
  Laughing Whitefish
  The Uninvited Ear
  The King's Grant
  Improving Justice
  One Person—One Vote
  Eva Belles' Vote
  Constitutional Convention
  Ten Hours or No Sawdust
  Access to Public Water
  Augustus Woodward
  Sojourner Truth
  Justice William Fletcher
  Roosevelt-Newett Trial
  Cooley Law Office
  Baseball Reserve Clause
  Ossian Sweet Trial

Michigan Legal Milestones

The Michigan Legal Milestones program recognizes significant legal cases and personalities in Michigan's history and uses bronze plaques, placed at featured sites, to relate the historical significance. A new milestone is dedicated each year. The Legal Milestone plaques are on display across the state.

The 39th Legal Milestone


On May 17, 1949, Gov. G. Mennen Williams (center) signs into law the Smith-VanderWerp Act, which accepted Ferris as a gift to the state college system. Third from left is the act's cosponsor, state Senator Colin L. Smith, a Big Rapids attorney and Ferris alumnus.

On May 17, 1949, Michigan's 41st Governor, G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams, signed into law the Smith-VanderWerp bill. The law accepted Ferris Institute, a private college founded in 1884, as a gift to be continued as a state institution, so long as the school name and character was maintained.

The 38th Legal Milestone

The historic Berrien County Courthouse became the State Bar of Michigan's 38th Michigan Legal Milestone on June 26, 2013. In a dedication ceremony at the Howard Performing Arts Center in Berrien Springs, speakers highlighted the history of the 1839 courthouse, and the important role that such courthouses played in the state's justice system and communities.

Submit a nomination for a future Michigan Legal Milestone online or download and complete the Word document.



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State Bar of Michigan
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Lansing, MI 48933-2012
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