Monthly Archives: October 2014

With Baby on the Way – Right Now! – One WMU-Cooley Student Comes to the Rescue of Another

WMU-Cooley student Kaitlin Locke might not be a “Super Hero” in the conventional movie sense of the word, but she’s the world’s best heroine to one grateful Grand Rapids, Michigan, family.

Samantha, Ryker, Kevin  and Aurora Sutherland welcome baby Piper.

Samantha, Ryker, Kevin and Aurora Sutherland welcome baby Piper.

In the wee hours of the morning on September 12, 2014, WMU-Cooley student Kevin Sutherland’s wife, Samantha, went into unexpected, sudden and accelerated labor with the couple’s third child. At 2:15 a.m., it was clear the baby had no intention of waiting until relatives could arrive at 3:30 a.m. to watch over the couple’s other children, Aurora, age 3, and Ryker, age 1. Kevin Sutherland remembered a conversation with fellow student Kaitlin Locke, who had told him to let her know if he and his family needed any help.

Kaitlin Locke

Kaitlin Locke

And they definitely needed help. Baby Sutherland was coming, whether the family was ready or not, and they had to get to the hospital.

Sutherland called Locke at 2:17 a.m. and asked her to come watch his sleeping kids until family members could get there.

“Not only did Ms. Locke answer her phone in the early hours of the morning, I sent her my address and she rapidly came to our rescue,” said a grateful Kevin Sutherland.

Less than a half hour later, Piper Sutherland was born – narrowly missing making her debut in transit.

“My wife was two minutes from delivering the baby in the car,” Sutherland recalled. “Without Ms. Locke’s help, my wife and child would not have had the immediate care of the hospital she needed. We arrived, just in time, with only Ms. Locke to thank for her courageous and selfless act of helping a fellow classmate in need.”

Sutherland said that he and his wife won’t forget the kindness or the rescue. “Ms. Locke will certainly forever be a part of our crazy story,” he said. “Mom and baby are healthy and happy. And thanks to Ms. Locke, I am too!”


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Senior Cooley Student Recognized for Helping Consumers Understand Real Estate, Consumer, and Bankruptcy Issues

WMU-Cooley Law School Student Erin Bannister found herself in the limelight recently, featured in the American Bar Association’s Student Lawyer magazine. Bannister, a third-year student at WMU-Cooley, was highlighted in the September 2014 issue of the publication for her work with the organization 10CORE, (Ten Commandments of Real Estate Law Society).blog_bannister

“My mentor, Professor Neville-Ewell founded the organization and encouraged me to join,” Bannister told Student Lawyer. “I came to law school so that I can help people and to make a difference in the community. 10CORE Law Society has allowed me to do just that.”

10CORE, which has expanded from its beginnings in metro-Detroit to selected states throughout the country, provides educational resources to the public on real estate, consumer, and bankruptcy issues.

“With basic knowledge about real estate law, people can make better decisions,” Bannister said.

Bannister works primarily with 10 CORE’s Educational Outreach Committee, although she has also service on the organizations scholarship and computer donations committees. She has served as a speaker, but can be most often found working in the background, designing brochures and PowerPoint presentations. She also works on scheduling, marketing, and surveying potential audiences.

10CORE presents educational programs throughout the year. “We go into communities and provide a resource to people that they might not otherwise receive without our efforts,” Bannister said, explaining that programs vary according to the identity and needs of the audience. To learn what those needs are, they conduct a pre-program survey.

Bannister told Student Lawyer she found her participation in 10CORE to be both personally and professionally rewarding. “Substantively, I’ve learned a lot about property and real estate issues,” Bannister said. “More importantly, my experience in 10CORE has taught me real-world skills and allowed me to help people with real-world problems.”

Much of Bannister’s work may be “behind the scenes,” but it has not gone unnoticed. Neville-Ewell said Bannister “has been instrumental in taking the lead on and completing a number of the organization’s projects. She is one of the hardest-working students I know. She gets things done!”

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A Great Research Tip for Law Students and New Lawyers

 cooney_markProfessor Mark Cooney teaches Research and Writing and Advanced Writing at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.  He is editor-in-chief of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, having previously served as an associate editor for four years. He has chaired the State Bar of Michigan’s Appellate Practice Section and has served as a plain-language consultant on the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Standard Criminal Jury Instructions. He is also a founding board member of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society’s Advocates Guild.

So, you have received your first research assignment.  But the issue you are to research doesn’t look like any you studied in law school.  You want to do a good job on the assignment, but you also don’t have all day and night to do it.  Maybe you’re not sure where or how to begin.


Well, Professor Cooney has published an article called Treatises: Let the Experts Serve You in the October 2014 edition of Student Lawyer, published by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association.

In his article, he advises:  “don’t reinvent the wheel.”  Almost surely, someone more experienced on the topic than you has had a matter just like yours.  And maybe starting your research with a search across the case law is not the best way to begin as you can easily focus on cases that are outdated or miss larger issues you haven’t thought of.

Rather, try starting with a good treatise on the topic.  After all, it’s published by someone who not only knows a lot about the topic but who also has the incentive to research thoroughly and report with care. The author is already an expert.  So take advantage of that expertise.

Read Professor Cooney’s article and tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.

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Filed under About Cooley Law School, History, Faculty Scholarship, Knowledge, Skills, Ethics, The Value of a Legal Education

Students Learn from Appellate Court Session at Tampa Bay Campus

wmich_cooleylaw_verticalWMU-Cooley is a great place at which to learn how to be a lawyer.

One reason is that our students have uncommon ability to observe good lawyers and good judges at work by attending the many hearings of trial and appellate courts we host at our campuses.

(Left to right) – Asst. Professor Karen Fultz, Associate Dean Jeff Martlew, Hon. Chris W. Altenbernd, Hon. Charles A. Davis, Hon. Nelly N. Khouzam, Cooley student Nicholas Langenkamp, Asst. Professor Kathy Gustafson, and students Iris Timm and Jerrod Simpson.

The most recent example is a session of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal held at our Tampa Bay campus on September 23, 2014.  Chief Judge Charles A. Davis, Judge Chris W. Alterbernd, and Judge Nelly N. Khouzam presided over oral argument in three separate appeals.  Students witnessed the arguments and had the opportunity to meet and speak with the judges about the cases.   Click here for more about this session of court.

It’s no wonder that National Jurist magazine recently ranked WMU-Cooley as one of the nation’s best law schools for practical legal training.  In fact, we ranked higher than any other law school in our home states of Michigan and Florida.

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Filed under About Cooley Law School, History, Knowledge, Skills, Ethics, Latest News and Updates, Student Experiences, The Value of a Legal Education