Runners Return to Boston Marathon

One year ago, on April 15, 2013, Kara Zech Thelen and Terry Carella both managed to cross the finish line at last year’s Boston Marathon minutes before two bombs exploded at 2:49 p.m. Both felt the shock of the events of that day, but the co-workers and friends are not deterred from running this year’s race.  They will toe the start line in Hopkinton, Mass., on Patriot’s Day like every Boston marathoner has done for the past 118 years.

Zech Thelen, who finished the 2013 race at the 3:44:04 mark, and Carella, who finished in 3:53:08, shared their experience with the media and on the Cooley blog site upon their return from last year’s race.  American writer and runner Hal Higdon, who is a longtime contributor to Runner’s World Magazine and author of 34 books, knew that this story needed to be told. Both Cooley runners’ accounts of that day have been included in the recently released book 4:09:43.  The book describes Boston 2013, “through the eyes of those who ran the race, their stories gathered from the social network.”

Kara Zech Thelen (center) is in good spirits as she crosses the half-way point — 13.1 miles — of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“It was eerily silent for several minutes (after the explosions) as I tried to gather myself and make sense of it all. Then the sirens sounded and the police cars rushed in,” recalls Zech Thelen. “That day will be engraved in my mind forever, but the tragic events have not scared me from returning to Boston. Instead, I look forward to joining my fellow runners once again, to collectively announce that no act of terror can chase us from our own streets—to join together to cultivate healing and peace.”

Carella didn’t realize that her decision to go back to finish line to get her medal would put her in harm’s way.​

“I had gone through the finish chute, received the blanket they give each finisher, grabbed some food, and made it to the race buses, when I asked someone about the medals,” said Carella.

Terry Carella as she approaches the turn on to Boylston Street and nears the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Terry Carella as she approaches the turn on to Boylston Street and nears the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“I had to go back several blocks, making my way against all the finish traffic.  As I got near the finish area, I heard an enormous blast then saw a tremendous amount of smoke.  I said to the woman next to me, ‘This is not good.’ A few seconds later, we heard and saw the second bomb go off – then we all knew it was on purpose.  At that point we all walked as fast as we could to get away from the area.”

As for this year’s Boston, Zech Thelen and Carella each have been doing the usual hard training needed to prepare for a marathon, but running in Boston 2014 will be especially meaningful.

​“As always, it is an honor to be a part of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon,” stated Carella. ​ “This year’s event will mean more.  It also will be a celebration of the enormous strength and heart of the Boston community. Last year’s tragic events​ only affirmed my faith, hope ​and trust in the core goodness of most people.”

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by | April 15, 2014 · 1:25 pm

Studying Law in the Land Down Under

By Emeritus Professor Otto Stockmeyer
Prof. Otto Stockmeyer

Prof. Otto Stockmeyer

Otto Stockmeyer is an emeritus professor at Cooley Law School and a past president of the Legal Authors Society and of Scribes. This article is posted with permission of the Michigan International Lawyer and appeared in their Winter 2014 Edition.


From January through mid-April of 2014, some lucky Cooley Law School second- and third-year students - along with guest students from other American law schools – are spending their winter semester studying Down Under in New Zealand and Australia. And for them it’s summer. Cooley’s ABA-approved “Down Under Foreign Study Program” is in its 16th year. The program combines one upper-division Cooley course, Equity & Remedies, with an array of international courses taught  by faculty members at two of the world’s top law schools: New Zealand’s University of Waikato and Monash  University in Australia. Monash’s law school is ranked 13th best in the world; Waikato’s is in the world’s top 100.

New Zealand

The first half of the program takes place at the University of Waikato. The university is located in Hamilton, New Zealand’s fourth largest city, located on the country’s North Island.

The formal name of the law school is the Te Piringa Faculty of Law. It was founded in 1990 on  the principles of professionalism, biculturalism, and the study of law in context. Te Piringa in the Maori language translates as the coming together of people. The name links the law faculty to the region’s indigenous Maori heritage.

New Zealand, along with most other Commonwealth countries, teaches law at the undergraduate level. The degree awarded is the Bachelor of Laws (LLB). Six New Zealand universities have law schools or (as they are called) “law faculties.”

Most of New Zealand’s law schools follow an open-entry policy. Any student enrolled in the university may elect to study law, usually after one “intermediate year” of university course work. Of those who elect to study law, about 20% make it past the first year. In contrast, Waikato does not have open entry or an intermediate year. Waikato accepts well-qualified law students directly from high school.

For full-time students, the LLB degree requires four years of study. Foundation courses have familiar names: Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Evidence, etc. Equity, however, consists primarily of the study of trusts and wills.

Participants in the Down Under Foreign Study Program can chose among the following elective courses: Comparative and International Indigenous Rights, Comparative Chinese and Common Law Systems, Transnational Criminal Law, and International Trade Issues. Housing is offered in university dormitories.

Down Under, law generally is taught and tested like other undergraduate courses, through readings and lectures. Examinations are more expository than analytical. Waikato law students are advised to commit at least one hour of study and review for every hour of class. In the U.S., that expectation would be unrealistically low by a factor of two or three. For visiting American students looking forward to travelling the country, it’s welcome news.


In mid-February the program moves to Melbourne Australia. Melbourne is Australia’s second-largest city with a population of more than 4 million people. There, Cooley’s program is affiliated with Monash University, Australia’s largest. The Monash law school is likewise the largest of Australia’s 36 law schools, with over 3,000 students. Monash offers not only the undergraduate LLB degree, as do most Australian law schools, but also postgraduate JD and LLM degrees.

The Monash JD program is structured much like the year-round program that Cooley Law School has employed for 40 years: three trimesters a year, with classes entering in January, May, and August. Full-time students graduate in three years, part-timers in four.

Monash’s JD and LLM classes are held in a modern facility in the heart of Melbourne’s legal center. Foreign Study students live in a nearby apartment hotel.

The courses that Foreign Study students can select from in Australia include Introduction to the Australian Legal System, International Criminal Justice, International Environmental Law, and Competition Law. The Equity & Remedies course carries over from New Zealand. All course credits and grades transfer back to Cooley Law School.

In both countries extracurricular professional activities are an integral part of the program. They generally consist of witnessing local court sessions, visiting a barrister’s chambers, and attending talks by leading governmental and judicial officials. Group social activities include in New Zealand, surfing at Raglan Beach and a pool party at the Dean’s residence, and trips to a wild animal sanctuary and a winery in Australia.

By the time exams are over in mid-April, fall will be arriving in Australia, signaling to program participants that it’s time to return to the good old U.S. of A.

About the Author
Otto Stockmeyer is an emeritus professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he has taught Contracts and Equity & Remedies for 35 years. He has also been a visiting professor at Mercer University Law School and California Western School of Law. He was fortunate to participate in Cooley Law School’s Down Under Foreign Study Program in 2005 and 2013.

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If All Of Your Friends Jumped Off A Bridge, Would You Too?

Nathan Chan

Nathan Chan

Nathan Chan participated in Cooley’s Australia/New Zealand Foreign Study Program and is a third year student at Cooley. This article is posted with permission of the Michigan International Lawyer and appeared in their Winter 2014 Edition.

There I was, sitting atop the guardrail of the Kopua Footbridge in the laidback surfing town of Raglan, New Zealand, psyching myself up to jump into the water 20 feet below, just as local children have done for 50 years. The adventurous part of me was thinking, “This will be fun,” while the rational part of me was thinking, “You can’t swim . . . are you crazy?!” Then the clear tie-breaker came to me: “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” With a mental shrug of the shoulders, I launched myself off the bridge, and I’m glad I did – it was an extraordinary memory that I will be able to share with my future children and grandchildren!

Jumping off the Kopua Footbridge was just one of the unique things that I experienced while studying abroad in New Zealand and Australia. In New Zealand, I attended a Maori cultural hangi feast (similar to a Hawaiian luau), went tubing in the Waitomo glowworm caves, and visited Hobbiton (the movie set used in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit). During the 8 weeks we spent in Melbourne, Australia, we attended numerous events in and around the city: the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition, where one student actually bumped into Kelly Slater, a surfing legend; the Australian Grand Prix; White Night, an all-night art, music, and culture festival; Suzuki Wednesday Night Market, featuring international food stalls and live music; Chinatown Night Market, featuring food stalls and arts and crafts; and Viva Victoria Multicultural Festival, where we enjoyed international food stalls and live music and dancing. While in Australia, I took a weekend trip to Kangaroo Island, where I watched a pelican-feeding show, visited the wind-sculpted “Remarkable Rocks,” and, perhaps most extraordinarily, went sledding down sand dunes!

Not only were the courses interesting and the locations magnificent, but the professors were top-notch. Our Indigenous Rights professor, Valmaine Toki, is currently a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Gideon Boas, who taught the International Criminal Justice course, was a senior legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he worked as an advisor for the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, among others. Our International Trade Issues professor, Sadeq Bigdeli, has worked with the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. And Alexander Gillespie, our International Law professor, was a former rapporteur for the World Heritage Convention, and has worked with the UN in other capacities.

Our professors were not the only distinguished legal professionals that we met; the 2013 program included several extra-curricular events where we met and interacted with other inspiring and influential attorneys. At the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, we had the opportunity to speak with the city’s mayor about the abundant opportunities for foreign lawyers to practice in New Zealand, followed the next week by a Justice of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand, who shared his experiences from around the world. We even had the opportunity to speak with a former Prime Minister of New Zealand! The fact that such accomplished people were willing to come speak with the 20 of us law students really demonstrated the friendly and hospitable nature of New Zealanders.

Despite the high cost of living Down Under, there are numerous advantages to studying abroad. Sure, everything is expensive in Melbourne, and the prices in New Zealand reflect the cost of importing nearly everything to an island country in the South Pacific. But when else would a student be able to stay on holiday long enough to see and do everything that the destination has to offer, while also earning school credits? My advice to law students is this: Before you graduate, begin working, and have no time to travel, participate in a study abroad program in a country that you have always wanted to visit. The rest is simple: take the plunge!

About the Author
Nathan Chan is a 3L student at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills, Michigan. He has a passion for public international law, with special emphasis in education, economic and social development, and environmental protection.


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Cooley Adds Michigan Supreme Court Justice and Leading Canadian Lawyer to Board of Directors

Cooley has added to its Board of Directors an outstanding jurist and an outstanding Canadian lawyer and bar leader, both of whom bring to Cooley keen intellect and deep experience in the legal profession.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman

Justice Stephen J. Markman

Justice Stephen J. Markman

Justice Markman was appointed to Michigan’s highest court in 1999 by Governor and Cooley alumnus John Engler (Wing Class, 1982) and has since been reelected three times.  Before that, Markman was a judge of the MIchigan Court of Appeals, the U.S. Attorney in Detroit, and a high-ranking official within the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Given Cooley’s law practice orientation and deep relationship with the judiciary, it is not a surprise to note that Justice Markman is the 7th justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to serve on Cooley’s Board of Directors.  He follows in the footsteps of Justices Thomas E. Brennan, John W. Fitzgerald, James L. Ryan, James H. Brickley, Michael F. Cavanagh, and Dorothy Comstock Riley.

Ontario lawyer and legal scholar James C. Morton.

James C. Morton

James C. Morton

Professor Morton is head of the litigation group of the Canadian law firm Steinberg, Morton, Hope and Israel LLP and a long-standing adjunct professor at Cooley. He is past president of the Ontario Bar Association. He has been intimately involved with Cooley’s Toronto foreign study progam for 15 years, and has taught Canadian Law at Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus. Professor Morton has published dozens of scholarly works, has taught at several law schools, and received Cooley’s Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award as the outstanding adjunct professor in 2012.

Click here for more details on Cooley’s new Board members.

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What It Means to Love the Law

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law

By Nelson P. Miller

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law, offers a very personal and insightful perspective on the law.

It is hard to know if many lawyers reach this point in a law career.  Lawyer media report no surveys.  Yet the other day I realized, with no specific inspiration, that I love the law.

Any self-respecting lawyer would push the thought aside as inanity.  To love the law is way too sentimental, when law and its practice have very little to do with sentiment.  The legal mind, law profession, and lawyer’s spirit are practical and pragmatic.  Most lawyers barely allow room for emotion, and when we do, the emotions tend to be hard, like fear and conviction, rather than sweetly sentimental.

Yet for days, the thought of loving the law pursued me, filling the silent interstices between researching, writing, reviewing documents, and fielding client inquiries.  (I am a law professor and dean but retain the privilege of pro bono work.)  The thought of deeply loving what one does began brightening day after day of it, tempered only slightly by the fear that loving it might mean losing it sooner rather than later.  (Fear is a trial lawyer’s natural emotion from which we draw that indispensable trial-lawyer resource: courage.)

Most lawyers are wise enough to love law’s practice, meaning the interaction with clients, lawyers, witnesses, experts, and court staff.  What cold heart would not appreciate routine relationship with so rich a cast of needful, ambitious, humorous, and unique characters?  It can take some time, but lawyers even learn to love judges—on any day other than one misspent losing a motion.

Nearly all lawyers also love the engagement that law practice brings, not just to know a community’s problems like reading a local newspaper but to solve those problems.  Lawyers pursue a community’s possibilities rather than merely speculate about them.  Lawyers love doing, from attacking the horror of human trafficking all the way to negotiating public bond financing for a hospital authority.  What pitiable professional soul could remain indifferent to such terrible problems and profound possibilities?

The public thinks lawyers love the money.  The remuneration that necessarily flows from law practice can carry its own small satisfaction.  After all, earning one’s keep and the keep of one’s family are first responsibilities.  Should we not find modest solace in it?  Yet lawyers know that the lawyer who loves money pursues a relentless, untrustworthy, and discredited master.  Loving the law is not the same as loving its profit.  Far from it.

To love the law means more than to love its practice or profit.  Think of the law itself, stripped of its people and purposes.  Loving the law entails discerning law’s sensitivity, how well the law listens and responds to people and purposes.  Loving the law entails discerning law’s power, to which not just parties and their lawyers but also judges and officials must bend.  Most of all, loving the law entails discerning law’s source, as the Declaration says in inalienable rights granted from God rather than government.  Few things could deserve greater devotion.

In the end, loving the law may not be sentimental but sacrificial.  Loving the law requires bending one’s own naturally selfish ways to the selfless way of a gloriously jealous but nonetheless perfect master.  Maybe more lawyers, indeed all lawyers whether emerging or experienced, should love the law unashamedly.  Sure, keep priorities in order.  Love God, kin, and country before career, even when the career is a satisfying law practice.  Yet loving the law can come very close to loving something and someone much greater.  What a good day it is to be a lawyer.

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Cooley Legal Authors Society Adds Members

By Emeritus Professor Otto Stockmeyer

Prof. Otto Stockmeyer

Prof. Otto Stockmeyer

Otto Stockmeyer is an emeritus professor at Cooley Law School and a past president of the Legal Authors Society and of Scribes.

In January, Cooley Law School inducted 51 new members into the Thomas M. Cooley Legal Authors Society. By video link, Cooley conducted inductions simultaneously at the law school’s Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Tampa Bay campuses.

The Legal Authors Society was founded in 1980 to recognize persons associated with the school (faculty members, adjunct professors, and librarians) upon their first published contribution to legal scholarship.

Professors wear medallions symbolizing membership in the Society at Cooley’s graduation ceremonies.

Lrgal Authors Society

In many cases, the inductees had written several articles or books that qualified them for membership since the last induction was held in 2006.  Publication of two articles qualifies authors for membership in Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers.  Due in large part to the scholarly productivity of Cooley faculty members, Michigan ranks third among the 50 states in Scribes membership.

For its first 25 years, the Society hosted dinners in locations such as the City Club, Lansing Country Club, and the University Club, where new members were presented with their medallions. Today membership stands at 180 published authors.  Lansing attorney and Cooley adjunct professor Robert Stocker is the Society’s president.

In addition to sponsoring the Legal Authors Society, Cooley houses the home office of Scribes and underwrites the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing.


The law school also supports excellence in legal writing through the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review’s Distinguished Brief Award competition.  For the competition, a panel of eminent jurists annually selects the three most scholarly briefs filed in the Michigan Supreme Court.  The Law Review then publishes the winning briefs, exactly as submitted, as exemplars for law students and appellate practitioners.

Fun fact: In 2012 University of Michigan law professor Bridget McCormack was a Cooley Law Review Distinguished Brief Award recipientdistinguished_brief_awardsThe following year she became the newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Understanding Law School Loans and Controlling Debt

Cooley’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc, is publishing commentaries on the Law School, legal education, legal employment, and related topics.  In this commentary, President LeDuc teaches us about law school loans and student debt.

Anyone considering law school will be barraged with blog commentary and analysis by those claiming to being informed about student loans.  Inaccuracies and exaggerations abound.  So, here is some clarification, although with each statement there may be scattered exceptions.  Read the full commentary for further details.

 Law School Loans

Law schools are not lenders.  

Law schools exercise no control over the eligibility requirements.  

The law schools get no compensation for their services.

Schools do not get any of the interest payments or principal repayments that students make.

Schools do not control loan forgiveness, now or previously.

Default rates on law student loans are quite low.

Default rates are calculated and reported by the federal government.

Law School Debt

There is a significant gap between the amount of money students receive from loans and the amount of money that law schools receive in tuition and fees from those students.


The reality, at least at Cooley, is this.  For its most recent class, slightly over one quarter of the loan funds borrowed by its graduates did not go to the school.  The average graduate paid $27,364 per year in tuition.  The average scholarship among the 117 recipients was $43,578, or $14,526 per year.  The average non-scholarship student paid $35,991 per year in tuition.  None of the loan principal and interest payments will go to the School; all the loan profits will be realized by the federal government.  Even in a time of recession, the graduates of Cooley had default rates that were very low.

Click here to read this commentary in full.


Click here for all of President LeDuc’s commentaries.

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