Sarasota Artist and WMU-Cooley Grad Donates Art to WMU-Cooley Law School

Artist and WMU-Cooley graduate Elaine Charney  unveiled “We the People,” a 33-inch by 27-inch watercolor to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Tampa Bay campus Associate Dean Ron Sutton during a dedication on Friday, May 12. The work will remain permanently on display at the law school.

Pictured (left-right) Sarasota artist and former attorney Elaine Charney, WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Ron Sutton and WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Katherine Gustafson at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus during the dedication of Charney’s watercolor painting, “We the People,” on May 12.

“We the People” was the recipient of the Cutting Edge Award at the International Society of Experimental Artists Exhibition in 2016. The painting is founded upon abstract principles but also includes some representational realism.

During the dedication, Charney spoke to WMU-Cooley faculty, staff and students about the meaning behind her painting. First called “The Gathering,” it was later renamed “We the People” in honor of WMU-Cooley Law School and in recognition of today’s divided world.

Charney expressed her gratitude to the law school and how it influenced her life. She stressed the value of finding and pursuing a second passion after practicing law.

“I love law, but now I am 180 degrees different,” Charney said. “I went from the left side of the brain to the right side of the brain. When I first picked up a brush I went, oh my goodness, this is a calling.”

Charney served as an administrative law judge in Michigan and worked for the Department of Homeland Security before she turned to art as a career in 2006. She teaches beginning and intermediate through advanced watercolor classes for adult community enrichment at Suncoast Technical College. Charney was presented the Cutting Edge Award at the 2016 International Society of Experimental Artist. In 2015, her art was accepted into the National Art Exhibition-Punta Gorda and has received many awards for her work.

Charney earned her law degree at WMU-Cooley and studied art and watercolor design under Douglas H. Teller, professor emeritus, George Washington University.

Sarasota artist Elaine Charney speaks to WMU-Cooley Law School faculty, staff and students about the meaning behind her watercolor painting, “We the People,” which was unveiled on May 12 at the law school’s Tampa Bay campus.

We the People,” a 33-inch by 27-inch watercolor created by Sarasota artist Elaine Charney, was presented to WMU-Cooley Law School Tampa Bay campus Associate Dean Ron Sutton during a dedication on Friday, May 12.

Leave a comment

Filed under Achievements, Alumni Stories and News

WMU-Cooley graduate Ken Ross Named President/COO of Michigan Credit Union League

WMU-Cooley graduate Ken RossWestern Michigan University-Cooley Law School graduate Ken Ross (Fellows Class, 1997) was recently promoted from EVP to President/COO of The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL). In his new position, his primary responsibility will focus on the association’s affiliation efforts, federal and state advocacy relationships, and all association functions.

He will be the primary liaison to credit union system organizations such as CUNA and AACUL. Ross has extensive experience working in the political and regulatory affairs at the state and national level with an emphasis on the financial service sector. In 2000, Ross was hired by the Michigan Credit Union League as the Regulatory Affairs Director and spent three years working on re-codifying the Michigan Credit Union Act, which remains one of the most progressive state credit union acts in the nation. In 2003, he was named Chief of Staff to the Commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation, and in 2008 he was appointed Commissioner, serving as the Chief Financial Regulator for Michigan, leading the agency of over 350 staff and a budget of over $50 million during the financial turmoil that upended economies around the globe.

In 2013, he returned to the Michigan Credit Union League as EVP/COO, responsible for the trade association operations, including Government Affairs, Education and Communications. Ross led a two-year effort to update the Michigan Credit Union Act, culminating with the governor signing legislation in 2016 at the MCUL Annual Conference & Exposition.

According to Dave Adams, “The MCUL Board discussed these changes at great length and expressed strong confidence in Ken Ross in this new role. This also aligns with the board’s desire to plan and execute a good succession plan for MCUL & Affiliates. Our boards and I have tremendous confidence in Ken’s talents and skills as well as his passion for the credit union mission.”

These changes will help assure that both MCUL and CUSG have the management and leadership strength necessary to serve Michigan’s credit unions and the credit union community nationally through CUSG and the newly acquired company, LifeStep Solutions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Uncategorized

WMU-Cooley Law School Holds Annual Charity Event to Kickstart a Detroit Scholar’s Path to Law School

The Auburn Hills campus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School will hold its annual charity event, FUNDS – Financing the Undergraduate Needs of Detroit Scholars, on Saturday, May 20, 6-9 p.m., in Room 145. The event will raise money to help a graduate of a Detroit public school attend college through the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Scholarship.

Designed to support individuals interested in law school, and who would otherwise not be able to afford college, the scholarship supports needs not often included in other scholarships or financial aid such as transportation, clothes and food. It is administered by Detroit College Promise, a non-profit organization connected to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. This year’s event will include live entertainment and a silent auction.

Entertainers include: comedian and magician Keith Stickley, music by acoustic duo Lions  to Nowhere featuring Scott and Christine Sawyer, other music performances by Katie Stanley and WMU-Cooley Associate Dean James Robb.

Tickets are $30 per person or $200 per group of eight. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Lisa Halushka at 248-751-7800, ext. 7737 or halushkl@cooley.edu.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News and Updates, Uncategorized

President has “right” to fire Comey, but unprecedented action according to legal experts

WMU-Cooley Law School Constitutional Law Professors Devin Schindler and Brendan Beery were invited to share their expert analysis regarding the firing of FBI Director James Comey. WMU-Cooley Law School Constitutional Law Professor Devin Schindler shares expert analysis on the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

While speaking with WZZM TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Schindler said, “Let us remember that under Article Two of the Constitution the president has specific authority to appoint heads of departments of the United States,” said Schindler. “The president has the right to appoint these officers, but he also has the right to terminate them as well.”

Read more expert analysis on other issues from Professor Schindler here.

Beery, who was also interviewed by Tampa, Florida’s, Bay News 9, agrees with Schindler, but also reflects on the historical significance of Comey’s firing.  “It was unquestionably within President Trump’s constitutional authority to fire former FBI Director James Comey, said Beery. “It is also historically unprecedented for a president to fire an FBI director while that director is actively investigating the president’s administration. Trump’s allusion in his letter firing Comey to communications between Comey and himself also raises serious questions: such contact between the White House and an investigative agency is highly improper.”

Professor Beery is often tapped in the media as an expert on the Constitution. Viewers respect his clear, concise and objective analysis.

Want to understand more about the legal ramifications under the U.S. Constitution as it relates to the latest news and events? Read more from Professor Beery here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Uncategorized

Professionalism, Honor Code Highlight WMU-Cooley Lansing Orientation

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Amy Ronayne Krause and Alecia Ruswinckel of the State Bar of Michigan spoke to incoming law students about ethics of law during orientation at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Lansing campus on Friday, April 28.

New students pose for a picture with Judge Amy Ronayne Krause (center) after taking WMU-Cooley Law School’s honor code oath, which Krause administered during the law school’s Lansing campus orientation on April 28.

During the orientation, Krause administered the law school’s honor code oath, which all entering students, faculty and staff take as a commitment to the law school’s ethical standards.

The honor code states that “ethics are as important as academic performance and the mastery of practical legal skills.” It emphasizes ethics as an integral part of the law school experience, and “encourages the development of the ethical values that law students and lawyers as professionals must possess.”

Ruswinckel, professional standards assistant counsel for the State Bar of Michigan, led a discussion with law students about professionalism and the value of ethics in the legal field.

In addition to her service as a judge on the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Michigan, Krause is an adjunct professor at WMU-Cooley Law School. Before serving  on the Michigan Court of Appeals, she served as a judge for the Michigan 54A Judicial District Court for almost eight years. From 2013 to 2015, Krause served on the Michigan Court of Claims. She began her legal career in private practice, and then served for eight years as an assistant prosecuting attorney, followed by six years in the Criminal Division of the Michigan Office of Attorney General.

Ruswinckel joined the State Bar of Michigan in December 2014. She provides education, information, support and guidance in the area of ethics to attorneys throughout Michigan. Prior to joining the bar, she was an associate attorney with Anderson, Stull & Associates, focusing her practice on general civil matters including business, real estate, probate and family law.

Judge Amy Ronayne Krause, Fourth District Court of Appeals in Michigan, administers the WMU-Cooley Law School honor code to entering students at the law school’s Lansing campus orientation on April 28.

Alecia Ruswinckel (right), professional standards assistant counsel for the State Bar of Michigan, speaks with WMU-Cooley Law School incoming students during the law school’s orientation program.

Leave a comment

Filed under Knowledge, Skills, Ethics, Latest News and Updates

WMU-Cooley graduate Hardam Tripathi: Diversity, culture and a passion to help others

WMU-Cooley is a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School. This month’s military blog feature is recent WMU-Cooley graduate Hardam Tripathi. Learn about his law school journey and his new position as an Officer and Judge Advocate with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.

Early on, Hardam Tripathi knew he wanted to be an attorney. He knew he liked working with people and he knew he wanted to do something that could make a difference in his community. Yet his path to his ultimate career choice was winding. He originally thought his educational background would lead him to a career in the health industry, especially after obtaining a master’s degree in pharmaceutical outcomes and policy.

But it wasn’t until he went to law school that he discovered his real passion.

“I remember looking into law schools after I finished my graduate degree from the University of Florida,” recalled Tripathi. “I didn’t know about Western Michigan University Cooley Law School because it was new in the Tampa Bay area. A friend of mine, who is in the Army special forces, was attending WMU-Cooley and he had a lot of good things to say about the law school. He told me that WMU-Cooley was a great place to study law for someone with a military background or interested in a military career. He told me that WMU-Cooley was a very military friendly school and it offered a great program in support of the military like offering military law classes and homeland and a national security law review.

“My friend told me that all of the professors had practiced law in the industry for many years, and they knew exactly how the law was applied. When you have a practitioner teaching you the law versus someone who is just teaching theory alone, it makes for a much better experience as a student.

But what really made my mind up was the personal and friendly relationships I made with the people and my belief in the law school’s inclusive mission. That’s why I chose Western Michigan University Cooley Law School over any other law school in the Florida state area.”

“Culture is key,” stated Tripathi. “Culture is who we are. It’s what we’re made up of. It is the fundamental part of life that sticks to us in all different societies. It is the United States of America. It’s culture. It is diversity. So, when you want to become a practitioner and study law, and practice law, diversity is very key. It’s something that’s so important in our day-to-day lives. It’s what attracted me to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

“The thing is, when you go into the real world, you’re not going to be working with people just like you. You’re going to be working with people of all different types of races, cultures, religions and creeds. I believe WMU-Cooley instills this in their students – to respect diversity. To respect culture. To respect a life where people respect other views and their viewpoints.”

During his time at WMU-Cooley, Tripathi honed in on his career options and potential by taking advantage of the law school’s clinical opportunities and extra-curricular activities.

“It was during my internship with the Community Legal Service in Florida, where I discovered my interest for government work,” recalled Tripathi. “After that internship, I worked with the DEA (Diversion Control Division), the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), and then the U.S. State Department, where I learned about veterans law and worked with veterans. I loved it!

“I then got to participate in an internship with the U.S. Air Force JAG Corp at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. I felt so lucky to be selected, especially since there is a lower than 5 percent acceptance rate in the program.

“My experience at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School really comes down to the professors and the students. Our people are the grain that makes up this university. My professors taught me how to handle certain situations and issues and how to advocate zealously for your clients, professionally and responsibly. These are the kind of professors that we breed here at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. They are great because they teach and ingrain these values in the students to make sure that you aren’t just a decent attorney but a great person and a great professional. I would say there are some experiences I had with my professors that will have a lasting impact on me.

It was his experience with U.S. Air Force JAG Corp though that solidified his love and passion to serve in the military as a judge advocate.

This past April, Tripathi graduated from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. He found it to be one of the most memorable experiences of his life having his classmates, professors, family, friends, and all his loved ones there in support of his accomplishment. What was even nicer was that he already had a job.

“I am proud to say I will be serving the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps as an Officer and Judge Advocate. I am very excited to start and to serve my country.”

Tripathi has already set new goals for himself. He believes in having short-, mid-, and long-term goals, but his ultimate goal is to help his community and to serve.

“What is the purpose of going to law school,” questioned Tripathi, “if it is not to help those who can’t help themselves?

“I think it is very important, especially in the legal profession where you are entrusted with the responsibility to help others, that you are always professional and work with your clients in an ethical manner. My immediate goal is to serve in military and immerse myself in the legal field and profession. After that, I can see myself possibly in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor.

Tripathi is a self-proclaimed family man. Coming from an Indian descent, he feels his background and its cultural traditions play into his dedication to family and community.

“Ultimately, why do we all do this – it is for our families,” declared Tripathi. “Why do we become doctors? Why do we become lawyers? Why do we become engineers? Why do we do anything that we do? It is for our families.”

Tripathi enjoys playing drums, singing, sports, and travel.

“We love to sing and do a lot of singing events,” smiled Tripathi. “We will go out to different places and play music together. It’s a wonderful way instill culture and joy to my family. I also love being active and participating in sports like basketball and running. Staying active physically keeps me going.

“Another important thing to me is serving on the executive board of directors of the United Nations Association. It has expanded my awareness of my culture and other cultures and learn what is going on the world around us. In India, there is a spring festival called Holi. It’s known as the festival of colors and signifies good over evil. It’s always a fun day to gather together to play, laugh, forget and forgive. The powders and colors are used symbolize love and repair of broken relationships.

Traveling is also key though. We relish our family cruises and trips to other states and countries. It’s a wonderful to just get away and relax. Ultimately, we plan to make a sojourn to India.

Hardam2

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Cooley's Great Locations, Military Feature, The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized

WMU-Cooley Law School Grand Rapids Launches Creative Writing Workshop Series

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids campus is launching Lawyer Storytelling in Fiction, a creative writing workshop series open to the public on May 16. The series consists of three sessions which will explore the concept, implementation and publication of original, law-related short stories. Sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 16, June 14 and July 13 at the law school’s Grand Rapids location, 111 Commerce Ave. SW.

Throughout the series, each participant will create a 3,000 to 5,000-word fictional story. Workshop sessions will include panel speakers and small-group discussions. Upon completion of the series, participants will be able to submit their stories for editing and publication in a paperback print book collection.

“Lawyers must tell the true stories of their clients in compelling ways every day to be effective, which is why lawyers like John Grisham and Scott Turow have made such effective fiction writers,” said WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Nelson Miller, who will be leading the writing workshop series. “These workshops will explore the lawyer’s storytelling skill, both to help the public appreciate the value of that skill and law students and lawyers to improve their skill.”

Topics discussed during each workshop include

  • concept, May 16;
  • implementation, June 14;
  • and publication, July 13.

The series is open to WMU-Cooley Law School students, WMU graduate students and community members. Law students who register for Directed Study academic credit will pay WMU-Cooley tuition. Law students, who attend the series without seeking academic credit, and community members may participate at no charge. For more information about Lawyer Storytelling in Fiction, contact Nelson Miller at millern@cooley.edu.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized