Category Archives: Student News

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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Perspectives on Mental Health Topic of WMU-Cooley Law Review Symposium

“Mental Health: A Michigan Perspective” will be the topic of discussion at this year’s Western Michigan University Cooley Law Review’s Annual Symposium at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Lansing campus. The May 19 event will feature a diverse panel of community leaders from a variety of backgrounds including law, healthcare, non-profit, state government and corrections. The group will discuss issues facing mental health today. The event will be held 1-4 p.m., in Room 911 of the Cooley Center, 300 S. Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan.

“Mental Health: A Michigan Perspective” will be the topic of discussion at this year’s Western Michigan University Cooley Law Review’s Annual Symposium

Panelists include:

  • Gov. Brian Calley: Michigan lieutenant governor
  • Beverly Griffor: managing partner, Collis & Griffor, P.C.
  • Milton L. Mack, Jr.: court administrator, Michigan Supreme Court
  • Professor Lauren Rousseau: professor, WMU-Cooley Law School
  • Major Sam Davis: corrections major, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mark Reinstein: president & CEO, Mental Health Association of Michigan

First elected as lieutenant governor in 2010, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is an advocate for inclusion in Michigan, working to ensure all individuals can live independent and self-determined lives. Calley chaired the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission, the Prescription Drug and Opioid Task Force and the Special Education Reform Task Force. He also leads the Mental Health Diversion Council. He is committed to developing and implementing strategies to improve outcomes for all students in Michigan, as well as people with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and addiction issues.

At Collis and Griffor, P.C., Beverly Griffor handles matters from business law, intellectual property, probate and family law. Upon graduation from the University of Michigan, Griffor was involved in research projects, which focused on self-esteem and achievement, as well as juvenile criminal offenders and recidivism. She received her Juris Doctor from Ave Maria School of Law and is pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology at Fielding Graduate University. Griffor is currently doing research in the areas of personality disorders, child testimony, jury perception and forensic evaluations.

Nationally recognized as a leader on issues related to mental health, Milton L. Mack, Jr. frequently presents to judges and the legal community on topics ranging from end-of life decisions to the use of technology to improve court efficiency. Mack was a leader in advocating reform to make the Michigan’s judiciary more efficient and accountable while serving as a Wayne County Probate Court Judge. Prior to joining the bench in 1990, Mack was a private practice attorney and served as a Wayne County commissioner (1983–1990) and city of Wayne councilman (1979–82). Mack became the state court administrator in 2015.

Professor Lauren Rousseau has been a faculty member with WMU-Cooley Law School since 2004. Rousseau is chair of the school’s Civil Procedure and Evidence & Practice Skills Department and has served as an assistant dean with the law school. Rousseau is a strong advocate and frequent speaker on the very personal and painful topic of addiction. She serves on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations, which include the Home of New Vision, an addiction treatment nonprofit corporation in Washtenaw County; the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (ACHC), which oversees 16 coalitions in Oakland County focused on substance abuse and prevention and the Oakland County chapters of Families Against Narcotics; and Access to Bankruptcy Court, a nonprofit corporation providing pro bono bankruptcy services to indigent clients.

Prior to working as a correction major with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Sam Davis was a teacher, coach and administrator with Lansing Public Schools from 1974 to 2007. The Michigan State University graduate has been the president of the Lansing Wrestling Officials Association since 1992 and is a lead teaching official at Michigan High School Athletic Association clinics.

Mark Reinstein serves as the president and CEO of the Mental Health Association in Michigan (MHAM). MHAM is the state’s oldest advocacy organization for individuals experiencing mental illness. In the past, Reinsten served on the steering committee of Michigan Partners for Parity, a statewide coalition with more than 60 members that seeks the enactment of mental health parity law in Michigan.

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New Law Students Take Honor Code Oath During Auburn Hills Orientation Program

Incoming students at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus participated in the law school’s Professionalism in Action (PIA) Orientation program April 28 and took the law school’s honor code oath. During the program, State Bar of Michigan (SBM) President-Elect Donald Rockwell spoke to students about the importance of being an ethical lawyer, and Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski administered the honor code oath.

Incoming WMU-Cooley Law School students take the WMU-Cooley Honor Code Oath on April 28.

During his remarks, Rockwell said, “The best lawyers I know are the ones with the highest ethics. You cannot be a good lawyer without being an ethical lawyer.”

As part of the Professionalism in Action event, law students had the opportunity to meet with judges and attorneys from the community and ask question about professional and ethical situations attorneys may face during their careers.

Before administering the law school’s honor code oath, Switalski spoke about the do’s and don’ts of a lawyer, but from the perspective of a judicial clerk.

The WMU-Cooley honor code is the commitment all entering students take, along with the law school’s faculty and staff during each orientation. At each campus, a judge administers the oath and new students are introduced to WMU’s honor code, which states, “ethics are as important as academic performance and the mastery of practical legal skills.

16th Circuit Court Judge Mark Switalski administers the WMU-Cooley Honor Code Oath during the law school’s orientation program on April 28.

State Bar of Michigan President-Elect Donald Rockwell speaks with incoming students at WMU-Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus during the law school’s Professionalism in Action Orientation Program.

During WMU-Cooley’s Professionalism in Action Orientation Program, judges and attorneys offered students advice on various professional and ethical dilemmas faced by attorneys in practice. Pictured are (front row, left-right) Assistant Dean Lisa Halushka; State Bar of Michigan President-Elect Donald Rockwell, Nill Rockwell PC; Associate Dean Joan Vestrand; (back row, left-right) Antoinette Raheem, Law and Mediation Office of Antoinette Raheem PC; Jeffery May, Kerr Russell & Weber, PLC; Hon. Mark Switalski, 16th Judicial Circuit Court; Hon. David A. Perkins, 36th District Court; and Hon. Edward Ewell, 3rd Judicial Circuit Court.

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Judge Administers Honor Code During Grand Rapids Campus Orientation

Judge Christina Elmore of the 61st Judicial District Court in Michigan spoke to incoming students April 27, and presented the honor code during Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s orientation program at the Grand Rapids campus. All entering students, faculty and staff take the honor code oath at orientation as a commitment to the law school’s ethical standards.

Judge Christina Elmore administers the WMU-Cooley Law School honor code to entering students at the law school’s Grand Rapids campus orientation.

Prior to administering the oath, Elmore described professionalism and integrity as the cornerstones of the legal profession. She spoke of the value of self-policing and reporting duties, and how that obligation starts in law school.

She referenced lawyer jokes, which often have a negative punch line about the legal profession, and described how the jokes differed from her experiences.

“There is high importance of honor and integrity in our profession,” Elmore said. “When lawyers say something, I can believe what they are telling me, and I can trust what they are saying because they have integrity.”

She also touched on the importance of community service, encouraging the students to join the Grand Rapids Bar Association.

Elmore was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Grand Rapids District Court bench in February 2016. She is a former judge advocate general for the U.S. Air Force, and has taught military law as an adjunct professor at WMU-Cooley. Her background also includes service as a former Kent County assistant prosecuting attorney and an assistant attorney general.

Judge Christina Elmore speaks to incoming students during WMU-Cooley Law School’s honor code portion of the Grand Rapids campus orientation on April 27.

New WMU-Cooley Law School students’ mentors pictured (left-right) Christopher Podoll, Kris Johnson, Melissa McKinney, Kristyna Nunzio, Holly Robrahn, Mary Anne Simmering, Bronte Reisinger, Emilee Umfleet and Lee Melde. The individuals were paired with new WMU-Cooley students as part of a new orientation mentoring program organized by the West Michigan Student Bar Association Mentorship Committee.

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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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