Monthly Archives: March 2016

Blue Jeans Brunch Promotes Women Empowerment and Encourages Women to “Strike a Pose”

Over 60 WMU-Cooley Law School women dressed up in their best blue jeans and braved the rain on Saturday, March 19 to join up with WMU-Cooley Professor Karen Fultz for her 2nd Annual Blue Jeans Brunch in honor of Women’s History month. The event was held in Ulele’s 2,100-square-foot spring brewery. Women enjoyed native Floridian fare as they mixed and mingled. The casual, fun gathering in downtown Tampa was designed to bring women together to network with their colleagues and to meet other women professionals in the community.

“The kick is, you have to wear blue jeans,” smiled Professor Fultz. “In order for you to feel comfortable and to get to know other women in the legal community. This is for my female students – for them to come and meet judges and lawyers in the legal community and learn how to socialize and network as they endeavor into their legal career.”

The conversation started with a robust game of Getting To Know You Bingo, and continued with a number of inspiring women speakers sharing their ideas, thoughts and words of wisdom.

Judge Claudia Isom was energized to be part of WMU-Cooley’s Blue Jeans Brunch and to see so many woman embarking on a legal career. “I am so happy to be here today because Cooley has helped make history for women in the Tampa Bay area,” proclaimed Judge Isom. “Cooley has  enabled women to go to law school and have the ultimate empowerment of being attorneys.”

Keynote speaker, Amy Reagan, associate attorney at DLA Piper, shared with the women her “Five Golden Nuggets” on how to build your brand in the legal profession. They especially liked hearing her explain why “Striking a Pose” helps put your best self forward to be poised for success.

The word WOMAN stands for Wonderful, Outstanding, Marvelous, Adorable, and Nice female law students according to Professor Fultz. By the end of event, the rain turned to sun, and every woman was feeling every letter of that word.

Kimlyn Walker, a second-career law student at WMU-Cooley, was feeling wonderful and outstanding at the brunch as well. She was thrilled to know so many other nice women and thankful for the chance at a second career in the law.

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Law student Bailey Vos: Accelerated Program a perfect fit for someone with a “can-do” attitude

Bailey Vos is a 24-year-old student at the Grand Rapids WMU-Cooley Law School campus. She was born and raised in Grand Rapids and didn’t leave the west Michigan area until she headed east to attend the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She is an honors scholar on track to finish law school in two years by following WMU-Cooley’s Accelerated Program.

WMU-Cooley Law School student Bailey Vos

WMU-Cooley Law School student Bailey Vos

Bailey started her higher education track at the University of Michigan and graduated in 2013 with her bachelor’s degree in Performance Art Management. “I was in the Theater School and loved every second of it.” Her first job out of college was as a producer for a children’s theater group for a  year, but she ultimately decided to return to Grand Rapids to be closer to family.

When she was first considering moving back to Grand Rapids, Bailey also thought about the next few steps. Going to law school had always been a dream, but she wanted to be sure. She started looking into law schools in Michigan because she knew she wanted to stay near home. She ultimately decided to attend WMU-Cooley Law School – for a number of reasons. Not only did WMU-Cooley have a campus in her hometown of Grand Rapids, the law school also awarded her an honors scholarship and gave her the ability to take its Accelerated Program, finishing law school in two years instead of three.

Bailey started in WMU-Cooley’s Accelerated Program in January 2015 and hasn’t looked back. “Once I see a goal, I do anything I need to in order to reach it,” Bailey said.

As of now, many of those goals have already been achieved. She’s been able to make the Dean’s List and Honor Roll several times during law school, and once she is finished with her required courses in August 2016, she plans to move to Austin, Texas to do her externship, and ultimately graduate in January of 2017, finishing her law school in exactly two years.

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She’s been successful at making time for everything that is important to her, despite her busy schedule. She believes that the relationships she’s formed throughout law school are ones that will last a lifetime. Because of this, she does not hesitate to put a night of studying aside to make time for her family and friends.

“Most people who hear about my schedule think I’m crazy,” laughed Bailey. Yet, if you sit down and talk to her, you are immediately inspired by her positive attitude and endless energy. She’s not afraid to push herself to find her limits. Bailey serves as the Student Bar Association president, managing editor for the WMU-Cooley Law School Law Review, an Enrollment and Student Services graduate assistant, teaching assistant for Constitutional Law, Student Ambassador, Kaplan Head Liaison, and a Grade Appeals Board member and magistrate. On her days off, Bailey works two part-time jobs outside of the school. She also records the WMU-Cooley open house radio ads when needed! She accomplishes all of that on top of a more-than-full class load, averaging 16-17 credit hours per term.
“I love being involved and making a difference,” explained Bailey. “If there is ever a point when my schedule isn’t insanely hectic, I somehow seem to find other things to do! That’s OK though.”
As Bailey would say “Anyone can accomplish anything, if you believe in yourself and if you believe you can.” We at WMU-Cooley believe you can, Bailey.  Keep making goals and helping others. You will accomplish great things.

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Tribute to my Moomie, Gloria Iona Wynter, during Women’s History Month

“Every March is Women’s History Month. And every March since I can remember I have reflected on the greatest woman I have every known – my moomie. She has been my strength. My rock. My inspiration for my entire life. This March feels different. My mother died this past December, the day after Christmas.” – Dionnie Wynter, 2005 WMU-Cooley graduate

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Leaving home and our homeland

My mother, Gloria Iona Wynter, immigrated to the United States in 1987. She left our homeland, the island of Jamaica. She went alone. The decision to leave was not easy, but the family understood that it was the only way out of poverty and into freedom. The family also knew that mom was the strong one. The decision was made. My mother got her American Visa, the cow was sold, and the airline ticket bought. You see, my family did not have the money to get an airline ticket, so my father had to sell the family’s prized cow.

Moomie unselfishly undertook the journey abroad to help our family. My father, Roy Wynter, selflessly stayed behind on the island to “raise” the children. I was the last of the seven.

I remember the day my mother left Jamaica. It was a bright Sunday afternoon. It felt like any other Sunday. We woke up as usual. We had breakfast. We got dressed. This Sunday however, we didn’t attend church as a family.  You see, we were all going on a journey into Kingston to the Norman Manly International Airport to bid my mother goodbye.

The journey into the city was the longest trip I had ever taken. We hired Mr. Bennet, a family friend, to drive us into the city. My mother sat in the front seat, while my dad and the rest of the family sat in the back of the pickup. We did not want my mother’s clothes to get wrinkled. After all, she was going abroad. We bade my mother farewell at the airport. The tears flowed freely.  I still feel the emotions we felt that day today.

Life without Moomie

We returned to our home and tried to resume life as we knew it. Needless to say nothing felt the same. My mother’s absence was a clear void the moment we walked back into the house.

Who was going to prepare breakfast? Who was going to prepare dinner? Who was going to make sure we got out of bed on time? Who was going to reassure us life was going to be okay? Who, Who, Who?

I was 13 years old.

The next time I saw my mother. 

I was 19 years old. Moomie lived in New York City for six years before she ever made it back to the Island. She missed funerals, weddings, and birthdays. She visited for two weeks.  By then I was a mother myself. And my mother was now a grandmother.

I saw her again when I was 21 years old. This time though, my mother had come back to the Island to accompany me and my daughter Danielle back to the United States.  My mother had assisted my older sister Sharon to the United States before us. For the next two decades, my mother assisted all her children, one at a time, to make it over to the United States.

Opportunity, education and the law

While my mother took on the task of systematically shuttling her children across the ocean over a period of time, I took on the task of taking advantage of the opportunity she afforded me and the entire family. I knew that getting an education was the most important thing for me to do, and immediately enrolled in college. To date, I have obtained several degrees, including a Juris Doctor degree from WMU-Cooley Law School.  I am licensed to practice law in the states of Michigan and New Jersey, plus, in 2013, I was admitted to our highest court, the United States Supreme Court.

The high point of my life was April 19, 2002; the day I became a naturalized citizen. That day, I obtained the right to vote, the ability to apply for a federal job, and the right to proudly say I was an American. My mother was by my side. I stood next to her, along with over 1000 individuals from dozens of countries, while we all took our Oath.

On January 16, 2016, I laid my mother to rest on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Four days later I departed from my island home in Jamaica to return to my home in Tampa Bay, Florida. My mother was leaving me all over again; but this time I am armed with her loving spirit, her generosity, and most importantly, her eternal strength.

RIP Moomie: May 3, 1944 – December 26, 2015

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Naturalization Ceremony during Women’s History Month – March 2016

The reality is my story and these kind of decisions are made by many families, every day, around the world. Women especially face this challenge. Who will stay; who will go? Over two decades ago my mother was bold enough to navigate the United States Immigration system to give opportunity to her family. I know that my successes, my dreams fulfilled, are a direct result of a woman making an unselfish decision to leave her family behind to create a new home in a better place. It was an absolute honor for me to share my story at the Naturalization Ceremony during Women’s History Month. Thank you to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School for hosting this event. I know that all 75 women, representing 36 different countries, also had to make hard decisions and they have their own story.  I hope my story, in some simple way, brings a smile to their face and brings strength to their heart and souls.

Moomie at United States Supreme Court



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Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee: Checkmate

Professor Brendan BeeryBlog author, Constitutional Law expert and WMU-Cooley Professor Brendan Beery explores the ongoing political battle over the United States Supreme Court nomination process. Professor Beery, a summa cum laude graduate of the law school, teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure at WMU-Cooley Law School, and is a frequent legal expert in the media.

Were I to advise an opponent of President Obama in just about any situation, I would say this: Don’t bring a checkerboard to a chess match. The President has put Republicans in a jam by nominating United States Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to be the next associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. There is no constitutional principle that compels the Republican-controlled Senate to confirm Garland. The Constitution provides only that the Senate must advise and consent; there is no timeline for its doing so, and the question whether the Senate may neglect to offer any meaningful advice or consider giving its consent for almost a full year is likely a political rather than a legal question. But that doesn’t mean that Garland’s chances are anywhere near zero.

Garland is the most qualified person for the job. That alone makes his nomination difficult to oppose. But the political dynamics at play make this a mouse trap in obstructionists’ cookie jar.  And it’s armed.

It’s no mistake that the President announced his nominee the morning after voters substantially clarified the presidential race. No sooner did Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton emerge as prohibitive favorites to become their parties’ nominees for president than Merrick Garland emerged as the President’s nominee for the seat left open after Antonin Scalia’s death. What you or I believe will happen in the upcoming election is not terribly important as to how this Supreme Court nomination will play out, but what Republicans in the Senate believe could be dispositive. And they seem to believe that Donald Trump will be steamrolled by Hillary Clinton; as has now been widely reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has gone so far as to give his Republican colleagues the green light to run against Trump to hold onto their own seats if he becomes the Republican nominee for president.

That leaves Republicans in the Senate staring down the barrel of a judicial 12-gauge that has Hillary Clinton’s finger on its trigger. Merrick Garland might be described as an extreme moderate; he takes the middle road at breakneck speeds. He is not an ideologue in any sense, which is to say that his intellect is not corrupted by any deep psychological need to conclude one way or another. He is simply a decent man with a good heart who applies reasonable legal principles to solve the cases before him. While he cannot be said to be a rigid absolutist in the mold of Clarence Thomas (or Antonin Scalia), he is also no raging liberal. This is, after all, the man who had Timothy McVeigh put to death.

So the dare is on. Republicans will have several months to decide whether they should seat this nominee on the Court. If public-opinion polls show Hillary Clinton poised to trounce Donald Trump (or Ted Cruz, or whomever the nominee might be), expect deep fissures to form in a wall of resistance that was thrown up as an ideological hissy fit rather than as a bastion of principled statecraft. By the time November rolls around, President Obama will have granted his opponents their wish: he will have withdrawn his moderate nominee and left them to deal with whatever far-left liberal judge Hillary Rodham Clinton sends their way. They won’t be able to stonewall for another four years, after all. “Go ahead,” the President is saying. “Reject my nominee.  I dare you.”

To that end, do not expect this President to use a recess appointment (which he is constitutionally entitled to do) or any other gimmick to get Merrick Garland seated on the Court. That is not the game that is being played here, and President Obama is not going to save his opponents from themselves. It is unlikely that President Obama will be deeply wounded if Garland never authors a Supreme Court opinion about abortion, LGBT equality, the death penalty, or the environment. If it is not Garland but somebody else who authors those opinions, the deeply wounded will more likely be those who could have kept the Court from listing leftward to the tipping point, but failed to do so.

Of course, with its aging justices, the Court is likely to list leftward under a Hillary Clinton administration regardless of the outcome of this nomination fight. So maybe Republicans will hedge their bets. There is always the chance that she will lose the election, and if she wins, the conservative project to remake the American judiciary will be over anyway. So why act now?

To see where this fight is going, keep one eye on the opinion polls and the other on the calendar.

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WMU-Cooley Team’s Talent and Efforts Paid Off in Patent Drafting Competition

For WMU-Cooley students Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay, the Midwest Regional International Patent Drafting Competition, hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, began back in December 2015. Each team received an invention for which they were to prepare and submit a patent application, along with the related documents relative to the invention. They were then scored by a select panel of judges. Teams had to do an oral presentation explaining their applications before a panel of judges, including a presentation of their search strategies and claims drafted. The three months of work paid off! Team Hill and DeLucenay took second place in the competition — missing first place by a hair!


“I was the last team member to join and was thrilled to have the opportunity,” said Joyce. “Professor Tschura was the driving force behind getting a team together and I have him to thank for that. He was also very instrumental during the competition. Professor Tschura was the only team coach that attended the competition. We were fortunate to have one so well versed in intellectual property law there to assist and to watch our WMU-Cooley team in action. He also introduced us to some of the law partners, examiners, and managing directors in the IP industry. What a fantastic networking opportunity that was! I currently work as an intellectual property intern and this competition  gave me a whole new perspective on intellectual property law — one I had never seen before. I learned that each practitioner, corporation, law firm and USPTO has their own unique way or spin on writing patents. My original plan was to take the patent bar this summer, but after participating in this competition I decided to compete again next year. I will wait to take the patent bar exam the following summer.”

Chris learned about the competition while attending a Michigan Intellectual Property American Inn of Court meeting with Professor Tschura. “It sounded like a good opportunity to gain some practical experience in patent drafting and also to meet professionals in the industry. But what I really enjoyed was tackling new problems; problems I had never faced before when searching and drafting an application. I truly enjoyed working with Joyce. We worked very hard, in a limited time frame, to put our submission together. The competition presentation was a unique and great experience. I got to visit the Detroit USPTO satellite office and meet examiners, judges, and practitioners who gave us some great advice for our future careers. It was a tremendous opportunity. I am thankful to Professor Tschura for all he did and Joyce for being such a great teammate. I was honored to represent WMU-Cooley respectably.”

Professor and Coach Gerald Tschura could not be more proud of the team and their second place finish in the competition.

“I was delighted with our very talented team of Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay,” stated Tschura. “I found them both to be extremely self-motivated, beyond the fact that they worked so well as a team. Their written submission, as well as their oral presentations, were absolutely outstanding. Both law students exemplify exactly the high caliber and degree of competency needed in patent law. Our team’s talent and efforts paid off as their written submissions and oral presentations were absolutely outstanding. WMU-Cooley continues to educate and graduate highly talented patent attorneys, most of whom are now employed by  intellectual property focused law firms in the region and throughout the country including as examiners at the USPTO.”

Joyce also felt what she learned from her internship at Dickinson Wright clearly gave her an edge in the competition.  “I am so grateful for all the programs and staff at WMU-Cooley who have been instrumental in putting me on the right track for success, especially Alana Glass and Sheri Lesnick from our Career Services Offices who got me my Intellectual Property internship with Dickinson Wright.”

The competition was the first of its kind, according to Professor Tschura. “The USPTO plans for the competition to become an annual event, and expanding it to regional competitions to be held at each of the USPTO regional satellite offices in Detroit, Dallas, Denver and Palo Alto, as well Alexandria, Virginia.

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Military Feature Mark Patterson: The greatest honor a man can achieve is a life of service to others

WMU-Cooley, as a Military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School, talks to its military students, faculty and graduates about their journey from the military to law school and about their career goals. This month we feature WMU-Cooley law student Mark Patterson. Mark was a welder in the USMC 4th Assault Amphibious Battalion based in Tampa, Florida.

Military rank and title: E-3, Lance Corporal

Why did you decide to go to law school and why did you choose WMU-Cooley: I wanted to be an attorney since I was a young child. WMU-Cooley gave me the opportunity to go to law school on my schedule –with the option to obtain my Juris Doctor degree sooner, as a student in WMU-Cooley’s Accelerated Program. This schedule will allow me to finish in two years and one semester; all while continuing to work full-time. The location of WMU-Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus was a also a great benefit. I could stay close to both home and work, creating minimal disturbance to the time I want to spend with my children.


Career Description: I was a welder (1316) in the USMC 4th Assault Amphibious Battalion based in Tampa, Florida – activated in 2003. Although I never deployed overseas, I served for seven years.


Career goals: I would consider my career a success if I can be recognized as an advocate for people. I want to be the attorney people come to when an intricate case needs to be handled. I want my career focus to be in civil litigation, but would also like to offer my expertise in criminal litigation to a number of pro bono efforts I think are important. My career goals are simple: I want to provide the best representation, in every case, and for every client. In the end, I want to be proud of the work I did, as if my father was the client that I represented. This is what every client deserves.WMUCooleyTampa01072016-461

Tell us a little about you: In addition to the seven years I spent in the Corps, I spent eight years as a Deputy Sheriff in Polk County, Florida. I believe that we must live a life of service to others, and in that service, we will honor those who have done so before us. In life, everyone has a path to choose. I chose to lead by motivating, and working with an attitude of “we.” Titles have never meant much to me because I believe that when we succeed together, many are touched by the success. Teamwork works in life – across the board – whether it’s family, or friends, or school. I have had the honor of serving my classmates, family, and my fellow Marines. I hope that everyone with whom I have the opportunity to interact with will be Blessed and take that same opportunity to bless, motivate and inspire others.


I have enjoyed and appreciated everything that I have been able to do while at WMU-Cooley Law School. I am certain that anyone who comes to our law school will build lifetime bonds, graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to confidently open their own firm, and ultimately join our Cooley Family that spans the globe.


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Law students experience life in the big city of Melbourne

Law students on the WMU-Cooley Down Under study abroad program are now experiencing life in the big city of Melbourne, Australia – and loving it! Melbourne is a city of 4 million people, and you can feel the vibe on the streets, in streetcars and on trains. You can see it all around – in the markets, by the river, in the buildings, and everywhere. 

city scape

We toured the city far and wide, and up and down.

veritcal shots

The Monash law faculty building is located in the heart of the legal district of the city. The school is a block away from most of the Victoria courts.  It is common to see barristers, in black robes and white wigs, walking around.  Students visited the Victoria Parliament, seat of the state of Victoria.  Students even got to sit in the Speaker’s chair and hold the mace, where they used to open sessions of the lower house (and occasionally to remove non-conforming members).

The law students visited the upper chamber, which is decked out in red velvet and gold leaf.  They saw the most beautiful law library I have ever seen.

court images

Students also visited the Dandenong Mountains, where they hiked, fed large cockatoo parrots, and had some tea. They rode on Puffing Billy, a steam engine train, in the mountains.  They visited Healesville Sanctuary, where they saw Kookaburras, Kangaroos, and Koalas, as well as many birds and a duck-billed platypus. They visited a winery and a chocolaterie/ice creamery.

puffing billy

Students have plunged into coursework that is challenging, and are working hard. Professors John Duns, Leighton Morris, and Emmanuel Laryea are helping students understand international law related to Banking, Competition, and the Australian Legal System. Students and faculty alike are taking in their studies and all the city has to offer – from sun up to sun down. Can’t wait to see what more is in store in the big and beautiful city of Melbourne!

day and night

oleary_kimberlyWMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester. She and her Down Under study abroad students are now in Australia after spending the first part of the term taking classes in Hamilton, New Zealand.

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Hmong Attorney Fills the Gap with Solo Practice, Work with Boys and Girls Club

This article about WMU-Cooley graduate (J.D. Marshall Class, 2013, cum laude; LL.M./Insurance, McLean Class 2015) was written by Legal News writer Sheila Pursglove and originally published by the Legal News on Feb. 15, 2016. It is reprinted here with permission of The Detroit Legal News.

Joseph Yang

Joseph Yang

Lansing attorney Joseph Lee Yang is one of only two Hmong lawyers in the state of Michigan and the only one in private practice. “I’ve always wanted to help my people and felt this was a gap I could fill – hopefully they feel the same way too,” he says.

Yang has several Hmong clients, who trace their roots to the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. “I’ve found they don’t really call unless they need a fire put out,” he says. “I’ve been trying to change that by providing education about pre-planning and the importance of getting your affairs in order before legal issues arise.”

A graduate of Lansing Everett High School, Yang earned an associate’s degree in Information Technology from Lansing Community College, an undergrad degree in Information and Technology Management from Michigan State University, and his J.D., cum laude, from Cooley Law School, where he was associate editor of the Law Review, president of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and of the Weekend Law Society, a Cooley Ambassador, and a member of the Parent Law Student Association.

“I was primarily a weekend student at Cooley, and I enjoyed the practical knowledge that was shared by the professors,” he says. “I appreciate legal theory, but learning skills that helped the rubber hit the road prepared me to go solo right out of law school.”

He opened the Law Office of Joseph L. Yang PLLC, in Lansing in July 2014, and specializes in criminal defense, contract drafting and estate planning. In addition to legal services, he also is a notary, and a Hmong translator.  “I enjoy being able to set my own rules and decide which clients to take on,” he says.

Named in 2013 among The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and Grand River Connection’s annual “10 Over the Next Ten” rising young attorneys, Yang has also earned a master’s degree in insurance law from Cooley. “I have a background in IT and business, and I’d like to merge that with my legal skills,” he says.  “I think that the merging of all three give me the technical knowledge, attention to detail and people skills that would translate well in the insurance law field.”

A member of the Ingham County Bar Association, Yang has been involved for a few years in the annual ICBA charity golf outing. “It’s fun to see everyone out of their dark suits, and just having fun on the course – although, I don’t know how to play,” he says.

The youngest of seven children, and the only boy, Yang is the only sibling born in the United States. His family, forced out of their homeland by the Vietnam War, came to the Lansing area under the sponsorship of the Presbyterian Church of Okemos, whose members sponsored a number of Hmong families from Thailand refugee camps. “My mom has returned once but I’ve never been there,” he says. “I hope to take a trip soon with my family so my mom can go with us and tell us all her war stories. She has tons of them.”

A Lansing native, Yang has lived in the state’s capital his entire life, and makes his home there with his wife, Ger, and children, Logan, Ginger and Alex. “When I submitted my bar materials, I realized I’ve never been away from Lansing for more than 10 days in a row,” he says. “I love the fact I can get anywhere and do anything in about 20 minutes.  Lansing is a great city, and it’s where I want to raise my three children.” In his leisure time, Yang enjoys playing basketball, collecting “Spawn” action figures, and serving on the Hmong New Year Committee.

A member of the Michigan Asian-Pacific American Bar Association (MAPABA), the Delta-Waverly Rotary Club, HAC of Lansing (Hmong American Community Inc., of Lansing), and South Lansing Business Association, he also has served as Director of Operations for the nonprofit Boys & Girls Club for 11 years. “Until someone can persuade me otherwise, I plan to be there as long as I can,” he says. “Working there and being solo has worked out well so far.

“I enjoy seeing kids grow. Some of the kids I knew when I first started are in college, working, or starting their own families. You never know what kind of impact you will have on a child until they tell you years later that you inspired them to do better. That’s food for the soul.”

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You Asked. We Answered. WMU-Cooley Law School Affiliation Q&A.

  1. What is the affiliation? The affiliation is a formal linkage between Western Michigan University and the private WMU-Cooley Law School. The affiliation between the two entities is focused on providing new professional education opportunities for students while adding value and new research and service initiatives to the programs both institutions offer. With both WMU and the law school retaining separate governance and financial responsibilities, the affiliation is similar to the relationship between WMU and the private WMU Stryker School of Medicine.

    four campuses

    The Law School’s campuses in Auburn Hills, Tampa Bay, Lansing, and Grand Rapids

  2. When does the affiliation start? It already did, some time ago.  The University and Law School executed the original affiliation agreement in August 2014 after approval by the Higher Learning Commission and American Bar Association (the accrediting agency for law schools).  In the past year and half since, the University and Law School have proposed, and in many instances implemented, about 140 different initiatives involving about 140 faculty, staff, and leaders of both the University and Law School.

    WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc and WMU President John Dunn

    WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc and WMU President John Dunn

  3. When will the Law School hold courses in Kalamazoo? It already is, having started in January 2016 with elective courses in Employment Law and Environmental Law in the Health & Human Services Building on East Campus.  Also, a Constitutional Law Seminar jointly taught by WMU-Cooley Professor Devin Schindler and Western Professor Mark Hurwitz is taking place at the Law School’s Grand Rapids campus. The Law School hopes to hold certain first-term required courses for new law students on WMU’s Kalamazoo campus in Fall 2016.

    WMU-Cooley Professor Devin Schindler

    WMU-Cooley Professor Devin Schindler

  4. What should we know about the Law School? With nearly 20,000 graduates licensed in every state and many foreign nations, the Law School’s mission—practice access—is similar to the University’s mission.  While the Law School has students and graduates of the highest academic and professional achievement, the Law School ensures the success of a diverse student body through a rigorous instructional program providing intensive support, to prepare graduates for service in a global society.  In recent years, the Law School has graduated more minority and African-American lawyers than any other U.S. law school.  Learn more at

    WMUCooleyTampa01072016-546 (1)

    WMU-Cooley Law students

  5. What are some affiliation highlights? The U.S. Department of Justice awarded WMU a $418,000 grant to expand the Law School’s Innocence Project in which WMU students are currently working with law students.  (The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project, investigating criminal-conviction files for DNA evidence, has already exonerated and freed three wrongly convicted individuals.)  WMU’s Homer Stryker, M.D. School of Medicine has approved a joint medical student/law student course on informed consent and risk communication. Law professors have spoken in WMU courses in Kalamazoo and for WMU’s Center for Ethics in Society. Dozens of other initiatives are ongoing.

    Sen. Steve Bieda (blue tie) joins all the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project team on the Capitol steps after the press conference introducing Senate Bill 291.

    Sen. Steve Bieda (blue tie) joins the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project team on the Michigan Capitol steps after the press conference introducing Senate Bill 291 to provide compensation to wrongfully convicted persons.

  6. What’s next? That’s in large part up to students, faculty, and staff of both institutions.  While University and Law School leadership certainly have ideas for the affiliation, the presidents of both institutions deliberately chose to let their students, faculty, and staff draw inspiration and expertise from one another in organic collaborations. The approach is working, with relationships formed in dozens of different areas and around many different activities and functions.  Those who get involved will find other willing, inspired, and committed individuals sharing their own interests.

    WMUCooleyTampa01072016-028 (1)

    Law student at WMU-Cooley Tampa Bay

  7. Whom should I contact with affiliation ideas? Don’t hesitate to approach deans, directors, and department chairs with affiliation ideas.  The Law School has a representative on WMU’s Provost’s Council to field affiliation interest through WMU’s leadership and management.  If you don’t know who else to contact, then don’t hesitate to contact WMU Professor and Special Assistant to the President Mark Hurwitz or WMU-Cooley Associate Dean and Professor Nelson Miller.

    Mark Hurwitz, Western Professor of Political Science 
    Office: (269) 387-5372

    Nelson Miller, WMU-Cooley Law Professor and Associate Dean, Grand Rapids Campus
    Office: (616) 301-6800, ext. 6963

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Does Hulk Hogan have the legal right to a private life? What does the law say.

Blog author WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Jeffrey Swartz served as a county court judge for Miami-Dade County, Florida, where he presided over criminal and civil casesProfessor Jeffrey Swartz before joining the WMU-Cooley faculty. Professor Swartz teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, along with being the legal expert for ABC Action News.

Jury selection began Tuesday in Tampa, Florida in the trial of the lawsuit by Terry Bollea, better known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, against the Hulk Hoganwebsite Gawker. Factually, the case revolves around Gawker obtaining, and then publishing, a 2006 video of Hogan having sex with the wife of a local radio shock jock Bubba Clem aka “Bubba the Love Sponge.” Hogan claims that the recording was made without his knowledge or consent.

Gawker’s position is that the tape was fair game, since Hogan made his sex life public by speaking of it frequently and made it one of the centerpieces of his book, and his television and radio appearances.

At the same time, the Erin Andrews trial proceeds on her claim against a stalker who surreptitiously recorded her nude in her hotel room by removing the peephole viewer. She is also suing the hotel for failing to secure her privacy by confirming she was in the hotel, conceding to the stalker’s request to be put in the room next to her and not advising her that a request had been made for such a room placement.erin andrews

There are parallels and distinctions. Both claim invasion of their privacy. In Hogan’s case he knowingly and purposely made his sex life public. However he claims he has the right to determine what the public should know, not to mention that Gawker used an illegally produced video in violation of Florida state statutes.

On the other hand, Erin Andrews claims she is humiliated by publication of the video on the Internet, which to date has garnered up to 14 million views. Experts have testified that despite numerous efforts to remove the video, individuals who have stored or downloaded the video keep posting it. Thus, they have testified, it may never cease to be out there for the public to view. She claims not only an invasion of privacy, but security failures by the hotel. She is seeking $75 million.

In Hogan’s case the issue may seem simple. “How far does the public have the right to delve into a public figure’s private life?” However the answer is more complex. There is a fine line that is really at issue here. Is there a difference between what a public figure makes public and what a public figure has the right to keep private?

Hogan is claiming: The fact that I talk about my sex life doesn’t mean Gawker possesses the right to disclose what I do in the privacy of a bedroom. That is, what I choose to let the public know, I choose to let it know. What I don’t want the public to know, it doesn’t have the right to know.

This is what Gawker does. They get their hands on information like people’s private sex tapes, and they put them out there for whatever profit they can get for it. They feel this case is, for all intents and purposes, an invasion on their business model.

Gawker Media has filed several motions in an attempt to stain Hogan’s character, make the tape proof of those allegations and decrease the amount of damages, even if Gawker were to lose the case. If Gawker were to lose the $100 million case, it could potentially put them out of business.

After losing these motions, portions of the unauthorized sex tape that capture Hogan repeatedly dropping the N-word and other racial slurs about his daughter’s boyfriend surfaced through other tabloid outlets. Hogan’s contract with WWE was terminated. Hogan has alleged that Gawker leaked the tape. Gawker denies that.

Both of these cases test the limits of the public’s right to know about celebrity’s private lives, and the right of those same celebrities to maintain private what they chose to keep private.  On the other side, how far can the media go to expose whatever they can about a public figure’s life?

My prediction is that Erin Andrews will win BIG, and Hogan may win a verdict, but in monetary terms he will lose just as big as Andrews wins.

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