Tag Archives: Cooley memories

A Lovely Tribute to a Lovely Lady

Scott Hughes

Scott Hughes, a 2011 summa cum laude Cooley graduate, practices civil litigation, environmental law, and energy and natural resources law at the Grand Rapids firm of Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones.  While he was articles editor of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, Scott worked daily with our beloved Dawn Beachnau, the long-time administrator of the Law Review who died earlier this year. Scott’s tribute below suggests the kind of impact Dawn had on literally thousands of Cooley students.

I was deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Dawn C. Beachnau, a mentor and beloved friend. Although the words of one stranger may offer little comfort, my hope is that the collective memories of the students fortunate to know Dawn may provide her friends and family some console during this difficult time.

Dawn BeachnauDawn’s involvement with the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review extended far beyond administration. Dawn devoted herself not just to the publication, but also to the people involved with the organization. I believe that it was her genuine care for people that motivated Dawn to continue serving on the Law Review year after year. In doing so, Dawn left a lasting mark on countless faculty members and students, including myself.

During my tenure on Law Review, I spent many hours with Dawn and others and created many memories. Still, when I remember Dawn, my mind almost always returns to the same memory, a heartfelt hug and some shared tears in saying our goodbyes just before my graduation. Dawn left me that day with a few special words that I still hold dear to my heart.

I will always remember Dawn for being a loving and compassionate person, and I will remember her bright smile and her caring eyes. 

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Filed under About Cooley Law School, History, Alumni Stories and News, Student Experiences

Alive and Well in Broward County, Florida

Michael A. Sobel and sons.

By Michael A. Sobel

Wiest Class, 1979

Last evening a warm ocean breeze gently swept across my cheeks. It helped to ease the potent humidity by taking regular sips from my glass of cool chardonnay. I watched a flock of pelicans flying just above me in precise formation as I picked up a stack of old reading material, including several Cooley Benchmark Column publications.

 It was disheartening to read that so many alumni from my era had died. I think I enrolled in the Clark Class but graduated early with the Weist Class (1979). Things have been busy, so I have not been back to visit Cooley since graduation day, over 32 years ago, but fond memories have survived.
I cherish thoughts of watching Gunsmoke reruns in the student lounge while eating those chewy, delicious cinnamon rolls topped with thick pastry creme that we got from what was then the second floor cafeteria
I earned the Book Award in Dean Krinock’s Professional Ethics class, and maybe also a top grade in young Professor Weiner’s Criminal Law class. There was also a really nice guy teaching first year Contracts named Otto Stockmeyer. Glad to see he and Professor Weiner are still there.
Professor Rooney, a Harvard Law graduate, in freshman year Property class laughed with sinister joy after giving a midterm exam on material that he assured us would not be on the test.  Looking back, he was right:  getting blind sided did help prepare us for the often grueling pursuit of justice and practice of law.
And then there was Professor Don LeDuc in first year torts and Professor Needham who taught Civil Procedure; these may have been my two worst grades. So ironically, of course, I have enjoyed over 32 years of successfully practicing torts and civil litigation. Truth be told, they were all great teachers, and a relatively new Thomas M. Cooley Law School, lead by Justice Thomas E. Brennan, really did prepare me well for a lifetime of fulfillment in the law.
So now, with much pride as a father and lawyer, both of my sons have decided to join and expand my practice. The Sobel Law Firm: Two Generations – Committed to Personal Service. Helping one client at a time. Never any advertising, just word of mouth and hard work. Thank you to Thomas M. Cooley Law School for giving me the skills and opportunity for a very good life as part of an honorable profession.
Please know that at least one alumni law practice is booming in Pompano Beach, Florida, and not all the graduates from the early days are dead. 🙂  I will update you again on our firm’s progress in another three decades.
Michael A. Sobel
Sobel Law Firm
Michael A. Sobel, P.A.
1701 E. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 2
Pompano Beach, FL 33060-9946


Filed under About Cooley Law School, History, Alumni Stories and News, The Value of a Legal Education