Dana NesselA Tenacious Advocate for Justice
Dana Nessel is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School. She is the managing partner of Nessel & Kessel Law, located in Detroit. She has nearly 25 years of legal experience, covering a vast array of disciplines.
Dana began her legal career as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. For over a decade, Dana was assigned to a number of elite units within the office and handled some of Wayne County’s most difficult cases.
In 2005, Dana left the Prosecutor’s Office to start a business by opening her own legal firm. She has become renowned as a staunch defender of constitutional rights. In her criminal practice, Dana vigorously defends the rights of indigent defendants on hundreds of criminal cases, from petty theft to first-degree murder. She also handles civil rights actions for plaintiffs against police departments and government agencies who have committed transgressions against community residents. Dana has petitioned courts across Michigan on behalf of dozens of victims of domestic violence who sought Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) against their abusers.
In 2012, she spearheaded the precedent-setting case, DeBoer v. Snyder, which challenged the bans on adoption and marriage for same-sex couples in Michigan. DeBoer was later consolidated with its affiliated U.S. Sixth Circuit cases into Obergefell v. Hodges in the United States Supreme Court. This landmark case legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
Dana is the President and founder of the Fair Michigan Foundation. In 2016, Dana and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy created the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a first of its kind task force, which investigates and prosecutes hate crimes committed against the LGBTQ community. In the first year of its existence, the Justice Project had charged over a dozen capital offenses including homicides, sexual assaults, armed robberies, child abuse, attempted murder, and carjackings. The Fair Michigan Justice Project has a 100% conviction rate.
Dana has received numerous awards for her civil rights initiatives, including the “Champion of Justice” award from the Michigan State Bar Association, “Woman of the Year” from Michigan Lawyers Weekly and the “Treasure of Detroit” award from Wayne State University Law school. Dana lives in southeast Michigan with her wife, Alanna Maguire, their twin sons, Alex and Zach, along with various cats.