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Richard Allen Griffin, B.A. '73

Richard Allen Griffin, B.A. '73

The Hon. Richard Allen Griffin is a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which encompasses Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. He is one of only 179 federal circuit judges in the entire country.

A student in WMU’s Lee Honors College, Griffin graduated magna cum laude with a major in political science. He was accepted into the University of Michigan Law School, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1977. While pursuing that degree, he worked as a law clerk for a Washtenaw Circuit Court judge for two years.

Immediately following law school, Griffin returned to his hometown of Traverse City to join a law firm as an associate. He was later made a partner in the firm. In 1985, he became a founding partner of the law firm Read & Griffin. During his 11 years of private practice, Griffin was engaged in an extensive trial practice, trying cases in 13 different counties, handling numerous appeals and serving as a court-appointed mediator throughout Michigan. He practiced in both the Western and Eastern districts of the Federal District Court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, the same court he now presides over.

Griffin, a former member of the Federal Judicial Selection Committee for the state's Western District, was elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals for the 3rd District in 1988 and re-elected to that post in 1996. Six years later, he was elected to the appeals court’s 4th District. As an appellate judge, Griffin heard civil and criminal matters from across Michigan and authored more than 280 published opinions as well as several hundred unpublished ones.

He was first nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2002. His nomination, along with several others, was stalled in the U.S. Senate. Griffin was re-nominated in February 2005, and the Senate confirmed his nomination three months later by a vote of 95-0.

An active member of the Traverse City community, he has served as president of the Grand Traverse Zoological Society, chairperson of the Long Lake Township Building Authority and the Desert Storm Welcome Home Committee. He also serves as a chief judge for the Michigan YMCA Youth in Government mock trial program.

Griffin and his wife, Chris, reside in Long Lake Township near Traverse City and have three children.