Patterson Appoints Shortley Corporation Counsel

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has appointed Joellen Shortley corporation counsel for Oakland County. Shortley, the second woman to oversee Oakland County’s civil law matters, replaces Keith Lerminiaux who retired at the end of March. Shortley is renowned for her legal expertise in contracts, information technology, and intellectual property.

Joellen Shortley“Joellen is exceptionally well-qualified to handle Oakland County’s legal affairs,” Patterson said. “She has been advising me, department heads, the board of commissioners, and other elected officials for years. We respect and trust her interpretation of the law.”

Shortley, who joined Oakland County in 1998 as administrative director for the board of commissioners, served with distinction as deputy corporation counsel from 2013 until the board of commissioners approved her appointment as corporation counsel. Prior to that, she was a financial attorney for the county since 2000. Her public service career began in 1989 as a senior policy analyst for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, a role she held until joining Oakland County. She also was assistant treasurer for Detroit Plastic Molding from 1987-1989.

Among her numerous accomplishments on behalf of Oakland County are:

  • Oakland County’s information technology services agreement used to provide services to over 200 public bodies
  • A comprehensive policy for the county’s participation in tax incremental financing authorities
  • Implementation of an on-line system for the public to submit freedom of information requests
  • Implementation of the county’s intellectual property policy and chairing the committee reviewing intellectual property matters, a program which earned an award for excellence from the National Association of Counties

Shortley earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy and her Master of Law in intellectual property from the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in finance from Walsh College. In addition, she attended the SANS Institute for law of data security and investigations training.

Shortley is the chair of the Information Technology Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She previously served as a member of the Intellectual Property Section. She also is a speaker for the Oakland County Bar Association Municipal Law Committee.

Shortley serves her community as well. She co-chairs the Marian High School Benefit Evening and is both a committee member and volunteer at St. Hugo of the Hills Church.

With Shortley’s appointment, Patterson continues his strong record of selecting well-qualified women to lead major Oakland County departments. Patterson chose the first women to lead the following county departments and divisions:

  • Corporation Counsel (Judith Cunningham, retired)
  • Economic Development & Community Affairs (Maureen Donohue Krauss, currently chief economic development officer for the Indy Chamber)
  • Health and Human Services (Kathleen Forzley, director)
  • Human Resources (Judith Eaton, retired)
  • Management and Budget (Laurie Van Pelt, director)
  • Oakland County International Airport (Cheryl Bush, manager)
  • Risk Management (Julie Secontine, retired)

For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.