Category Archives: Cooley’s Great Locations

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooley's Great Locations, Faculty Scholarship, Knowledge, Skills, Ethics, Latest News and Updates, Student News, Uncategorized

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooley's Great Locations, Faculty Scholarship, study abroad, Uncategorized

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:





Leave a comment

Filed under Cooley's Great Locations, Faculty Scholarship, Uncategorized

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).


Filed under Cooley's Great Locations, Faculty Scholarship, Student News, Achievements, Awards, Uncategorized

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!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooley's Great Locations, Faculty Scholarship, Student News, Achievements, Awards, Uncategorized

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!


See us on the web generally at

Leave a comment

Filed under About Cooley Law School, History, Cooley's Great Locations, Latest News and Updates

Cooley’s Great Campus Locations: Grand Rapids

wmich_cooleylaw_verticalThe fact that WMU-Cooley’s campuses are located in cities considered among the best places to live in the nation may surprise some people, but it won’t surprise anyone at the Law School. The exciting cities of Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Grand RapidsLansing and Tampa surround our great campuses.  This post, the fifth of a series by Sharon Matchette featuring campus-area attractions, focuses on Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids, the second biggest city in Michigan, is a unique blend of culture, education, museums, nightlife and family fun. And, even though it’s an inland city, Grand Rapids boasts the attractions of some of Michigan’s finest beaches with the west coast shoreline of the state only a half hour away.


Recently named one of the top 10 destinations to visit in 2014, Grand Rapids is an exciting place in with to live and learn.


One of Grand Rapids’ must-experience events is the annual ArtPrize competition and exhibit,  scheduled this year for Sept. 24-Oct. 12. More than 1,500 artists create works in a variety of media, decorating the community with their most creative efforts. During the first 11 days of the event, visitors tour the works, voting for the entries they think should win. In the next 5 days, people vote for their favorite of the Top 10 entries.  In addition, you should not miss the wonderful Grand Rapids Art Museum.

After seeing the city’s great art, take advantage of Grand Rapids’ thriving music scene. The free Jazz at the Zoo Series, now in its 14th season, features jazz each Monday evening, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the John Ball Zoo. The city’s GrandJazzFest brings a wide range of performers to town.  For Blues fans, the 97LAVFM Blues on the Mall Series is held through the summer. Not to be outdone, Thursday evenings each summer feature music as well with GRAM on the Green,  a series that includes live outdoor music and free museum admission. The music ranges from hip hop, to pop, to salsa, performed on the museum terrace.  In fact, many more opportunities exist to listen to great music in Grand Rapids. Visit the Experience Grand Rapids site to get a comprehensive list.


Experience Grand Rapids notes that “you can see and do more in Grand Rapids in one day, than you can in a week in other cities.” There are so many things to do, however, you just might need that week — or more.


From the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park to the Public Museum of Grand Rapids,and the John Ball Zoological Garden, Grand Rapids is a destination site for families who want interesting things to do and places to see.


Sports fans have much to cheer about in Grand Rapids as well. From the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team to the West Michigan Whitecaps (affiliate of the Detroit Tigers), there is a calendar full of organized sports to keep fans busy.  And for shopping fans, there is a mix of local stores with one-of-a-kind finds to large malls, such as Woodland Mall and Rivertown Crossings with hundreds of brand-name stores.

Come and visit WMU-Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus.  We would be glad to show you around!

See WMU-Cooley on the web at

Leave a comment

Filed under About Cooley Law School, History, Cooley's Great Locations, Latest News and Updates