PAST PRESIDENT, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
2003 - 2004
Dennis W. Archer,
former Detroit mayor and Michigan Supreme Court Justice, became the
immediate past president of the American Bar Association after its
annual meeting in Atlanta in August 2004. Archer, an African American,
was the first person of color elected to the highest office of the
served two four-year terms as mayor of the city of Detroit (1994-2001),
and was president of the National League of Cities in 2001. After
leaving the mayor's office, Archer was elected chairman of Dickinson
Wright PLLC, a 200-person, Detroit-based law firm with offices in
Michigan and in Washington, D.C. He sits on the corporate boards
of Johnson Controls Inc., Compuware Corporation and Covisint, and
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.
earned his Juris Doctor from Detroit College of Law in 1970. He
began practicing law thereafter, working as a trial lawyer and a
partner in several Detroit firms, and serving as associate professor
of the Detroit College of Law and adjunct professor at Wayne State
University Law School.
1985 Gov. James Blanchard appointed Archer an Associate Justice
of the Michigan Supreme Court. He was elected to an eight-year term
the following year. In his final year on the bench, Archer was named
the most respected judge in Michigan by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
Archer has long been active in the organized bar. He has served
as president of the Wolverine Bar Association in 1979-80, the National
Bar Association in 1983-84, and the State Bar of Michigan in 1984-85.
He is a Life Member of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
and the National Bar Association; a Fellow of the International
Society of Barristers; and Life Member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial
Archer has achieved national, state and municipal leadership positions
despite humble beginnings. Born in Detroit, he was raised in Cassopolis,
Mich., and took his first job at the age of eight, as a caddy for
a local golf course. Archer held a series of odd jobs, working his
way through college and law school. He earned a Bachelor of Science
degree in Education from Western Michigan University, and then taught
learning disabled children at two Detroit public schools from 1965-70,
while he earned his law degree from Detroit College of Law.
2000, Mayor Archer was named Public Official of the Year by Governing
magazine. He received an Award of Excellence and was named 1998
Newsmaker of the Year by Engineering News-Record magazine, a sister
publication of Business Week. In addition, Archer has been named
one of the 25 most dynamic mayors in America by Newsweek magazine;
one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine;
and one of the 100 Most Powerful Attorneys in the United States
by the National Law Journal.
Archer is married to Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer of Michigan's 36th
District Court. They have two sons, Dennis W. Archer, Jr., and Vincent
DunCombe Archer, both of whom are graduates of the University of