JUDGE JOSEPH J. FARAH, LESSONS IN LOYALTY GAYLE KEMP, MUNDY CLASS, 1986
JUDGE FARAH Farah’s practice grew over the years to the point that he started handling more and more appellate work. It was this extensive experience and exposure to the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court that led Farah to a judicial career.
“I have always tried to help out our law students because I believe that if I can help them like I was helped, those students will then help others as they move forward in their careers.”
“I probably argued in the Court of Appeals 40 times as an attorney, and drafted over 100 briefs,” calculated Farah. “I believe it was this work that was the most relevant experience in guiding me to the bench.” In 1998, Farah was appointed to Genesee County’s 7th Judicial Circuit Court where he was assigned to the family division. During his seven years in the family division, Farah handled domestic and juvenile cases. Since 2005, Farah has presided over cases in the court’s civil and criminal division.
DEVOTED COMMUNITY MEMBER
JUDGE JOSEPH J. FARAH
Born and raised in Flint, Judge Farah has seen the good and the bad times. Yet despite the city’s ups and downs, Farah remains committed to his hometown. “I had my opportunities to leave the area, but at the same time I enjoyed what I was doing in Flint,” said Farah. “I like the area, and continuing to live and work here doesn’t mean that I couldn’t travel to other areas.”
Beyond the bench, Farah stays involved in two organizations that he feels help to make Flint a better place. He is on the board for the West Flint Optimist Club and the Metro Community Development board.
As a judge and longtime community member, Farah has seen the struggles of Flint first-hand. “Back in the 1970s, Flint had three times the automotive manufacturing jobs as we do now,” remembered Farah. “And public schools had more then 40,000 students compared to 10,000 today. We have seen the difficulties that hard times can bring about. The water crisis is one of them. We have difficulties with the government sometimes in our area. We were under an emergency manager for a while and that presented a lot of challenges. The resources just aren’t there like they used to be.”
LOYALTY TO WMU-COOLEY
Joseph Farah with longtime companion Andrea LeGendre (right) and her daughter Alexandrea
But through the tough times, Farah doesn’t believe anyone should give up on Flint.
“It’s sad to see the struggles in Flint, but there’s no time for despair, no time for the doldrums. You just keep marching ahead, knowing two things resolutely in your mind. First, Flint will never be the same as it was and, second, we will make it better than it is.”
As a student at WMU-Cooley, Farah already had an allegiance to the law school. “Cooley gave me an opportunity to attend, like any other law school, but Cooley was much more forthright,” stated Farah. “I appreciated that, and I felt a sense of gratitude.” Farah even did a column in the student publication, The Pillar, about why people stay loyal to their schools. He said that it depends, in large part, on whether or not it was a positive experience. For Farah, his experience at Cooley was positive then, and still is today. In fact Farah has even served on the law school’s board of directors.
“I was honored to be asked by President LeDuc to be on the board,” said Farah. “I had the opportunity to see the inner workings of the school, including faculty, finances, and bar exams. It really gave me a different perspective on how much the school has grown since I attended.” Farah also gives back in many other ways. For instance he has supervised over 40 law student externs and interns, teaches courses in Evidence, and contributes financially to support law students.
AWARDS Farah was recently honored as Judge of the Year by the Michigan Defense Trial Council and awarded the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Guardian of Justice. He also received the Distinguished Alumnus Service Award by WMU-Cooley’s Past President’s Committee of the Alumni Association. As much as Farah is proud of his community, WMU-Cooley, and all of his accomplishments, he takes special pride in his family, longtime companion Andrea LeGendre (Flannigan Class, 1999) and daughter, Alexandrea. “They motivate me, challenge me, and allow me to reach heights I never thought possible.”
JUDGE JOSEPH J. FARAH
Published on Dec 16, 2016
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