Bridget Mary McCormack became President and Chief Executive Officer of the
AAA-ICDR® in February 2023, bringing broad and deep experience in dispute resolution from her judicial, advocacy, and academic careers.
Bridget served most recently as Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, deciding thousands of cases and overseeing the courts throughout the state. Before she was elected to the Court, Bridget was a law professor and Associate Dean at the University of Michigan Law School. At Michigan Law, Bridget founded many new clinical programs, including a Mediation Clinic and the Michigan Innocence Clinic. Bridget continues to be involved in legal education, serving as the Strategic Advisor to the Future of the Profession Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a program aimed at cross-disciplinary innovative approaches to longstanding problems in the legal profession. She started her career as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. Bridget’s career has allowed her to focus on creative and new approaches to sticky problems in the legal profession. Some of the highlights of her career include:
- Built one of the nation’s leading clinical legal education programs. She joined the teaching faculty of the University of Michigan Law School in 1998 and was named the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in 2002. In that role, she grew a small clinical program into one of the country’s best. Accomplishments included the launch of a Mediation Clinic, an International Transactions Clinic, and an Entrepreneurship Clinic, among others.
- Co-Founded the Michigan Innocence Clinic. In 2009, she co-founded the Michigan Innocence Clinic—the first non-DNA innocence clinic in the country; the clinic has exonerated 26 wrongly convicted people so far.
- Elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2013 and chosen by her colleagues to be the Chief Justice in 2019. Under Bridget’s leadership, Michigan’s courts explored innovative approaches to increasing access to justice: established a statewide eviction diversion program during the pandemic, became the first state to offer online dispute-resolution statewide, and collaborated with the legislative and executive branches and the Pew Charitable Trust to make Michigan a national leader in front-end criminal justice policy and expungement. She also led Michigan’s early shift to remote hearings statewide. She chaired national efforts aimed at improving the cause of justice, including the Justice for All program, the Conference of Chief Justices’ Access and Fairness Committee, and Pandemic Rapid Response team.
Bridget has been recognized for this leadership in Michigan and nationally: In 2020, she was named a Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News and in September 2022 she was recognized as Michigan Lawyers Weekly's 2022 Influential Woman of the Year. And on April 20, 2023, she will receive the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System’s highest honor, the Rebuilding Justice Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that exemplify the spirit of innovation and leadership toward building a legal system that is accessible, fair, reliable, efficient, and accountable.
In the same way, as society and legal systems evolve, she is eager to see the AAA-ICDR grow the vision and reach of alternative dispute resolution in the United States and internationally.
Bridget earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy with honors from Trinity College, Connecticut, and her Juris Doctor at New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar.
She writes and speaks frequently about innovation and access to justice and is involved in many ongoing efforts to improve the legal system, including leadership roles with the American Bar Association. She is the Vice-Chair of the Council on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar and will assume the role of Chair in August. She is on the Governing Council of the Center for Innovation and is an editor of the Litigation Journal.
Bridget was elected to the American Law Institute in 2013. She serves as a board member of the National Association of Treatment Court Professionals, the largest organization supporting alternative dispute resolution in the nation’s criminal courts.
Bridget is married to Steven Croley, the Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel at Ford Motor Company. They have four adult children and love biking and hiking in Western Michigan.