Monthly Archives: April 2017

WMU-Cooley graduate will capitalize on first career to begin on second in the law

“I wanted to push my boundaries,” says Chris DeLucenay of his decision to pursue a legal career after 10 years as a hardware engineer specializing in digital design custom logic. “I’m kind of a lifelong student,” DeLucenay says. “I was originally looking into an MBA, but I didn’t want to go into business. Then my wife noticed that I could do law school part time and keep working if I went to Cooley. I was always interested in IP law, and I love problem solving, so that was a great solution.”

WMU-Cooley student Chris DeLucenay

The Indiana native worked for five years for Rockwell Collins and five years for GE Aviation, at the latter designing components that went into flight data recorders and “other processing elements.”

Though of course his exemplary years at WMU-Cooley were a large factor, it was also that expertise that landed him a position at Gardner, Linn, Burkhart, and Flory, which is dedicated exclusively to Intellectual Property law.

GLBF was the subject of a 3/13/2013 Grand Rapids Legal News article, when it was the only firm in West Michigan to receive a first-tier ranking in all six of the categories in the prestigious U.S. News and World Report/Best Lawyers ranking: Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Litigation-Intellectual Property and Litigation-Patent. The 2012-2013 designation was the second time for the firm, and it has continued its first-tier ratings since.

DeLucenay barely skipped a beat between school and employment. He took off Monday and Tuesday, but returned to school Wednesday for his last exam, and started work on Thursday of last week.

While he is not an attorney yet since he does not take the bar exam until July, DeLucenay is eligible to work at the firm as a registered patent officer because he has already passed the patent bar.

That makes him feel somewhat more comfortable with the bar exam than many of his fellow students. “Most take a couple months off to study for the bar,” he says,” but I can’t do that. Still, I’m dedicated to working on my bar prep around my work schedule, and I think I’ll be all right.”

He says that he did find law school challenging. “Engineering school was hard, so I was prepared. But even though it wasn’t really that hard, law school was more work than I thought; the hardest part was balancing the time for classes and all the reading with continuing to work full-time.”

DeLucenay gives WMU-Cooley a great deal of credit. “I thought the teachers were fantastic to be honest,” he says. “I was really impressed with the professors and especially with Dean [Nelson] Miller.”

Especially notable, DeLucenay says, were David Berry, who is Of Counsel at Brooks Kushman and has taught at WMU-Cooley since 2002, and Gerald Tschura, who is now director of the Intellectual Property LL.M. program.

WMU-Cooley Team Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay

WMU-Cooley Team Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay

It was Tschura who coached the winning team of DeLucenay and Joyce Hill (from the Auburn Hills campus) in the Detroit U.S. Patent Office’s Midwest Regional International Patent Drafting Competition. In the competition’s inaugural year, 2016, the team came in second, but the field was small. By the second competition earlier this year, 14 teams from different states and even Canada, including several from Michigan, participated; WMU-Cooley was the only Michigan school which advanced to the finals.

“I was a little disappointed with getting third, but we beat a lot of the big schools in Michigan,” DeLucenay comments.

Regardless of outcome, the experience was quite worthwhile for DeLucenay. At the time of the 2016 competition, he was quoted as saying, “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… 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 learned that each practitioner, corporation, law firm and USPTO has their own unique way or spin on writing patents.

“I was honored to represent WMU-Cooley respectably.”

Originally from the very small town of Angola, Ind., DeLucenay received his bachelor’s from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terra Haute, and went to Iowa State University for his graduate degree.

He married his high school sweetheart, and the two live in Ada, which he says is a very comfortable two hours from their childhood home. “We’ve put our roots down here in Grand Rapids,” he says. The couple has one daughter, born a few months after DeLucenay started at law school.

DeLucenay was particular about what firms he wanted to work for, particularly about the not-too-big, not-too-small size he sought.He did a lot of research and started his job search early.

He recognizes that he is lucky to have succeeded in obtaining employment immediately after law school in a market that can still be glutted, though he comments, “It’s strange, you always hear there are too many lawyers but on the other hand we have massive problems with people having representation.”

He attributes that success to choosing IP law as his concentration and to his experience. “At GE Aviation I volunteered in the legal department for the last two years, so I’ve been doing similar work,” he notes.

WMU-Cooley Team Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay

WMU-Cooley Team Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay

“My degree impacted my employment directly in that I couldn’t have taken the patent bar without it,” he says, adding, “You need to be able to understand the technical merits of their work. There are varying degrees of complexity; I’m sure some will be way over my head. But my specialty in electrical and computer is in the field with the highest demand in the patent area, which also factored into my decision to pursue IP law.”

Burkhart Gardner Linn and Flory is expanding. At the time of the Grand Rapids Legal News article there were six attorneys, but DeLucenay will be the ninth and there are plans for at least one more this year.

One of the main attractions of for DeLucenay is the firm’s commitment to mentoring. “The primary reason I went to this firm is because they really emphasize the training. I won’t have one specific mentor, they’re all going to mentor me,” he says.

“It’s just a great opportunity, because they’re really good at what they do.”

This story was written by Grand Rapids Legal News writer Cynthia Price and was originally published by the Legal News on April 19, 2017.  It is reprinted here with permission of Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC.

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Mental Health: A Michigan Perspective

The Western Michigan University Cooley Law Review cordially invites you to join a lively discussion surrounding the important issues facing healthcare today. Listen to attorneys and experts in the fields of healthcare, non-profits, state government, and corrections. Join the conversation:

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017 from 1:00-4:00 p.m., WMU-Cooley Law School Lansing Campus, Cooley Center, Room 911.

WMU-Cooley Law Review Symposium Mental Health: A Michigan Perspective

SYMPOSIUM DISTINGUISHED PANEL OF SPEAKERS

Lt. Governor Brian Calley, Michigan Lt. Governor

Beverly Griffor, Managing Partner of Collis & Griffor, P.C.

Milton L. Mack, Jr., Court Administrator for the Michigan Supreme Court

Lauren Rousseau, WMU-Cooley Law School Professor

Major Sam Davis, Corrections Major for Ingham County Sheriff’s Office

Mark Reinstein, President & CEO of Mental Health Association of Michigan

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Powerhouse: Law student shows passion for politics and performing

Saad Chishty has two major passions in life — law and music. And both have led him to rub shoulders with political bigwigs and celebrities. Over the winter break the WMU-Cooley Law School 2L student recorded with session musicians from Gladys Knight and Herbie Hancock’s Tower of Power, at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios, once home to the Beatles.

WMU-Cooley student Saad Chishty

Saad Chishty has two major passions in life — law and music. And both have led him to rub shoulders with political bigwigs and celebrities.

Over the winter break the WMU-Cooley Law School 2L student recorded with session musicians from Gladys Knight and Herbie Hancock’s Tower of Power, at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios, once home to the Beatles.

“It was amazing, to say the least,” he says. “I’m very fortunate to have tracked some vocals and guitar riffs in the same recording facility as the greatest of the greats—it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Chishty also has worked with Sterling Sound, Universal Music Studios, Westlake Recording Studios, Kaboom Studios, Hinge Studios, as well as Conway Recording Studios and Sphere Studios, both in Los Angeles.

“I’m currently working with a team of Grammy award-winning mixing engineers who truly take recording, mixing, and vocal post-production to a whole new level,” he says. “My sound engineer’s production and mixing credits include JT, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Britney Spears, Flo Rida, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber.”

WMU-Cooley student Saad Chishty

Currently signed to KaBOOM! Records, an indie record label with distribution through Universal Music and Beatport, Chishty also has a publication deal for select song titles with Island Def Jam.

Chishty, who received classic training from boyhood in various instruments including violin, cello, synthesizers and piano, comes from a talented musical gene pool.

“Everybody is musically inclined in our family, from my father to my siblings,” he says. “We all play a variety of instruments and sing. We’re all different in our writing styles. Music is an outlet to express myself.”

In 1992-93, he appeared on the TV show “Star Search,” with a dance-choreography and vocal performance act. “It was a privilege to be chosen for the regional semi-finals by the judges and the legendary Ed McMahon,” he says.

On the political side, Chishty is very involved with Michigan’s Democratic caucus and the state legislature, and took part in political canvassing during the November general election, when he was involved in phone banking, registering voters and canvassing neighborhoods to gauge the turnout. He watched the second presidential debate with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and his wife. “They’ve become excellent mentors and acquaintances,” he says. “They are fantastic public figures.”

He also spent time with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “We’ve shared conversations on a few occasions,” Chishty says. “She’s a woman of profound substance and accomplishment.”

WMU-Cooley student Saad Chishty

Last July, Chishty and other local community leaders were invited to attend the funeral of boxing great and civil rights activist Muhammed Ali in Louisville, Ky., where he had the opportunity to meet and interact with keynote speakers and dignitaries including Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“It was truly a humbling and once-in-a-lifetime experience where I got to interact with some influential figures,” he says.

With a current goal of interning for the Civil Rights Commission — or for a major record label — Chishty is pleased with his choice of Cooley Law School.

“I like everything — from the faculty to the student body,” he says. “It’s very student-centered — that’s what I love most!”

A Dallas native whose parents still live in the Lone Star State, Chishty makes his home in Detroit, where he is active in the interfaith community and enjoys writing poetry, discussing politics, “wanderlusting” and partaking in thrill-seeking sports. He is as yet unsure of his final legal focus.

“I’m split between entertainment law and my inner desire to serve the public with my extensive teaching experience, music publishing, volunteering with the NGOs in Africa, Middle East and South Asia, song cataloging and writing recording contracts for indie artists,” he says. “We shall see!”

This article about WMU-Cooley student Saad Chishty written by Legal News writer Sheila Pursglove and was originally published by the Legal News on April 21, 2017. It is reprinted here with permission of The Detroit Legal News. Photos courtesy of Saad Chishty

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Entertainment Law attorney John Mashni: Know the law. Know the industry.

Entertainment law attorney and WMU-Cooley graduate John Mashni gave law students important insights on how to break into the Sports & Entertainment law field during a recent conversation at the law school. “I think, for entertainment, there’s value in thinking about who do I want to spend time with, who’s my client, who do I want to represent, and start from there,” Mashni said. “You’re going to have to know the law, but more importantly, you’re going to have to know the industry.”

You should also know the “lingo” and the process that goes into film, music and literary projects. LISTEN to his talk.

WMU-Cooley Law School Sports and Entertainment Law Society hosted a discussion with featured speaker John Mashni, business and entertainment attorney for Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, on Tuesday, March 28.

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He spoke to WMU Cooley faculty, staff and students about his experiences in entertainment law and active career steps that can help attorneys break into the industry. In his career, Mashni worked as the manager of a media department for a large leadership development company and did freelance work on numerous film and video projects and completed coursework at the New York Film Academy.

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37 Honored with Juris Doctor degrees in WMU-Cooley Tampa Ceremony

WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus held its spring commencement ceremony bestowing juris doctor degrees onto 37 individuals April 15 at the University of South Florida School of Music. Graduate Ricardeau Lucceus was selected by his classmates to present the valedictory remarks and Judge Barbara Twine Thomas of Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit Juvenile Division provided the keynote.

Ricardeau Lucceus presents valedictory remarks during WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus graduation.

Ricardeau Lucceus presents valedictory remarks during Tampa Bay campus graduation.

Judge Barbara Twine Thomas of Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit Juvenile Division provides the keynote during WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus spring commencement on April 15.

Keynote Judge Barbara Twine Thomas during commencement on April 15.

WMU-Cooley President and Dean Don LeDuc presents Erika Martinez with her diploma during WMU-Cooley Law School’s spring commencement.

WMU-Cooley President and Dean Don LeDuc presents Erika Martinez with her diploma.

Left-right: Don LeDuc, WMU-Cooley president and dean; Hon. Barbara Twine Thomas, Hillsborough County 13th Judicial Circuit; Ricardeau Lucceus, graduate and valedictory presenter; and Ronald Sutton WMU-Cooley associate dean.

Left-right: Don LeDuc, WMU-Cooley president and dean; Hon. Barbara Twine Thomas, Hillsborough County 13th Judicial Circuit; Ricardeau Lucceus, graduate and valedictory presenter; and Ronald Sutton WMU-Cooley associate dean.

Lucceus spoke to his classmates about the current political climate and how lawyers are addressing many of the issues.

“As you have recently witnessed, attorneys are saving the day in this current zeitgeist by addressing injustice and by helping to maintain balance and respect amongst the three branches of our state and national governments,” said Lucceus. “These attorneys had to be not just educated, but they had to understand the complexity and the challenges they face when dealing with the community as a whole.  It takes a lot of focus and mental fortitude in order to do what they are currently doing; this is why investing in education, a solid education, is more than ever a necessity.”
During her remarks, Twine Thomas shared three life lessons for honorably and ethically meeting the challenges the next generation of lawyers face.  The three lessons she spoke about included being competent by concentrating on the craft of being an attorney, pursuing purpose with passion, and being honest.

Addressing the students, Twine Thomas said, “Take on every assignment as if the world is watching, even if you know they are not. It will be up to you to care for and ensure justice for everyone, not just the well-heeled client who can pay you generously.”

Before joining the bench, Twine Thomas was an attorney in private practice and has served as past president for the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, George Edgecomb Bar Association and the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation. Twine Thomas earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and her J.D. from the University of Florida.

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WMU-Cooley Law School Names New Assistant Dean in Tampa

Katherine Gustafson

Associate Dean Ronald Sutton of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay has announced that Katherine Gustafson has been tapped to fill the role of assistant dean.

Gustafson started her career at WMU-Cooley in 2008 as a visiting professor and coordinator for academic resources.  In 2012, she joined the Tampa Bay campus full-time faculty, teaching legal research and writing, skills seminars, and introduction to law classes.  She was appointed to the post of campus auxiliary dean in 2016. Before joining the law school, she was an attorney with Mahjoory, Mahjoory, and Beery, PLC, located in Lansing, Michigan.

“Since joining the law school’s Tampa Bay campus, Kathy has played an integral role in the education of law students both in and out of the classroom,” said Sutton. “In the classroom, she is a dedicated educator who is valued by both her students and colleagues. Outside the classroom, she has helped our students grow by coordinating many of the law school’s philanthropic events designed to help those less fortunate in the Hillsborough County community. I am honored and proud that she has agreed to fill the role of assistant dean.”

Gustafson begins her new role when the law school’s summer term begins in May.

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Distinguished Student and Leadership Awards Presented at Convocation

WMU- Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus held its Honors Convocation recently, recognizing students for top course grades, Dean’s List and Honor Roll designations, and for leadership and skills competition achievements.

Peter Mancini and Dr. Ryan McKennon received the Distinguished Student Award for their academic success, participation and leadership in student organizations, professionalism and service to the community.

The recipients of the Leadership Achievement Award were Monica Carson, Deirdre Armstrong, and Brandon Ferguson. The award acknowledges students who have consistently, comprehensively and effectively provided leadership in a variety of capacities.

Peter Mancini receives the Distinguished Student Award.

Dr. Ryan McKennon receives the Distinguished Student Award.

Left-right: Leadership Achievement Award recipients Monica Carson, Deirdre Armstrong, Brandon Ferguson.

 

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