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Lessons in loyalty

JUDGE JOSEPH J. FARAH

Growing up in Flint, Michigan, the Hon. Joseph J. Farah (Wiest Class, 1979) learned the importance of loyalty. After graduating from Michigan State University and then WMU-Cooley Law School, Farah returned to his hometown of Flint to serve the community where he was raised. In the ensuing years, Farah has remained loyal not only to his community but to his law school. STARTING OUT Once he returned home after graduating from WMU-Cooley, Farah spent 18 years at a small law firm in downtown Flint working on defense cases. During that time, he learned the measure of success for a criminal defense attorney — winning a case — can sometimes be a lonely victory. “I remember early in my career getting a not-guilty verdict after a week-long trial as a defense counsel. The allegation of sexual assault was made by a six-year-old child against her mother’s boyfriend,” said Farah. “When I called my friends and said ‘let’s go out for burgers and a beer, I’m buying — I just won this big case,’ they asked, ‘well what was the case about?’ I told them, and my friends all had the same reaction. ‘Why would you want to celebrate?’” That was a defining moment for Farah. It didn’t take long for Farah to realize that positive verdicts were not necessarily the best outcome. “As a criminal defense attorney, getting a not-guilty verdict was probably the most satisfying, but a close second is achieving a resolution that seemed satisfactory to my client,” noted Farah. “Sometimes the better part of valor is not going to trial, but rather to try to achieve a result that is acceptable for clients and their families. Sometimes avoiding a trial is the way to go.” (continued)

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Benchmark | Winter 2016