Category Archives: Cooley’s Great Locations

WMU-Cooley Juneteeth Keynote Speaker Edward Keith DuBose: Achieve Professionalism At All Times

It’s necessary to uphold your professional reputation, be involved in community, and manage client trust carefully. There is no substitute for hard work, which will bring success.” – Edward Keith DuBose, WMU-Cooley Juneteenth keynote speaker

Edward Keith DuBose

Edward Keith DuBose

On June 16, the Black Law Student Association at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus hosted the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth. The featured speaker during the celebration was Edward Keith DuBose, Sarasota County Bar Association president and partner at Matthews Eastmore Trial Lawyers.

WMU-Cooley Professor Renalia DuBose introduced the keynote speaker with great personal pride.

“Successful attorneys are  not sitting in their offices looking out the window. They are in their communities working hard.  That is why I invited Keith to be our speaker. He is a visible, sincere servant in his community.”

In his talk, “Keys to Demonstrate Professionalism Personified,” he spoke to faculty, staff and students about how to best demonstrate professionalism and what steps an attorney must take to become a partner at a law firm, including:

  • Achieve professionalism at all times
  • Stay involved in your community; participate in the spirit of service and give back to the community
  • There is no substitute for hard work; which brings success
  • Take good care of your personal and professional integrity
  • Choose clients carefully; some can cause you trouble with the Bar
  • Manage trust accounts carefully

“Understanding the history of diverse groups makes us better attorneys,” said DuBose. “We can help our clients seek justice and help them heal ”

WMU-Cooley Professor Stevie Swanson spoke about the meaning of Juneteenth during the celebration.

“Slaves in Texas were not freed until June 19, 1865 even though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862 that freed all slaves in the Confederate States of America on January 1, 1863,” said Professor Swanson. “As an African and African American History major from Yale, Juneteenth to me is a reminder that we need to recognize the past of all races and ethnicities. This day should be a reminder to work hard to make our communities better.”

(left-right) WMU-Cooley student Sylvester Stokes, BLSA member, Professor Stevie Swanson, Professor Renalia Dubose, Keynote speaker Edward Keith DuBose, Tamike Laroque, BLSA vice president, Jazmin Shorter, WMU-Cooley BLSA president, Joe Cline, BLSA treasurer

(left-right) WMU-Cooley student Sylvester Stokes, BLSA member, Professor Stevie Swanson, Professor Renalia Dubose, Keynote speaker Edward Keith DuBose, Tamike Laroque, BLSA vice president, Jazmin Shorter, WMU-Cooley BLSA president, Joe Cline, BLSA treasurer

Edward Keith DuBose received his Bachelor of Arts from Duke University in 1993 and was a member of the 1989 football team that won the A.C.C. Championship led by Steve Spurrier. He received his Juris Doctor degree in 1996 from the UF College of Law. As a shareholder in Matthews Eastmore Trial Lawyers in Sarasota, Florida, his practice is devoted to plaintiff’s personal injury cases. He is active in his community and champions programs benefiting area youth, and donates countless hours to the United Way, Paddock Foundation, Selby Foundation, Sarasota Bar Association, youth football, New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and frequently gives motivational talks at community functions and local schools. In 1989, the Sarasota Bar Association presented him with the prestigious C.L. McKaig award, recognizing his extraordinary community accomplishments. Mr. DuBose is currently the president of the Sarasota Area Board of the United Way and is the first African American president of the Sarasota County Bar Association.

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Facility Sharing Bears Affiliation Fruit

WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc and WMU President John Dunn

WMU-Cooley Dean and President Don LeDuc and WMU President John Dunn

In January of this year, WMU President Dr. John Dunn and WMU-Cooley President and Dean Don LeDuc signed a ground-breaking facility-sharing agreement between the university and law school. The agreement gave both institutions opportunities to use one another’s facilities to promote their educational missions, improve programs, and extend their geographic reach.  Immediately, the law school was able to use a WMU classroom in Kalamazoo to offer two elective courses in Employment Law and Environmental Law, the first law school courses offered in Kalamazoo.

The university has now relocated its WMU-MetroDetroit offices and distance-education classrooms from Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak to a suite at the law school’s Auburn Hills campus.

springThe relocation enables the university to accomplish at least three affiliation synergies.  One advantage is that the university can now maintain its high quality WMU-MetroDetroit offices and distance-education facilities at reduced cost under the facility-sharing agreement.  A second advantage is that the university now has a strong and convenient local presence in Southeast Michigan’s famous Automation Alley, a key technology, business, and engineering hub.  A third advantage is that the university increases its access for residents of Oakland, Livingston, and other suburban counties. The law school’s Auburn Hills campus lies at the intersection of two major Southeast Michigan arteries, the north-south Interstate 75 and east-west M-59, directly across the street from Fiat-Chrysler’s headquarters and right nearby the sports-complex Palace of Auburn Hills.

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Representatives of each institution have inspected other university and law school facilities in Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and even Tampa, Florida, for reciprocal use under the facility-sharing agreement.  The law school just announced that it will hold first-term courses on WMU’s main campus in Kalamazoo starting this September in WMU’s Haworth College of Business building.  Expect more facility-sharing announcements soon.  Both institutions have long held strategic visions to offer premier learning facilities.  The facility-sharing agreement was a perfect extension of each institution’s commitment to provide new, attractive, comfortable, convenient, and accessible facilities for students, faculty, staff, and community use.

“The facility-sharing agreement took significant work,” law school Associate Dean Nelson Miller said, “particularly on the part of the school’s facilities leaders and general counsel.  Once the presidents put the agreement in place, though, things felt as if they were ready to really take off.”  The schools also have in place master-academic and parking-services agreements, and just recently put in place an employee-and-student-services agreement that gives law students and WMU graduate and undergraduate students access to health, recreation, library, and other facilities and services.  “I can’t say enough how encouraging the affiliation has been and remains,” Miller added, “and we still are only scratching the surface of a powerful affiliation.”
(Left to right) WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Nelson Miller, WMU President John Dunn, WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc, WMU Professor and Affiliation Liaison Mark Hurwitz, and WMU Provost Timothy Greene

(Left to right) WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Nelson Miller, WMU President John Dunn, WMU-Cooley President Don LeDuc, WMU Professor and Affiliation Liaison Mark Hurwitz, and WMU Provost Timothy Greene

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Top Ten Things Law Students Should Know About Western Michigan University

miller_nelsonBlog author Nelson Miller is the Associate Dean and Professor at WMU-Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus. He practiced civil litigation for 16 years before joining the WMU-Cooley faculty. He has argued cases before the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals, and United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and filed amicus and party briefs in the United States Supreme Court. He has has many published books, casebooks, book chapters, book reviews, and articles on legal education, law practice, torts, civil procedure, professional responsibility, damages, international law, constitutional law, university law, bioethics, and law history and philosophy. He also is now teaching law classes on the Kalamazoo, Michigan campus of Western Michigan University.

1. Now that the law school is holding elective courses on WMU’s Kalamazoo campus, where are the law classes? For now, Western Michigan University is sharing with the law school Room 1412 in its Health & Human Services (HHS) Building on WMU’s East Campus off Oakland Drive, behind (south of) the football stadium and sports complex on Stadium Drive. The HHS Building location makes sense in that the law school already has a dual JD/MSW degree program with the College of Health & Human Services’ School of Social Work. The HHS Building is a spectacular, first-class facility with wonderful natural-light design, a cafeteria, lots of relaxed seating, and convenient parking. Room 1412 is a team-based learning room with cart-available distance-education technology.


2. What is the medieval-looking bell-tower-like structure next to WMU’s HHS Building where the law school holds classes? The HHS Building is next door to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. Its tower is not, as rumored, to restrain the insane, but for the better part of a century supplied the hospital’s water. At one point in the tower’s storied history, its water saved Kalamazoo from burning when the city’s own water system failed as firefighters attempted to douse a severe downtown fire. Although the water tower is a historic landmark, locals not too long ago made an effort to have it razed, relenting only when private funds donated for maintenance exceeded the six-figure cost of its razing.

3. What is the heart of WMU’s Kalamazoo campus? Where does everyone go? Bernhard Center, located roughly in the middle of WMU’s Main Campus, houses the bookstore, Bronco Mall, cafeteria and food court, financial-aid office and other student services, student-organization offices, and large conference spaces. While the building’s exterior is a little older, WMU has renovated many of its interior spaces, making it both very comfortable and also a showcase.

4. Where should one park on campus? Depends on where you’re going. The best practice is to order a $5 daily visitor pass online before you go, then use the WMU Interactive Campus Map, choosing the Parking Lots option from the Layers link in the Map’s upper right. The $5 daily visitor parking pass grants you access to the R Lots where both visitors and WMU employees park. Commonly used R Lots are (1) on the west side of the Main Campus by Schneider Hall for convenient access to the business school or a short walk to the center of Main Campus, (2) at the south side of the Main Campus by Miller Auditorium for convenient access to the College of Arts & Sciences, and (3) alongside the Health & Human Services Building on East Campus. For a single short-term visit, you may choose instead to park at a visitor meter, although you’ll need lots of quarters (the cost is a quarter for every 12 minutes or so). Metered parking can also be paid by a cell phone through Instructions are listed on each campus meter.Here is the parking map, with the R Lots in yellow:

5. Where can you eat on campus? Lots of places. While the Bernhard Center has the well-developed food court with national fast-food chains, a Biggby coffee shop, traditional cafeteria, and lots of comfortable seating, several other buildings also have public cafeterias including the HHS Building housing the law classes, Schneider Hall housing the Haworth College of Business, and Sangren Hall housing WMU’s large College of Education. The Plaza Cafe, located on the Fine Arts Plaza in front of Miller Auditorium, is also open to the public. To locate food on campus–Go to the WMU Housing and Dining map to get the precise locations of the buildings with cafeterias.


6. Who are WMU’s most-distinguished alumni? Tim Allen, anyone? The popular film and television actor is on its Distinguished Alumni wall in the Bernhard Center (see the wall on the second floor for a great way to get to know WMU’s national leadership). WMU’s most-recent distinguished alumni awardee is former U.S. Attorney and WMU-Cooley adjunct James Brady, whom the law school honored recently with the Marion Hilligan Public Service Award. (The other 2015 awardee was the CEO of the world’s largest tire and wheel retailer.) Other lawyer/judge WMU distinguished alumni include former ABA President Dennis Archer, Sixth Circuit Judge Richard Griffin (son of Senator Robert Griffin), Richard Whitmer, former State Bar of Michigan President Nancy Diehl, and of course WMU-Cooley graduate and board member Ken Miller. Other distinguished alumni include former Detroit Tigers owner John Fetzer and former Tigers and Marlins and present Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski.

7. Tell me about the WMU library and its resources. With more that 4.5 million items, including thousands of electronic subscriptions, the libraries provide access to a wide variety of materials in support of its many educational programs. Over twenty reference librarians, many with subject specialties, are ready to assist students with their information and research needs. The library has recently initiated an experimental telepresence robot to aid in research interactions between students and librarians. Four floors of newly renovated state of the art facilities provide comfortable spaces for collaboration, research, and study.

8. What’s your favorite location on campus? Whether or not you have business there, consider visiting Sangren Hall in the center of WMU’s Main Campus. One of President Dunn’s many initiatives has been the improvement of WMU’s physical facilities. Sangren Hall, home to WMU’s oldest college–the College of Education–is the spectacular centerpiece of that initiative.Sangren-Hall-SHW-Group-6

It has every feature of a next-generation higher-education facility including state-of-the-art team-based-learning classrooms with distance-education technology and wide, spacious, and well-lit public areas with abundant comfortable seating and study areas, not to mention a great-looking library and convenient cafe. It even rivals the spectacular new WMed facility downtown (WMed built with substantial private and corporate contributions). WMU has constructed several other large, inviting, and very attractive facilities that make you feel very much a part of the latest and best in higher education.

9. For what does the public know WMU? What distinguishes it? WMU was initially a teacher’s college, and its College of Education remains its largest program. That history and emphasis may have influenced its mission and vision as a learner-centered university combining clinical education with research focus. Students matter, but so does research and expertise. Many of WMU’s Ph.D.-level faculty are recognized national and international experts in their fields with heavy demands for their expertise. WMU is also diverse, recruiting heavily from Southeast Michigan and other urban areas. It has had a global reach for decades, with faculty from around the globe and international students from 100 other nations.  A Carnegie-designated national research university, WMU is in the U.S. News top tier of public research universities. Many also know WMU for programs as diverse as its nation-leading aviation program and its internationally recognized offerings in creative writing, medieval studies, behavior analysis, blindness and low vision studies, integrated supply chain management and jazz studies. WMU also has a decades-long reputation for a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship that won it the U.S. Building Council’s award in 2014 as the best green higher-education school in the country.

10. Okay, but how’s the football team doing? Great. WMU has a Division I (top division) football program competing with the best collegiate programs in the nation, including playing both MSU and Ohio State in 2015. WMU is in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) with in-state rivals Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University, and out-of-state schools like Toledo, Northern Illinois, and Bowling Green.


While WMU has long been known more for its hockey team than for football success, WMU’s football teams have been to bowl games the past two years, winning the Bahamas Bowl just this year, and has had the MAC’s top-rated recruiting class the past three years. WMU’s football program is thus gaining national attention, as is its sought-after Coach P.J. Fleck. The program has a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility and a football hall-of-fame building, both adjacent to the stadium with a large indoor president’s box seating 100. Apologies to WMU-Cooley Board Chair Larry Nolan, a WMU hockey-program veteran, for not touting WMU’s outstanding hockey team, which is part of the toughest hockey league in the nation–the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. See WMU’s sports Hall of Fame for WMU’s long list of stellar college and professional athletes.

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Law students settle into New Zealand life, land and law classes

“It is the beginning of a new year and an academic adventure for WMU-Cooley students in our Down Under Program!” – Down Under Director Kimberly O’Leary


It’s been a great 2016 so far! Law students arrived at the beginning of the year, and they have settled nicely into their rooms on the campus of University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. Our first class was held on January 4, but unlike Michigan, the New Zealand landscape is full of fragrant flowers, green ferns and flourishing trees. It is in the prime of summer Down Under!

Students happily launched into their courses, such as Introduction to New Zealand Legal System with local co-director Cheryl Green, Comparative Chinese & Common Law Systems, with Professor Zhixiong “Leo” Liao, Indigenous Rights in Action with Valmaine Toki, while I teach Equity & Remedies to the law students. After just one week, our understanding of parliamentary, Chinese civil code/Communist party and indigenous systems has blossomed, just like the beautiful local flora!

We have also learned about a democracy where the Constitution isn’t written down and the importance of conventions and customs. In addition to studying and participating in classes, students have had time to explore Hamilton, including the outstanding Hamilton Gardens, the Riverwalk and the Hamilton Zoo. The students especially enjoyed feeding lemurs and a white rhinocerous at the zoo!

Over a weekend, students, faculty and family members fit in an excursion to Raglan, one of the best surfing beaches in the world and home of the famous black sand. After traveling through mountains to arrive, we viewed Bridal Veil Falls, which put on quite a show after holiday rains, and then we took a harbor cruise into the Raglan Bay, where we were served fish and chips. ­­The local co-director, Cheryl Green, has taken on a special role shepherding this American flock as we navigate through Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand – which means, “land of the long white cloud.”

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 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary directs the law school’s Study Abroad program in New Zealand and Australia. She, along with her law students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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WMU-Cooley Law School Prepares a Day of Dedication to the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we approach what would have been the 87th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Jan. 15, it is a privilege to once again honor the memory of the slain civil rights leader. As the law school has done for the past several years, WMU-Cooley will suspend classes on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. In place of the day’s normal schedule, a variety of activities are being planned at each of the law school’s campuses to pay homage to the life and work of Dr. King.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. presents his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. presents his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963

In Lansing and Tampa Bay, the law school will hold its annual day of service in which students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in service projects benefiting the community. In Grand Rapids, activities will include an essay contest where participants will be invited to write six-word essays on Dr. King and his impact on the nation. At the school’s Auburn Hills campus, a panel featuring community activists, law enforcement officials, criminal defense attorneys, and the ACLU, will discuss “Death by Police: Justifiable Homicide or Excessive Use of Force.”

During the week, students will also be invited to take the Pro Bono Pledge and consider how pro bono service will enhance their legal careers.

As we celebrate Dr. King’s life and work, it is worth revisiting his famous “I Have a Dream” speech given in Washington, D.C., on August 23, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  Dr. King gave an earlier version of the speech in Detroit in June 1963. Nearly everyone knows about the famous speech, but one must read it in its entirety to understand its power, its majesty, and the force and  urgency that it still carries today.

Dr. King’s estate, which holds the copyright to the speech, has licensed it so that it can be read and heard. WMU-Cooley Law School urges you to read and listen to it:  I Have a Dream. For more information about Dr. King’s speech, to obtain a copy of the video, or to read more about Dr. King, we recommend that you go to Martin Luther King Online and to the website of  The King Center.

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Greetings from Down Under!

 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-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 will be sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

Before beginning the work of the WMU-Cooley “Down Under” program, I took a week-long holiday (as the Kiwis call a vacation) across New Zealand. We took some great photos of our travels!

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First, I settled into my apartment, where I will live for the next two months, in Hamilton, New Zealand. There is a beautiful riverwalk behind the apartment in this lovely city!

Then, I took a scenic train ride down the entire North Island from Hamilton to the capital city, Wellington. There, I sipped a Flat White and relaxed into a slower vibe. We had the most amazing view of Wellington Harbour.

Flying to Queenstown next, Lake Wakatipu was sparkling and the town was vibrant with Kiwi tourists on holiday. There, I visited a bird sanctuary and saw real-life kiwis (nocturnal flightless birds), a kia (beautiful parrot), and other native birds. Also learned a lot about conservation concerns.

Finally, I spent three days in Te Anau, a quiet little town on Lake Te Anau, in the Fiordlands National Park. The highlight of that trip was a trek to Milford Sound, with crystal clear water, dolphins abounding, waterfalls many times taller than Niagara Falls, and guided stops in the beautiful national park.

Flying back to Hamilton, I could see the mountains and coast all over this beautiful land, finally settling back into Hamilton, with its green rolling hills.

We are already off to a great program. As they say down here, “no worries, mates!”

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Florida college students learn about the law during mock trial at WMU-Cooley Tampa Bay campus

Learning about the U.S. Constitution when you are an undergrad can be interesting, but learning about our nation’s founding document from law school professors and getting to be part of a mock trial is truly inspiring. Or at least that’s how students from the University of South Florida described their experience during a visit to WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus in Riverview, Florida. USF Professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan organized, for the third time this year, a day-long visit to the law school for her Constitution Law I students  so they can learn firsthand from the law professors and Constitution Law experts.

collageScourfield McLauchlan gives the law school and their professors high marks, and so do the students. The USF professor said she feels that this kind of learning is critical to not only understanding the importance of our nation’s founding document, but the history behind the Constitution of the United States why we need it.

“We enjoyed hearing from Dean (Jeffrey) Martlew — and the warm welcome we received,” said Professor Scourfield McLauchlan. “We were very grateful for the opportunity to use the appellate courtroom at WMU-Cooley for our mock U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument simulation. Such a wonderful facility. And I find it inspires my students to rise to the occasion.”

WMU-Cooley Professor Paul Carrier speaks to University of South Florida students about Constitutional Law and the Courts.

WMU-Cooley Professor Paul Carrier speaks to University of South Florida students about Constitutional Law and the courts.

The students spent part of the day with WMU-Cooley Professor Paul Carrier who had the opportunity to discuss with them the Constitution and its meaning. He also engaged the students in a roundtable conversation, asking questions and debating issues surrounding issues of today and from the past.

“Having the opportunity to address these issues around law professors in a mock courtroom really seemed to intensify the experience for the students and to make more real the possibility of practicing Constitutional Law, “explained Professor Carrier. “We even had the chance to discuss one of my pet projects that I am supervising and advising — a moot court competition that focuses on public international law issues.”

Carrier explained to the students how there are myriad practice areas and employment opportunities inside the field of law. “Law school is almost a misnomer,” Carrier explained. “A university is comprised of a collection of different colleges, whereas a law school is actually its own collection of different areas of law and opportunity with similar breadth. Students get a chance to see that when they visit.”

Read the Constitution of the United States:





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Panel of judges share wisdom and top tips for legal writing to law students

WMU-Cooley Law School students recently had the opportunity to participate in an exclusive roundtable with local judges. On Friday, Nov. 13, the Tampa Bay campus’s Student Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and Legal Writing Department co-sponsored a judicial roundtable entitled “Professionalism and Ethics in Legal Research and Writing.” The event was aimed at reinforcing the importance of professionalism in persuasive legal writing.

Judge David Denkin, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, speaks to law students during WMU-Cooley Tampa Bay's Professionalism and Ethics in Legal Research and Writing Judicial Roundtable event.

Judge David Denkin, 12th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, speaks to law students during a WMU-Cooley Professionalism & Ethics in Legal Research & Writing Judicial Roundtable event.

WMU-Cooley brought together a panel of six judges to share their wisdom, lead small group discussions during break-out sessions, and answer questions. This unique format provided for fruitful collaboration between students and judges. After each judge listed his or her “Top-Five Tips” for legal writing, the judges and students broke out into six small groups to discuss a factual scenario suggesting an ethical or professional legal dilemma.

Here are six samples from the judges of the their top tips:

  • Proof, proof, proof your work!
  • Be concise; get to the point, but summarize your findings at the beginning
  • Don’t misrepresent the law; it will destroy your credibility
  • Read the document out loud as part of proofing
  • Use IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion) and plain language
  • Cutting and pasting from previous documents can be dangerous!
Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew speaks with students during a WMU-Cooley professionalism event.

Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew speaks with students during a WMU-Cooley professionalism event.

The judges led the discussion and, drawing from students’ ideas, guided the group to a consensus on a proper resolution to the problem.  After reconvening from the break-out groups, each judge presented his or her group’s scenario and its ideal resolution to the full audience.

For example, a group led by Judge Susan C. Bucklew discussed a scenario in which a new associate is handed a file moments before covering another attorney’s motion hearing.  The brief in support of the client’s motion is poorly written and misrepresents the law.  Students considered the benefits and drawbacks of “throwing the other attorney under the bus” by simply disclaiming responsibility for the brief.  Judge Bucklew pointed out that most judges would appreciate an attorney acknowledging the brief’s shortcomings but assuring the court that he or she was prepared to “fill in the gaps.”

The students were engaged and enthusiastic about working with sitting judges. Federal Bar Association Cooley Student Chapter President Angela Tormey said, “Having the opportunity to spend time with judges, get their personal insight on simulated real-world situations, and have that two-way conversation was very educational.  It certainly brought to life lessons we encounter in the law school setting.” Third-year student Eula Bacon was even able to use some of what she learned the very next week during Trial Skills.  Judge Charles P. Sniffen had explained that, when preparing to question a witness, a good attorney should first consider the answers he or she wants to elicit and then draft the questions needed to get those answers.


In attendance were:

  1. Hon. Susan C. Bucklew, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division;
  2. Hon. John F. Lakin, 12th Circuit Court of Florida
  3. Hon. Janette Dunnigan, 12th Circuit Court of Florida
  4. Hon.Diana Moreland, 12th Circuit Court of Florida
  5. Hon. David L. Denkin, Sarasota County Court of Florida
  6. Hon. Charles P. Sniffen, Manatee County Court of Florida

The judges were prepared, positive, and encouraging. According to Judge Dunnigan, “There are many concerns about the decline of professionalism and ethical behavior among lawyers.  Exercises like this can reinvigorate professionalism in the practice of law.  When you graduate an ethical and professional lawyer, you are one step closer to restoring the legal profession to its former place of honor.”

WMU-Cooley Professor Barbara Kalinowski

WMU-Cooley Professor Barbara Kalinowski

Blog author Professor Barbara Kalinowski teaches Research and Writing and has served in various judicial attorney and clerkship positions with the Michigan Court of Appeals in Detroit and the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan. She has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan Publications and Website Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Committee, the Legal Writing Institute, the American Society of Legal Writers (Scribes), and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (2007-2009).


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Barristers’ Ball: An evening to remember say WMU-Cooley law students

WMU-Cooley Tampa Bay law students Rob Johnson and Sabrina Mentor had nothing but high praise for the Third Annual Barristers’ Ball.  The prestigious event, hosted by the Tampa Bay Student Bar Association, an organization entirely run by students, was very well attended with nearly 200 students, faculty, staff and respected members of the Tampa Bay community, present on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 (Photo gallery below).

Rob Johnson and his wife, Ainsley Johnson

Rob Johnson and his wife, Ainsley Johnson

“To help grasp the significance of a Barristers’ Ball, one must first understand that a barrister is an attorney from a common law country, who generally represents a litigant in court and presents that case before a judge and jury,” explained Rob Johnson. “More specifically, a Barristers’ Ball is an annual event held at most law schools in common law countries, such as: the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It is a formal or semi-formal event where all students are encouraged to attend, network and have fun with colleagues and professionals in a relaxed social environment.”

The Barristers’ Ball was held in downtown Tampa from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the University Club of Tampa located on the top floor of the One Tampa City Center building. The building, commonly referred to as the U-Club, has a vast history of tradition, prominent members, and is also known as one of the oldest, private, member’s only clubs in the Tampa Bay area. “Each guest that arrived was immediately greeted with the red carpet treatment, literally,” according to Rob.

Judge Edward LaRose and his wife mingling with students during the cocktail hour

Judge Edward LaRose and his wife mingling with students during the cocktail hour

Sabrina Mentor and WMU-Cooley Professor Karen Fultz

Sabrina Mentor and WMU-Cooley Professor Karen Fultz

They were then escorted to one of many rooms where cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were being served. “The long hours and meticulous details were well worth it to see the looks of joy and astonishment on everyone’s faces,” agreed Sabrina Mentor.

“Let me just say WOW to the view – it was absolutely breathtaking,” continued Rob. “The students looked amazing and everyone was dressed to impress for the elegant evening ahead.  A rumor floating around proved to be true, as there was indeed a special drink called ‘The Martlew;’ appropriately named after our fearless leader, Dean Jeffrey Martlew.”

Dinner was served in the main dining room where the guest speaker, Judge Edward LaRose, who sits on Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals, “delivered a powerful and insightful message to everyone in attendance,” stated Rob.

He imparted wisdom to all who attended. “Establish goals for your career and your personal life,” suggested Judge LaRose to the crowded room. “Have a five year plan. Have a 10 year plan. Engage in activities that are going to advance that plan and do not hesitate to share your plan with a prospective employer … But be ready to seize unexpected opportunities through faith, fate, or just plain dumb luck.”

Judge Edward LaRose

Judge Edward LaRose

“It was an honor to hear him speak about life, law school, the journey after graduation, and most importantly, not to forget our families and friends, who should be most treasured,” said Sabrina.

Shortly thereafter, it was time to dance the night away with DJ Cardinal. “He was outstanding,” said Rob. “For those looking for a place to rest those dancing shoes, a short stroll down the hall led to the dessert room, which offered a warm and relaxing ambiance. This is where the signature ‘Barrister Pastry’ could be found, along with coffee and other fine desserts.”

“What was going on next door, you may ask?  The Photo Booth room, of course,” smiled Sabrina. “A professional photographer, the use of props, and a keepsake filmstrip brought the experience to a whole new level of fun, with lasting memories.”

WMU-Cooley students Eric Anderson and Steffanie Brown

WMU-Cooley students Eric Anderson and Steffanie Brown

“The event was surely not to be forgotten,” stated Rob emphatically. “Every student was proud to be there, and looking forward to attending next year! The Student Bar Association was thankful for such a spectacular event and the fun and camaraderie. We especially want to thank the committee, as well as WMU-Cooley faculty and staff for all of the hard work and support!”

Student Bar Association member Mark Patterson echoed Rob and Sabrina’s good wishes. “I very much enjoyed this year’s event and I look forward to attend next year’s Barristers’ Ball event as a proud WMU-Cooley graduate and as a sponsor!”

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WMU-Cooley’s Lansing Campus Is One of Nation’s Best Affordable Places to Live

Lansing is ranked as one of the nation’s best affordable places to live, in fact the fourth best of all, according to a major source on lifestyles nationally,  The site salutes the great value to be found in Lansing from housing and transportation costs to bargains with entertainment, shopping, and education.

Livability places Lansing at the top with other great cities, noting: “These budget-friendly cities offer lots of things to do and help families stretch their paychecks further. ”  It specifically highlights the outstanding culture and recreation our city has to offer:

With many restaurants, bars and music venues catering to the college crowd, residents can easily find great deals. Lansing City Market, which overlooks the Grand River in downtown, provides a lively setting for residents to procure farm fresh produce, artwork and crafts. Bike trails, walking paths and gardens tempt outdoor lovers to engage in the recreational activities Lansing offers. Kayakers are often seen paddling through town.



Lansing’s high ranking comes as no surprise to us.  As we wrote last year, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s students, faculty, and staff have long enjoyed the benefits of living, working, and studying in Lansing.  We in the Lansing community share in outstanding cultural diversity, a host of arts and entertainment, wonderful recreational activities, great restaurants, major historical attractions, and, of course, abundant educational opportunity.  For a taste of the city, see the video This is My Downtown.

Come and visit Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Lansing campus.  It’s a great place to learn the law.  We would be glad to show you around!


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