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Michigan Legal Milestones
3. Cooley Law Office

The career of Thomas M. Cooley is recalled in this milestone. Dedicated and placed inside at Thomas M. Cooley's first law office on Maumee Street in Adrian in 1986. The site is currently the home of WABJ-AM Radio.


Complete Text on Milestone Marker

Cooley Law Office

Here on the south side of Maumee Street in 1848, Thomas M. Cooley, a giant of the Michigan legal community, established his first law office. He was a partner in the firm of Beaman, Beecher, and Cooley and then established a law firm with Charles M. Croswell, later elected governor of Michigan. In 1857, Cooley was chosen to compile the state statutes and the next year was named reporter of decisions by the Michigan Supreme Court.

In 1869, Cooley was appointed one of three original faculty at the University of Michigan Law School, where he taught for 25 years. He wrote numerous celebrated books and articles, including two classic works on constitutional law. The Cooley Law School in Lansing is named for him. Appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1864, Cooley served as justice and chief justice for 20 years. Roscoe Pound ranked him among the top 10 jurists in American legal history.

Following Cooley's retirement from the court, President Cleveland named him to head the new Interstate Commerce Commission. He was president of the American Bar Association from 1893 to 1894. In the 50 years that followed his entry into law practice here, Thomas M. Cooley established the most distinguished record of any individual ever associated with Michigan jurisprudence.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Lenawee County Bar Association, 1986.