Category Archives: study abroad

WMU-Cooley Professor Travels to Teach and to Learn

Travel is an exciting and artistic expression of life-long learning, but, for me, it extends to giving back through teaching and sharing knowledge. Looking back on 2016, I was very fortunate to travel to New Zealand and Australia to direct and take part in teaching WMU-Cooley Law School’s Down Under Study Abroad program. I also got to travel to Toronto, Charlotte, N.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, and my home state of Michigan to participate in educational conferences. 

Beyond travel, I believe an educator should do these three things:

  1. Teach what they know to the public and lawyers, as well as to their students
  2. Learn best practices in their fields so they can teach best practices
  3. Connect with professionals to better educate their students

Conferences can be a great way to give back while learning. At the summer 2016 International Journal of Clinical Legal Education conference in Toronto, I got to present and meet up with my fellow Monash clinical professors I met during my time earlier that year in Australia. The conference, The Risks and Rewards of Clinical Legal Education Programs, allowed me to share what I have learned as a clinical professor, while learning from other clinical professors around the globe of their experiences.

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In the fall, I presented a paper, along with colleague Professor Mabel Martin-Scott and law school professor Joni Larson, at the Southern Clinical Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. The topic of our presentation was “Mapping the Learning Outcomes to the Law School Curriculum Using Case Progression.” We outlined how a law school can create learning outcomes based on a student’s ability to represent a client, rather than on more traditional academic goals.

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Later that fall, I presented an ethics topic to legal services lawyers in Michigan, along with co-presenter Alison Hirschel, director of the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative.  The two of us, along with Syracuse University School of Law faculty Mary Helen McNeal and Nina Kohn, then presented that same topic to lawyers at the National Aging and the Law conference in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.  Our topic, “Three’s a Crowd: Representing Clients with Legal Representatives,” tackled a difficult ethics topic and gave elderlaw attorneys an opportunity to apply the information we provided to real-life scenarios.

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I am proud to say that all WMU-Cooley faculty are active scholars and educators, at the law school and in the community of lawyers and professionals.  

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is back this year in New Zealand and Australia to direct law school’s Study Abroad program in New Zealand and Australia after teaching the program last year. The experience was unforgettable for all, and she will again share her students experiences Down Under in 2017!

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WMU-Cooley law students inspired at United Nations Indigenous Issues forum

unsymbolWestern Michigan University Cooley Law students Stephanie Samuels and Linda Marion attended the 15th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The forum topic was Indigenous Rights and Stephanie and Linda were inspired. They share their experience below.     

We both took a course on Indigenous Rights during our participation in WMU-Cooley’s New Zealand foreign study program last winter. This eventually led us from New Zealand to New York to participate in the United Nations forum on the topic this past spring. Valmaine Toki, our law professor at the University of Waikato, encouraged us to attend the meeting. Professor Toki is an internationally respected expert in the field of Indigenous issues and the Vice Chair on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Stephanie Samuels (center)

Stephanie Samuels (center)

The theme of the 15th Annual Session of the UNPRII was “Indigenous Peoples: Conflict, Peace, and Resolution.” The topics covered included: autonomous processes and indigenous self-governance; the rights of Indigenous people to their ancestral lands and sustainable development; the effect of climate change, climate projects, and the Paris Agreement; the preservation of indigenous languages and culture; the unique role of indigenous women in addressing indigenous issues and gender equality; the role of nations in helping or hindering progress for indigenous peoples; the disproportionately high rate of suicide among indigenous youth, and many more. A special session was held to allow indigenous youth representatives to speak to the forum; this way, they were allowed to participate in the process and express their concerns directly to this powerful international body.

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As WMU-Cooley Law School representatives at the forum, we acted as academic observers to the presentations made by representatives of Indigenous peoples, nations, and NGOs from all over the world. During special side events, we were able to interact with indigenous representatives as well as international dignitaries and U.S. government officials from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. On one occasion, we met one-on-one with EPA Environmental Justice officials and a law professor heading an NGO on the subject area.

Welcome to the United Nations: Opening of the 15th Session of the UNPFII in the General Assembly Hall.

Welcome to the United Nations: Opening of the 15th Session of the UNPFII in the General Assembly Hall.

Another day, the door was opened to talk with diplomats and Indigenous representatives who assisted in drafting language related to Indigenous peoples for the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change; there were many such occasions. This was a wonderful opportunity for us — particularly since we are both interested in International Law. It allowed us to meet and interact with members of the global community and high ranking government officials. It broadened our understanding and opened doors to prospective national and international opportunities.

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We are thankful to WMU-Cooley and our New Zealand Study Abroad Professor Toki for encouraging us to attend the UNPFII meeting. WMU-Cooley’s Foreign Study Office coordinated and registered us on behalf on the law school, which opened the door for us to attend. We strongly urge other students to seek out similar opportunities as part of their personal and professional development.

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INTERESTING AND POTENTIALLY USEFUL LINKS:

Official summary of the 15th Session of the UNPFII.
Official transcript and a video of the presentation by Statement delivered by National Chief Perry Bellegarde.
More information on the United Nations focus on Indigenous peoples.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
More information on Indigenous peoples rights as they relate to intellectual property concerns (Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore)
More on international law and intellectual property.

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WMU-Cooley Students Witness British History

WMU-Cooley law students are spending part of their summer in Oxford, England. They are participating in a five-week study abroad program housed at Hertford College at the University of Oxford. The students are taking full advantage of this experience and have packed a lot into their days and weekends. They are engaged in stimulating classes taught by world class international law professors and learning about Britain.

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Here are some highlights:

1.  A trip to Middle Temple in London where students dined in the elegant building that has been a home to the British legal profession since the 14th Century.  Five signers of the Declaration of Independence were members.
2.  A trip to Bath to see the spa the Romans built in AD 60.
3.  Concerts at the centuries old Sheldonian Theater, Christ Church Chapel, and Exeter College Chapel, and a visit to the Museum of Natural History.
4.  Touring London on a double decker bus:  Students learned much from the locals as they helped to translate across the cultures.  Did you know adhesive bandages are called “plasters” in England?

5.  And being present for a moment in British history.  The immediate aftermath of Brexit and the election of Britain’s second female prime minister.  A lot has been learned by speaking with British citizens and listening to the BBC coverage.

WMU-Cooley has enjoyed its time in Great Britain and will remember these historic events.

vuletich_victoriaWMU-Cooley Law School Victoria Vuletich is directing the law school’s Study Abroad program in Toronto. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the 2016 summer semester.

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Australia Study Abroad Reaches New Heights and Sites

While studying in Melbourne as part of the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad program, students and faculty managed to find the time to travel outside of Melbourne to see all the wonderful sights this beautiful land had to offer. Australia is almost as large, geographically, as the United States, but has only about 6.5 percent of the number of people. Program participants were able to visit many beautiful places with vast, open, unsettled spaces of all sorts in between.

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The experience was spectacular and the Aussie destinations outside of Melbourne were amazing. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Australia, here are some places we recommend you visit:

  • The Great Ocean Road, with its cliff-top views of the Southern Ocean and the giant rock formations  known as the Twelve Apostles
  • Tasmania, full of mountains, oceans, beaches, rain forest, and history
  • Phillip Island, to see the little penguins on parade
  • The Great Barrier Reef, to dive and see the under-water wonders
  • Sydney, with its stunning sea-side sophistocated charms
  • The Grampian mountains, full of rugged bush walks, gorgeous views, Koori culture and kangaroos and wallabies in the wild
  • Adelaide, a beautiful old mining city on the ocean in the heart of the Barossa Valley wine region

You also must visit all the towns along the way, such as Mount Gambier, with its Victorian architecture, and the many vineyards you can find off the highway!

oleary_kimberlyWMU-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 are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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Study abroad students find that networking is not just local anymore.

In the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad program, law students spend lots of quality time with faculty. Director of the Program and WMU-Cooley Professor Kim O’Leary has come to know and appreciate program students and enjoys working with them. The students bring with them a love of travel and an inclination toward international law.

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During social visits, legal visits, informal gatherings and just in the break room around the law school, O’Leary and international faculty from the University of Waikato and Monash University exchange ideas with the students about careers, travel and life.

University staff share what it is like to live in Hamilton or Melbourne. O’Leary and her husband and daughter have hosted the students at their apartments in New Zealand and in Melbourne, providing home-cooked meals and relaxed conversation. International faculty — some recognized in world arenas — and Kiwi & Aussie lawyers have mixed with students in backyard barbeques around the pool and outings to the mountains and the beach.

Everywhere, students ask questions about the law in other cultures — what is legal practice like in NZ or Australia? What career paths are open in the international arena? Networking is not just local anymore!

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 are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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Tales of Wearing Wigs and Visits to Courts, Parliament, Consulate and Barrister

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The students and faculty of the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad are learning large by visiting as many legal venues around Melbourne as they could. So what’s the scoop on the wigs? And why do some judges wear them in Australia? What law students found out was that Judges from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia wear a plain black gown in court (without a wig) but the Judges of the Supreme Courts of the States and Territories of Australia do wear court dress similar to that worn by judges of the High Court of England and Wales, with the formality of full gowning and wigs.
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Visiting everything the law has to offer in Australia was easy. The Law Center where students take classes sits right in the heart of the legal district of Melbourne. The Supreme Court of Victoria and the Magistrate Court are also just a five-minute walk away, and the Victoria Paliament is a 5-minute tram ride.  At the Victoria County Court, Chief Judge Peter Kidd met with students to  discuss his work and the cases and issues that arise in that court. The WMU-Cooley group got to sit in on a complex sentencing hearing.20160408_144841_Richtone(HDR)

Students then got to visit Parliament. They toured the upper and lower chambers and the most beautiful law library we have ever seen.  At the U.S. Consulate General office in Melbourne, professional foreign service staff explained their careers and how the consulate works to help U.S. citizens in Melbourne, including issuing visas to people who hope to visit the United States.

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Barrister Robert Miller met with the students in his law chambers office. He explained what a barrister does and how he is engaged by solicitors to represent clients in court.  Mr. Miller then brought out his robe, jabot, and wig, and let the students try them on! Although wigs are becoming optional, barristers in robes and wigs can be seen frequenting the streets around the courts. Not only was this a fun and fascinating way to spend a day in Australia, WMU-Cooley students and faculty now have a much greater understanding of Australian courts, legal systems, and wonderful traditions – including wigs!

 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 are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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In Aussie – Art is Everywhere!

Melbourne is a city full of art. Students and faculty who are part of the WMU-Cooley Law program down under have been treated to a profusion of the arts. Everything from a cutting-edge Ai Wei Wei/Andy Warhol exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria to street art, which is everywhere!

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Walking around the lanes of Melbourne, you are surrounded by amazing street paintings! It can take hours to walk just in the center part of the city to see all of the murals, mosaics and sculptures. Aussie museums are full of Australian art – much of it painted by Koorie, or Aboriginal, peoples. The museums are full of old, traditional carvings, dot paintings, and paintings on bark; Victorian paintings that reflect the Continental styles of the day, and modern and contemporary pieces.

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The city is also full of musicians, poets, comedy and performance arts. Each of the numerous street festivals, fairs, and markets are replete with the sounds of jazz and singing. While we’ve been here, Melbourne has been host to an International Flower Show, the White Night creative arts festival, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the Moombah Festival, and the Melbourne International Comedy festival.

As some of us have traveled to other parts of Australia, we’ve seen art in Tasmania at such cutting-edge venues as MONA, a private art museum built into a cliff outside of Hobart and the Salamanca Arts district; a marvelous art museum in Adelaide, and sculptures everywhere!

The creative energy in Melbourne and elsewhere in Australia is one of the reasons Melbourne is consistently rated one of the world’s top liveable cities! WMU-Cooley students and faculty are lucky indeed to live in such a place!

 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 are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

 

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