Robert P Young

Of Counsel

Former Chief Justice Robert Young is Of Counsel in Dickinson Wright’s Lansing office. Mr. Young has more than two decades of appellate judicial experience to share with firm clients on how to achieve more successful trial and appellate outcomes. In addition, as a former business lawyer, General Counsel and the chief executive of Michigan’s judiciary, he has a keen awareness of and direct experience in how to help clients identify and manage risk tolerances as they formulate and execute strategic and business plans.

Mr. Young was the longest serving Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. In that role he was dedicated to transforming Michigan’s court system into a more efficient and customer-focused institution.

As Chief Justice, he developed a strategic plan to promote initiatives to measure judicial performance, track public satisfaction, adopt best practices, and implement technologies to expand public access, increase efficiency and boost productivity of trial courts. During his tenure as Chief Justice, the court committed to “rightsizing” Michigan’s judiciary so that it cost citizens no more than necessary for the efficient administration of justice. To this end, during Justice Young’s tenure as Chief, he persuaded the Legislature to cut 40 judgeships over time. Since 2010, 26 of those judgeships were cut, saving taxpayers nearly $15 million.

Mr. Young focused on integrating common business practices into Michigan’s judiciary, including process redesign, bench-marking, performance management and technology to reduce costs and improve government services provided by Michigan’s judicial branch. Since 2000 until his retirement from the Court in April 2017, Robert had been the highest ranking African American elected official in Michigan.

Before joining Michigan’s judiciary, Robert was the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of AAA Michigan.

Education & Credentials


Harvard College

A.B., 1974
  • cum laude

Harvard Law School

J.D., 1977

Bar Admission

  • Michigan


  • Detroit News Michiganian of the Year, 2016
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly Lawyer of the Year, 2012
  • Federalist Society Grano Award, 2008
  • Michigan State University Honorary Degree, 2001
  • Central Michigan University Honorary Degree, 1999

Professional Involvement

  • Member, United States Supreme Court Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for all federal courts (2016-2017)
  • Michigan State University, Adjunct Professor of Law (pretrial advocacy) (2015-Present)
  • Wayne State University Adjunct Professor of Law (pretrial advocacy) (1979-1984, 1997-2015)

Community Involvement

  • Trustee, Detroit Historical Society (2003-2010)
  • Vista Maria (1996-2011)
    • Board Chair (2003-2010)
  • Board Member, The Detroit Urban League (2006-2009)
  • United Way Community Services Leadership Council (1996-2007)
  • Trustee, CMU (1991-1995)
  • Commissioner, Michigan Civil Service Commission (1992-1995)

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan


  • “A Judicial Traditionalist Confronts Unique Questions of State Constitutional Law Adjudication,” 76 Albany L Rev 1947 (2012/2013)
  • Lang, Young & Beckering, Eds., Michigan Civil Procedure, (Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2d Ed, 2012)

  • “Active Liberty and the Problem of Judicial Oligarchy,” in The Supreme Court and the Idea of Constitutionalism (Kautz, Melzer, Weinberger & Zinman, Eds., University of Pennsylvania Press 2009)

  • “A Judicial Traditionalist Confronts Justice Brennan’s School of Judicial Philosophy,” 33 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 263 (2008)

  • “A Judicial Traditionalist Confronts the Common Law,” 8 Texas Review of Law & Politics, 299 (2004)

  • Lang, Neilson, Young & Holsinger, Eds., Michigan Civil Procedure (Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1999)

  • Young and Kopka, Eds., Michigan Civil Procedure During Trial, 2d Ed. (Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1989)

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