Butzel Long attorney celebrates 18th Adoption Day in Michigan; presents Maura D. Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award for service to children and families


DETROIT, Mich. –  Butzel Long attorney Maura Corrigan has been a trailblazer in law and an advocate on behalf of foster and adoptive children and their families in the state of Michigan.

In recognition of Justice Corrigan’s remarkable career, the Michigan Supreme Court established the Maura D. Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award, an annual award to recognize some of the state’s truly extraordinary and giving foster parents. The Award is presented each year prior to Thanksgiving.

Notably, more than 12,000 children remain in foster care in Michigan and continue to harbor the goal of having their own forever homes.

During her tenure as Chief Justice, she focused on streamlining the adoption process helping more children find “forever” families. On November 24 (Michigan Adoption Day), Justice Corrigan presented the Maura D. Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award (virtually) to Veda Thompkins, director of Detroit-based Families on the Move, Inc. Thompkins, a foster mother herself, also has served on Michigan’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.

“Veda Thompkins is an amazing example having led a life that made a difference – a life full of purpose and meaning,” said Justice Corrigan. “She has been a foster and adoptive parent since 1985. It is pretty amazing that she has extended a circle of love to children for all these years.

“Veda drafted a Foster Caregivers Bill of Rights and stirred up the right kind of trouble in order to help children and families get what they need and deserve,” she said. “Veda sets an inspiring example for all of us.”

During the ceremony, which was hosted by Justice Stephen Markman, Justice Elizabeth Clement and Justice Megan Cavanagh, the Daniel J. Wright Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Cass County Chief Judge Susan Dobrich for her exceptional service to Michigan’s children.

About Justice Maura Corrigan

Justice Corrigan concentrates her practice in litigation and appeals. She served as a law clerk to Judge John Gillis of the Michigan Court of Appeals. She then became a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney in 1974, and Chief of Appeals in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit in 1979. In 1986, she was promoted to Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, the first woman to hold that position. She became a partner at Plunkett and Cooney in 1989.

In 1992, former Governor John Engler appointed her to the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1997, the Supreme Court named her Chief Judge of the appeals court.  She was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1998 and reelected in 2006.  Justice Corrigan is the only person ever to serve as Chief Judge of both the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. She served two terms as Chief Justice. 

Justice Corrigan left the court on January 14, 2011 to become the Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services under Governor Rick Snyder. From 2015 - 2016, Justice Corrigan was a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. where she worked on poverty and child welfare issues. In that role, she testified in Congress, authored papers and book chapters, and served as liaison to state secretaries of human services.

Justice Corrigan has participated in numerous community and professional activities. She currently serves on five nonprofit boards. She is a past president of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers and the Detroit Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

She served as a public member of the Michigan Law Revision Commission from 1991-1998, as an executive board member of the Michigan Judges Association, and as a member of the Judicial Advisory Board of the Center for Law and Organizational Economics at the University of Kansas Law School. She was vice-president of the Conference of Chief Justices from 2003 - 2004. She is a published author in the legal and child welfare fields. She holds seven honorary doctorates from Michigan colleges and universities, among numerous honors and awards. Notably, Justice Corrigan was named to WJR-AM 760’s 2018 Class of “Women Who Lead.”

Justice Corrigan earned her J.D. degree (cum laude) from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and her B.A. degree (magna cum laude) from Marygrove College. 

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