Lawyer Employment Jumps By 40,000 in 2014!

Cooley President and Dean, Don LeDuc

Cooley President and Dean, Don LeDuc

Now Is the Time to Fulfill Your Dream of Becoming a Lawyer!

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc, publishes commentaries on our website about the Law School, legal education, legal employment, and related topics.  This post summarizes President LeDuc’s commentary highlighting the recent surge in lawyer employment in the U.S.

Football Coach George Allen famously said, “The future is now.”  Those considering law school should listen to Coach Allen.  Here’s why.

In 2014, the number of employed lawyers increased by 40,000, or 3.66 percent, compared to 2013, according to a just-released U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.  Conversely, the number of unemployed lawyers fell by 8,000.

This means that improving economy in 2014 clearly supported not only the increased number of law school graduates, but also reduced the number of lawyers previously unemployed by one-third.  The unemployment rate among lawyers is now 1.2%, far below the national unemployment rate of 5.5% and likewise the lowest lawyer unemployment rate since before 2008.  And the unemployment rate for lawyers in the fourth quarter of 2014 was 0.6%.

Summer 2015 will see about 3,000 fewer law school graduates entering the job market than did so in 2014.  At the same time, increasing numbers of lawyers will retire due to aging and the recovery of retirement portfolios.

The combined trend of fewer graduates and more retirements will continue for at least another three years, creating an increasingly favorable employment outlook.

Now is the time for those whose dream is to become a lawyer to disregard the blog-fog and look at the clear employment picture that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has painted.  That dream’s future is now.

Read this commentary in full.       

Click here to see all of President LeDuc’s commentaries.

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WMU-Cooley Foreign Study Student Shares Texan Culture in Toronto and Oxford

“It was one of the greatest experiences of my life” says WMU-Cooley law student Katy-Marie Lyles.

Katy-Marie participated in both the Toronto and Oxford programs, which allowed her to spend the entire summer abroad taking in the best of everything offered in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Digital Camera

Katy-Marie enjoying a river boat ride with friends!

One of this proud Texan’s “favorite” things was teaching everyone participating in the programs about Texan culture and law, and “why it is the way it is!”

Katy-Marie enjoyed the “incredible staff and professors” in the programs.  Studying outside of the United States in a different legal system was an incredible experience for Katy-Marie. She loved learning about other cultures and their legal systems. Visiting a courtroom really allowed her to see an entirely different legal system in action and gaining a civil law perspective.

She enjoyed it so much, she’s ready to do it again – real soon!

What about you? Do you want to study abroad? Learn about different cultures and legal systems? 

Find out more about WMU-Cooley’s Toronto and Oxford programs and start exploring today!

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WMU-Cooley Graduate and First Lieutenant William Milzarski is Awarded the Purple Heart

Lieutenant William Milzarski (left) with Major Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Adjutant General & Director, Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs

First Lieutenant William Milzarski, a 2002 WMU-Cooley graduate, received the Purple Heart on Thursday, March 12, 2015, for injuries he suffered in his service to his country.

As a platoon leader, Lt. Milzarski led 24 soldiers in Afghanistan on 244 combat missions and 43 engagements with the enemy. During a firefight in Afghanistan on May 27, 2011, Lt. Milzarski was struck in the face by an enemy bullet that ricocheted. Courageously, he stayed on the battlefield.


Left to right: Congressman John Moolenaar, First Lieutenant William Milzarski, WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc


U.S. Representative John Moolenaar (Midland) presented the Purple Heart to Lt. Milzarski on Thursday in Michigan’s Capitol rotunda. State Senator Rick Jones (Grand Ledge) and Speaker Pro Tempore Tom Leonard (DeWitt) also attended the medal presentation.


More stories and news about First Lieutenant William Milzarski

WLNS Channel 6 News: Purple Heart Awarded To Soldier From Michigan:

First Lieutenant Milzarski’s story of adversity and recovery was featured in the U.S. Army’s “I know how it feels”campaign.

Lansing State Journal:  Bath Township Resident Awarded Purple Heart


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Top 5 reasons to tour a law school before attending

WMU-Cooley student Jenn Gallardo

WMU-Cooley student Jenn Gallardo

About the author: Jennifer Gallardo is a WMU-Cooley Law School 2016 J.D. candidate. She is a Student Admissions Counselor, assisting and giving tours to visitors interested in attending law school. She is president of the Hispanic-Latino Law Society, a community outreach coordinator for Sixty Plus, Inc., Elderlaw Clinic, a Student Bar Association senator, Grade Appeals Board member, graduation marshal, Honor Council member, and has made the Dean’s List and Honor Roll every term.

Decked out as Marshals for Graduation.

Decked out as Marshals for Graduation.

Jennifer gives her top five reasons why she thinks you should tour a law school before you make a decision on where you plan to attend. 

(1)   Reduce orientation/first day jitters. It’s nice to know where you are going, and you don’t want to be late on your first day because you got lost.

(2)   Get an idea of what you are getting for your hard-earned money. Law school is expensive. Go check the place out. Is the campus nice? Are there computers available for use? Are the classrooms modern and comfortable? What’s the library like?

The Hispanic-Latino Law Student society serving up lunch at a local soup kitchen.

The Hispanic-Latino Law Student society serving up lunch at a local soup kitchen.

(3)   Check out the amenities because you are going to spend a LOT of time on campus. Things to take into account: Is there food and coffee available on or near campus? Is there parking near campus and how much is it? What is the commute like? Or is there a bus stop near campus? How often does the bus run? What kind of neighborhood is the school located in? How are the classrooms laid out? What is the typical class size? Where is the bookstore and what kinds of things do they sell? An Open House allows you to get many of your questions answered, all in one place.

(4)   Feel out the school’s vibe. Time is precious in law school. Make sure that the administration is there to serve you. Meet the Admissions, Registrar and Financial Aid staff. Are they friendly? Easily accessible? Visit the Career Office and find out what services they offer to students and alumni. The point of law school is to get a job. Make sure your school is going to be there for you when you need it.

Taking a well deserved ski trip with my WMU-Cooley friends during break.

Taking a well-deserved ski trip with my WMU-Cooley friends during break.

(5)   And most importantly, see what the student life is like. Law school is hard. And stressful. And time-consuming. You are going to spend more time over the next three years with your classmates than you will with your significant other, family, or friends. The thing that most impressed me when I toured WMU-Cooley was that Christian, the student admissions counselor who showed me around, knew everyone we passed. They were lots of smiles, jokes, and handshakes, and everyone was happy to meet me as well. It was very welcoming. Now, two years later, I am a student admissions counselor, and the most frequent comment from guests taking a tour with me, is that everyone seems to know and like each other. If you watch How to Get Away with Murder, you know that law school is portrayed as a cut-throat atmosphere, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dressed up and ready to party at the Barrister's Ball.

Dressed up and ready to party at the Barrister’s Ball.

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What is Net Neutrality Anyway? WMU-Cooley Professor David Tarrien explains.

Professor David Tarrien

Prof. David Tarrien

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed regulations last week that are designed to guarantee open, equal access to the internet – so-called “net neutrality.”  Prof. David J. Tarrien, who has been interviewed in the media all around the nation on this topic, shares some of his thoughts with us.  You can hear one of Prof. Tarrien’s recent radio interviews here, plus you can check other sources below.

Specifically, they prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, throttling (slowing down the transmission of), or creating paid prioritization (fast lanes) to, the internet. The regulations apply to all providers of dial up, broadband, and for the first time, wireless, internet access. While the idea of an open internet as a place for free expression of ideas and innovation is not in and of itself controversial, government enforcement of that idea has been. There has been much discussion in the media and political forums about the proper role of government.

Proponents of the regulations say that the government is the best guarantor of and referee for net neutrality. They point to specific instances of purported bad behavior by the ISPs, such as Verizon blocking wireless access to Google Wallet in 2011 and Comcast slowing down the BitTorrent file-sharing website in 2008.

Opponents of the regulations object to the government interjecting itself into the free market. They state that this will stifle creativity and innovation in how internet service is provided to the consumer. They also state that the industry has done a good job of regulating itself, that specific instances like those above have not been repeated, and that there is no real threat that the scenarios that are ostensibly prevented will come about, because doing so would unnecessarily alienate client bases.

Legally, net neutrality has a history with roots in the 2002 decision by the FCC to identify internet service provision as an information service, like broadcasters, rather than a telecommunication service, like telephone service. Information service, because of its relationship to free speech principles, is harder for the government to regulate than is telecommunications services, which are seen more as utilities.

The FCC chose the information services designation to allow ISPs to develop their products and establish themselves competitively in the marketplace. Several years later, when the FCC felt that market space had been established it put forth its initial net neutrality regulatory scheme. This was challenged in the courts and in the DC Circuit appellate court decision from 2010, Comcast v. FCC and in its 2014 decision, Verizon v. FCC, the FCC was deemed to have exceeded its regulatory authority, largely because it was applying the rules to information services.

This led to the decision to put forth rules under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, designating ISPs as common carriers providing a utility, for which there is a long history of successful regulation.

In the short term, it will mean very little; regulatory review and lawsuits will prevent the enforcement of the rules until summer at the very earliest and probably for much longer than that. Over the long term, it will depend on whether the courts accept the designation of the ISPs as a utility; regardless, this is undoubtedly not the last time we will hear about net neutrality.

WMU-Cooley Professor David J. Tarrien teaches Introduction to Law, Advanced Writing, Research and Writing, Federal Disability Law, Law of Cyberspace, Education Law, and Special Education Law. He is a national media expert on the topic of Net Neutrality.

David’s appearance on WXMI TV (FOX 17) in Grand Rapids
David’s appearance on WZZM TV (ABC) in Grand Rapids
David’s appearance on WFLA NewsRadio (AM 970) in Tampa
Michigan Radio Network
WDBO 96.5 (Orlando)
David’s appearance on Newstalk Florida (AM 820 News in Tampa and 1190 News in Orlando)
Michigan’s Big Show (10 stations; WQTX, FOX47, WTKG, WKZO, WKBZ, WSJM, WMMI, WBRN, WJNL, WJML)
David’s appearance on WGVU in Grand Rapids
Michigan Big Show

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Newly Retired Registrar Reflects on Time at Cooley, New Career in Art

Sherida Wysocki

Sherida Wysocki

“People go through their entire lives without having a co-worker as good as Sherida – much less a boss,” said Dan Membiela, coordinator of student records at WMU-Cooley Law School.

Sherida Wysocki recently retired from a 30-year career as Registrar and Assistant Dean at WMU-Cooley. Ask anyone at the school about their favorite memory of Sherida and you get a brief silence as their brain locks up from the multitude of accolades colliding to gain voice at the same time.

“A favorite memory would be her calmness,” said Robin Benson, enrollment student services specialist. “She mastered how to deal with all types of students, co-workers and employees.”

Sherida Wysocki, left, and Dan Membiela

Sherida Wysocki, left, and Dan Membiela

“She was an incredible worker,” Membiela recalled.

“I don’t know anyone like her,” said Amy Timmer, associate dean of students and professionalism. “She has friends all over the country who would do anything for her.”

With a quick smile, endless patience, and a legendary sense of humor, Wysocki made loyal lifelong friends, solved complex problems with aplomb on a daily basis, and inspired students and colleagues alike to do their best.

Wysocki became the Registrar at WMU-Cooley on April 30, 1984. In 1999, she was made an Assistant Dean. She says she never really thought about the longevity of her tenure with WMU-Cooley. “If you enjoy what you’re doing and like the people, it’s a daily part of who you are. It’s your family,” she explained.

She shepherded her department through some monumental changes, staffing the office with student-focused professionals, weighing in on the office design when the Cooley Center opened to maximize efficiency, and overseeing the move to online registration.

Amy Timmer, left,and Sherida Wysocki

Amy Timmer, left, and Sherida Wysocki

Unflappable as always, Wysocki had a go-with-the-flow approach to the various office changes. She was always more focused on the students and met with them on nearly a daily basis. Until a few years ago, Wysocki did all the academic counseling for students, and she worked closely with students going through some significant challenges.

“My greatest accomplishment was being able to help the students,” Wysocki recalled. “You can make a difference in someone’s life.” She saw many progressions of struggle, adjustment, and success. She treasures the emails she received from students letting her know they had made it through a hurdle, or notes sharing that they’d made the Dean’s List, and more.

Timmer said she was often impressed by how focused and caring Wysocki was with students. “She would take them to task if they needed it, but she would do whatever she could for them.”

Artwork by Sherida Wysocki

“Night Ocean” glasswork, by Sherida Wysocki

It was also important to Sherida to be a good co-worker. “I hope I’ve been a good colleague,” she said. “That’s important, too — to be caring, congenial, and helping, to smile and have a good sense of humor. I’ve been fortunate to hire people with a good sense of humor.”

"Treasured" collage work, by Sherida Wysocki

“Treasured” collage work, by Sherida Wysocki

Wysocki’s own sense of humor was the reason Membiela joined Cooley rather than another school he was interviewing with at the same time. “Sherida laughed, and had me laughing through the entire interview,” Membiela recalled.

“The best thing about working with Sherida,” Benson recalled, “was her kind and caring way, her thoughtfulness. She sincerely cared about her co-workers and employees in every way.”

Wysocki is reveling in her new retired lifestyle where she can make the artistic endeavors she’s pursued over the years into the primary focus of her day. Already known for her jewelry work, Wysocki has more recently immersed herself in glass work, mixed media, batik, watercolors, collage work, and more. Her first glasswork was accepted into a juried show, displayed in a place of prominence in the gallery, and sold, in the term before she retired.

The cake at Sherida Wysocki's retirement party.

The cake at Sherida Wysocki’s retirement party.

Now wintering in Florida, Wysocki has signed up for art workshops, discovered the artsy area in St. Pete, and is actively pursuing art. She identifies herself as an artist now and is excited about what the future holds for her in this new arena. “Ultimately, my dream is to have a place where I can have my own studio/workshop.” There she can pursue her passions in jewelry, collage work, mixed media, and glass work, and get a kiln and explore that medium as well.

Her colleagues wish her well and know she’ll continue to find success. “She is so creative,” Benson said. “That woman has some serious artistic talent and ability.”

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South Pacific Study Abroad Checks Life’s Bucket List

Xiomara Rivera is no stranger to seeing new places. She’s traveled extensively as a member of the military and has seen nearly every part of the world.  Yet there was one place she hadn’t visited.

The South Pacific.  A destination that topped her Bucket list.

Xiomara  Rivera didn't have any problem finding kangaroos in Australia with this kind of signage!

Xiomara Rivera didn’t have any problem finding kangaroos in Australia with this kind of signage!

As a law student, she didn’t think she could consider or have the time to travel. That is until she heard about WMU-Cooley’s Foreign Study program Down Under.  The chance to visit and study the law in the South Pacific was calling her – and she answered quickly – signing up for WMU-Cooley’s Australia/New Zealand Winter 2014 program.  Bonus: January Down Under is their summer!

Visiting Australia and New Zealand, along with side trips to Indonesia and Tahiti, was a dream come true for Xiomara – making it on another list – The South Pacific is one of her favorite places in the world!

You have the opportunity at WMU-Cooley Law School to expand your horizons through a variety of foreign study programs.  You can earn credit toward your law degree, experience new cultures across the globe, and make lifelong friends — WMU-Cooley has ABA-accredited foreign study programs in Oxford, England; Australia and New Zealand; and Toronto, Canada.

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