Monthly Archives: May 2017

Howard Soifer’s Life Remembered in Sports and Entertainment Law Lecture Series

Howard Soifer was a proud 1977 graduate of WMU-Cooley Law School and an accomplished lawyer and a shareholder in the firm of Loomis, Ewert, Parsley, Davis & Gotting, P.C., until the time of his death on January 29, 2003 at the age of 53. It is Howard’s great passion and loyalty that the Soifer Committee created the Howard Soifer Memorial Lecture Series in Sports and Entertainment Law. The Committee feels strongly that the event is a meaningful way to honor Howard’s memory and to endow the lecture series for perpetuity.

He was born in the Bronx and moved to Monsey, New York in 1963. Following graduation from the Spring Valley High School Class of 1967, he attended the University of Toledo for two years and received his undergraduate degree from Long Island University in Brooklyn. Howard’s passion for basketball, baseball, and football led him to represent several prominent professional athletes during his career. He was a dedicated family man, devoted to his wife and friend of more than 30 years, Sandy Kirsch Soifer. He was very proud of his two daughters, Marci and Halie. All who were part of Howard’s life remember him for his great sense of humor and his extreme loyalty, integrity, and strength.

MICHIGAN: MSU STAR AND NFL GREAT TODD DUCKETT 

For WMU-Cooley Law School’s 10th Annual Howard Soifer Memorial Lecture in Sports and Entertainment Law, Todd “T.J.” Duckett, Michigan State University standout and former National Football League running back, and Joseph Bellanca (Sharpe Class, 2008), entertainment and media attorney at Hertz Schram PC, spoke at the Lansing campus this past year.

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TAMPA BAY: HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER, NBA STAR CHARLIE WARD

In early 2017, WMU-Cooley Law School, Tampa Bay campus hosted its first Howard Soifer Memorial Lecture. Featured speakers were college football Heisman Trophy winner and retired NBA player Charlie Ward, along with president of the Sarasota Bar and college football standout Keith DuBose.

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Previous Soifer Memorial Lecture speakers over the past 10 years include Tom Izzo, Michigan State University men’s basketball coach and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame; Kevin Poston, president and CEO of Detroit area based DEAL Elite Athletic Management; Steve Smith, broadcaster and former MSU and NBA all-star basketball player; and Steve Garvey, former MSU and Major League Baseball all-star and MVP.

Howard Soifer’s Life Remembered in Lecture Series

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WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel Honored With Key to the City of Lansing and the Distinguished Citizen Award

WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean and Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel was honored May 16 with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Chief Okemos District of the Boy Scouts of America during the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Breakfast for Scouting. During the event, he was presented with the Key to the City from Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Pictured (left-right) Dick Peffley, general manager of the Lansing Board of Water and Light; Nathan Triplett, former mayor of East Lansing and district chair of the Chief Okemos District Water and Woods Field Service Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Michael C.H. McDaniel, WMU-Cooley Law School associate dean and professor; and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero at the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Breakfast for Scouting. During the May 16 event, McDaniel was honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Chief Okemos District of the Boy Scouts of America and presented with the Key to the City by Mayor Bernero.

“I am honored to receive the Distinguished Citizen Award,” McDaniel said. “As an Eagle Scout, this award alone is humbling. To also be recognized with the Key to the City by Mayor Bernero is a truly gratifying experience.”

Upon acceptance of the awards, McDaniel spoke of how his time in Boy Scouts has influenced his professional career. He also discussed leadership, emphasizing several key values that are expected of Boy Scouts, including consistency, integrity and preparedness.

“I submit to you that the values that we expect of our Scouts, are the values we must expect of our business, educational and community leaders, and are the values we must demand of our political leaders,” McDaniel said.

In addition to teaching constitutional law, McDaniel is also the director of the Homeland and National Security Law LL.M. program at WMU-Cooley Law School, a program he created in 2013. McDaniel is a retired Brigadier General and was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance at the Department of Defense prior to joining the law school.

In 2003, he was also Homeland Security Adviser to then-Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and has been the chairperson for Great Lakes Hazard Coalition (GLHC) since 2012. He also served as the Assistant Adjutant General for Homeland Security with the Michigan National Guard.

McDaniel has been on the board of directors for the Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) since December 2012, assisting the organization in national infrastructure security and resiliency planning.

McDaniel worked closely with Lansing Mayor Bernero during the 2013 ice storm, which left 34,000 people without power. McDaniel was called in personally by the mayor to lead the Community Review Team, make recommendations and solve the issue.

In 2016, McDaniel was appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee (FWICC) and helped to secure $100 million in funding from Congress. The funding sped up the process of removing hazardous water pipes, with over 600 pipes replaced by the end of 2016.

McDaniel earned his law degree  from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1982. He has been with WMU-Cooley Law School since 2011.

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Storytelling Is a Lawyer’s Craft

“Law cases can be very much like stories, involving principal characters, their conflict, and conflict resolution – all within a story line or plot.  Lawyers, like authors, must also be skilled at projecting the characters’ motivations, personality, and interests, while discerning how the audience will respond to differing perspectives, styles, and voice.” – WMU-Cooley Professor and Lawyer Storytelling Workshop Panelist David Tarrien.

WMU-Cooley Lawyer Storytelling Workshop

The law school’s Grand Rapids campus invites law students, attorneys and community to participate in its summer Lawyer Storytelling Workshop. The workshops help participants write law-related fiction as a way to hone their storytelling craft.

Workshop panelist Anna Rapa, who defends indigent clients against federal criminal charges, called telling her clients’ stories a “sacred task.”  Rapa added that she must work hard to find fresh and evocative ways to “depict the client’s humanity” and show clients as “worthy of redemption” in what is too often a dehumanizing criminal justice system.

Panelist Bill Jack, managing partner of the statewide law firm Smith Haughey, agreed that storytelling must be an effective trial lawyer’s skill and art.  Both Rapa and Jack have authored and published fiction as a way to hone their storytelling art.  “Write for yourself,” Jack urged, adding, “Your first novel is autobiographical.”

Panelist Matt Levin is a student at the Grand Rapids campus and already a skilled storyteller with two published novels, a literary agent, and many published short stories.  Levin agreed that while writing and promoting a bestseller would be tremendously rewarding, and he was glad when his writing did well, ultimately the greater value is in how the process shapes the writer.

Panelist Tonya Krause-Phelan, a professor and dean at the campus who in her former law practice successfully defended a mother charged with the murder of her infant, shared her own commitment to compelling advocacy through these communication arts.  Trial lawyers must somehow recreate for jurors scenes of real events, in ways that help jurors make critical judgments.

Workshop participants are each writing their own short story this summer for publication in a book of their collected works.  Six students are earning academic credit, treating the workshops as a Directed Study course with faculty supervision, while other participants are taking part just to learn more of the storytelling art.

The first workshop addresses the reasons and inspiration for writing, and selection of character, conflict, and resolution.  The second workshop addresses development of story and theme, and editing. The third workshop addresses publication issues.  Associate Dean Nelson Miller, publisher of 36 books on law and related subjects, organized and moderates the series.

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WMU-Cooley Law School Holds Charity Event to Help Detroit Public School Students Attend College

On May 20, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus held its ninth annual charity event to raise money for the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Scholarship. Each year the charity event called FUNDS – Financing the Undergraduate Needs of Detroit Scholars – raises money for scholarships to be awarded to a graduate of Detroit Public Schools who has expressed an interest in attending law school after college. This year’s event raised over $5,300.

Daria Bailey, last year’s recipient of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Scholarship, joined WMU-Cooley faculty, staff and students during the law school’s annual FUNDS charity event, which raises money for scholarships to be awarded to a graduate of Detroit Public Schools who has expressed an interest in attending law school after college. Pictured (left-right) Dr. Cheryl Mason, Detroit Urban League College Club mentor and adviser; Lisa Halushka, WMU-Cooley associate dean; Bailey; and Robert Vant of Pinnacle Achieving Scholars and the Detroit Urban League.

“I am always amazed at the generosity of our WMU-Cooley community,” said Associate Dean Lisa Halushka. “Students, faculty, staff and alumni stepped up to donate auction items, purchase tickets, bid on items or provide their time and talent.  As a result of our coordinated effort, a worthy graduate from the Detroit Public School System will be able to afford to attend college, when perhaps they might not otherwise be able to.”

The recipient of last year’s WMU-Cooley Law School Scholarship, Daria Bailey, attended the event. She thanked those in attendance for their contributions, noting that, because of the kind donations from students last year, she was able to attend Michigan State University when she thought she couldn’t afford to, and because of the mentorship of WMU-Cooley students and Halushka she was able to be very successful in her academic studies.

The event featured a silent auction and live entertainment. Entertainers included comedian and magician Keith Stickley, and acoustic duo Lions to Nowhere featuring Scott and Christine Sawyer and Halushka.

The scholarship is administered by Detroit College Promise, a non-profit organization which is part of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.  The scholarship fills the gap for students for needs that are not usually included in other scholarships or financial aid, such as transportation, clothes, and food.

Acoustic duo Lions to Nowhere featuring Scott Sawyer, WMU-Cooley graduate and his wife Christine, perform on May 20 as part of the law school’s event to raise funds for a graduate of Detroit Public Schools who has expressed an interest in attending law school after college.

Comedian and magician Keith Stickley uses an audience member as part of his act at WMU-Cooley’s ninth annual charity event on May 20.

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Judge Sabella Administers Florida Bar Oath of Admission During WMU-Cooley Swearing-In Ceremony

The Hon. Christopher C. Sabella of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court administered The Florida Bar’s Oath of Admission to recent WMU-Cooley Law School graduate Derek Matthews who has been approved for admission into the Florida Bar. The Oath contains important principles to guide attorneys in the legal profession.

“Students at WMU-Cooley have a unique opportunity to be taught by our local outstanding judges and attorneys,” said Matthews. “I was honored to have Judge Sebella swear me into the Florida Bar at the same place my journey into the law began. I am excited that students nearing their own graduation could see firsthand that WMU-Cooley does prepare them for passing the Bar and that their strong effort will be rewarded.”

Judge swears in new lawyer

The Hon. Christopher C. Sabella (right) of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court administers The Florida Bar’s Oath of Admission to recent WMU-Cooley Law School graduate Derek Matthews during a ceremony on May 24.

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Stigma Biggest Barrier: Mich. Lt. Gov. Calley Discusses State’s Mental Health Issues

“Stigma is still the biggest barrier that we have. It’s a barrier to living, getting out there and living life and being a part of the world because sometimes behaviors aren’t what we would consider to be normal or typical, and the weight of just being a part of the world in that situation can be enough to cause people to retreat.” – Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

Lt. Gov. Calley recently joined community leaders from a variety of backgrounds including law, healthcare, courts, non-profit and corrections during WMU-Cooley Law Review’s Annual Symposium. The panel discussed the challenges present in Michigan’s system for treating and addressing mental health issues, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and what needs to happen to improve care and access to care. Calley raised concern about stigmas against persons with mental health, development disabilities, and substance abuse problems and the barriers that lack of acceptance present to every person’s right to experience a full life.

Calley began his remarks on a personal level, sharing his own daughter’s early autism diagnosis and the challenges he and his family faced in securing necessary treatment and services on her behalf. He said, “My experience with my daughter was one that really opened my eyes to just how the world works for people with disabilities. The conclusion that I came to at that point was that, if it was this difficult for somebody as well connected as I am to make all the things happen that need to happen, then the average person might have no chance at all.”

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley speaks about mental health issues facing the state during WMU-Cooley’s Annual Law Review Symposium.

Because of his personal experiences, Calley said he became committed to advocating for change and improvement to Michigan’s health care system to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations. He has gone on to chair numerous work groups, think tanks, and boards, bringing all the necessary stakeholders to the table to discuss and propose necessary reforms, and effective management of healthcare funding for these important categories of care. Some of this work culminated in two final reports submitted to the Michigan legislature in January.

The panelists discussed and agreed that there is a negative impact and public prejudices against the disabled. They also spoke about the need for more sensitivity, understanding, and empathy towards these persons, who, if given the necessary support and opportunity, can successfully manage and overcome their challenges and live meaningful and productive lives.

Other panelists included Milton L. Mack, Jr., State Court Administrator and former Chief Judge of the Wayne County Probate Court; Corrections Major Sam Davis, Jail Administrator, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department; Mark Reinstein, President & CEO, Mental Health Association of Michigan;  Lauren Rousseau: Associate Professor of Law, WMU-Cooley Law School; and  Beverly Griffor, managing partner, Collis & Griffor, P.C.

Major Sam Davis of the Ingham Sheriff’s Department talks about incarceration rates of individuals suffering from mental illness.

Panelists pictured (seated, left –right) Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Major Sam Davis, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department; Beverly Griffor, managing partner, Collis & Griffor, P.C.; Milton L. Mack, Jr., court administrator for the Michigan Supreme Court; and Mark Reinstein, CEO of the Mental Health Association of Michigan.

Panelists pictured (seated, left –right) Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Major Sam Davis, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department; Beverly Griffor, managing partner, Collis & Griffor, P.C.; Milton L. Mack, Jr., court administrator for the Michigan Supreme Court; and Mark Reinstein, CEO of the Mental Health Association of Michigan.

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WMU-Cooley students and graduates shine brightly during Davis-Dunnings Bar Association Award Banquet

The Davis-Dunnings Bar Association held its 20th Annual Otis M. Smith Scholarship Banquet this spring at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing, Michigan, and the WMU-Cooley family was represented very well.  Two WMU-Cooley students won scholarships. ReNita Antoine received the Hon. Otis M. Smith Scholarship and Tiffany West received the Stuart J. Dunnings, Jr. Scholarship. WMU-Cooley graduate Taneashia R. Morrell, Esq. was the Rising Star award winner, and WMU-Cooley graduate, Board Chair, and State Bar of Michigan President Lawrence P. Nolan received the Trailblazer Award.

ABA Past President Paulette Brown (center) with WMU-Cooley Davis-Dunnings Bar Association award winners student Tiffany West , graduate Taneashia R. Morrell, student ReNita Antoine, and graduate, Board President, and State Bar of Michigan President Lawrence P. Nolan. (Photo credit: Traci Lee, LLC)

ABA Past President Paulette Brown (center) with WMU-Cooley Davis-Dunnings Bar Association award winners, student Tiffany West , graduate Taneashia R. Morrell, student ReNita Antoine, and graduate, Board President, and State Bar of Michigan President Lawrence P. Nolan.

The Davis-Dunnings Bar Association is a special interest bar association with the mission of inspiring outreach to the underserved and under-represented members of the greater Lansing community. American Bar Association Immediate Past President Paulette Brown was the keynote speaker for the evening.  Brown made history as the first African American woman to head the American Bar Association.

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Takura Nyamfukudza, another WMU-Cooley graduate, was elected president of the Davis-Dunnings Bar Association this year. A top criminal defense and appellate law attorney, Nyamfukudza is very active in his community, serving as chairperson, director, treasurer, mentor and volunteer for organizations across the greater Lansing area. He also served 12 years in the U.S. Army. He was recognized in Super Lawyers, Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “Up and Coming Lawyers,” Ingham County Bar’s “Top 5 Under 35” and the Davis-Dunnings’ “Rising Star Awards.”

(Photo credit: Traci Lee, LLC and WMU-Cooley Law School)

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