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Jessica R. Cooper, Oakland County Prosecutor

Jessica R. CooperJessica R. Cooper was elected Oakland County Prosecutor in November of 2008. She is the first woman to ever hold that position. She spent eight years as a District Court Judge, fourteen years as a Circuit Court Judge, and 6-1/2 years as a Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals. She is certified as both a Commercial and Labor Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and was a Fact Finder and 312 Arbitrator for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission prior to her election.

A pioneer in the world of women in the law, Jessica Cooper attended law school at Wayne State University at a time when it was still uncommon for women to be accepted as trial attorneys. She began her career as an Assistant Defender in the Michigan State Appellate Defender's Office until she entered private practice as a civil rights litigator before beginning her long career as a Judge. She is a founding member of the National Association of Women Judges and served as one of its first publication editors.

As a Circuit Court Judge in Oakland County, she developed the reputation of a tough, but fair, judge and presided over some of the highest profile cases in the country, including the trial of Jack Kevorkian, Itsemi Koga, a Japanese national who drowned her infant son, and Michael Fletcher, a Hazel Park lawyer who received life in prison for murdering his pregnant wife.

Jessica Cooper has always been extremely active in legal education. She served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, teaching Evidence and Family Law and at Michigan State University College of Law, teaching Trial Practice. She taught trial seminars for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and the National College of Advocacy of the American Trial Lawyers Association. She is a continuing faculty member at the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory Law School in Atlanta.

She was a founding member and the first President of the Michigan Chapter of the American Constitution Society, and she served as a Master and Team Leader of the American Inns of Court through the Oakland County Bar Association.

In 2008, she received the prestigious "Treasure of Detroit" Alumni award from Wayne State University Law School. she also accepted a nomination as a Judicial Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation. As the Oakland County Prosecutor, she was recognized as one of twelve "the best of the best" power lawyers in the metropolitan area by Crain's Detroit Business Weekly. In May of 2009, she accepted the Champion of Justice award from the Michigan Association of Justice.