On Bird’s Nests, Lawyers and Nurturing Talent


Professor Victoria Vuletich teaches Professional Responsibility at Cooley Law School.  She is chairperson of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility Continuing Legal Education Committee. Before joining Cooley’s faculty in 2008, Professor Vuletich was Deputy Division Director of the State Bar of Michigan Professional Standard’s Division, where she advised attorneys regarding ethical dilemmas and practical issues they were facing.  She also served as staff counsel to the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection and Unauthorized Practice of Law programs and developed and managed the Practice Management Resource Center.

The Constitutional Law Professor at the Grand Rapids campus, Devin Schinler, is a master barbeque aficionado.  A true “grill meister.”   The faculty barbeque at my house last summer was a delicious and fun party thanks to him and our great colleagues.

Recently he was lamenting to us that a mother robin has built her nest on the ladder in his garage.  And that his wife, who is adored by all, and possesses a true social worker’s heart, won’t let him shut the garage door as long as the nest is still inhabited.  (The ladder situation also has had some other consequences, but those are subject to confidentiality and can only be disclosed by him….!)  We’ve had some good chuckles over the Schindler’s bird’s nest predicament.

Just a few days later, one of our GR students, Lawrence Kibler, told me he had a mother robin build her nest in his barbecue grill and that one resident has already hatched.

Nest 1

He won’t be using his barbecue grill for some time I think…..

Nest 2

Never one to miss an opportunity to, ahem, “grill” Professor Schindler, I scolded him by pointing out how fortunate he is that he hasn’t lost the use of his beloved grill.   Just a ladder. And a private garage. And just temporarily.

But all this laughter and amusement was accompanied by a very deep sense on my part that the spate of bird’s nest construction with Cooley support was no accident. After all, Mama Birds only choose a safe and nurturing spot in which to hatch their family. And in a sense, that is exactly what we do at Cooley – we hatch and nurture fledgling lawyers.   There is nothing as gratifying as seeing a person “come into their own” and move out into the world to become not only a competent lawyer, but someone who is going to nurture the world, and care about what happens to the inhabitants of that world.

Cooley people really care.  And it shows.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Knowledge, Skills, Ethics, The Value of a Legal Education

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s