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Lansing Trinity

What is Moot Court? 
by: Samantha Noah

Moot Court is the largest student organization at Cooley.  The organization focuses on Appellate Advocacy skills and exposes students to the Appellate process. Being a member of this organization provides students with necessary skills to become a successful litigator. Experience in Moot Court is also highly sought by perspective employers because of the organization’s nationwide, prestigious reputation.

To become a member, students may present an oral argument to the Moot Court Board. Students can do so by competition in the Melissa Mitchell Criminal Procedure Moot Court competition, enrolling in the Intra-School Moot Court class, or setting up a time with the board to present at your leisure. Upon completion of the argument, students will gain membership as part the Moot Court General Body and are eligible to apply for a position on the Executive Team.

The Melissa Mitchell Criminal Procedure Moot Court competition for Michaelmas 2013 will be held the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd. The signup deadline for the competition is October 27, 2013. For interested students, the Moot Court Board will be holding an Extreme Workshop which will familiarize students with how the competition works, and provide an opportunity for the members to answer any pre-completion questions that may arise. Additional information regarding the competition will be posted at a later date. Please keep an eye on the portal and The Pillar for more information.

All interested students are encouraged to participate in this rewarding and beneficial experience.

For more information about Moot Court, please contact or stop by our office, CC306, Monday through Friday, from 10am to 4pm.

Here is a link to the Moot Court website.

POW/MIA Recognition Day: September 20, 2013
Courtesy of: The Military Veterans Law Student Association

As time goes on remains are found
And another finds his way back home
After years spent lost on foreign shores
Feeling forgotten and left all alone.

But they will never be forgotten
By the Country they went off to serve
We will search until all are returned
To loved ones, the least they all deserve.

There are new ways to identify
DNA can tell, just who they may be
Those lost in those past conflicts
A Hero home, their final destiny.

War is so terrible and horrific
Worse for the POW and the MIA
All of those unaccounted for
Compounds the price they chose to pay.

Each year, we should all remember
Those we lost in the fog of War
Better yet, take a moment every day
While we appreciate what they fought for.

POW/MIA Recognition Day
Dedicated to honor their memory
For the time or life they gave
To keep this, 'The Land of the Free'.

--Author Unknown

Drone Panel Discussion Comes to Lansing

By: Joe Brigman

        On July 1, 2013, Thomas Cooley Law School's Lansing Campus hosted a panel of scholars for a Q & A discussion of the use of drones in the state of Michigan.  This panel was moderated by none other than Cooley professor BG (ret) Michael McDaniel.  The panel consisted of: Michigan State House of Representative Tom McMillin of the 45th District,  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan spokesperson Shelli Weisberg,  Director of the Michigan Chief of Police Association Robert Stevenson and Professor Charles Palmer of Thomas Cooley Law School.  These panelists discussed and debated the merits of HB 4455, a bill that would restrict the usage of drones by law enforcement personnel in the state of Michigan.  This bill was written and introduced to the Michigan Legislature on March 14, 2013 and has sense been referred to the Criminal Justice committee.   

        Prof. McDaniel asked guided questions of the panelists which prompted significant debate between the four of them.  Such issues that were discussed were warrant requirements, types of sensors used by the drones, feasibility of departments to afford the drones and what kind of bearing the current case law and statutes have on drones.  At the end of the moderator period, students were then allowed to ask questions of the panelists, which went on for approximately thirty minutes.  By the end of the symposium, all panelists agreed that the information discussed would help influence some change on the currently drafted piece of legislation. 

        This symposium was a joint effort between members of Military Veterans Law Student Association, Amnesty International, and the Cooley Chapter of ACLU.  If you are interested in joining one of these organizations, you can contact Joe Brigman at (MVLSA), Nathan Terry at (Amnesty Int’l) or Charles Hobbs at (ACLU).

The 4th Annual International Legal Symposium on 
the World of Music, Film, Television, and Sports
By: Dean S. Douglas, 3L

This past May, I ventured off to Miami, FL to participate in an amazing two-day conference put on by the American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries.  Hosted by The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, it was the perfect location for attorneys, law students, and various executives alike to network, learn, and discuss the ever-evolving industries of Sports and Entertainment.  Among other things, it gave me an opportunity to be face to face with working professionals so vital relationships could be created.

This meeting is similar to the Annual Meeting held in either Las Vegas or New York each year but has a more intimate and relaxed “feel” with several attendees opting for khaki’s and polo shirts versus suits and ties, in true South Beach fashion.  In edition to the more relaxed environment, the conference offered only one panel at a time, which allows attendee’s to hear each and every panel versus having to pick and choose.  As the current law student liaison for the Forum, prior to the conference I contacted as many students as possible nationally so they could take part in the plethora of information and opportunity the conference provides.  As always, I was happy to have a fellow Cooley law student in attendance to represent our school among the other schools that were present.

The first day consisted of panels covering a multitude of topics ranging from issues concerning the branding of clients in the industry to matters of high concern in literary publishing.  One thing I love about these conferences is that it is very much a community environment.  Most of the lawyers know each other from previous conferences or even from being on the opposite sides of a dispute.  Often times, a portion of the conference is filled with panelists throwing ideas out into the room and having it become in open room discussion.  Since there is a wealth of information in the room at any given time, you never know what nugget of knowledge you can catch when the floor is opened.

The second and final day consisted of panels also covering multiple topics ranging from intellectual property trends to the financing, production and distribution of independent films both domestic and abroad.  Lawyers in this industry are called not only to be interpreters and drafters of legal agreements, but also dealmakers in many instances, whether they choose to or not.  When you speak to an attorney in the room, chances are they’ve already done what you wish to do and beyond.  There’s a high likelihood that you’ll be sitting next to a practitioner more than willing to throw you a few pointers about what you’ll most certainly encounter on the “other side” of law school.  For me, that time grows closer and closer, and I am glad I went to this conference as I begin my post-law school career.  Do yourselves a favor, readers: please go out and network; your findings may surprise you.

Through the Eyes of a First Term Student 
By: Joel A. Montilla

        My name is Joel A. Montilla, a 31 year old first-term student at Cooley’s Lansing campus. I want to share my experiences as a first term student getting ready to take their first set of finals, and to provide a brief summary of what that experience has been like thus far heading towards the end of my first semester.

        First of all, I am glad I chose the Lansing Campus to attend. The overwhelming support system is very beneficial in helping someone like me (leaving everything behind in Orlando) get integrated within the school, community, and overall student body here in Lansing. From the upper level student body to the professors and deans – it seems as if everyone is rooting for you to succeed; you just have to do your part. Think about it like a professional team where everyone puts in all the hard work to ensure the game goes well. From the first day of orientation to weekly reminders of the things you could be doing to stay on top of your studies, the team has plenty of resources available to help you perform at your best. It is then up to the player to do his part and perform up to his standards when game day comes. This is team Cooley.

        When I first started in Week 1, I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was going to be demanding, and I knew I would have to adapt quickly in order to stay ahead of the pack. But nothing could’ve prepared me for the rigor of the journey I was about to undertake. To start, there is A LOT of reading. One can expect roughly between 50 – 60 pages of reading per class, per week. These are just the basics. 

        There are a few things I have learned that have become part of my routine as a first termer: (1) time management is crucial, (2) staying up-to-date with your reading is also very important, (3) practice, practice, practice, and (4) understanding your professors’ style and approach is one of the most, if not the most, important factor in your success. This doesn’t mean sucking up to your professors and trying to play favorites – it means understanding your respective professors’ experience so you can better adapt your approach to meet what they are trying to teach you. Meet with them before class, after class, or engage heavily with them during class. I tell you what, this is neither the time nor the place to remain quiet – most professors rely heavily on the Socratic method of teaching, putting the student in the spotlight, directly in the crossfire of information to see if they understand the material being taught. Use it to your advantage; don’t sleep on it. It’s a perfect opportunity to test your knowledge on the material you are using. You have to remember, everyone on staff is on team “Cooley” and therefore, your success means their success.

        Creating your own flow of study habits is also very important. The Student Bar Association (SBA) has an abundance of resources available to students almost weekly: from previous outlines made by students to previous exams, or Bluebooks, to holding seminars on specific subjects – there’s something in almost every direction you look. Not to mention, the Academic Resource Center (ARC) has valuable resources available to the students for their use. Oh, don’t forget about the library as well – you can check out your class text books at 3 hour intervals in addition to other supplemental material (like audio books on your respective courses) that can prove to be beneficial in your study session. Keep in mind, it’s a collective effort. No one thing works for everyone; find your fit.

        That’s just a little bit on the academic side. As far as student life, there’s plenty of that as well. One key ingredient you want to keep in mind is maintaining a healthy balance in your life. As much sitting down and studying you will be doing, it is equally important to maintain your sanity and keep a healthy dose of extracurricular activities intact. I personally decided to join the SBA as a Senator, and the Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS) as Communications Director as ways to stay involved with the happenings around school and to unwind from the information and material I am learning.

        The SBA gives me an opportunity to learn about the workings behind the scenes in what goes on with decisions the affect the student body at large, and SELS has given me an opportunity to take a look at a profession I found appealing to see if it would be a fit for me as I continue on this journey. So far, both have served me well in connecting me with the culture at Cooley’s Lansing campus. There is something for everyone, just find what your interest is and look for organizations that mirror those objectives.

  Hopefully this has given you a brief insight as to what you can expect as a first termer and what is available to you to ensure you’re on the right track. I personally look forward to taking my finals and moving into my second semester. Let’s get it!