James Kent, JD
In September of 2010, Judge Kent was sworn in as a federal administrative law judge (ALJ) in the Social Security Agency, sitting as a trial judge. Prior to that, he served for nearly 19 years as a judge in various state courts. In 1991, Governor John Engler appointed Kent to two terms at the appellate tribunal in Michigan’s unemployment insurance agency (the MES Board of Review). Kent also was appointed to serve four terms on the appellate level court in the workers compensation system. In May 2005, Governor Granhom appointed Kent to his second term as a trial level administrative judge in Michigan’s workers’ compensation system.
While at the Appellate Commission, Kent had the distinction of being the longest serving appellate level ALJ in its history. During his tenure there, Kent authored over 1167 published lead decisions and participated in over 2336 others, both of which are more cases than any other appellate level ALJ in its history.
Kent graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in business administration in 1973, and earned his Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1978. He has been a licensed member of the Michigan Bar Association from 1978 to the present. For 10 years, previous to his appointment to the bench, Kent maintained a general civil practice emphasizing insurance litigation, commercial and banking litigation, along with several other areas of law. Kent also taught extensively over the years at the collegiate level, both at Davenport University (Lansing campus) and other Michigan colleges. Most recently he has been teaching legal studies classes online at Kaplan University.