Archived Articles


60 Minute Mentoring with Attorney Lawrence Nolan

By: Dalton Carty

Guest Writer, Lansing

“Seventy percent of all legal employment is not posted anywhere.” Associate Dean of Enrollment Paul Zelenski made this statement during the August 2013 orientation and reiterated it during my first Pathways class in October 2013. As a course designed to help law students cultivate professionalism, assess strengths and weaknesses, and obtain a fulfilling legal career, hearing the quote in Pathways for a second time resonated in my mind because I realized networking was pivotal to finding a job as a lawyer and would provide valuable advice from seasoned attorneys.

Under this guise, I enrolled in Cooley’s 60 Minute Mentoring Program to build my legal network. The program is administered through the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism and matches law students with experienced regional attorneys to hone their sense of ethics and professionalism. I was scheduled to meet Attorney Lawrence Nolan.

Attorney Nolan is President of the Board of Directors for Cooley Law School, has been a member of the Michigan State Bar since 1976, sits on various Bar committees including the Master Lawyers section and Law Practice Management and Legal Administrators section, has received numerous awards and accolades for his outstanding service to the local legal and residential community, is the basis for several newspaper articles, and a member of Cooley’s first graduating class.

On Friday, November 15, 2013, I met Attorney Lawrence Nolan at his office in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The office is a quaint 19th century three-story, red building that Nolan restored and expanded. It contains much of the original wood moldings. The building also has a stained glass skylight and library, several associate offices, a reception area, a downstairs basement with storage space and small kitchen, and an upstairs apartment. Attorney Nolan’s staff was comprised of four associate lawyers, a receptionist, paralegal, and business manager. They were all exceedingly cordial and inviting. One of his associates gave me a tour of the facility and introduced me to the staff.

Attorney Nolan himself was relaxed and easy to talk with. With more than thirty five years in the practice of law, one could plainly see he still loved his job and thoroughly enjoyed being a lawyer. He commented on the need for clients to feel comfortable with their counselors and the significance of spending sufficient time to prepare cases. He said certain counselors may present 10 or more cases in a day, but he questioned how they did that because of time it took to prepare one case. He concluded by stating some may call his style time consuming, but they could never claim his clients did not get the full benefit of his experience and ability.

As time progressed, Attorney Nolan recalled his days as a Cooley student. He said some people wanted to pass an initiative that would exempt Cooley graduates from taking the bar. He rejected the measure because he wanted his colleagues to know he was just as capable as them and had earned the right to be a lawyer. He said the proposition made him and his classmates study more vigorously to pass the bar and prove themselves to the legal community.

Wanting to be a lawyer since first or second grade, Attorney Nolan cited Thurgood Marshall as inspiration and discussed several attorneys who aided him by helping him secure his first legal position. He said he had done the same for several young attorneys including some Cooley graduates.

Although he encouraged me to study hard to prepare for finals, Attorney Nolan also suggested I find time for recreational activities. He said you must get away and stop thinking about the law for at least a little while each week. Take a 30 minute walk, go out with friends, or do something you find enjoyable. He said this helps alleviate the strain and stress of law school.

I enjoyed meeting Attorney Nolan. He gave every indication he was interested in me as a law student and person. He gave exceptional information about professionalism and ethics that could be used as law student and eventually a lawyer.

*Note- I could not write this story without mentioning the overwhelming contribution of the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism especially Administrative Assistant Kathleen Lawrence who drove me to Attorney Nolan’s office and brought me back to Cooley’s Lansing campus because I lacked transportation. Ms. Lawrence was extremely helpful, gracious, kind, and even gave me a tour of Eaton Rapids. I thank her also for scheduling the appointment with Attorney Nolan. It was an unequivocal delight to meet these two fine individuals through one outstanding initiative.

60 Minute Mentoring with Attorney Frederick Headen

By: Dalton Carty

Staff Writer, Lansing

On March 11, 2014, I had a 60 Minute Mentoring Session with Frederick Headen, legal advisor to the Michigan State Treasurer. Mr. Headen was gracious, polite, and quite insightful about professionalism and ethics.

Mr. Headen has been legal advisor to the state treasurer since 1997. He enjoys his job and is grateful to work with so many competent individuals. Although the Michigan Attorney General represents the treasurer’s office in litigation, he spends much of his time deducing responses to claims brought by individuals against the treasurer’s office. Most cases concern taxes. He works closely with associates in the Attorney General’s office to help them prepare for litigation by explaining the meaning of key terms and how the law addresses certain issues of taxation. He said unfortunately many people enjoy the benefits of taxes like paved roads and parks, but dislike paying them. Thus, Mr. Headen identifies legal strategies to address diverse claims.

Mr. Headen also spends copious time drafting legislation. He said drafting legislation can be very daunting because the document may be interpreted differently when it is scrutinized by a judge. He said a judge will define each word in the document. For example, if he used three adjectives to modify a noun, each adjective will be defined and its definition will be used to interpret the document. Thus, although he thought he was clear when he wrote the legislation, a judge may think otherwise. He said this make the process tedious, but necessary. Thus, Mr. Headen writes profusely for his job and must sometimes explain his writing before a judiciary.

Mr. Headen also spends prolific time meeting with colleagues to contemplate solutions to his superior’s problems. He said his colleagues are professionals who specialize in distinct disciplines. If he does not know how to address a quandary, someone in the office probably knows how to attack it. He said that is one of the benefits of his job. He does not need to have the answer to every problem because he is surrounded by intelligent individuals who possess the answer or know where to find it. Thus, Mr. Headen’s job involves teamwork and cooperation.

Mr. Headen also said his coworkers rely heavily on technological communication like email. This may result in multiple correspondences to remedy one issue. He said punctuality and efficiency may simply require walking down the hall to speak with a colleague in order to address the matter. Yet, reliance on email is normal for some in his office although he frequently opts for the practicality of face to face discourse. In these exchanges, Mr. Headen demonstrates respect for his coworkers and applies professionalism in all interactions with people in and out of the office. Thus, Mr. Headen uses mutual respect to evoke professionalism for colleagues and peers.

A Thomas Cooley graduate and Michigan native, Mr. Headen went to law school after obtaining a Bachelors in Political Philosophy and a Masters. During law school, he worked full time and mostly had five classes. Although he reduced the course load occasionally, he said going to law school was something he always wanted. Therefore, he was committed to both his job and classes. He worked in the mornings from 9 am to 12 pm, studied and briefed cases on his lunch hour from 12 pm to 1 pm, and worked again from 1 pm to 5 pm. Any classwork he failed to accomplish during the week, he completed on the weekends. He said Cooley did not have weekend classes at that time. So, his classes were five days a week from 6 pm to 9 pm. Although grueling, he had friends who were all working full time and going to law school at night. They made the experience bearable because each could relate to the difficulties of the others. In law school, Mr. Headen said his favorite class was constitutional law because his undergraduate degree made it intriguing. He said his least favorite was property.

After law school, Mr. Headen was grateful he survived the experience, but did not attend graduation. He did not even tell his family fearing they may have wanted to attend. Yet, he had the opportunity to return to Cooley when the law school’s founder and past president Thomas Brennan asked him if he would fill a vacancy on the school’s Board of Trustees. He agreed and served in the capacity for five or six years. During that time, Mr. Headen was charged with approving faculty promotions and sabbatical requests. Regardless of his position as a board member, he remained courteous and respectful of all who came before the Board by referring to them as professor.

In talking with him, one could easily comprehend Mr. Headen has a profound appreciation and respect for Thomas Brennan. He said he was impressed when Brennan left the Michigan Supreme Court to start the law school. Although Brennan is now retired, he said his dedication to Cooley was shown when he resigned amid concerns he could not function as a justice and run the law school simultaneously. He feels this act is commendable and he still regards Brennan as a great influence and mentor.

Asked if he has faced any ethical dilemmas on his job, Mr. Headen said no. Yet, if faced with one, he said the issue becomes how to address it. Whether discussing the matter with coworkers, superiors, or contacting the state bar to hypothetically inquire about the situation, Mr. Headen said he would leave any job if an ethical problem could not be amicably resolved. He said you must always be able to live with yourself by understanding what is important to you. He said his first employer summarized ethics aptly. “Never do anything you would not want your family reading on the front page of the newspaper. If you remember that, you will be fine.”

I truly enjoyed my mentoring session with Mr. Headen. His easy going demeanor made me feel relaxed. He provided great advice, a business card, and said I could return to speak with him again. I firmly believe Mr. Headen was sincere in his desire to help me comprehend professionalism, ethics, and the rigors of law school. When I left, I thanked him for his time and his secretary for her assistance in meeting him. I encourage any law student to see Mr. Headen to gain valuable insight about the aforementioned.

Michigan Summers

By: Dalton Carty

Lansing Managing Editor

At end of winter 2014, a Cooley employee said summer terms are the ones with the least enrollment. This made me wonder. Why would summers be the least likely time for new law students to begin law school? Presumably, summers are warm, students can enjoy the outdoors, and commence classes before fall thereby getting a sense of how classes, Cooley, and the city function without an influx of new MSU students with whom to contend. Yet, simultaneously, summers are also the time when new graduates want to enjoy old friends, familiar places, and spend time with family before beginning a new degree. Similarly, new students may be unfamiliar with the city where they will pursue further education and hesitant to leave home with its known nuances especially during summer. Thus, I thought an article about places to visit in Lansing and its surrounding areas during summer would reduce the anxiety new Cooley students have with starting law school in the summer and provide insight to veteran students about where they may spend their limited free time.

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford is a multi-attraction park filled with family-friendly aesthetics and old-world exhibits. One feature at the park is ninety acre Greenfield Village. With horse drawn carriages and vintage automobiles, it contains replicas of notable historic locations including Noah Webster’s house where he wrote the first American dictionary, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, and the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. One can also ride a steam locomotive, eat lunch from a nineteenth century menu, make glass novelties, or watch baseball as it was played in 1867. Greenfield also has a real nineteenth century farming setting with animals, livestock, and crops.

Another Henry Ford feature is the IMAX theatre with a sixty-two feet high screen that has 3-D technology. The park’s IMAX theatre is the largest in the region and shows current releases, cinema classics, and feature length documentaries. The price for admission to the theatre ranges between $7 and $12.

The Henry Ford also includes the Henry Ford Museum with vast quantities of vintage cars and historic exhibits. Although some vehicles are Ford made, there are many other models that span the range of famous styles and types. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour is a fourth experience at The Henry Ford. It allows visitors to see automobile landmarks through walking and driving tours and witness the actual assembly of a Ford car. Finally, the Benson Ford Research Center uses one-of-a-kind artifacts and resources to educate visitors about America’s history including its people and places. The Henry Ford has several gift shops and restaurants that guests may patronize or visitors may opt to bring their own meals to consume in the park’s snack areas.

Frankenmuth is another summer escape. Located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, the town displays the German heritage of the city’s inhabitants. It has gardens, marathons, music festivals, riverboats, restaurants, car shows, and novelty shops to appeal to all travelers. One may also ride in horse-drawn carriages, gaze at typical German architecture, or visit a theme park. There are also numerous hotels and guides to help one organize a stay.

Mackinac Island is a beautiful oasis in Straits of Mackinac which separates Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsula. Many Mackinac streets are lined with trees and downtown has exclusive shops, restaurants, hotels, cottages, condos, and night spots. Like many summer locales, a Mackinac visitor may ride in a horse-drawn carriage, use a bike trail, go hiking, or ride a horse. For older and disabled guests, the island’s taxis can help them travel from place to place. The island has numerous festivals, parks, museums, spas, wellness centers and attractions including a state park, butterfly conservatory, and a purportedly haunted museum. Moreover, the island also boasts a wealth of water activities including kayaking, fishing, sailing, and swimming.

Labeled as one of the great wonders of the world, the Soo Locks are in Michigan’s oldest city-Sault Ste. Marie on the St. Mary’s River between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Ontario, Canada. The Soo Locks are a set of four parallel locks that enable roughly ten thousand ships to annually travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Visitors may engage lighthouse, lunch, dinner, theme, and special charter cruises and experience first-hand how the locks enable ships to get from one point to another. They may also cruise along gigantic lake vessels, under an international highway bridge, see lakeside sites, and watch hydro-electric plants.

If one likes animals, he may choose to visit the Detroit or Binder Zoo. Located in Royal Oak, Michigan, the Detroit Zoo is a one hundred and twenty-five acre installation with over 2,600 animals. It assists global and local conservation by supporting the work of biologists and conservation organizations in their efforts to preserve diverse wildlife including polar bears, amphibians, elephants, and large cats. The zoo has a 4-D theater, carousel, railroad, fountain with a seventy-five thousand gallon pool, and a spherical display called the Sphere of Science that projects outstanding simulations of the Earth, its atmosphere, oceans, and land. It also has numerous restaurants and gift shops. The cost of admission ranges between free and $14.

Although the Binder Zoo has more land, but less animals, it is just as dynamic as the Detroit Zoo. Located on the outskirts of Battle Creek, Michigan, the Binder Zoo is a four hundred and thirty-three acre park that contains forests and wetlands. It has roughly 600 species, exotic and domestic animals, numerous themed events including a cheetah chase and fun-fari, and funds conservation and educational initiatives.

Lastly, if camping is your pleasure, Tahquamenon Falls State Park may be the ideal spot to spend a long weekend. Situated in Paradise, Michigan, Tahquamenon encompasses fifty-two thousand acres. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings, or power lines. The park’s centerpiece is the Tahquamenon River and its numerous waterfalls. Housed in a converted logging cabin, the park contains a restaurant and gift shop at its Upper Falls. There are also picnic tables and restrooms with handicap access. In addition to camping and hiking, visitors may also choose to rent kayaks or all-terrain vehicles, use bike trails, ride horses, plan canoe trips or other events, travel on the Toonerville Trolley and Riverboat, or attend one of the parks featured events like Winter Fest in February or the Tahqua Trail Run in August.

Although these places are only a sampling of what may be done in Michigan during summer, I hope they encourage new and old Cooley students to be adventurous in engaging any local attraction. Summer is short, but Michigan’s harsh winters feel long. Therefore, it is beneficial to all to limit anxiety and enjoy summer’s finite warmth by using one’s free time to experience the beautiful sites Michigan offers.

Note: I thank Kathleen Lawrence of the Center of Ethics, Service, and Professionalism for her help in completing this article. Without it, it would have been extremely burdensome to obtain the information contained in this piece.

All Is Fair In Love & Law-The Elements of Emotions

The Elements of Emotions

As law students and future attorneys we are taught to be analytical thinkers, to examine the details of everything. For instance if we want to charge someone with battery we have to define what battery is with elements and from there define the elements. In many circumstances we have to further describe the definitions of the elements i.e.:

Battery is to have the intent to commit or intentional infliction of harmful or offensive contact; putting forces in motion that cause the contact. Broken down it reads: (1) intent – meant to do it on purpose, knowledge with substantial certainty it was going to happen, transferred intent, (2) harmful contact - acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with a person, third person, an imminent apprehension of such contact, and harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results, (3) Offensive contact -judged under circumstances influenced by the governing societal morals.

The unique facet about laws like battery is that they are defined by elements which means that each element has to be satisfied; if one or more of the elements cannot be met then you lose your case. So what about when someone you’re dating tells you you’re too emotional or calls you judgmental. Do you define emotional? Do you define the things people call you and defend yourself against them? Emotional is simply defined as: (1) subject to or easily affected by emotion (2) showing or revealing very strong emotions (3) actuated, effected, or determined by emotion rather than reason ( It certainly upsets people to be identified as something they do not like. It is safe to say that most people do not respond this way. However, as a law student do you find yourself defining everything and arguing like this?

Do people who date law students and lawyers stand a chance when we start defining emotions?

Stop and Frisk?

In Criminal Procedure, a “stop and frisk” is based on reasonableness and requires a dual inquiry: Are the officer’s actions justified at inception and is the stop and frisk reasonably related in scope? The governmental interest are balanced against the degree of intrusion. Crime prevention and officer/public safety is weighed against if the stop and frisk limited in scope to the pat down for weapons?

A stop and frisk also begs the question of reasonable suspicion: is the stop justified to investigate possible criminal behavior even though there is no probable cause for arrest and is the frisk justified if confined to intrusion designed to discover weapons?

Aren’t these the same questions you ask in relationships? It can be seen that a “stop and frisk” means to search someone, but in relationships when you search someone, their home,and the coup de grace – their cell phone – are you crossing a line? When you’re invested in a relationship you have a strong interest and a right to know what is going on with your partner and what they are doing, so what kind of intrusion is too much? Should you simply ask your partner to search through their things or take an officer’s approach and “stop and frisk”? Keep in mind that although an officer may “stop and frisk” a person their frisk may not be upheld in court if they cannot point to reasonable articulable facts. If you cannot give a reasonable explanation as to why you’ve just plummeted through your partner’s cell phone and rummaged through their drawers maybe you are wrong for searching through their things.

Many would say, much like the Fourth Amendment, that everyone has a right to privacy for themselves and their personal effects. However, if your partner has committed acts in the past or that natural intuition kicks is that enough to point you to reasonable articulable facts and satisfy reasonable suspicion?

When is it okay to “stop and frisk” our significant other?

-Yvet Vaughn

Beyond the Classroom: Ensuring Employment After Graduation

By Lynn Mason,

Staff Writer

Typically, law students graduate from school and hopefully pass the bar on the first try. However, some remain jobless for months even if they did pass the bar. This is extremely hard because loans are due six months after graduation. So what’s the solution?

Students are not always prepared for what comes after the long, hard journey of law school. You know the old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Recently, I participated in the annual Mentor Jets program at WMU-Cooley Law School which gives students some exposure to the Lansing legal community in hopes of building their professional networks and reducing post-graduation unemployment.

This program is significantly underrated especially if you want to practice in Michigan. It’s a networking event like speed dating. You essentially speak to local attorneys and judges for three minutes and ask them questions about their careers and how you, as a law student, can achieve your career goals. If there is one drawback, I think it is the lack of out-of-state professionals because, if you are not planning to practice in Michigan, Mentor Jets is not the best networking program. However, it does give you a perspective on different legal disciplines. There were criminal defense attorneys, family law attorneys, a judge from Circuit Court, who formerly worked for the Attorney General’s office, and a Circuit Court Judge who presided over sobriety court. The legal professionals even passed out business cards if anyone had further questions or needed additional guidance. It was a pleasure to see where some of us will end up in the legal profession.

Eventually, maybe the powers that be can persuade some alumni who practice in other states to attend the event and advise students who are not from Michigan about what can be done to secure post-graduation employment in their home state. As a matter of fact, we need that desperately. There are a lot of students who are not planning to practice in Michigan but attend WMU Cooley. Thus, we come full circle with the issue on which we began- the inability of students to find jobs although they passed the bar. How do we solve the issue of networking in the state in which you plan to practice? I don’t have the answer, but suggestions would be very helpful from faculty and students.

Another event WMU Cooley sponsored was Pro-Bono day. This experience gave students the opportunity to hear how attorneys begin the initial stage of taking on clients and giving advice. How it worked was that anyone in the community could come into the Cooley lobby and get legal advice without having to pay legal fees. There were greeters at the door to pair the person seeking assistance with the appropriate attorneys and, just like Mentor Jets, there were various types of attorneys. There were family law attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, immigration attorneys, probate attorneys who handled wills and estates, and landlord-tenant attorneys. As law students, not only did we assist the process of initiating the attorney-client relationship, but we also observed the interviews.

Cooley offers numerous opportunities of which students need to take advantage. Just going to class and passing exams will not get you where you want to be in long run. Networking is a huge part of this process. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, you never know who knows who. The legal community is small and, just by talking to someone here in Michigan, there is a strong possibility they may know someone in your home state. I hope this article helps to answer some networking and employment questions.

Lauren Aitch: Lansing Native and Successful Fashion Designer

By: Dalton Carty

Lansing Managing Editor

Fashion makes billions of dollars each year as famous designers launch new and high prized collections that every person will covet, but few could actually afford. From Milan to Paris to New York, major fashion houses exhibit their fall and spring attire with substantial fanfare and attendance of numerous high-profile celebrities. Yet, the intricacies of fashion are far more profound than merely organizing an apparel showing. With designs that are affected by exchange rates, international laws, and merchandising agreements, the world of fashion entails prolific legal facets that require all fashion companies to retain one or more lawyers. Therefore, designer Lauren Aitch’s discussion with approximately 30 Cooley students about how law impacted her fashion career was beneficial in understanding the fashion industry’s legal issues.

On November 3, 2014, entrepreneur, philanthropist, inspirational speaker, fashion designer, and college and Danish basketball-player Lauren Aitch spoke with the Sports and Entertainment Law Society about her journey as a sportswoman, businesswoman, and woman of God.

Lauren Aitch grew up in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 after playing for the Lady Spartans basketball team. Subsequently, Aitch went to Copenhagen, Denmark to play basketball eventually winning a national title and MVP honors. While there, she found God, completed her Master’s in Public Relations, and began a clothing line for women. Based on her life-long difficulty to find clothes that fit her taller than average frame, Aitch started the Lady Aitch label because of her passion for clothes and a desire to help taller women find suitable professional attire. After she drew some sketches and made some pieces, Aitch worked with a Cooley graduate to discern the legal aspects of starting a business. Specifically, Aitch said, with the lawyer’s advice, she decided to create her fashion line as a limited liability company rather than a sole proprietorship to limit personal liability and provide future business structure. Thus, when Aitch returned to America in 2011, she started the line with business suits for women.

Yet, Aitch was not finished. While in Denmark, her father, who was the inspiration for many of her pursuits, developed cancer and died. Distraught, Aitch wanted to do something in his memory, but that would also assist others who contended with the disease. She decided to start the Aitch Foundation, a non-profit geared towards the advancement of cancer research and generating community involvement through sports and fashion related events. The foundation’s 501(c)(3) was filed in 2012.

Aitch also started a second business when she returned to the states. She formed a partnership with a company to create custom performance undergarments for people in high pressure situations. Labeled “Our Own,” the brand tries to limit the damage to professionals’ clothing by offering undershirts that have double reinforcement under the arm. This allows customers to maintain professional garments and demeanor without underarm wet spots.

However, before Aitch started the business, she needed a lawyer to help her patent the undershirt’s design and manufacturing process, only to discover the design was not something that could be patented. She initially worked with three lawyers, and eventually selected one because that lawyer told her the patent application for the manufacturing process had to be filed by a particular deadline due to a recent change in the law. The other two lawyers failed to mention this fact and Aitch refused to do business with people who were unaware of changes in their field. Thus, she said, as lawyers, the students should always be abreast of changes in the law and how those changes may affect their clients.

Next, Aitch discussed her association with several lawyers at Foster, Swift, Collins, and Smith which has developed a limited fashion law specialty. She said she has worked closely with the firm to discern potential future problems with her business, and plan now to avoid them. She also talked about the financial and legal difficulties involved in her decision not to produce clothes in China. She said the Chinese want to know proprietors long before the government allows them to begin a business there. Although China has a better tax structure, she rejected the idea of expanding to China because the venture requires foreign business owners to be liable for all losses. She also told students the costs related to the manufacture and the export and import of the clothing from China were so great for the small volume she would have produced, that it was more cost-effective to produce them in the United States. She also liked the fact that her clothing could proudly state “made in America.”

Although the main focus of Aitch’s speech was the role of lawyers in helping her start her various projects and the appreciation she has for them, she also extrapolated on her business philosophy. She said she only hired people who shared her vision or whose long-term goals were compatible with her employment needs because she did not want employees who would eventually become disenchanted with the work and seek other employment. She said fashion was about understanding what consumers wanted and required significant teamwork, cooperation, and communication to provide quality products that responded to consumer needs. Finally, she said she surrounded herself with powerful, influential people not because she expected them to do lots of work for her non-profit foundation or her fashion business, but rather she valued their input and advice. Picking up on the theme using many creative and educated minds to improve her business, the students brainstormed on ideas how Aitch may expand her Our Own line to new markets here in the United States.

Lauren Aitch is a woman who knew what she wanted, required some assistance to obtain it, and had faith that she would succeed. Presumably, she will continue to achieve her objectives because she remains knowledgeable about what she wants, who can help her attain her goals, and faithful that such people will cross her path if they have not already done so.

*Note: Thanks must be given to Professor Julie Janeway for her help in writing this piece. Without her comments and insights, this article would have been quite different.

Love, Sacrifice, and Celebration

By: Andrea Woods

Contributing Writer

As a student, you want to stand out amongst your peers. In order to do so, one must be dedicated to go the extra mile. However, any one can go the extra mile, but can you do it without making your counter parts feel inferior or less than? Throughout life, I have grown to learn that people understand love before they understand anything else. Mankind understands kindness, care, and compassion. My goal as a person is to love. Love is a language that everyone comprehends and receives. Being a law school student is historically competitive, but to understand you have a home away from home is priceless. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law professors and staff revolve around this moto. Our professors are available for more than academics. They provide advice and a listening ear. I am currently the President of Amnesty International and I have a desire to further the support of our students. My goal is to provide the student body with supporting care as much as possible while at their home away from home.

This past Michaelmas Term, 2014, many of our students expressed that they were unable to go home for Thanksgiving break, or just wanted to focus on their studies and save their money for their flight home for Christmas. However, they still wanted to have a family gathering and a dinner that reminded them of home. I understand that as a student most of us do not have our families close by and sometimes need a gathering that reminds us of the love and fellowship that we all share when at ho

me for the holidays. So I decided something needed to be done. I am one who loves to cook and enjoys great food and I wanted to create a dinner and atmosphere that would kindle nostalgic memories for our students. I wanted so much in so little time. It was two weeks until Thanksgiving and three weeks before finals. If I was to do anything, it had to be quick. Two Tuesdays before Thanksgiving I had to petition the Student Bar Association for a proposed budget of $1,500. It was a unanimous vote for the idea but there were no funds relinquished until the SBA received an itemized list and a sign-up sheet of all potential students. I knew I had to have signatures as soon as possible. I requested the next day a table reservation in the Cooley Center, which would take a few days to be approved, but I did not have that kind of time. However, when they found out what I was planning, they did everything that they could to help. I was only able to get one weekday and a Saturday reservation. Students found out what the SBA was trying to help Amnesty accomplish and they wanted to assist and support. Over 80 students signed the sheet to attend.

By this time, I had to price every ingredient and supply for the dinner. It took me four hours to complete the task at the local Mejier. I could not imagine this part requiring such tedious diligence. It was like preparing for class, but the job got done. The next week the budget was released. Now I had to find a facility to accommodate such a large number of students and families. I mentioned to my spiritual parents what I wanted to accomplish and they quickly gave their support. They provided me with the keys to a state of the art kitchen and the community gym, because it was an event to support our local community members. They also suggested that I post a sign-up sheet at the church to find more volunteers. Twenty volunteers signed up. Then student after student began to inquire about how they could support the event. This was very monumental to Amnesty International because at this time we were very few in number. I was determined to continue until the completion of this project. Left only with a few days, Thanksgiving was around the corner and then finals. Help began to come from all over through the sacrifice of our dedicated students. As more help became available, I was able to delegate different tasks to my responsible peers. This allowed me to receive more time to prepare for finals. All was well and I would do it all over again

Polar Vortex: The New Winter Norm

By: Dalton Carty

Staff Writer, Lansing

With record lows hitting parts of the U.S., Cooley students discuss their winter experience.

The New Year always involves fresh facets. Whether novel commitments, pursuits, clothes, or issues, most individuals enter a new year filled with excitement, anticipation, and some anxiety. January 2014 was no different. As most people were beginning to recover from the debilitating effects of too much alcohol on the eve of January 1st, weathermen in the Northeast United States warned of the country’s first significant snowstorm of 2014. They saidit would bring prolific snow, immensely cold temperatures, and cause havoc for many cities in the form of traffic and travel delays. Yet, believing that snowstorms were nothing new, most inhabitants of the area did not appear troubled by the prospect of a snowstorm and failed to heed the weathermen’s advice for alertness of the storm and its potential consequences.

However, on the night of January 2nd, the impending storm hit many regional cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Newark leaving visibility restricted, snow clogged roads, and total whiteout conditions. When dawn emerged on January 3rd, a word had escaped its scientific origins and made its way into mainstream conversation.

The term polar vortex has been around since the mid 1800’s and is a semi-permanent band of spinning cold air normally located above each of the planet’s two geographic poles. In January, one branch of this cold circulating air pushed southward from the North Pole and, aided by weather from the northeast Pacific Ocean and Canada’s Northern Territories, brought freezing temperatures to the United States.

The effects of the polar vortex have been felt far beyond the Northeast with cold temperatures reported in the Midwest and South. In late January and early February 2014, Atlanta, Georgia was twice inundated with several inches of snow. Snow is a rarity for the tiny southern city. It was so unprepared that, during the first snowstorm, many residents abandoned their cars along the roadside opting to walk because driving was impossible as streets and highways were not salted and remained wet, slick, and icy. February 2014 also saw the same occurrence throughout the South in North Carolina, Mississippi, Washington, D.C., and even Florida where some townspeople in the state’s panhandle were dumbfounded by the appearance of snow.

Thomas Cooley students have also been affected by the polar vortex. Although classes for the 2014 winter term were set to begin on January 6, classes at all Michigan campuses were suspended for two days as snow accumulated in state. Students had to contend with delayed and cancelled flights and some were unable return to Cooley’s Michigan campuses until the second week of classes. A few provided insights about their experience with the polar vortex.

Asked how this winter differs from prior ones, Chancellor Murdock, a second term student from Coldwater, MI, said he recalled only one winter like this, but that was twenty years ago and even that was not as cold.

Andrea Woods, also a second term student from North Carolina, said she had only one experience with severe winters during her childhood, but found it delightful because schools closed and she got to play in snow. She added this did not happen frequently in North Carolina. She felt Michigan winters differ from those in North Carolina because nothing stops in Michigan when there is a lot of snow. “You have to put on your backpack and keep trucking.”

Nabil Freij, a fifth term student who has experienced Michigan winters before, admitted they are quite different from winters in his native Cypress, California where a cold day is in the low 50’s. He said last winter resembled this winter, but it was not as cold. Yet, “Coming from where I grew up, the past two winters have been an experience.”

Still, there are those who claim this winter is no different than those in the past. An anonymous second term student from Lansing, MI said he experienced winters like the current one during his childhood, but stated his adolescent winters had a lot more snow. Another anonymous second term student from Chicago, IL said winters there are exactly like this one except Chicago winters have more sub-zero days, but just as much snow.

Yingzhe Yang, a second term student originally from China who has resided in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada for the last six years, said winters there are worse with six months of snow, temperatures between -20 and -40 degrees Celsius, and no school closures because of the weather. He added Edmonton winters start in late October or early November. Shortly thereafter, 8 to 12 inches of snow falls and does not melt until April and the temperature drops by 10 degrees initially and continues to decrease as winter progresses.

Asked what activities are engaged during extremely cold winters, Murdock said he refrains from going outside unless it is absolutely necessary. On his stay-at-home days, he catches up on classwork and studying. The anonymous student from Chicago also echoed this sentiment. She said she sits inside and studies during frigid weather. Yang agreed with their assessment of cold weather activity. He said, “Nothing can be done…I would do nothing, but sit in the house or library.” Although in the house, the anonymous student from Lansing said he plays with his kids. That makes being inside more enjoyable.

Others apparently find pleasure on cold days from in house amenities or personal disposition. Freij said he is fortunate his building has activities to keep him busy. “I try to stay active. Luckily, my apartment complex has a gym, swimming pool, and indoor basketball court. Woods proclaimed, “I made it my business to enjoy the snow [because] it is a gift. It nourishes the ground, causes buds to grow that give seeds to the soil, and provides the most beautiful Michigan spring seasons. The snow is a necessity.”

Asked to give opinions about when spring will arrive and plans for it, Murdock said, “Judging by this weather, I don’t expect consistent warm temperatures until late March or early April. [I] can’t say I’m looking forward to it though since I am a winter person.”

The anonymous student from Chicago said spring should be here by March although she was unsure of what she wanted to do when it finally arrived. However, the anonymous student from Lansing is looking forward to spring because he wants to go camping and enjoy outdoor activities. He felt it would probably emerge in March.

Yang also said he is really ready to see spring/summer as soon as possible although he does not have any specific plans for either yet. Woods said the same thing. “It will be warmer next week [and] I am looking forward to it.”

Freij is also excited about outdoor activities in the spring, but thinks it won’t arrive until May. “Going from last winter, I anticipate warmer weather in May. I remember last year on my last day of [winter term] finals, it was still in the 20’s. I am definitely looking forward to warm weather [because] I will make a trip to one of the beautiful lakes here in Michigan.”

Thus, Cooley students have diverse opinions about the polar vortex and when it will end. Yet, the consensus apparently is enough winter. Bring on spring!

The Real Life Experiences Offered by Externships and Internships

By Lynn F. Mason

As a Western Michigan Cooley Law student, it is not generally known how many opportunities there are to explore and expand your professional options even prior to beginning your law school career. If you sit down and talk to any of your professors, they are very helpful and can steer you in the right direction because they have been where we are. So, I begin with one of the fairest and most prominent judges in Ingham County- the Honorable Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. She teaches at WMU Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. If you graduate from law school and did not take one of her classes, you have completely lost out and here’s why.

Students can find law school daunting at times and, even though most of them love law school, they may often wonder why they are doing this and why they are torturing themselves with lack of sleep, break downs, and anxiety. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of the freshman 15 (undergrad students tend to gain about 15 pounds their first year from eating too much junk food). Well, there is a 1L, maybe even a 2L and 3L 15. I’ve discovered this first hand because all I do is study, read, and write about the law. However, you have to find a balance and figure out if a law degree is really worth having. After all, acquiring a JD is very expensive. Although some law schools are more expensive than others, most cost at least $100,000. For me, I discovered my balance by being in the courtroom. Every law student should, at some point, just sit in on court proceedings whether it be family, criminal, or civil law. This is one of the greatest experiences any law student can have.

This is where Judge Aquilina comes in. One of the Circuit Court prosecutors encouraged me to observe court proceedings and, of course, that is what I did. I found it to be extremely fascinating to see what I learned in law school applied to real life. I guess it’s true-“They don’t make this stuff up.” Real law was happening before my eyes. Following that experience, I found myself corresponding with Judge Aquilina who invited me to be one of her law school interns on a voluntary basis. Although one may be turned off by working for free, if you haven’t noticed, in the real world, it’s not only what you know, but also who you know. This was an amazing opportunity and I would have been foolish to pass it up. Lo and behold, the Judge had a small number of externs, interns, and volunteers that wrote her memos while improving their legal writing skills. There was a mixture of MSU and Cooley students. We all got along very well and loved discussing the law.

Jax Kaminski, a rising 2L from MSU, was one summer intern. She expressed how the program improved her research and writing skills by having to write legal memos in their truest form. She said she gained a lot of exposure by interning at the Circuit Court and seeing the law at work. We all talked about how much we learn numerous legal theories and read cases that are vital to the history of law and lawmakers in classes, but, to see it in action, allows the law to take on a whole new perspective by demonstrating how a courtroom works. Jax said that she also learned how to represent herself in a courtroom and we all joked about things not to do in the courtroom. Yet, it’s all about reputation and credibility. The biggest lesson we learned was, as Judge Aquilina asks, “Where’s the evidence?” A good attorney never gets in front of a judge without good, solid evidence or, worse, no evidence at all. Yes, we saw it and it was not pretty.

Another rising 2L MSU student intern was VanDyke Kotorokh-Yiadum. Ironically, he said he had no intention to do any litigation when he first began law school, but, all of his experiences thus far, were pushing him in that direction. In our discussions, he mentioned how being in Judge Aquilina’s courtroom inspired him to think outside the box. VanDyke said another humorous lesson learned as an intern was when Judge Aquilina told us to get rid of all black pens; never write in black ink only blue (although she likes purple as well) because it is hard to distinguish the original document from a copy when duplicates are made. The message was clear- law students trash those black pens especially if you are going to take family law!

Then, there was JoAnne Tomaszewski who also was a rising 2L at MSU. She stated her experience as an intern with Judge Aquilina was a positive one. She said one of the best things she witnessed was an improperly conducted police line-up that was presented in court. Understandably, the Judge was not particularly pleased about the poorly conducted line-up. JoAnne stated this event allowed her to see how the Judge upholds the law and the balance she applies to defense attorneys, prosecutors and defendants.

All in all, my internship with Judge Aquilina was an amazing opportunity and she must be applauded for the chance she gives law students. She is a firm believer in helping one to succeed in law, is willing to answer any questions, discuss the law and statutes, and, of course, proper courtroom etiquette.

Sports and Entertainment Law Society Meets Detroit Tigers Executives

One reason students come to law school is to become a sports agent. For many, a position in sports or entertainment is a dream they have had since their adolescence. Although Cooley offers classes in both sports and entertainment law, there is nothing like gaining information from industry professionals who can impart how they came to be in their current posts. Such an opportunity was recently afforded to the Sports and Entertainment Law Society when its members received the chance to talk with Mike Smith, Director of Baseball Operations for the Detroit Tigers, and Attorney Jordan Field, Director of the Detroit Tigers Foundation, on July 3, 2014 before the Tigers played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Although not an attorney, Mike Smith works closely with the Tigers’ legal staff on player contracts, compliance with Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreements, player contract compliance, compliance with team rules, trades, movement of players up and down the minor league system, statistical and market analyses, baseball operations information technology issues and software development, and all other aspects of baseball operations. Having a bachelor’s degree in geology from Yale and hopes of becoming a meteorologist, Smith quickly became disenchanted with weather systems and knew he wanted to work in baseball because he loved the game.

To obtain a baseball job, he talked to different club employees, usually at spring training, so they knew who he was and his interest in working in baseball. His first baseball job came as an intern which eventually translated into a permanent position with another team due to his constant communication with the club employees he initially met during spring training. Smith came to the Tigers in 2002 after stints with teams in Florida and Pennsylvania. He encouraged the sports and entertainment law students to first and foremost love the game. He said that would allow them to take any available job in a sports franchise even if it meant a reduced salary and engaging in non-legal duties for a while to break into the business.

Attorney Jordan Field came to the Tigers in 2002 after earning his JD at Wayne State University. Field accepted a non-legal job with the Tigers to get a chance to work in Major League Baseball. Eventually, he saw an opportunity to build the organization’s good will, advertise its brand, and solidify his position with the team by starting a nonprofit geared towards helping individuals and community organizations obtain sorely needed funds. Since its inception in 2005, the Detroit Tigers Foundation has awarded over $14 million in grants, Tigers tickets, and college scholarships throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. Field, as the foundation’s director, does all its legal work. Moreover, he organizes fundraising activities, solicits corporate partners, handles charitable donations, and coordinates player appearances and auctions of player memorabilia for community and military outreach ventures. As the official charity of the Tigers, the foundation’s mission of enhancing baseball through a focus on youth, education, and recreation has fostered an anti-bullying initiative and several youth baseball programs including Tiny Tigers and the annual Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship.

Field encouraged the students not to limit themselves to the legal department and to take any job they could get because every job has some legal aspects. He recommended students work for an established sports agent to learn the industry. He also said they should be willing to move when necessary, and start with a minor league team. He continued by saying they should not think they are too good for a particular position or task. Lastly, he said students should apply for one of the organization’s 30 paid internships, (none of which are in the legal department) because they provide insight into all administrative departments and a chance to meet Tigers’ employees as well as employees from other franchises. He advised that resumes should have sports education, training, and experience right up front, not buried at the end or omitted completely.

After thanking Smith and Field for their time and cooperation, SELS members watched the Tigers beat the Rays, and some closed the evening with food and drinks at a local restaurant. Admittedly, a good time was had by all who attended.

Attendees: Julie Janeway (SELS Faculty Advisor), Nycolle Schindlbeck (SELS President), Cameron Bell (V.P of Sports for SELS), Kenny Holmes (V.P. of Entertainment for SELS), Lori Padilla (SELS Secretary), Christine Galustians (SELS Treasurer), Antonio Burries*, Ranley Surgent*, Jessica Evangelista*, Joel Montilla*, James Goodman*, Leland Mack*, Josh Pettigrew*, Edward Speights*, Hulando Howard*, Alexandria Sullivan, Marta Schvets, Eric Falk, Ziadanne Lewis, and Dalton Carty

* denotes SELS members

Note: I thank SELS advisor Prof. Julie Janeway and SELS President Nycolle Schindlbeck for their assistance in completing this article. Also, I thank James Goodman and Ziadanne Lewis for transportation to and from the game.

Take a Hike!

By Hai Bui,

Contributing Writer

Or three! Between reading, briefing, analyzing, rereading and study groups, you’re constantly surrounded by professors, peers, and peer pressure. Treat yourself in mind and body by exploring the abundance of acreage in Lansing, Michigan. Here are two lakes and trails where you can the find some peace of mind, immerse in nature, and just breathe. Also, they’re usually always free.

First, there is Lake Lansing. Originally known as Pine Lake, Lake Lansing is managed by the Ingham County Parks Department and one of the most popular parks because of its Friday night concerts, picnics, swimming, fishing, volleyball, and boating! However, the most spectacular asset of Lake Lansing is its natural beach well stocked with various fishes and surrounded by yellow pine and timber. In 1905, people would ride their horse and buggy to catch a boat to north shore resorts. In 1927, the lake boasted rollercoasters and other attractions that captured the carefree spirit of old and young Michigan residents. Lake Lansing is a place for total community immersion, while maintaining a certain element of complete peace.

Next up, Hawk Island. This is my favorite place to run a quick mile after class and before study groups. It’s located south of Lansing and free! There is a lake at the heart of the park and a wooden platform with docks that hug the lake. It is most frequented by runners, pet owners, and seniors. It is less of a metropolitan area than Lake Lansing, but not entirely desolate. While running, you will encounter a family of ducks, otters, and fishes. Hawk Island trails can begin at the beach and stretch into dense, wooden areas marked by arrows. The trails range from one to three miles and are surrounded by yellow pine. The smell of turpentine alone will clear your mind and fill your lungs with fresh air.

These two trails and lakes are a few of the many offered in Lansing, Michigan. If you’re not one for nature, downtown Lansing hosts a variety of 5k and half-marathons including the Turkey Trot and the Silver Bells 5k! Studying in Lansing, Michigan, there is never a shortage of places to explore.

Cooley Students Discuss their Summer Interests

By: Dalton Carty,

Lansing Managing Editor

Everyone knows summer is a time for fun in the sun. From swimming in Lake Lansing to bike riding in shorts and t-shirts around downtown, summer presents many opportunities that cannot be engaged during other times of the year. This fact is exceedingly important for law students who choose to participate in summer classes rather than take summer off. Because most law students who opt to enroll in summer classes may forego many of the typical activities others enjoy during summer, I thought it would be beneficial to Cooley students to read how a few of their peers spend summer despite contending with class rigors. This article highlights some summer activities Cooley students engage despite reading cases, completing assessments, and preparing for exams. Hopefully, it gives others ideas of what they may do during a Michaelmas term.

When asked how she spends summers, Taycee Friar said she likes to play tennis and volleyball as well as go biking, hiking, and swimming. She also said she likes bonfires and engage in bible study. She said sand volleyball was her favorite because it keeps her active and it’s fun. Another favorite is bible study because it gives her a moment to reflect, build faith, and contemplate what is most important in life. She said bonfires are great fellowship activities and smores are a fantastic treat to make during the events. She stated she expected her participation in summer activities to increase overtime when she does not have to spend copious time studying and preparing for classes. She engages such activities with family and friends. Although some of the participants occasionally change, she said she did not mind because she loves meeting new people.

During summer, Joseph Daly said he enjoys running, canoeing, and playing the guitar. He said his favorite activity is playing the guitar because making music is radical. According to Daly, it is even better if done in the sun. He started playing the guitar approximately four years ago because his cousin could play and he always wanted to play. Prior to that, although he sometimes sang along with the radio, Daly wanted to make his own music and that was another reason he picked up the guitar. He said summer activities differed from winter ones because winter traps him indoors. Yet, when he ventures outside in winter, he must don 40 layers of clothing and contend with the sniffles. He said he expected his participation in summer activities to increase overtime because he will have more time to engage them once free from law school duties.

Kristin Giommi said she likes to spend summers watching NASCAR, Lugnuts baseball games, and her best friend’s softball games. She also said camping was another great summer pastime. She said going to her best friend’s softball games is her favorite summer activity because she gets time to relax and not think about classes or extra-curricular commitments. She said these activities differed from those she typically engages in the winter because she can enjoy being outside in the summer, but can’t in Michigan’s freezing winters. She said she hoped her participation in summer activities increased over time and participated in the activities with various people.

Jeff Prygoski said he truly enjoys summer hiking and backpacking. This summer he spent a few days at Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Park doing that. He said he will backpack/hike at Lassen Volcanic and Redwoods National Parks over the break. Prygoski also said he enjoys playing softball with his Cooley friends during summer. He stated backpacking and hiking are his favorite

activities because they provide a nice change of pace from classes and are good opportunities to disengage electronics to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan. Although he never played before, he said he enjoyed softball because it provided an opportunity to get to know classmates and release tension from continuous studying. He said summer activities differed from winter ones because summer activities allow him to take advantage of the limited warm, sunny days Michigan offers. He first got involved in backpacking/hiking during his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan where he took a summer field geology course in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and fell in love with it. He said he hopes his participation in summer activities increases over time and participates in such activities with his brother Matt and sister Alicia. The Lassen and Redwoods trips will be their fifth sibling backpacking journey.

Sarah Grodeck said she spends summers biking, traveling, walking, and enjoying time with family and friends. She also said she adores watching baseball. She said her favorite activity is biking because it gets her outside, its good exercise, and a great stress reliever. She said summer activities differed from winter ones because summer activities get her outside, but she stays mostly inside during winter. She said she expects her participation in summer activities to increase in summers and decrease in winters because it is too cold to go bike riding during the winter. She loves to bike ride with her fiancée because it is fun to do things together.

Nabil Freij said he enjoys going to the beach, playing volleyball, and exercising during the summer. Basically, anything that gets him outside is permissible. He said his favorite activity is volleyball which he has been playing since he was ten and any opportunity he

gets to play will definitely be one he engages. He said he expects his participation in summer activities to increase overtime, but only lifts weights during winter because the cold Michigan weather prevents participation in his beloved volleyball. He said he first became involved in volleyball living in his native southern California where the beautiful, warm weather never presented a reason to stay inside and he was always outside. He said he expects his participation in summer activities to decrease overtime because there will be little time for summer fun following his law school graduation because he will have to work. He said he participates in summer activities with a close circle of family and friends who share similar interests.

In closing, summer is a time to enjoy the abundant sunshine and warmth the season provides. However, a law student’s summer fun may be restricted by academic obligations that impose huge demands on his ability to enjoy the outdoors. Yet, as is often said by our professors, there must be balance in completing school assignments and preserving one’s personal life. To that extent, I hope the activities outlined in this article assist current and future law students in enjoying Michigan’s picturesque summers especially considering Michigan’s brutal winters.

Summer Fun: Cooley Students Discuss Past and Present Summers

By: Dalton Carty

Lansing Managing Editor

We all know summer is a time for fun in the sun. Amusement parks, barbeques, bonfires, camping, bike riding, fireworks, swimming, baseball, and horse-back riding are only a few activities people engage during summer. However, for diligent law students who opt take classes during summer rather than return home to be with family and friends, summer activities are even more important because they are a means to escape the continuous rigors associated with pursuing a law degree especially as one’s mind frequently drifts to home with its familiar nuances. Plainly stated, it is difficult to concentrate on the intricacies of negligence when one can only think about mom’s homemade July 4th apple pie, the annual trips one took to the beach or lake with friends every summer before law school, the home team’s opening day, or the music festival where one heard a favorite band on a date with a special someone. Therefore, as a complement to the article Michigan Summers that enumerated places to visit in Michigan during the summer, I posed questions to several Cooley students about what they did during summers before law school, what they do while attending summer classes, and what their plans were for summer 2014.

Andrea Woods, a third term student from North Carolina, said she attended summer picnics before law school. However, she has not attended any picnics since beginning law school because she spends most of her time studying especially with finals quickly approaching. Yet, she said she was happy to spend time focusing on academics and obligations to student organizations.

Yingzhe Yang, a third term student from China who spent seven years in Canada before commencing law school, said he spent summers in Canada studying, watching soccer, and the NBA finals. Although he still studies regularly since starting law school, he admitted he took time to view the World Cup because it only occurs once every four years and he had to see it due to his love of the sport. He also watched the NBA Finals because the San Antonio Spurs was one team in the finals. He said the Spurs is his favorite team and there was no reason to ignore the finals as long as the Spurs played. However, he confessed he does not get to watch soccer as much as he did before law school.

Sarah Grodek, a third term student from Livonia, Michigan, said she spent summers prior to law school bike riding, engaging outdoor activities like swimming, and connecting with family and friends. Since starting law school, she continues to do all the aforementioned and has also done stand up paddle boarding on Lake Lansing, had a weekend trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park, studied outdoors, and traveled home to see family and friends.

An anonymous third term student from Buffalo, who spent sixteen years in California before coming to law school, said he spent summers in California running, biking, swimming, and attending barbeques and baseball games. However, since commencing law school, he has not done much of the aforementioned. Moreover, he wanted to compete in a half marathon this summer, but said he probably would not have the time because finals were rapidly approaching.

Zakiyyah Jackson-Bey, a third term student Chicago, Illinois, said she spent summers before law school going to food and music festivals, the beach, theme parks, and movies in the park. However, since starting law school, she has not done any of the aforementioned because such things are not available in Lansing.

Nabil Freij, a sixth term student from Cypress, California, said his summers before law school entailed going to the beach and gym and playing basketball. However, although he still plays basketball and goes to the gym since starting law school, he does not go to the beach because there is no ocean in Michigan. He also said his time to play basketball and lift weights has been seriously impaired because of his law school workload. Still, his love for the ocean has been partially satisfied by Michigan’s multiple lakes and rivers. He has gone to a friend’s cottage on Lake St. Clair for the last two summers and realized an interest in boating and fishing.

Asked about plans for summer 2014, Woods said she intended to study because it was time to crack down with finals only a few weeks away. Yang said he intended to finish his courses and return to Canada to see family and friends. Grodek said she was going to Wisconsin for the July 4th weekend. The anonymous student from California said he intended to study for finals because they are distracting him from doing other things like the marathon. Jackson-Bey said she planned to go home, work, finish summer classes, and attend a park concert in Lansing. She also said she expects a relaxing break before starting the fall term. Finally, Freij said he had no plans for the remainder of summer.

Although summer is usually a time for fun in the sun, law students relinquish the ability for summer fun to advance their interest in law. Many give up seeing family and friends as well as engaging typical summer activities to demonstrate continued commitment to their chosen profession. Therefore, they should be commended for their diligence and anticipate the day when summers are once again pleasurable.

Ten Places that Cost Less than $10

By: Hai Bui,

Contributing Writer

Law school with its meager budget calls for secrets to surviving with a bare minimum social life. Here are ten places for under $10 that are sure to be saturated with laughs and good friends.

1. Forest Akers Golf Courses – Hit the driving range at Forest Akers Golf Courses near Michigan State University with a few friends. Prices start at $8 for a small bucket of roughly 30-35 golf balls. Work on your swing and, for each golf ball, try reciting a definition from the UCC out loud!

2. Spare Time Bowling – On Wednesdays after 9:30PM, it is All-You-Can-Bowl for $9.00. Appetizers are half off (Mozzarella sticks for $2? Yes.)

3. Burger RAMA - $1 burger and $1 fries, uhm double yes. Come out on Thursdays to The Riv in East Lansing from 3PM-8PM for a $2 dinner with friends and live music. Perfectly timed right after class.

4. Michigan State Sports – Attend and support Michigan State University sports. Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, and Wrestling tickets start at $8.00 (and you might win a free t-shirt.)

5. Uncle John’s Cider Mill – This is primarily for the months of August through October. Uncle John’s Cider Mill is family friendly. There is a well-stocked pumpkin patch, corn maze for miles, and apple pickin’.

6. Movies, Movies, Movies – starting at $7.00 – Take a break from the books, get away from people in law school, and date yourself (or invite your friends).

7. Trivia Night - $5.00 chips and dip and a deck of definitions (CRIM, CON, Contracts, Torts, and Property) at yours or a friend’s house with three other classmates. If you’re not prepared to lose a friend on game night, you’re not playing hard enough.

8. Local Bands – The Loft features live music in downtown Lansing. The venue seats 500, and is an intimate stop for musicians nation-wide.

9. Grab coffee – Get to know your classmates and follow-up with attorneys and judges in downtown Lansing over a welcoming cup of coffee at the Traverse Pie Company (or a bacon-decadent donut at Glazed and Confused for $2.00). P.S – there’s a Starbucks in the Radisson on Michigan in downtown Lansing.

10. Last, but most importantCOOLEY LAW SCHOOL EVENTS! Free food, networking, and job opportunities. Triple whammy!

The goal of 10 for $10 is to alleviate the stress and expectation of law school by providing several budget friendly communal activities. Don’t forget to live outside of law school when you’re in law school!

Five Meals for $10

By:Hai Bui,

Contributing Writer

The alarm goes off at 6:30am. You hit snooze. It goes off again at 7:30am and you hit snooze. You do the same thing when it goes off at 8:30. Now, it’s 8:30am and you have class in 30 minutes. You are faced with a dilemma of epic proportions. Should you spend money on a running-late breakfast or make a dish for $10 that could last you all week? Here are 5 dishes that will keep your brain, stomach, and wallet full.

1. Lasagna – Five ingredients: tomato sauce, lasagna pasta, cottage and shredded cheese, and turkey meat. It’s a simple dish that can feed a party of five or one for five days for a total of $9.00.

2. Green Bean Casserole – Did I lose you at ‘casserole’? How about 4 ingredients? Creamy mushroom soup, green beans, Frenchy’s Fried onions, and milk. Takes 30 minutes to cook, lasts roughly 4-5 days, and it’s a bonafide yum.

3. Chicken Salad – You know, the salads you pay $8 to eat for about 8 minutes. How about personalized chicken salad for $8 for 4 days? Two bags of salad and a plate of fresh chicken in the poultry isle (not frozen section) will do the trick. Oven-bake the chicken at 350 degrees for ten minutes and flip for another ten minutes. I bought ten pounds . . . and I don’t regret it.

4. Mini hotdogs – Okay, if you’re not much of a cook or if you prefer to snack (all the time), I found that mini hotdogs are equally fulfilling and easily portable. Three tubes of Pillsbury Doughboy biscuit bread and one package of mini turkey “hotdogs” will do. Wrap the dogs in the biscuit dough, oven-bake for 20 minutes, and you have a batch of 30 hotdogs . . . if you dare. Total: $6.00

5. Squash Spaghetti – One of my favorite dishes because it’s a trifecta: inexpensive, healthy, and quick. Two whole butternut squash, a grater, marinara sauce, and whatever spices you like (Italian herbs, salt, or pepper.) Set the oven to 450 degrees, grate the squash, season the squash, lay it on the pan, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes (while you brief cases.) Dress it and done!

What Your “Unprepared” Note Says About You

By Otto Stockmeyer, Emeritus Professor, Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Creating good impressions is important for professionals. Students entering law school need to know that they are beginning to create impressions that may stick with them for their entire professional life.

It’s important to create good impressions among fellow students, of course, because you may be practicing law with them, or against them, in future years. Creating a good impression with your professors can be important too, when it comes time to ask for a letter of recommendation, for instance.

In addition to your performance in class, your professors may pick up an impression of you from something as simple as an “unprepared” note. Let me illustrate.

In Equity & Remedies, my unprepared policy is simple. The syllabus says, “If you are unprepared, give me a signed note before class begins and you will be excused from class participation.”

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the notes that I received last term and the impressions they created.


Impression: Where’s the signature? This student’s lack of attention to detail could spell trouble in his law practice.

Note: “I am not prepare for class today, I request that I am excused. (signed) Richard Roe”

Impression: This individual’s command of written English (or poor proofreading skill) is unworthy of a third-year law student.

Note: “I would like to use my pass today. (signed) Martha Moe”

Impression: This student seems to feel that the privilege of coming to class unprepared is equivalent to a “Get Out of Jail Free” card that must be used by the end of the game. It’s not the right attitude to display to your professor.

Note: “I’m unprepared today, March 27, 2013. Please don’t call on me. (signed) Paula Poe”

Impression: Now here’s a student who follows the rules, writes clearly, and reflects the proper attitude. Unprepared or not, I’m glad she made it to class.

Of course, the best impression is created by those students who never have to resort to handing in an “unprepared” note. And overall, they are most likely to perform the best. A recent survey of 5,612 students in their final year at 76 U.S. law schools found a significant relationship between class participation and high academic achievement (

So the moral is this: Make every effort to be prepared for class. But if you can’t, at least be mindful of what your “unprepared” note says about you.

From Lansing to Tampa: A Road Trip and Campus Change

By Joel Montilla

As many of you know, Cooley has four campuses between Michigan and Florida: three in Michigan and one in Florida. I was fortunate enough to start my legal education at the Lansing campus and I will be fortunate enough to end my studies at the Tampa Bay campus. I am originally from Florida so the plan was always to return home.

That time eventually came at the end of May 2015 when the decision was made (and the opportunity presented itself) for me to take the journey back home. Ironically, it was exactly on the same day I took off from Florida to Michigan two years ago to the date. It was exciting but challenging and scary at the same time.

For starters, in the two years I was in Lansing, I had developed a community of students and faculty members who I considered family throughout my law school experience. The people I saw day in and day out, week after week through the good times and the bad. The people who helped mold me into the legal professional I have become and continue to evolve into - people like Dr. Lewis, Dean Church, President and Dean LeDuc, Ms. Vivian Bo-Jackson, Cheryl Bywater, and so many others. However, as we all know, this journey is revolving and we are constantly making new friends and departing from old ones. It was no different leaving Lansing. I had to leave my community behind while anticipating becoming part of a new one.

When the decision was made to return to Florida to attend the Tampa Bay campus, my second cousin and brother decided to fly from New York and Florida (respectively) to Lansing so we could take a 1,300 mile road trip across seven states exploring different restaurants and visiting places like the Ohio Stadium along the way. We all figured, "why not?" It was the best decision any of us could have made. My brother flew in on Wednesday and we picked up my cousin in Ohio on Thursday. That Wednesday night, I was able to say my goodbye's to local establishments like Henry's on the Square and Tavern on the Square - places I had patronized for the last two years and integrated into my weekly routine. But again, the anticipation and excitement was there all along on what the transition would provide.

Thursday morning we took off from Lansing and headed to Ohio, but first we made a stop at Golden Harvest for breakfast (if you haven't visited and, you're in Lansing, it's a MUST!). While in line (yes, there is always a line), we were told by the ladies in front of us that it was cash only. We didn't have any cash and were on the verge of leaving to go get cash when they told us they would pay for our breakfast. Game on!! We knew this would be a journey of meeting people and making memories along the way. Fortunately for us, we were able to pay it forward along the trip when we stopped at another breakfast spot Saturday morning. We scooped up my cousin later that evening and visited the mural in Cleveland where LeBron James is featured. We explored that town until we were tired and crashed at a local hotel.

The next morning, we took off to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit my sister and nieces with a Jeep packed

full of my entire studio (what I took with me) and my brother’s and cousin’s luggage. It was a tight ride (see pictures), but we made it happen. We eventually stopped at the Ohio stadium and almost made it on the field. It's a nice stadium. We didn't spend much time there as we were on a tight schedule and I had to be in class the following Monday. Ohio is nice, but not a place I would personally want to call home - maybe as a pass through ;).

We eventually made it to my sister’s in North Carolina where we watched the Kentucky Derby and the Maywether/Pacquio fight. We relaxed that night for the next day's (and final) leg of the trip. We took off around 7 am and made it to Florida around 3 pm. Just in time to kick back and get ready for school in Tampa the next day.

While the road trip was a fun ride, the reality of starting fresh at a new campus was first on my mind. As for the Tampa Bay campus itself...

First and foremost, the location is isolated in a commercial park. Unlike Lansing, it's a building that is surrounded by businesses and there is literally no walking to and from anywhere. Yes, the Florida weather provides an element that the Lansing campus does not, but it also doesn't have that sense of community where you can go and grab a bite to eat or drink and run into classmates you may know. It's spread out. The majority of students come and go; a lot of them commuting an average of about 45 minutes.

The campus is only one level, but there is plenty of walking space between the front of the building and the classes themselves. Of course, you have security guards like Pablo and Willy, but there is no Ms. Vivian who warmly greets you every time you walk in. Also, there are no elevators and basement. The student lounge sits across from the library and is a bit bigger than the one in Lansing. There is no bookstore because everything is done through the Lansing bookstore. But again, the warm weather and Tampa location provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy your studies while enjoying the Florida weather.

Being that Tampa Bay is the only campus that is not in Michigan, a sense of individuality does exists. Even though they are the same school, 1,300 miles will certainly set the campuses apart. The professors and overall culture is a bit different. Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful in getting me acclimated with the campus. They speak of Michigan like it is some distant land oohhing and ahhing when they find out I am from Lansing - a form of celebrity if you will.

The classrooms are similar to the Lansing campus with the only difference being that all of them are on the same level. The professors are really involved with the students and engage them on a daily basis. You see the camaraderie since it’s a unique campus. Overall, the transition has been smooth and I have been able to fit in easily given the challenges anyone changing locations encounters. The people, staff, and faculty have been very helpful, but again, it is sad to know this is my last term and I will be leaving these people soon.

For anyone considering making the transition, I highly recommend it. Just remember, it is a unique campus all its own.

My Study Abroad Experience

By: Matthew Secrest

Contributing Writer

My first choice for a study abroad program was the Munster Program in Germany, but as fate would have that program fell through. Instead, I choose the William and Mary Law School Madrid program in Spain and I am glad I did. The program had classes Monday through Thursday from 9am till 1pm, and it ended the last week of July. Thus, I had plenty of time to explore. I used that time to explore Spain and Europe.

While I was in Madrid, I went to the Prado Art Museum where paintings from Francisco Goya and other famous artist were on display. I also visited the Royal Palace, where the Spanish Monarch’s royal jewels are housed and the Spanish National Cathedral. On the weekends, I visited other Spanish cities such as Sevilla and Granada, Barcelona, and Valencia. Valencia in particular was special because the city held a festival with events all around the city including flamingo dancing which I particularly enjoyed. The city also had great restaurants offering amazing paella dishes that included such things as rabbit, octopus, calms, and other mouthwatering delicacies. After the program ended, I went on to explore the rest of Europe.

My first stop was Paris where I saw the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and other sights. Then I went to Vienna where I visited Mozart’s apartment which held pieces of his original work. I also went to the world famous Vienna Opera House and was able to go back stage which was amazing. Then I visited Munich, Germany where I saw the family palace of the Wittelsbachs. Finally, I visited Berlin where I saw pieces of the Berlin wall as well as the headquarters of the Nazi SS. I enjoyed all these cities and would highly recommend them to any student doing study abroad next term.

I hope this article gives those doing study abroad next term ideas on where to explore, and that it encourages those that are thinking about doing study abroad in the future to take the leap of faith and do it. I believe that study abroad helped me understand the world better and gave me greater appreciation for other cultures. I also believe that it will help me not only in my legal career, but in life as well. Thus, I encourage everyone to do study abroad in their lifetime.

Myths about Study Abroad: Debunked

By: Matthew Secrest

Contributing Writer

When I told my family and friends I was going to do study abroad, they thought I was crazy. They would bombard me with questions, such as how can I afford it, how would I deal with the language barrier, and so on. Many of these questions are based on myths they had about study abroad. However, as this article will illustrate, many of these myths are not true, or can with planning be overcome.

The first myth is that study abroad is expensive. While it can be expensive if you let it, with proper budgeting you can enjoy study abroad on a law student’s income. There are many travel guides that can help you create the most expensive budget, to the cheapest and everything in between. The study abroad and financial aid office also give a cost of attendance estimate similar to the one first year law students get. This estimate lists the cost of housing, airfare, and other expenses, as well as estimation on the amount of financial aid a student may receive. In addition, both offices are willing to help students create a budget if they ask. Therefore, with all these resources available to students, there is no reason why costs should hold a student back from experiencing study abroad.

The second myth is that tuition for study abroad is higher. This is simply not true because, as the Foreign Study Office will tell students, they pay the same tuition per credit hour as they would pay for a regular credit hour at Cooley. However, unlike regular tuition money, students get so much more with their study abroad tuition including the opportunity to experience another culture, expand their understanding of the world, and obtain a global perspective on the law that is priceless. Thus, the cost of tuition is the same, but students get more with study abroad.

The third myth is that the language barrier. Many students will not do study abroad because they fear the language barrier. That fear is misplaced because in many parts of the world people speak and understand English and if they do not, gestures and pointing on a map work just as well. It is also helpful if students can say phrases such as, hello, please, thank you, do you speak English in the native language because people are more willing to help if you attempt to speak their language first. In addition, almost all the programs teach classes in English so students do not have to learn a new language do well in the classroom. Thus, while the language barrier is difficult, it is not impossible to overcome and should not prevent students from experiencing a study abroad program.

As this article illustrated, the myths of study abroad are simply untrue, or can be overcome with a little research and planning. Students should start at the Foreign Study Office where they can find which programs are available, ask about budgeting, and get other great resources. Students should also research the language and cultural aspects of the country they are interested in doing their study abroad. Finally, once the planning and research is over, students should enjoy the study abroad experience because it will be an amazing time in their lives.

The Value of a Cooley Education- Cooley Alumni Weigh In:

Cooley’s Home Away from Home

By: Richard Shermanski ( John Marshall, 2013)

With Contributions from: Judge William Amesbury and District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis

During my externship in Luzerne County Pennsylvania in January 2013 I had the opportunity to work with and learn from two Thomas M. Cooley Law School graduates who have made quite a name for themselves in my home county. Although Luzerne is home to over 30 Cooley Graduates, these two individuals, William (Bill) Amesbury and Stephanie Salavantis, have both achieved a level of great success by being elected to the Court of Common Pleas and District Attorney respectively. I approached the both of them with the opportunity to help me write an article for the new digital Pillar and both were more than happy to help.

Their stories, memories of Cooley and their professional development are chronicled as follows:

During the last four years Cooley Law School graduates have advanced the school’s reputation by winning county-wide elections. First, in 2002 William H. Amesbury was elected as Magisterial District Judge for Court 11-1-01 (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.). In 2007 he won reelection and in 2009 he was elected to the Court of Common Pleas for the 11th Judicial District for a term of 10 years and was installed on January 4, 2010.

One of the new judges who has pledged to restore confidence and trust in Luzerne County’s Judiciary, William H. Amesbury (Grant Class, 1987) has faced and continues to deal with the fall-out (for the last four years) from the “Kids for Cash” scandal. As the reader may be aware, Luzerne County was rocked with one of the worst judicial scandals that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has ever experienced. Stated simply, two Common Pleas judges, one of which was the President Judge who presided over juvenile cases, were brought up on various charges in Federal Court. The cases have been tried, the judges pled or were convicted and subsequently sentenced. However, the stain on the County has not been cleansed nor will it be for decades.

Amesbury was a Magisterial District Judge from 2002-2009. Dealing with a traditional caseload, he developed intervention or therapy programs for juveniles charged with either delinquency or dependency. By jurisdiction, a Magistrate does not have the authority to incarcerate or place a minor in a structured supervised setting.

In terms of treating minors, Amesbury along with local agencies developed five (5) categories of children with specific or overlapping problems that needed treatment, not placement. Readers with a therapeutic and/or educational background will recognize the following classifications which include: (1) bullying; (2) social promotions; (3) children with well-defined emotional problems such as childhood schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, mood disorders or anxiety disorder; (4) Asperger Syndrome, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders, Impulsive Behavior Disorder; and (5) the largest group – ineffective parenting.

In 2009, Luzerne County’s Amesbury was one of two judges elected to the Court of Common Pleas from a list of seventeen candidates that entered the primary election. During the primary, he was fortunate enough to win nominations on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. In November, 2009, he was top vote getter and in January, 2010 he became a member of the Court of Common Pleas.

During the last 3+ years, Amesbury has been assigned primarily to the Civil Division with his Criminal assignment limited to homicides or cases involving competency and pleas for those individuals who suffer from well-defined emotional disorders but do not satisfy the Pennsylvania version of the McNaughton Rule.

Since 2012, Amesbury has been the Supervising Judge for Luzerne County Treatment Courts consisting of a Drug/Alcohol Treatment Program, a Mental Health Treatment Team and a Veteran’s Court. Amesbury’s prior experience as a secondary education teacher, psychiatric social worker with eleven years at three separate Pennsylvania in-patient hospitals, including a forensic unit and as Clinical Supervisor for Crisis Intervention which dealt with HM, D/A, Children & Youth, and Bureau of Aging makes him the ideal person to supervise these programs. In fact on February 13, 2013 the Honorable Seamus P. McCaffery, Associate Justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, recognized the Luzerne County Treatment Court as the 5th County Court to successfully complete the arduous accreditation process. The Treatment Team is justifiably proud of this major accomplishment.

Amesbury has also coached T-Ball, Minor League, Little League, Teener League and American Legion Baseball, Girls’ Softball and CYC Basketball for over thirty (30) years.

Amesbury’s two most favorite memories from Cooley were winning the intramural softball championship in 1987 while playing with such stalwarts as Phil Prygoski, R. Joseph Kimble, Tom Rombach, Mike Sheridan, Dick Bachelder (the real “MVP”), Brian Lange, John Viggiani, Ed Waters, Mike Cotter, Mark Plawecki and Peter O’Donnell. Bill still has his blue shirt which identified “LAW” (Last of the Almost Winners) as champs.

Bill will never forget the study groups, which changed over the years but included Ed Waters, Ann Waters, Therese “T” Cross, Kathy Gaydos, Lisa Traubado, Charles “Chip” Kleinbrook, “Mo” Burns, Joy Fossel, Mickey Castagne and Doug Wohl.

As a Judge, Bill has provided Externships to Cooley students over the last three years and this includes 3rd year students such as Michael Sharkey and, at present, Richard Shermanski.

Bill and his wife, Karen have two children that are following in Dad’s footsteps. Daughter Elizabeth graduated with Higher Distinction from the Pennsylvania State University in May, 2012. Liz was awarded an academic scholarship to the James Beasley School of Law, Temple University. Liz reported that the first term is just as terrifying as it was in 1984. His son, Will plans to enter the Pennsylvania State University at State College in September, 2013.

Bill would be remiss if he didn’t thank Cooley, its administration, faculty, financial advisors, and library staff. Most of all, he will always remember the men and women he was fortunate enough to meet during his three years at Cooley. From 1984-1987 collectively those students were Cooley. Today we have moved forward professionally and have garnered a certain amount of status, prestige and wealth because of the opportunity afforded to us by Cooley.

In 2012 a more recent graduate, Stefanie Salavantis, pulled off a major upset when she defeated a two-term incumbent District Attorney. Stefanie was installed as Luzerne County District Attorney in January, 2012 for a term of 4 years. I asked the District Attorney to write about her experience at Cooley and her election in her own words;

“I always wanted to be an attorney, but never saw myself in the political arena. After graduating from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, I made the decision to return home to Luzerne County where my closest family and friends resided. I began my profession by opening my own practice and working part-time as an insurance defense attorney for one of the nation’s leading insurance carriers. I had no intention of running for office; however, I became outraged by what was occurring in the small town where I grew up – the political corruption of local politician. Luzerne County was reported by national news as one of, if not the most corrupt town in the entire nation. Reporters from all national broadcasting stations were reporting how the Luzerne County Common Pleas Judges, one being the President Judge, violated the constitutional rights of juveniles in the criminal system and now known throughout the world as the “Kids for Cash” scandal.

I was outraged by these headlines, but I was even more upset by the fact that not one Republican in all of Luzerne County was running against the incumbent District Attorney who was a supervisor in the office when these juveniles’ rights were being violated. Everything changed when I realized the filing deadline passed and no one had submitted a Petition to run against the incumbent District Attorney.

I knew that in order for Luzerne County to have a fresh, new beginning, the incumbent had to be unseated. I spoke to my family and closest colleagues to ask for their support and what I received was unfathomable.

In May of 2011, a week before the primary election, I launched my write-in campaign. No one believed I would be able to pull it off. People were even saying they felt sorry for me because I was trying to accomplish something that was nearly impossible. But I did it! I received well over the number of write-ins needed to be on the general ballot from both Republicans and Democrats throughout Luzerne County.

That was just the beginning. From June to October, I knocked on hundreds upon hundreds of doors and expressed the change I wanted to see in our County. The odds were against me, but I had enough of the ‘good ol’ boys’ network. I was eager to show that there are bright, young, energetic individuals throughout the area that want to make a difference; the old way of doing the job was not working anymore and what we needed were fresh, new ideas.

Despite the disadvantage I faced with registrants, the strong political name of the incumbent and her years of prosecutorial experience and receiving no support by the local newspapers and media outlets, I won. It is a night I can hardly remember but will never be forgotten.

I owe a lot of my success to Thomas M. Cooley Law School. It was instilled in me to be the best and most ethical attorney I could be. It taught me the practical side of law, not just theory, and its education helped prepare me to pass the bar and step into the courtroom the next day. And, the best part was that it provided scholarships to help keep me from drowning in debt after graduation.

Attending Cooley was the best decision I could have ever made. Some of the people I met at Cooley will never be forgotten no matter the distance between us. We grew up together and learned what life, friendship and studying really meant. I will never forget the long nights in the library, the daily lunches at Deckers where we would dine with our professors, the stress relief at the YMCA between classes and the celebratory parties we would throw when we finished our last exam.

It was sad to leave the many friends I made from all over the world; however, they will always remain my extended family, and I know just as well as they know, we will always remain connected because of Cooley.”

Although my externship is over and Graduation has come and gone, I too have decided to stay in Luzerne County as well. Like Judge Amesbury and DA Salavantis, this County is my home and I wish to help rebuild its once grand reputation.

How To Make A’s in Law School

By: Andrea Woods

Many of us are striving to do our best in law school and sometimes we get discouraged when we don’t make the A’s we were expecting. Well, I’m here to let you know to get up and keep trying! Sometimes, we look at the A student and ask what are they doing that I am not. This question brings us back to the basics we learned in Intro to Law. Those skills are worth remembering and the class was worth taking seriously. So let’s get back to basics.

John Mamaligas is a WMU Cooley graduate who finished law school in 7 terms, in the top 10 % of his class, and earned cum laude honors. He has been tutoring law students for 19 years. Remarkably, John has had students who have come to him on double academic probation and made Dean’s list the following term after receiving his help. At a recent seminar on how to improve your grades hosted by Amnesty International, John assisted Cooley students in Lansing in getting back to the basics because they have frequently proven themselves helpful in causing success.

John has a 40/30/30 Rule for final exams: 1.) 40% is knowing the actual material before starting your final reviews, 2.) 30% is learning details through the multiple choice, and 3.) 30% is writing out essays.

What kinds of things should you do to prepare for finals?

1. Work on as many multiple choice questions as you can

2. Know your professor’s specifics and buzz words

3. Issue spot and write out old exams under time constraints

· Each time you write out the same things, whether it is a definition, paragraph, etc., you get faster just like assembling something

· The more fact patterns you look at, the more you see that they start to repeat

4. Have attack outline

· They organize your thoughts so you know what order you will discuss things

· They save time since your thoughts are already organized and ready to go!

Multiple Choice:

MC tests you on the details of the law. The good news is the answer is provided for you. Eliminate wrong statements of law and then read through the remaining choices and see which facts fit your fact pattern better.


The BIGGEST problem comes up when students combine rule and FACTS instead of doing them separately.



- Have attack outlines or mnemonics ready because this is a reminder of what issues may come up in a particular situation. You are more likely to spot issues if you are looking for it, rather than just reading the fact pattern to see what issues seem to be there. Look at as many old exams and practice questions as you can. The more practice you do you will see how a certain issue gets hidden OR how certain issues ALWAYS come up together. Read the call of the question first because that tells you what you are looking for when reading through the fact pattern and what to concentrate on.

RULE- When you use a buzz word, define it. When you state the rule on an exam, do NOT combine it with the facts. Make sure to use the general rule before exceptions and also make sure not to jump right to defenses. Use flash cards, poster boards, or record yourself.

ANALYSIS- Do NOT do analysis until AFTER you have given a rule. Many students never give a rule. Analysis shows the reasoning for what the facts mean. Every fact is in the fact pattern for a reason. Use the facts! Do NOT summarize facts! Use the EXACT facts!

CONCLUSION- Always make sure you conclude one way or the other. Do not leave the call of the question unanswered! Sometimes you have to write a memorandum, sometimes you are the judge, sometimes you have to analyze whether a directed verdict would be granted, whether a person’s objection will be overruled or sustained, etc.

Some more tips……

Make sure your writing is legible. If your professor can’t read your writing, you can’t get points! Also, try to watch your spelling and grammar or it will take away from your credibility.

To contact Mr. Mamaligas, you can email him at or call him at (517) 484-3040.

Legal Symposium on the World of Music, Film, Television, and Sports

The 4th Annual International Legal Symposium on the World of Music, Film, Television, and Sports

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 addition 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. Being that 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 in many instances, whether they choose to or not, dealmakers. 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 who more than willing to throw you a few pointers that 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 yourself a favor readers, please go out and network, your findings may surprise you.

The Hon. Judge Hugh Clarke Inspires Lansing Students to Reach Back & Move Forward

By: Adner Marcelin

Staff Writer, Lansing

Lansing, MI – The Honorable Judge Hugh Clarke spoke to students today as part of the Black Law Students Association’s Black History Month program. Clarke, a 54-A District Judge in Lansing, Michigan as well as the founder of the Black Law Student Association at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, spoke on the topic “Reaching Back, Moving Forward”.

Clarke shared his experiences of how the law school’s founder, the Hon. Thomas E. Brennan, approached him as he worked as a parking lot attendant to start an organization on the law school’s campus that would focus on increasing and maintaining the current enrollment of African-American students at the school. Clarke then shared his struggles of how it was difficult starting and leading a student organization, where at times many chose not to be a part. He offered wise words to student leaders and charged members in attendance to always find ways to give back to those students coming behind us.

From his experiences as a judge, Clarke also spoke to students about the importance of being prepared when appearing in court. He warned students of the dangers of being an attorney with a reputation in the community for being unprepared and stressed how he does not tolerate that kind of behavior in his courtroom. Clarke told students, “I spoke to a local prosecutor one evening as a fancy reception and I told him, sometimes I desire to step off the bench and go back to trying a few criminal defense cases. He then jokingly asked, why I wanted to create such problems for him jokingly.” Clarke used this humorous moment to remind students that competence and preparedness will develop a long-lasting reputation that can sustain students throughout their careers.

Rose Olaniyi, the president of BLSA, said, “this is just one of many great that we (BLSA) hosted this month for our students. It is important that we recognize and celebrate the achievements of those who came before us, so that we can learn how to continue to pave the way for those who will come behind us.”

For more information on the Black Law Student Association, visit their website on the Cooley Portal

Tri-City Basketball Tournament

Written By: Nicole Westfall

On June 25, 2016, WMU-Cooley hosted the first ever Tri-City Basketball Tournament. Each of the Michigan campuses came together with two teams for a double elimination tournament in which the proceeds from the ticket sales and concessions were given to Focus: HOPE, a non-profit that supports educational programs in the Metro-Detroit area, while the remainder of the money was given to the organizations to help out with future events.

Upon walking in, it was exciting to see all the teams warming up and of course seeing the Lansing Campus, our hometown! I asked a few players how they felt representing their school before the tournament started. Benjamin Kibugi, Lansing Campus, stated, “In this tournament, I’m pretty proud honestly. Cooley is a great school overall and being able to be a part of this fellowship is great. It’s an awesome opportunity.” Sam Quon Elira Sr, President of SBA, Auburn Hills Campus, said, “It feels good. I am actually delighted that Auburn Hills along with Grand Rapids and Lansing get a chance to come together to fellowship and play some basketball. I think it brings the respectable campuses together because we haven’t ever done this.” Te Smith, Grand Rapids Campus, also added “It’s a great opportunity to be able to network and meet students from other campuses and come together as one Cooley family.”

During the game I talked to a few fans about how they felt supporting their school and if they felt their school deserved to win. Of course every campus said they felt their school deserved the bragging rights and to bring home the trophy! Samantha Buckner, Lansing Campus, stated, “I feel awesome supporting my school and being a part of something. I’m a member of SELS and I want to do sports law and entertainment, so it feels good to come and support my fellow law students.” Marceya Clark, Auburn Hills Campus, chimed in with “I feel great about being here and it builds morale. We don’t have a choice not to win because we have the best players and the tallest!”

In the end, the Lansing Campus brought home the trophy! I asked Geofrey Bilabaye from the winning team what was it that he thought allowed his school to win, he replied, “Teamwork, these guys are really good. They played their hearts out so it was definitely hard work and teamwork.” Overall, this was a great experience and hopefully something we will continue to do in the future!

Great Eats, Simple Treats

By: Michal Brown

Staff Writer, Tampa Bay

Being law students time is limited, funds are limited, case briefs are never-ending, and active involvement is time consuming. To make matters worse some of us work part-time or full-time jobs that further consume our time. Needless to say many meals are quick and purchased on the go. In an effort to promote healthy eating and cost cutting, Great Eats, Simple Treats will provide weekly recipes which are simple, inexpensive, and promote a healthy well-balanced meal.

Parmesan Chicken Manicotti

This recipe yields 7 pieces of Manicotti. If you’re preparing for a larger group simply double all ingredients.


  • 7 pieces Manicotti, cooked according to instructions (Usually 6-8 minutes)

  • 1 cup part skim Ricotta cheese

  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (If you are really pressed for time pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1 can Italian style crushed tomatoes (I used Ro-Tel mild diced tomatoes with green chilies)

  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

  • 6-8 basil leaves (Optional)


  1. Season and cook your chicken thoroughly. Chicken breast would be the easiest to work with for this dish, unless you have purchased a rotisserie chicken from your local grocer to cut down time. The simplest way to shred chicken is to use two forks and pull it apart.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine cooked shredded chicken, Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, oregano, salt and pepper together and stir until well mixed.

  3. Stuff each cooked Manicotti with about ¼ cupful of the chicken and cheese mixture carefully so that the Manicotti doesn’t tear.

  4. Add the crushed tomatoes in saucepan over low heat. Add 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan and 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves and stir frequently, until it starts to bubble. Simmer until heated through.

  5. Spray baking dish with cooking spray and place the stuffed Manicotti in it. Pour about 1 cup (or more) prepared sauce over the Manicotti. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and place basil leaves.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with: A salad or your favorite veggies and garlic bread.

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes


· 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cubed (1″)

· 6-8 medium skin on red potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes

· 1/3 c olive oil

· 1 1/2 tsp salt

· 1 tsp black pepper

· 1 Tbsp paprika

· 2 Tbsp garlic powder

· 2 Tbsp hot sauce (more if you like it HOT)

· broccoli (optional)


· 2 cup fiesta blend cheese

· 1 cup crumbled bacon (Substitute option: turkey bacon)

· 1 cup diced green onion

How to Make:

1). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking spray.

2).In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Add the cubed potatoes and chicken and stir to coat. Carefully scoop the potatoes and chicken into the prepared baking dish (If you are pressed for time par boil the cubed potatoes for 5-10 minutes before performing step 1.)

3).Bake the potatoes and chicken for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until cooked through, crispy, and browned on the outside. While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon (about half a pound). 4).Once the potatoes and chicken are fully cooked, remove from the oven. Top the cooked potatoes with the cheese, bacon, and green onions. Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve With: extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing or sour cream!

The Public Defender Clinic

By: Joel A. Montilla,

SBA Vice President, 2014

As I get ready to wrap up my law school career, I have begun to reflect on my journey here at Cooley. Looking back, there are many things that I could have done better and many things I did which I feel have best prepared me both mentally and physically to enter the legal profession. Looking back at my decisions and curriculum, there is one decision to take a class that stands out and it is not even a class, it is the Public Defender Clinic.

Like many students here at WMU Cooley Law School, I am a hands-on type of learner. I have made it through six semesters of classes and found my experience at the Public Defender Clinic the most beneficial and the most rewarding. This clinic is offered to all students who wish to obtain upper level skills credit regardless of concentration. I highly recommend it.

I was hesitant at first as I had no interest in public defense work but I have to be honest: it has been the best decision I made while in law school. Not to say that other classes haven’t impacted me in some way or another, but I can’t say that in any of those classes I was able to represent 88 clients before graduating law school. Yes, that is correct with two semesters left to go I have represented 88 clients on my own. If it wasn’t for the Public Defender clinic, I am not sure I could have said the same nor would I have gained the experience I did. And in a highly competitive market for graduating law school students, I am positive this experience and exposure to the legal profession has allowed me to stand out from my fellow graduates. We’re talking about in-court experience arguing on behalf of your clients with the judge and prosecutor and/or probation officer. I had experiences in seeing clients being hauled off to jail while standing next to you, and seeing others released immediately following your representation of them. I got to experience it all-highs and lows but memorable moments nonetheless.

The Public Defender clinic is led by Professor Terry Cavanaugh, the individual responsible for my involvement in the clinic itself and one who I consider instrumental for my awakening throughout this law school journey. He spoke to me my first term and I blew him off like “Yeah, yeah whatever.” Yet, he was persistent. I am glad he was. I signed up reluctantly but figured “hey, I need the credits.” The rest is history. He is truly one of a kind and truly cares about students gaining the proper experience and training to hit the floor running once they graduate.

My first day at the clinic (after orientation), I was sent to county to interview four clients we had to represent later that week to find out what they wanted to plea and why. We were literally thrown to the battlefield to figure it out. One may wonder (like I did myself) “Where is the training?” My supervising attorney laid it out the best: “You’ve been training for two years. Now is the time to tie it all together. Go out there and be a lawyer. Isn’t this what you all are here for?” It was! We jumped right in and were acting attorneys from day one with our responsibilities ranging from client intake all the way to trial. Ironically enough, my first client was one of the last ones I represented 14 weeks later. It was a complete circle and one that I will never forget.

During the 14 weeks at the clinic, among the many things I was able to learn, I was able to gain experience in arraignments, pretrial hearings, sentencing, showcase, and reviews. I have seen clients return back to society and back with their families, but I have also seen clients torn away from their daily routines and their family members. I have had clients show up drunk to court and I have had clients do a 180 right in front of me from doing all sorts of bad things to cleaning up their act and being discharged from probation with improvements. I have gained insight into what this part of the profession entails. Regardless of where any student wishes to practice, this type of in-court performance and experience is invaluable. It allows you to see what it is all about and gain an advantage over your colleagues that many employers look for as well as potential clients regarding experience you may bring to the table.

Out of all my two years in law school, this is by far the best decision I have made. I strongly encourage others to give it a try and see what it is all about. For more information, see the link below as well as Professor Cavanaugh’s email address. Tell him I sent you ;)

Assessments: The New Standard at Cooley and Perhaps All Law Schools

By: Dalton Carty

Staff Writer, Lansing

The New Year brings resolutions of all sorts. Commitments to change diet, mindsets, fitness, and friends are typical for most individuals. Yet, augmentations also occur for institutions. These may include modifications in procedure, personnel, and places of business. In January 2014, Thomas Cooley Law School implemented a change that may have shocked some people. Cooley’s leadership decided it was time to require multiple term assessments for all students. The decision affected students on all Cooley campuses and was conveyed to many on the first day of class leaving some to wonder why they were needed. This article attempts to address that question.

In a February 2014 interview, Dean of Faculty Charles Cercone and Dean of Planning, Assessment, and Accreditation Laura LeDuc said Cooley had been contending with increased low bar pass rates and diminished student GPA’s for some time. The assessments were initiated to combat those concerns with the hope that students who practice more will ultimately do better not only on the bar exam and in law school, but also as lawyers. They stated this was the purpose of the assessments and hoped all students understood the assessments were to help them achieve their goals.

Dean Cercone said various ways of implementing the assessments were considered. These included instituting them incrementally or allowing upper classmen to complete them first before making them a requirement for the entire student body. Yet, he did not feel those ideas conducive to the goal of the initiative. He posited, “If the aim of the assessments is to help students perform better, why should they be limited to some when all could benefit?” Thus, the assessments are seen as a means for all students to improve academically and professionally.

The implementation of assessments was contemplated long before it was executed. With over a year of planning, external research by firms like Kaplan, and data from schools throughout the nation, Cooley completed an extensive investigation into the best practices for increasing student performance. Although administrators and faculty knew about the implementation for some time, their form and content were debated and eventually decided in frequent meetings with Cooley’s president and faculty using the compiled data. Dean Cercone made the decision to implement them in December 2013 when Cooley’s bar pass rate was low. Thus, professor input and external research helped influenced the implementation as well as the structure of the assessments.

However, Cooley is not the only law school implementing multiple term assessments. Dean LeDuc explained Cooley’s regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, is changing its rules to stipulate all schools use assessments to gauge student performance. She also said the American Bar Association, another Cooley accreditor, is being pressured by the U. S. Department of Education to initiate assessments for all law schools or risk losing its accrediting powers. Therefore, she said, “Cooley has always been at the forefront of applying new techniques to help our students succeed and this [implementation of assessments] is just another way of doing that because ultimately it will be the standard at every law school.” Thus, multiple term assessments may soon become the norm at all law schools because officials realize their importance and are demanding the trend be employed.

To support this contention, Deans Cercone and LeDuc provided a February 2014 National Jurist article entitled “How Schools Help Students Pass the Bar?” It discussed the innovative approaches many law schools are employing to increase bar pass rates. For example, the University of La Verne in Ontario, California lost its ABA accreditation in 2011 due to low bar pass rates. It then hired a specialist who had helped other schools like Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad Law Center improve bar pass rates. The specialist, Assistant Dean for the Center of Academic and Bar Readiness Jendayi Saada, said student engagement is pivotal to passing the bar. La Verne’s program focuses on one-one counseling, special courses, and regular testing. LaVerne’s bar pass rate has increased by 113% since 2010. Thus, many law schools are employing multiple term assessments to help students succeed.

Dean Cercone also said, although multiple term assessments are a new tactic for law schools, it is a strategy aimed at better education. Historically, law school was enduring fifteen weeks of course material with an exam at the end. Students rarely discussed comprehension problems with professors. Some professors delved vernacular topics during lecture and never covered course material, but still held students responsible for everything in the syllabus. Consequently, students did not retrieve blue books once grades were posted because they were thankful for having survived. Cercone said, “This made for poor education as students only got what they needed to pass and failed to retain much afterwards.” The assessments should help to curtail this tendency because they force students to think about and apply the material before the exam. Thus, by doing the assessments, students better understand lessons, discern what they don’t know, acquire feedback from professors, and obtain vital reinforcement to prepare for finals.

At Cooley, there are three required assessments for every class. One must be graded. It is usually the midterm. The other two are not graded. One of the ungraded assessments must be an essay with feedback from the professor. Although the form and content of the assessments were discussed by faculty and administrators before their implementation, professors currently select the form of the assessments (multiple choice, essay, or a combination of both) with content pertaining to course material. If a student fails to complete any of the required assessments, the professor has discretion over how the situation will be handled. Thus, students must talk to professors if they are unable to complete an assessment to identify an appropriate solution.

Although the assessments are not kept, a professor may complete a faculty referral form to have a student seen by Cercone if the student fails or does very poorly on one or multiple assessments. In that meeting, Dean Cercone would suggest, but not require, the student use some of Cooley’s resources like the Academic Resource Center to advance academically. Although this decision is left to the discretion of the student, the alternative is to be placed on academic probation and eventually dismissed. Thus, students may not perform well on the assessments, but have access to people and tools to help them progress.

Asked if they think the assessments will be successful Cercone said, “This is something new. However, the research says this is how other schools improved student performance. If they can do it, so can we.” To measure the success of the assessments, Dean Cercone said he intends to evaluate them at the end of each term using feedback from students, faculty, and academic support staff. Presumably, Cooley’s bar pass rate and student GPA’s will also weigh assessment success. If unsuccessful, Dean Cercone said the assessments may be modified, but he did not envision Cooley reverting to a system without multiple term assessments. Thus, the assessments may be changed depending on their effectiveness, but will never vanish from Cooley’s curriculum.

To be competent lawyers, law students must know, apply, and analyze the law in comparison to established facts. Multiple term assessments allow students greater practice doing that. Thus, the saying practice makes perfect should be remembered when doing the assessments because they are requirements that will never disappear and one improves academically and professionally by engaging them.

Administrative Law with President LeDuc

By: Dalton Carty

Lansing Managing Editor

Recently, I met with President Don LeDuc to discuss the parameters and possible implications of an administrative law case scheduled to be heard by the United States Supreme Court in December 2014 on a writ of certiorari. Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association pitted the United States Department of Labor (DOL) against the national trade association for the real estate financing industry in an attempt to ascertain DOL’s ability to change one of its statutory interpretations without first obtaining public input or commentary. As a former administrative law professor at Thomas Cooley Law School, supporter of DOL’s amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court, and author of a treatise on Michigan administrative law, President LeDuc was keenly aware of the controversy between the parties and willingly offered his time and assistance to help me grasp the intricacies of the case although he had not taught administrative law for some time.

First, President LeDuc explained that the matter was exceedingly emotional. DOL was attempting to preserve a long standing administrative law tradition that allowed administrative agencies to modify their interpretive rules without public commentary. If administrative agencies wanted to draft and ratify substantive rules, they would need public commentary before this could be done. These stipulations were accorded to all administrative agencies as a result of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Passed in 1946, the APA is federal legislation that provides for the creation and maintenance of administrative agencies. The problem is the APA does not define interpretive or substantive rules. Thus, courts have developed broad tests to differentiate between the two types of rules considering their dissimilar requirements.

In Perez, DOL construed a provision of the Fair Labor Standards ACT (FLSA), which provides key guidelines for employer-employee relations like workweek hours and overtime payments, to mean mortgage loan officers were not administrative employees and were entitled to overtime pay. This change directly contradicted DOL’s former interpretation that mortgage loan officers were administrative employees and exempt from overtime pay. Representing hundreds of mortgage loan businesses throughout the nation, Mortgage Bankers Association challenged DOL’s modification of the interpretation because it meant increased personnel costs for the businesses the association represented. Mortgage Bankers Association asserted that the new interpretation was not an interpretation, but rather a substantive rule and public input was required before DOL could create or implement it. DOL countered by saying that the modification was not a substantive rule, but an interpretive augmentation that did not require public notice.

Second, President LeDuc discussed the lack of public notice and commentary for interpretive rules and the need for public notice and commentary for substantive rules. He said interpretive rules are informal, advisory statements or opinions usually issued when a stakeholder asks an administrative agency for insight as to how a particular Congressional statute may affect it. However, substantive rules have undergone the substantive rulemaking process including public commentary on proposed rules prior to their adoption as laws by an administrative agency. Thus, both interpretive and substantive rules are binding declarations with the former not requiring public notice and commentary but the latter does. President LeDuc continued by stating some jurisdictions believe interpretive rules should require public notice and commentary. However, he said that was impractical because agencies would not give advice to a stakeholder if the agency needed to first obtain public commentary about what that opinion should be.

Third, President LeDuc said the decision whether DOL’s modification was an interpretive change or a substantive rule was extremely subjective because of the lack of a definition for either an interpretive or substantive rule in the APA and the measure could be interpreted one way by one court and perceived contrarily by another court. Lastly, President LeDuc said that administrative agencies resist making substantive rules because the process is slow, tedious, expensive, and utterly bureaucratic.

Without President LeDuc’s help, I would have had a considerably harder time discerning the subtleties involved in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association. Always the educator, he thanked me at the close of our conversation and expressed how much he enjoyed feeling like he was back in the classroom if only for a minute. However, it was I who had to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to accommodate a solitary student interested in the finer aspects of administrative law.

Highlighting Some Profound 2015 Supreme Court Decisions

By Taneashia R. Morrell

Each year the United States Supreme Court hears around 100-150 of the more than 7,000 cases it is asked to review. The 1925 Certiorari Act gives the Supreme Court the discretion to decide whether or not hear a case during a term. The term commences on the first Monday every October and ends around early July the following year. During the final months of this term, the Supreme Court decided on 13 important cases, one of which was a historic ruling: same-sex marriage. A summary of 5 of those cases are described below:

Freedom of speech and Facebook threats:

Truth-be-told, I am not a fan of the social media called Facebook. I see far too many court records and complaints regarding social media posts. Unfortunately, Anthony Elonis was sent to prison - 44 months - for one of his Facebook posts in which he boasted about how he was going to kill his ex-wife, hide her body, and slit her throat.

Under the Communication Threat law, it is illegal to transmit any threat of another via telephone or internet. However, the Supreme Court sided with Mr. Elonis stating that the government had to prove that a reasonable person would have regarded Mr. Elonis's statement as a true threat regardless of whether he actually intended the threats to be true. Justice Roberts stated that the reasonable person standard is "inconsistent with the conventional requirement for criminal conduct -- awareness of some wrongdoing."

The government also had to prove that Mr. Elonis was negligent with his posts. The majority also ruled in Mr. Elonis's favor in regards to this standard. However, Justice Thomas in his dissent stated that the majority failed to articulate a clear standard in place of negligence and, as a result, there is a level of uncertainty when it comes to negligent posts on social media.

Mr. Elonis argued that he was merely ranting because he was angry after his ex-wife left him. However, his posts displayed they were merely rants as he often stated he was "joking" and knew that it was "illegal to say I want to kill my wife" on social media.

Ultimately, the government failed to meet its burden of proof and a 7-2 majority sided with Mr. Elonis. It is fair to note, however, that the Court did not announce a new First Amendment rule in regards social media posts. Thus, it still stands that any sort of speech that uses violent rhetoric to carry out immediate violent action is still unprotected speech and could potentially be at risk.

Child victims and trial testimony:

Those who have completed Criminal Procedure or Evidence know that a defendant has a Sixth Amendment confrontation right. The Confrontation Clause applies during a criminal trial, where a declarant is unavailable, that the statement must be testimonial and the defendant must not have had an opportunity to cross-examine the declarant.

In this case, the defendant, Darius Clark, sent his girlfriend away to engage in prostitution and, during that time, he would watch her two children (a 3-year-old son (a/k/a L.P.) and an 18-month-old daughter). Mr. Clark was physically abusing L.P. and, when a preschool teacher asked L.P. who had abused him, L.P. identified Mr. Clark. At trial, L.P.'s teacher testified about the statements he made accusing Mr. Clark as his abuser. Mr. Clark was convicted, but appealed by stating his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation had been violated.

The Court held that Mr. Clark's Confrontation Clause rights were not violated because the child's statements to the teacher were not testimonial as they were not made with the "primary purpose of creating evidence for prosecution."

Head scarves/religious liberty:

This is a clash of free speech rights of employers (commercial speech) vs. the freedom of religion rights of future employees - two First Amendment rights clashing against each other (talk about a legal Game of Thrones). Samantha Elauf applied to work at Abercrombie & Fitch, but was denied employment because she wore a headscarf. Abercrombie’s principal defense was that Elauf's headscarf would cause it an undue hardship and would compromise its brand and "Look Policy," which would ultimately be to the detriment of the store's sales. And under Title VII, the government could not compel an employer to engage in commercial speech "antithetical to its branding policy."

The problem with this case arose on two fronts: (1) Abercrombie never informed Ms. Elauf of its "Look Policy," which at the time prohibited employees from headwear and (2) Ms. Elauf failed to inform Abercrombie that she wore the headscarf for religious reasons and, thus, needed accommodations. Although an Abercrombie supervisor had a hunch that Ms. Elauf wore the headscarf for Mulsim practice, he stated that it was merely a hunch not a known factor. Title VII states that “an applicant need only show . . . need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision.” Thus, the Court asserted that Abercrombie violated Title VII when it had "no more than an unsubstantiated suspicion that accommodation would be needed.”

The 8-1 majority opinion asserted that stores are allowed to have "no-headwear" policies, but must also make necessary accommodations when a "religious practice" requires headwear. Therefore, if a company feels the need to maintain an image-based policy, they should create an exception for religious groups or primary protected classes.

Police searches of motel registries:

When something gets stale, you throw it out. That's apparently what the Court did when they struck down a 116-year-old Los Angeles municipal law which allowed police to view hotel guest registries without a warrant. The Court ruled the law unconstitutional and a violation of privacy. In essence, the Court allowed a facial challenge against a statute under the Fourth Amendment.

The statute allowed for law enforcement to penalize a motel owner for refusing to turn over registry records without a warrant, thus depriving the owner of his or her Fourth Amendment right. An "owner who refuses to give an officer access to his or her registry can be arrested on the spot.”

The dissent argued that motels should be exempt from warrants because they are a hub of criminal activity where "drug dealing, prostitution, and human trafficking are beyond contention and . . . [motels] provide an obvious haven for those who trade in human misery.” Further, “[t]he warrantless inspection requirement provides a necessary incentive for motels to maintain their registers thoroughly and accurately: They never know when law enforcement might drop by to inspect.”

It is fair to note, however, that we live in a technologically advanced age where, one day very soon, motel and hotel paper registration will become obsolete. All registries may be required to be electronically entered into an electronic register into a city database. When that happens, will there be a challenge against law enforcement viewing that information, already on the city database, as unlawful?

Same-Sex Marriage:

The Court's same-sex ruling was the most talked about ruling in quite a while (well, that and the affordable health care subsidy ruling). In a divided Court, same-sex marriage was held constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. Meaning, states must treat same-sex marriages equally; the same as traditional marriages.

The Court held that the right to marry is a fundamental right that is closely protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, if it were up to Chief Justice Roberts, this would not be the case. He pouted during the ruling while others celebrated stating "do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it." Think again Justice Roberts. In reality, the Constitution had everything to do with it: no state shall . . . deny any person the equal protection of the laws; nor deprive any person of . . . liberty without due process of the law.

There has been quite a bit of backlash over the Court's ruling. For some, it's too simple or even naive to think that the Court's decision will bring down the curtain on the same-sex marriage debate especially when there are still those out there who feel that same-sex couples should not have a constitutional right to marry. While most state governments have followed the Court's ruling, others have stopped issuing marriage licenses all together, had court employees quit their jobs, or closed down county offices all in an apparent defiance of the Court's decision. States such as Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, and Kentucky have been affected by these woes.

Despite the backlash, the fact still remains that same-sex marriages and traditional marriages are now on equal footing. And under federal law there are currently 1,138 benefits, rights, and protections provided to married couples such as social security, tax, immigration, and divorce.

FYI, the other 8 cases are as follows:

• Affordable Car Act subsidies (King vs. Burwell)

• Raisin growers and eminent domain (Horne vs. US Dept Agriculture)

Confederate flag license plates (Walker vs. TX Division)

Death penalty cocktail (Glossip vs. Gross)

Passports and foreign policy (Zivotofsky vs. Kerry)

Fair Housing Act bias (TX Dept of Housing vs. Inclusive Comm. Proj.)

Redistricting (AZ State Leg. vs. AZ Indep. Redistricting Comm.)

Power plants and toxic pollution (Michigan vs. EPA)

Lansing Campus Mock Trail Board Hosts First Year Mock Trial Competitions

By:Adner Marcelin

Staff Writer, Lansing

Lansing, MI - The Mock Trial Board held its First Year Mock Trial Competitions at the Lansing campus of Thomas M. Cooley Law School this week. The Mock Trial Program educates students on becoming excellent trial lawyers by teaching them the art of persuasive advocacy in the courtroom. Students receive training and begin to acquire the skills they will need to be persuasive litigators in the courtroom.

Each year, first year students who have not taken evidence or trial skills are invited to compete in First Year Mock Trial competitions. I had a chance to interview one of the Hillary 2014 First Year competition team winners, Tiffany Murray. Murray, a second-term law student at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, along with her teammate Jessie Wells defeated the opposing team. Their opponents in the competition were Joseph Daly and Jennifer Gallardo.

Murray commented, “After a brief period of reservation, I am excited that I mustard up the courage to participate in this First Year Mock Trial Competitions. I was extremely shocked to learn that my partner and I had had won the competition. This completion certainly assisted me in overcoming many of my fears of the courtroom and showed me how natural it could be to litigate a case in front of a jury. In the end, I found that I was more critical of myself by underestimating by ability to succeed. In hindsight, I am really glad I chose to participate in this competition, and felt that I learned many new skills to use later in practice.”

Well congratulations are certainly in order to both Ms. Murray and Wells for a job well done as this year’s winning competitors. This competitions along with many others are just a few of the many great events hosted by the campus’s Mock Trial Board each term. For more information on how you can compete in a future competition or if you would like information on how you can become a member of the Mock Trial organization at Cooley, please visit the Mock Trial website on the portal or stop by their office located on the 3rd Floor of the Cooley Center.

The Untouchables: A Judicial System That Protects Misbehaved Prosecutors

By: Taneashia R. Morrell

Contributing Writer

Prosecutors are some of the most powerful people in the criminal justice system. Lawyers are expected to zealously advocate for their clients. A prosecutor, being a unique type of lawyer, not only advocates for the government, but also has a professional responsibility to do justice and exercise good judgment. Prosecutors wield tremendous amounts of legal power. They determine which charges to file against a suspect, offer harsh or lenient plea agreements, obtain indictments from a grand jury, and have the ability to seek the death penalty for individuals who are convicted of murder. In essence, a prosecutor is given infinite discretion over how a case unfolds—especially in death penalty trials. It is critical, however, to note that the burden of wielding this amount of power comes with great responsibility.

It is no secret that high stakes are involved in death penalty trials. Accordingly, prosecutors must exercise fairness in discovery. While the Model Rules of Professional Conduct governs the statutory responsibilities imposed upon a prosecutor, the United States Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland (and subsequently in Giglio v. United States) pronounced that due process requires the timely disclosure of all material evidence possessed by the prosecution team that is favorable to the defense. And a prosecutor’s duty to disclose Brady material is continuous (i.e., pre-trial, trial, and post-trial). Yet all too often, prosecutors violate Brady in order to secure a win. In certain murder trials, prosecutors are under tremendous pressure to secure verdicts in favor of the death penalty, instead of life sentences. As a result, the pressure to make this happen may cause a prosecutor to cross ethical lines. When this does occur, there seldom are consequences for the prosecutor that has behaved in misconduct.

In 2010, the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) disclosed that there were 707 instances of prosecutorial misconduct over a 12-year period. Out of those instances, only 1 percent of the prosecutors were disciplined. These findings are astounding and beg the question, why is the American judicial system protecting misbehaving prosecutors?

It is perhaps unsurprising that prosecutors have been given immunity from civil rights lawsuits (e.g., Title 42 U. S. C. § 1983) for their work in the courtroom. In 1976, the U. S. Supreme Court in Imbler v. Pachtman decided that prosecutors should not fear a lawsuit every time they go to trial. However, to the extent that prosecutors are mandated to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct, especially when they seek the ultimate penalty—death, prosecutors should have some form of punishment when they engage in misconduct.

At present, prosecutors are entitled to “absolute immunity,” which immunizes officials from suit for all official acts without regard to motive. This means that the prosecutor is “absolutely immune from any civil liability that might arise due to [their] official misconduct.” ( As a result, prosecutors face almost no incentive to uphold their legal and ethical duties when seeking convictions. In order to curb this problem (and it is a big problem), prosecutors should no longer be entitled to absolute immunity, but instead, they should be entitled to “qualified immunity.”

Qualified immunity acts as a shield to protect public officials from being sued by a defendant for damages, unless the public official clearly violated established law, which a reasonable official in the same capacity would have known. This requires a two-part analysis: “(1) Was the law governing the official’s conduct clearly established? (2) Under that law, could a reasonable officer have believed the conduct was lawful?” (see The Court in Pearson et al. v. Callahan reasoned “[q]ualified immunity balances two important interests—the need to hold public officials accountable when they exercise power irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform their duties reasonably.”

A wronged defendant should not be without civil redress against prosecutors who lie or withhold evidence, thus depriving the defendant of their liberty. Since the law of qualified immunity balances the two important interests of both a defendant and a public official, prosecutors should no longer be able to hide under the guise of absolute immunity, but instead should be entitled to qualified immunity.

Even one conviction that has been tainted by prosecutorial misconduct is a smear on the American criminal justice system. Therefore, it is imperative that our courts begin to hold prosecutors that have behaved in misconduct accountable for their actions.

FAA Drone Regulations

By: Christian Wiesenberg

Drones, otherwise known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), have been a hot topic over the past several years. November 18, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that any, “device used for flight in the air, large or small, are subject to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governing rules.” The FAA proposed regulations are an attempt to curb issues associated with drone usage, such as invasion of privacy, personal injury, destruction of property, and violation of FAA U.S. airspace regulations. As of December 21, 2015, drones that weigh less than 55 lbs are to be registered with the FAA.

The FAA has proposed UAS regulations that would affect Recreational operators, Commercial operators, and Public Entities. The proposed regulations require a recreational drone operator – who is 13 years or older – to register their drone if that drone’s weight is between 0.55 lbs and 55 lbs. A drone operator would be required to pass an FAA-approved aeronautical test before operating their drone. Commercial operators would be required to obtain an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and meet the same licensing and registration requirements as a recreational operator. Both recreational and commercial operators would be limited to an elevation of 400 feet and keep their drone within eyesight at all times on property designated for that flight - not flight in open public airspace. Lastly, public entities which include publicly funded universities, law enforcement, fire departments and other government agencies, are the only operators who can receive a COA for public airspace UAS aircraft operations.

For more information on FAA proposed drone regulations visits:

E-Discovery Research Stirs Controversy

E-Discovery Research Stirs Controversy

March 2, 2013

By: Alice M. Porch

Managing Editor, Tampa Bay

Research shows that electronic discovery (e-discovery) using “predictive coding” software produces accurate results and saves clients thousands of dollars. In 2012, judges approved the use of predictive coding as an acceptable method of searching through electronically stored information (ESI) for cases that have a large number of documents to review.

E-discovery involves exhaustive manual document reviews by experienced attorneys. The process can be extremely expensive and time consuming because some cases have millions of documents. This is an unavoidable expense since parties must produce all of the required documents for their cases, and mismanagement of ESI can cause evidence spoliation.

Predictive coding uses algorithms to train a computer to review and code documents based on instructions from a human reviewer. The reviewer codes a small set of documents, and the computer identifies all of the properties. As more samples are added, the computer learns from the reviewer’s decisions and applies what it learns to new documents. The reviewer gives the computer feedback of its accuracy, and eventually, the computer learns enough to make accurate predictions for remaining documents.

Webber used two assessors in his e-discovery experiment whom were not employed in the legal profession. Using the software, these assessors were able to achieve reliable results that are competitive with professional document reviewers.

Researchers are conducting studies to measure how technology-assisted review (TAR) compares to manual document review. The members of Legal Track evaluate document review methods at the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC), an annual government-sponsored project. Its 2011 results gave TAR “a virtual vote of confidence” and concluded that its efforts “require human review of only a fraction of the entire collection, with the consequence that they are far more cost-effective than manual review.”

William Webber, a researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, evaluated the accuracy of predictive coding software. Webber used two assessors in his e-discovery experiment whom were not employed in the legal profession. Using the software, these assessors were able to achieve reliable results that are competitive with professional document reviewers.

So, who were the assessors in Webber’s experiment? Surprisingly, the assessors were high school seniors working in Webber’s e-discovery lab as interns who had no legal training and no prior e-discovery experience.

Webber maintains a research blog where he discussed his recent experiment. The results were disturbing to some of Webber’s blog readers. An angry commenter wrote, “You suggest that Document Reviewers whom go to law school, pass the bar, are basically producing the same level of work as a bunch of High Schoolers?” Another defensive commenter wrote, “Some reviewers are bound to make mistakes doing 10-12 hours of routine clicking. The simple[r] the project the more likely that said high school students might do better.”

Webber explained to the disgruntled blog readers that the purpose of his study was to provide valid academic research.

Scientific studies are important to law firm managers because the results help them objectively evaluate the benefits of investing in e-discovery software. Importantly, research results serve as a guide to the best way to integrate new technologies into a law practice to be competitive with other firms. As a result, predictive coding will change the future business practices of the legal industry, which will continue to be under the scrutiny of academic scientists.

The Stranger Beside You

The Stranger Beside You

March 17, 2013

By: Samantha Bevins

Staff Writer, Tampa Bay

Imagine that you have been working alongside a wonderful co-worker for years--in your eyes, they're both kind and friendly, with excellent manners and a bright future ahead of them. If you had to tell anyone about this co-worker, whom you also consider a dear friend, it would be nothing but high praise. One day you are face with facts that prove otherwise and you have to face the cold truth that your beloved friend, your co-worker, is a serial killer. Ann Rule was devastated beyond disbelief when she discovered her male co-worker was a suspect in a string of homicides that sent the Northwest United States into a panic in the 1970's.

Once upon a time in the 1960's, Ann was a police officer in the Seattle metro-area. Ann experienced criminal activity while on the ‘beat’ for the tenure of her career, and after she retired from the police force she had a difficult time separating this from her lifestyle. While Ann had always had an interest in true crime, it never crossed her mind that this interest would turn into a full-fledged career. Ann never imagined that her friend Ted was a cold-blooded serial murder.

Theodore Robert Bundy was notoriously known for killing over 30 women across the United States. Police investigators believe he could be responsible for close to 100 homicides. Ted was handsome, well mannered, articulate, and a law student. No one who knew him ever believed he would be capable of luring women to his VW Volkswagen and killing them with murderous rage.

When Ted’s murder spree began in Seattle in the early 1970’s, Ann worked alongside him at a Crisis Center Hotline. The two usually worked the third shift together on the weekends. There were many weekends when Ann was alone with Ted; she watched him counsel and convince others their lives were worthwhile during the time they needed it the most. Ted would often walk Ann to her car when they got off their shift. Ann has declared numerous times that when Ted was brought forth as a suspect she never once believed he was guilty.

At the time of the Bundy murders, Ann Rule was also working alongside the King County [Seattle] Police Department by doing investigative research on local crime activity. Ann was familiar with the process from her days as a police officer and she often went for ride-a-longs with her former colleagues. It was during this time that her curiosity piqued to the numerous murders of young women in the Seattle area. Ann was assigned by the police department to collect information on these murders and try to piece it together. This research would lead Ann to authoring her first true crime novel. Ted Bundy was executed in Florida in 1989 for the murder of a 12-year-old girl, Kimberly Leach, and two other young women of the Chi Omega Sorority at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Ann has described the day of Bundy’s execution in her novel as one she will never forget because it was when she finally realized that her well-mannered and kind friend was actually guilty.

Our nation is infatuated with true crime. There are countless television shows, movies, video games and other portrayals in the media that revolve around crime. Some read is for leisure while others read it for research purposes. Ann Rule's story is different. Ann Rule’s book titled “The Stranger Beside Me” is her account of her friendship with Bundy, his life and the events that eventually led up to his capture and execution. Ann has often cited the irony of the entire situation with Ted Bundy. Ann cannot fathom, even after 30-some odd years later, she once befriended and worked alongside a man who committed such atrocious acts.

Treks for a Chance to Live the American Dream

By: Irene Patatoukos

Staff Writer, Tampa Bay

Immigrants tell their story of the journey they made to live the American Dream

Everyday people from all over the world find a way to enter the United State’s illegally in order to live the American Dream. They risk everything from money and their homes to, more importantly, their lives to make it across our borders in hopes for something greater. So many wonder the details of these infamous crossings. Is it really like it is characterized, one quick swim across the Rio Grande and then ta-da welcome to the United States? Or is it something much more involved? Luckily for all of those who have questions, I have managed to get answers.

We begin with a young man of about 28 years old, who managed to cross the border twice, first in 2003 and then again in 2006. He, unfortunately, had gotten caught by border patrol and remembers it as a horrific experience. He was only 19 at the time. His journey began with a one-night stay in a small room that was shared with roughly 50 people. The slept on “beds” that were made of chain link fence covered by a towel. His walk was to begin early the next day but because of some difficulties that came up the official walk did not begin until the late afternoon. The change in plans meant he and his group had to spend a night in the freezing desert, which led to a meeting with thieves who took all of their money at gunpoint. He wonders whether or not this change of plans and this late night meeting with thieves was some sort of conspiracy. After surviving this horrific experience he managed to make it across the border. He thought the worst was over until he met with another struggle. He was forced endure a car ride with about 20 people in a small van for over 30 hours. It was 33 hours down and only 1 left to go when immigration and border patrol had pulled over the van and discovered the group. In his words “I suffered for nothing”. He chose not to allow this to stop him or kill his spirit. He was determined to try again. He did and managed to make it into the United States.

Another young man, age 24, had a different story to tell. His story was one of a much more treacherous walk through the desert. Of having to sleep on garbage bags covered in garlic so as to avoid getting bitten by scorpions and potentially die. Living off of 2 gallons of water for days. Hiding during the day so as to avoid being caught by the United States government, or worse, the Mexican Mafia. Remembering how he almost died and how some were, unfortunately left behind, never to be seen again. His story was like one we would see in Hollywood. One where pain and suffering, turned into a story of success. He managed to make it to the land of opportunity and felt like he had won a prize that was worth more than any lotto.

A young woman age 26 had a different story to tell. She too had been caught once before but did not allow that stop her from trying again She remembers having to spend 7 days in the desert at the tender age of only 16. She didn’t have enough food or water to last the entire treck. It was on the 4th day when she ran out of supplies. Her fear and determination to make across the border and into the land of opportunity kept her mind off of the thirst and the hunger. Her suffering did not end once she successfully made it over the border. Instead she spent hours in a small car with over 10 people until she finally reached her destination state. The entire journey took her 20 days.

A young man roughly age 30 took the chance at around 20 years old. He too, was one of the lucky ones who only spent a few hours in the desert. He walked through the desert for only 4 hours. He jokes that this was his exercise for the day. He was humble about his treck through the desert. “I did not suffer,” he said. But his tune quickly changed when begins to talk of part 2 of his journey over the border: the time he spent on the train. He had to spend15 hours in a small train car with about 20 other people. This may not sound like such a bad way to travel as trains are known to be a comfortable and effective way to travel. This is not the case, however, when you are not only sharing your space with over a dozen people but with hundreds of tires as well. The idea of comfort and a luxurious way to travel quickly disappears. Just when he thought it was over and he was finally free, he then spend another 3 hours in a crown victoria packed with 10 people. He, unlike many of the others, was lucky enough not to get caught by immigration and border patrol.

Our last interviewee had just had only been 16 for 2 weeks at the time he chose to make his pilgrimage in to the United States. He recalls spending three miserably hot days and three freezing nights in the desert. They walked for hours. He remembers only getting about 30 minutes of sleep for every 8 hours. During this walk he was greeted by snakes,, scorpions and the remains of dead people who unfortunately did not make it. He too was robbed at gunpoint. Thieves took everything from their money to their drinks. This particular individual was lucky because he hid all but 20 pesos of his money in the lining of his cloths. With no drinks left he was forced to drink whatever water he could find on the ground. “It was bad and gross” he said “but it was all I had and all I could find”. At the end of their walk he, along with the other 30 people that were in his group, were forced into 1 truck for 2 hours. The worst was over once they had officially crossed the border. He merely had to wait his turn to be dropped off at his destination. He spent weeks in phoenix and Los Angeles before finally making it to Florida and beginning his life.

So many of us take our status as a legal resident or a citizen in this county for granted. We don’t realize how much people suffer just to make it here, to the United States. So many of us complain about our country and how unhappy we are with some of the decisions of our leaders or the laws we have to follow, while others are risking their lives to touch our soil, breath our air, and live in a land of freedom and opportunity. So many show their disgust in these people who have entered this country because it was done so illegally. However, do they ever ask why or how this was done? Perhaps if they knew the sacrifices of these individuals their opinions will change. Clearly there is good reason that exists for these individuals to go through the trials and tribulations they had to endure.

Why Students Should Join Their State Bar Association

By: Matthew Secrest

As law students, we view the local bar association as if it was in a galaxy far, far away and something we do not want to think about until we have to. This is a mistake, however, because joining your state bar early has a lot of advantages. Those advantages include networking opportunities, resume building, and, in some cases, financial incentives. The first of these advantages is networking.

Most state bar associations have sections broken down by subject area. Thus, students can meet with attorneys that practice in the students’ area of interest. For example, I have an interest in international law and went to a meeting of the Michigan State Bar International Law Section in February 2015. The meeting included a program on doing business in China as well as an opportunity to network. I found the attorneys there were more than happy to discuss their area of practice with me and were glad that I came. Many also stated that they wish more students got involved with the bar association. My experience is not unique. Many of the other sections of the bar have similar meetings and networking opportunities that students can participate in. The next advantage is resume building.

Many sections of a bar association allow students to hold board positions as student representatives. For instance, the International Law Section has representatives from Cooley and other Michigan law schools. These positions look great on a resume because the student becomes a leader in their state’s legal community. In addition, many of these positions are not known or taken by most law students and students who take advantage of them set themselves apart from others in the job market. Finally, students should join their state bar associations for financial reasons.

Some states may require that students join the bar association their first year in law school. Others, like Florida, give students a huge discount on bar fees if they sign up early. Still, others allow students to join for free or at little cost to the student. For instance, Michigan’s base fee is fifteen dollars a year in addition to the nominal fees charged by some sections. Thus, whether you save money or have to spend a little, it makes sense for students to join their state bar association for all the advantages it offers.

If students are interested in joining the State Bar of Michigan, they can go to, and clink on the members section. From there, you click on the section that says prospective new attorneys, law students etc., and then follow the application steps. If you are interested in other bars, just google their name, for instance “Florida bar,” and their web address should appear in the search results or contact the Career and Professional Development office for help.

Tampa Bay Students Give Back

Tampa Bay Students Celebrate October with a Month of Giving Back to the Community

By: Amy L. Bandow

Assistant Director of the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism at the Thomas M. Cooley Law


On October 4, 2013, Tampa Bay students kicked off a month-long celebration of giving back to the community through pro bono work and public service. The month began with a special Pro Bono Pledge Ceremony in which students gathered before the Honorable Catherine Peek McEwen, a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Florida and chair of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit’s Pro Bono Committee, to learn about the importance of pro bono work and to pledge their commitment to making pro bono service a part of their law school and legal careers. Students learned not only about the rewarding feeling one gets by helping those who cannot afford to hire attorneys, but also about the benefits pro bono service provides to the court system and the role it plays in professional development.

The following day, students turned their pledge of commitment into action by participating in a Wills for Heroes event organized by the local Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of the bar. Through this program, first responders in Hillsborough County, such as police officers, were able to meet with attorneys and receive basic estate plans - free of charge.

The volunteer activities continued throughout the month with information sessions about volunteer opportunities, bilingual students interpreting at court hearings through the Cooley Communicates program, students volunteering at a Bay Area Legal Services project to help self-represented individuals complete petitions for injunctions against domestic violence, and students helping staff a pro bono information table at the courthouse during the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Week (week of October 21).

October concluded with the culmination of a project that began the prior month: “Homeward Bound for Those Who Served,” a project to help those who have given so much – veterans. Organized by the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, in partnership with the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Community Services Committee, Homeward Bound aimed to fulfill “wish lists” of veterans with limited resources who are terminally or chronically ill and living in foster homes. The “wish lists” contained items such as basic necessities and, perhaps, something small for enjoyment – a book, board game, gift certificate to a fast food restaurant, etc. Tampa Bay’s Military Veterans Law Student Association (MVLSA), the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism, and Associate Professor Stevie Swanson joined forces to “adopt” some of the veterans and fulfill their wish lists. Professor Swanson adopted two of the veterans and held a friendly competition between two of her classes to see which class could fulfill every item on the respective wish list first. Due to the great efforts of the MVLSA and the generosity of Professor Swanson’s students, Team Cooley collected hundreds of dollars in gift cards and nearly 30 bags full of gifts. Students then spent the last Saturday morning in October delivering gifts and visiting with the veterans to express gratitude for their service.

If you are interested in participating in pro bono work, volunteering, or public service activities organized by Cooley’s Center for Ethics, Service, or Professionalism, please contact Amy Bandow, Cooley’s Assistant Director of the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism, at or (813) 419-5100, extension 5108.

Alumni Spotlight

Written by: Lauren A. Solis

Alumni Spotlight: Sylvia A. Cavazos

It’s a warm, humid morning in San Antonio, Texas, and the line to get inside the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center is out the door. Inside, attorneys, and defendants are buzzing through the hallways. In the crowd, you will spot a friendly face – Sylvia Cavazos, a criminal defense attorney. Wearing her signature red lipstick, clad in a bright, red suit jacket, Sylvia is conferring with the State regarding her clients’ case; they have agreed to an offer and on to the next courtroom she goes. This is a typical morning for Sylvia - from courtroom to courtroom she advocates for her clients. However, Sylvia did not anticipate she would be a successful criminal defense attorney in San Antonio. Sylvia graduated in the Voelker Class in 1997 from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Upon graduation she returned to Texas and worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Bexar (pronounced “bear”) County. She worked in different divisions from Juvenile Division, Drug Intake, and Trial Division both Misdemeanor and Felony. When asked the reason she departed from the DA’s Office after 10 years, Sylvia replies, “There really are two sides to every story. [T]here are bad cops and the facts are not always the way they appear. Many people are falsely accused of very serious offenses and the only person in their corner is their defense attorney who can advocate on their behalf.”

Sylvia comments on the job market for criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio, saying that, “there is an over-abundance of attorneys, so your experience must set you apart from the average applicant”. Without a doubt, Sylvia is leading the pack. In addition to her State cases, Sylvia also represents clients in Federal Court. Some of her top cases involve illegal entry of individuals crossing the Mexican-American boarder, individuals smuggling large quantities of drugs and money into the United States, and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) cases which involve the Texas Syndicate, Mexican Mafia, and Latin Kings.

When asked about the pros and cons of her career she answers, “The positive aspect is being able to help someone facing serious consequences that will affect them for the rest of their life. The negative aspect is having to be selfish and working extra hours that take away from your personal time.” Those extra hours Sylvia puts in the office and after hours at her home office show in her passionate representation amongst her clients. Her service and experience pave way to being involved in her community, holding memberships in the Texas Bar Association, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Association (TCDLA), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer Association (SADCLA), and having had the great opportunity of serving as President of the Del Rio Association of Federal Attorneys.

As I wrap up this interview with Sylvia, she is in her car driving from San Antonio to Del Rio, Texas (approximately 144 miles from San Antonio) for her Federal cases. She’s multitasking between calling the correctional institute to confirm her client interviews and calling her office to check in on business. Her job never stops, rather, she proudly admits, “being able to advocate zealously for my client whose life would be greatly affected by a criminal conviction and ultimately getting their case dismissed” is what she finds most satisfying about her job. ~

Grand Rapids to celebrate Constitution Day with Justice Thomas Brennan and U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Scoville.

By: Sarah Miller

Guest Writer, Grand Rapids

Donut Day, Earth Day, Left-handed Day, Constitution Day—the list of what we celebrate could continue for the rest of this page most likely. However, take a look at that last day listed—Constitution Day. Why is there a Constitution Day? A better question is why a Left-handed Day, and I am even left-handed. But really, why Constitution Day?

Constitution Day is always September 17th, the date the Founding Fathers signed the Constitution. Thirty-nine Founding Fathers, to be exact, signed the Constitution. Fifty-five Founding Fathers attended the Constitutional Convention. Therefore, at minimum, 55 people believed the United States Constitution to be important in 1787. What about now? What does the United States Constitution mean to us? It is old. It is a document containing 4,543 words. Sometimes the age and length of a document establishes its importance. Given these fun facts, you start to see why we consider celebrating our Constitution.

Besides sharing fun facts about the Constitution, why else would you celebrate the Constitution? The history is clear and the document is like a picture of that history. It is a reminder to us. The day is a day to recognize our privilege of living in the United States and witnessing a document that still lives today.

When someone says, “The Constitution” the response is never, “What constitution?” The public knows that such a thing exists and that it is imperative to our country’s existence. In elementary schools, students are developing miniature versions of a constitution that apply to the classroom. In law school, students read about the creation and application of the Constitution. Students also write scholarly articles on trending constitutional topics. A lawyer lives by the Constitution, especially in certain areas of practice. Non-lawyers carry out the essence of the United States Constitution on a day-to-day basis. Every time you speak your mind you are exercising your First Amendment right. The phrase “We the People”—that’s you. So why not celebrate a piece of history that has given ample power and freedom to we the people.

To advise you to celebrate and not give you a way to do so would be unfair. School founder Justice Thomas Brennan and U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Scoville agreed to discuss the latest constitutional topics.

Chief Justice Brennan served on the Michigan Supreme Court bench from 1969-1970. Two years later he founded Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He then committed himself to the development of Cooley. In 2002, he retired as dean but continues to devote himself to the school. Judge Scoville serves on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Before his work on the bench, he was a partner at Warner, Norcross & Judd. He also served as the president of the Federal Bar Association. Judge Scoville dedicates himself to the continuing education of law students. He served on the Hillman Advocacy Workshop board and ICLE seminars.

Explore Toastmasters -- Good Advice For All Law Students

By: Antonia B. Harbin

In my first term of law school, while attending a Cooley Networking event, a practicing attorney recommended that I get involved with Toastmasters International (Toastmasters), because it would really help me as an attorney. At that time, I knew very little about Toastmasters but my curiosity was peaked, and fortunately, I followed that advice. I have been a member of a Toastmasters club for over a year now and I am so glad that I joined because it really helped me in pretrial when I had to give my oral argument and now that I am in trial skills I discovered that I have the foundation for good public speaking skills .

Toastmasters International is a public speaking and personal development club for people of all ages and backgrounds. Toastmasters can offer a law student or lawyer many benefits. With a one hour meeting, Toastmasters is conducive to those who have busy schedules. There are two separate tracks - the communication track and the leadership track. Under the communication track, you are required to complete several timed speeches. As lawyers, we have to be competent communicators and this track is very beneficial since we must advocate on behalf of our clients.

It is also a good idea to look for opportunities to improve our leadership skills, outside of law school organizations. Under the leadership track, you can be a general board member, participate in mentoring, play a role in the weekly meeting, plan events and even participate in speech contests.

Most people in a toastmasters club are there for various reasons. However, a common goal we all have is to improve our public speaking skills and help others do the same by providing thoughtful feedback. Toastmasters provides a supportive environment. For example, during each meeting there is a grammarian who introduces a new vocabulary word and gives a report that points out word enunciation and incorrect grammar. There is also an Ah counter who counts how many times you use filler and crutch words to makes sure your dialogue is not stifled by ums and ahs, and make you more aware of the annoying words that we have a tendency to use.

Finally, one of the best benefits that Toastmasters has to offer to law students is the part of the meeting known as “table topics.” Participating in “table topics” allows you to create impromptu speeches on various topics and deliver them within a two- minute time frame. Developing this skill is essential for lawyers because we need to be able to think and speak on our feet- especially as litigators.

Toastmasters is a great compliment to excelling in Mock trial, Moot Court, and trial skills. For attorneys it is also a good group to network in – considering that the people in the club come from varying backgrounds.

If you are ever interested you can find a toastmasters group near you at www.

Words of Wisdom from the Christian Legal Society

By: Andrea Woods,

Staff Writer

The Christian Legal Society (CLS) is a student organization for students of all backgrounds and denominations who want to learn about Christ. Our meetings are held for weekday students on Fridays from 12-1 pm in Room 505. For weekend students, meetings are held on Saturdays from 12-1 pm in Room L12. Rooms are subject to change each term. CLS celebrates national prayer day by completing the Jericho Walk around WMU Cooley Law seven times while praying. We also host events like movie day to preview life changing Christian films. It is my sincere wish for you join CLS as we network and learn about the Lord. Please enjoy the following Words of Wisdom. May they help ease the burden that some of you might be experiencing right now.


Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

CLS Bible Study

Even when I am tired and I still have to read, study, work, cook, and clean, I can do all of these things through Christ. Life can be so demanding even if we are organized and calendared persons. However, we have enough time in the day to do all we have to do. Even in the mundane things of life, we have to know we can do it. I can get out of the bed, get dressed, pack my bag, and go study although it’s cold outside and my bed is super cozy. I can study hard and ask questions to seek help when I don’t understand my material without feeling inadequate. I am in law school to learn and grow in wisdom.

“We are preparing to be ministers of justice.”- Thomas Brennan


Daniel 3:27

Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisors crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

CLS Bible Study

God will protect us and rescue us from any situation that we face. All we have to do is have confidence in Him. Knowing that He can do anything except fail us is what we must realize for His glory to wash over us. He is able to help us with everything that we face in this life. He’s our hope and we have to continue to put our trust in Him even when we are faced with life and death situations. We always have choices daily and God always has the answer; all we have to do is pray and then after the answer comes just follow it through. Even when we are discouraged and sad, we have to remember God commanded us to be strong and very courageous and we can do just that, if we trust Him to give us the strength to do so.

Why Students Should Use the Academic Resource Center

By:Matthew Secrest

The Academic Resource Center, or ARC for short, is a great resource for students that frequently goes unused. There are many reasons for this. For instance, lack of knowledge about where the ARC is or the benefits it offers as well as fear and embarrassment are just a few reasons why students don’t use the ARC. These reasons, however, should not keep students away because the ARC has amazing resources including meeting with a professor or graduate assistant, like myself, or using the supplement library. The first reason students should come to the Academic Resource Center is because of graduate assistants and professors.

ARC graduate assistants have performed amazingly well in their classes and are there to help students with whatever they need. I, for example, have helped students with essay writing, multiple choice, and other issues for classes such as Contracts, Torts, Criminal Procedure, etc. Beyond helping students with class work, we are a great source of advice because we are law students ourselves. In addition to the graduate assistants, the professors are also a great resource students can use for help with anything they need. The second reason is the supplement library.

Students can check out a wide range of books from our supplement library for three hours at a time. These books cover all subject areas and include both essays and multiple choice questions. They include titles such as Question and Answer, Gilberts, and Examples and Explanations. These supplements are great resources throughout the term, but are very helpful during exam preparation. For example, I have used them to help me prepare for multiple choice questions. Thus, the supplement library along with the graduate assistants and professors are two great reasons for students to come to the Academic Resource Center.

For those that may not know, the ARC is located on the 6th floor of the Cooley Center and has offices at every campus. We also have a page on the portal with more information about us including the office locations for the other campus. In addition, we can be reached by phone on any campus or by email at

Immigration: Then and Now

By: Irene Patatoukos

Staff Writer, Tampa Bay

I consider myself an advocate for immigration. For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in immigration. This is no surprise, especially since I come from a family full of generations of immigrants. On my mother’s side both my grandparents and great-grandparents came to this country to escape war. Then came my father, who was in search of a better life.

My relatives didn’t come here by filling out applications and waiting for a reply. My father “jumped ship.” “Jumping ship” doens’t mean he jumped off while the ship was moving. Instead, he got off to explore the city and when the ship left he conveniently missed his opportunity to board. This was more than 30 years ago. The consequences he faced were vastly different then they are now, especially since there were no negative consequences.

My father was able to get right back on a ship and go back to Greece, no questions asked. He later was able fill out his applications for a visa, which was approved fairly quickly, and return back to our country within 2 years. The fact that he had been in this country illegally wasn’t an issue. He was not faced with the difficulties many aliens encounter today like 5 to 10 year bar on entry and proof of financial stability, to name a few.

Today, an immigrant trying to enter our country, especially illegally like my father did, has many issues to face including deportation, barring of entry by the government, and extreme difficulty when trying to obtain a visa. In some instances, obtaining a visa is out of the question.

When my father received legal status in this country, he was finally able to apply for citizenship. His application did take long to process but was not difficult to obtain. He took it seriously and studied very hard for his citizenship test, which he aced. The process for my father to receive his visa and and citizenship took about ten years. My father was sworn in on March 8, 1991 as a citizen of the United States of America.

It is quite difficult to gain citizenship now. An acquaintance of mine has been trying to go through the proper channels to bring her mother from Columbia. It took five years and two denials for her just to get a six month visitor visa. After meeting with different attorneys to discuss the chances of her mother obtaining citizenship, she has come to the realization that the chances are very slim.

When looking back on the immigration system then and comparing it to what it is like now, it’s hard to believe that two vastly different systems have existed within the same country. How great would it be to take our country back to the immigration system of what is was instead of what we are experiencing now. It use to be that seeking a better life was an honor to this country instead of a threat. Bringing a relative for a visit didn’t require a lot of patience as well as evidence that your relative will not overstay and has somewhere to go back home to. Citizenship was a possibility and not just a fantasy in the eyes of someone who was not born in this country.

Is there a chance that this country will once again return to the immigration system of then or something similar?

Student Advocates for Displaced Minorities in Iraq

By: Candis Najor

The invasion of Iraq by ISIS, an Islamist extremist group, has displaced over a million Christians, a minority of the region. The fall of Mosul sparked enough anxiety that, for the first time in 1,600 years, there was no Mass in that city. One minority group in the region, the Chaldeans, have a significant presence in the United States, with over 300,000 in Michigan, California, Arizona, Illinois, and Ohio. Chaldeans throughout the country have formed close-knit communities, keeping much of their culture, and many still speaking their native language, Aramaic.

ISIS’s terror campaign is specifically targeting an area where many still have friends and family. Now, the Chaldean community and other

Middle Eastern Christians have come together to demand action. The organization, In Defense of Christians, hosted a summit in Washington D.C. in September to “create a forum enabling people…to come together in unity to protect the Christians of the Middle East,” President of IDC, Toufic Boaklini.

I traveled to Washington DC to attend this summit with a Chaldean delegation of 15 from Detroit and Chicago, and to advocate on behalf

of our community in Iraq. We lobbied for Senate Resolution 530, introduced by Senator Portman of Ohio. This resolution called for the creation of a safe haven in Iraq, timely processing of visas for Iraq’s fleeing minority groups, and requesting Iraq’s government to prioritize the protection of religious minorities.

The IDC Summit brought together Middle Eastern Christian Patriarchs, dozens of members of Congress, and leaders from around the world to

stand in unity, to demand action, and to let it be known to their brothers and sisters in the Middle East that they are not alone. Speakers at the summit included Representative Gus Bilirakis who said, “Let’s stand up…and let them know that the United States will not ignore their crimes against humanity.”

Cardinal Leonard Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation of the Oriental Church, delivered the message that we are “in defense of Christians,

in defense of Jews, in defense of Muslims, in defense of Humanity.”

Community efforts and active lobbying in D.C. has created a domino effect of response. On September 11th the Middle Eastern Patriarchs and

Bishops met with President Obama to discuss the persecution and genocide of Christians in the Middle East. The following week, Senate Resolution 530 passed.

Although a small step in the right direction, there is still a long road ahead. Currently, these minorities have taken shelter in Kurdistan, having no choice but to sleep on the floors of churches and schools. With winter quickly approaching, these people are in dire need of basic essentials.

For more information, or to donate, please visit:

Another Step In The Right Direction - Immigration

By: Irene Patatoukos

Staff Writer, Tampa Bay

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some have no tolerance and choose to strongly voice their feelings against immigration reform. Others, like myself, feel that something must be done. This is the reason is why I choose to report on this topic and make everyone aware of our governments efforts to fix our broken immigration system. I am very pleased to see that various laws, both big and small, have been enacted to help all those who I find myself being an advocate for. I have written before about one of the bigger laws that has been recently enacted, the DREAM act also known as the DACA, and how many of these so called “illegals” are finally getting the chance to live out the American dream of being able to work hard and have an opportunity to obtain an education. Today, I am pleased to report that less than a week ago the state of California also gave these individuals a glimpse of hope through another change.

All “illegal immigrants” living in the state of California will now have the opportunity to obtain drivers licenses. The concept of “illegals” obtaining licenses is nothing new, and most feel that changes made by one state aren’t a big deal and will not greatly impact the bigger picture. However, for those of us who are advocates this is another giant step in the right direction. It is believed that the passing of this law has been spurred by the immigration reform we have been hearing so much about, but in reality this law has been around for years and merely needed the help of the right person to bring it to life. We must give thanks to Governor Jerry Brown, who finally signed this law that has failed to pass a multitude of times over the past decade.

Currently seven states allow “illegal immigrants” to obtain driver’s licenses. These states include: New Mexico, Illinois, Utah, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and now California. We who are advocates continue to breath a sigh of relief as we see this continued progression of acceptance of these residents of our country. It has been a very slow process to get to this point. However, I am a firm believer of “patience being a virtue” and “slow and steady winning the race”. The hope is that a domino affect occurs. That because the state of California is one of our most populated states, it will set an example and cause other states to want to follow suit and give these individuals hope that one day they may be accepted. A driver’s license is not by any means a ticket to citizenship for these individuals and it will not be considered as a federally issued form of identification. What it will do is give these individuals a privilege they never thought they would have. It will show them that they are accepted into our society, that they have a place amongst us, and we do feel that they belong here. For those of us who want to see these individuals become, at the very least, legal residents if not citizens, this is ultimately another step in the right direction.

Life in The Palace with Richard Haddad

Life in The Palace with Richard Haddad

By: Ashli Bynum

February 4, 2016

Auburn Hills, MI- Richard Haddad, the Vice President and General Counsel of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons, spoke to students today as part of Career and Professional Development week. The program, hosted by the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, featured a hardy lunch and insightful career advice.

Haddad shared with students his career path and stories about his legal journey thus far. After graduating with a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan, “the History firms in town weren’t hiring,” Haddad joked. As an alternative career option, he attended Colombia Law School (not too bad for a back-up plan). From there, he practiced law in the state of New York for a number of years. One day, a representative from Palace Sports and Entertainment (PSE) contacted Haddad regarding a potential job opportunity. As a native of Adrian, MI, he was not very enthusiastic about moving back to the area but, he was a Pistons fan and decided to learn more about the new position. Needless to say, he accepted the job and has been with PSE since 2012.

He explained how rewarding it was to work for PSE because they are more than just a business; they contribute not only to their surrounding communities but the entire state of Michigan. Currently, the Detroit Pistons have started a new fundraising drive, dubbed FlintNow, to help raise monetary donations for the citizens of Flint in the midst of the water crisis. Haddad said that he worked on “a lot of complicated contracts with three different bus companies” so that the Detroit Pistons could transport “1000 Flint kids to the game tomorrow.” Not only does he get the opportunity to do what he loves for a team that he loves, he is also able to give back to those in need as part of the PSE team.

When asked what advice he would give to a student wanting to go into the Sports and Entertainment Law field, he responded, “learn to fully develop yourself as an attorney… put yourself in a position to take advantage of opportunities… [and] do a good job at whatever you’re doing.”

Many female students interested in the field were concerned because it is known to be male dominated. When asked how many females he interacted with and what might be some of their hardships, he comically responded that he could “not answer about their personal hardships for the obvious reason.” But, he also said that his two predecessors were both women and that many of the entertainers and teams have women sitting on their general counsels. He mentioned that there is still room for growth but “things have changed.”

Haddad’s inspirational words of wisdom were vastly insightful and the program was a success. He doesn’t know what his plans will be for the future. But for now, you can catch him at the Palace, cheering on his favorite team.

For more information and updates regarding events such as this one, look for announcements in the weekly newsletters.

Love and the Law: Making Sure the Elements Are Met

By: Antonia B. Harbin

Managing Editor, Auburn Hills

How does an extremely busy law student have time for love in their life? We have to make good use of our time. Otherwise, we can be consumed with reading, briefing and studying with no time to take care of ourselves or those we care about.

As law students, we know about elements and actually we can apply the concept to our daily lives – especially in our relationships. If you are contemplating whether being in law school and in love at the same time is possible – be encouraged. Here is some first-hand advice, from Cooley students who are making it work.

Five couples were interviewed. Each couple was asked two questions.

The first question was the same for everyone: What do you consider the major elements needed in order to make a relationship work as a law student?

Most of the couples agreed that communication, time management, patience, and understanding are the most essential. But each couple had their own ideas about what additional elements they thought were necessary to make their individual relationships work. Other necessary elements include:

  • Commitment

  • Consideration

  • Humility

  • Forgiveness

  • Honesty

  • Plan dates in advance

  • Make the other aware of what you have going on

  • Limit outside obligations

The second question presented to the couples was a little different for everyone depending upon their unique circumstance.

The Dating Couple (both are Cooley Law students):

Can you give a little background on how you specifically make it work as a couple attending law school at the same time?

We both did not think that a relationship with someone who did not want to go to the same place would work. We spend a lot of time together, we like the same things. We have a lot of fun together. We make each other laugh. Also, he has already taken a lot of the classes before me, so he was able to assist me and vice versa.

The Long Distance Couple (1 Cooley Law student/ 1 is not and lives out of town):

Is there anything special that you believe you need to make a long distance relationship work?

There are many elements that go into making a relationship work, adding law school, and long distance to the mix could potentially be a disastrous roller coaster ride, if you are not careful. In my situation, I find that it is helpful to start planning from the beginning of the term; I look at my syllabus and make deadlines for myself. I plan out which weekend in every month I will dedicate to my significant other it is normally planned around whatever school commitments I may have. I make sure that I do a little more schoolwork before and after my visit to see him or his visit to see me. We have schedule phone time every night right before bed, so even if the day is crazy we commit to our nightly good night call. The most important thing with a long-distance relationship is for both parties to decide from the very beginning that they are going to make it work. It is not just something that both parties can say verbally, it has to be put into action. You need a game plan.

The Engaged Couple (both are Cooley Law students):

Can you give a little background on how you specifically make it work as an engaged couple attending law school at the same time?

We are both full time in law school with jobs and extra-curricular activities. We have been together for two years and will be getting married in September. I graduate a week before our wedding and He will graduate in May and will write the bar in July. Before the semester begins we make a big calendar with both of our schedules so we know what times the other is available and what nights we are home at the same time. During exams we go to coffee shops to study. Although we are studying different things we have the drive to the coffee shop together and the comfort of knowing the other one is there going through the same thing. We reward ourselves. After studying all day on a Saturday we will plan something together, even if it is just cooking dinner with each other. Since we have different exam and class schedules we are there for each other. If one has an exam in the morning the other will wake up and help prepare breakfast and coffee or anything else to make the day less stressful.

The Married Couple (both are Cooley Law students):

Can you give a little background on how you specifically make it work as a married couple attending law school at the same time?

As a married couple you must put your marriage first and foremost; however, because we are similarly situated, we understand what the other person is going through. Because we got married during our first and second term, it is important for us to have the freedom to spontaneously spend quality time together at a moment’s notice. This helps balance the time that is taken up by our studies and involvement with school. Above all, we never forget that we are partners and no matter how difficult things seem, knowing that you are never alone makes life much easier.

Married Couple with a Baby (1 Cooley Law student/1 is not):

Background on how we make it work as a married couple with a child:

Divorce is not going to make school any easier. And, just do your best at everything. It's a balancing game. You won't be able to be perfect at everything, or even anything. But you can do your best, regardless of what that is. Relax and don't dwell on the things you cannot change. Law school is hard. Parenting is harder. And marriage is the hardest because you can quit.

As you can see attending law school and having a successful relationship is possible. The situations may not be ideal and time may not be plentiful but, love and the law can still co-exist. However, it is a time when all of the elements have to be met.

Opinion: Being A Leader

By: Richard E. Shermanski Jr.

Guest Writer

Let me start with a reference to the title; “It ain’t easy!” For all those currently serving as Student Leaders throughout Thomas M. Cooley Law School, I tip my hat to you. You have taken the opportunity to step up among a field of future Attorneys and trust me, it can be a challenge. You will be questioned, debated, and sometimes even harassed. Sorry to inform you but, it comes with the territory.

That being said, if I can leave any advice to all those serving, who want to serve, and who will serve our school in the future it is this, “Keep an open mind and be able to Compromise.” Nothing gets done from debating issues time and time again. Nobody will want to step up and serve after you if you have set a bad example by not being able to work with others. For better or worse it is up to you as a Leader to a positive example and make others strive to want to pursue your position one day.”

As a member of a few Student Organizations (mainly the SBA and Moot Court), although, I encountered a number of differing opinions from both student and faculty, not a day went by that I was not enjoying myself. Having served from January 2010 to December 2012, I worked with countless committees, voted on countless resolutions, and attended countless meetings. These tasks can be daunting and at times frustrating, but you should know you are making a difference. By making yourself available to the students, you are getting to know the issues that affect them.

As future Attorneys, it will be required of all of you to at one point step up and be a Leader, whether it is to multiple people or just a single client, this will be your job one day soon.

As a Leader, people will look to you to help them and you not only must be willing to do so, you must truly want to. Being a Leader is not about resume building and going to meetings, you must have a true ambition to be responsible for the people you are connected to, otherwise you will really get nothing out of your role, and neither will those around you. As future Attorneys, it will be required of all of you to at one point step up and be a Leader, whether it is to multiple people or just a single client, this will be your job one day soon.

But always remember, a real Leader knows their limits. Nobody here is Superman; we are Law Students which means our free time is very limited. Between classes, case briefing, researching, prepping for exams, and other pressing obligations, there is not much time to dedicate to too many organizations. To be an effective leader -do yourself a favor and don’t spread yourself too thin and definitely don’t let your studies take a back seat to meetings and committee involvement- if you want to help those around you simply focus your spare time on a few organizations that have meaning to you.

However, let there be no reason to ever think you can’t be involved with a lot on your campus. Cooley needs Leaders to help get students active in all that is offered at our Law School. Yes, it is true that finding a balance between school, work and your Leadership roles can be tricky. Sometimes it may even require that you walk away from the organizations you are working with, but being a real Leader means knowing when it is time to walk away.

Finally, I just would like to say that I wish all those currently serving, in all the capacities that Cooley offers, all the best in their endeavors. I hope you all find a way to leave the organization you decide to lead in a better position than when you arrived and that you continue to help those who seek your advice. Public service has always been a passion of mine -I had the honor of serving the students of Auburn Hills for three wonderful years and had the opportunity to aide in projects that affected all students of Thomas M. Cooley Law School. As the old saying goes, “if you love what you do then you never work a day in your life.” Even though my time as a law student is coming to a close and I am currently completing my credits for my Externship in Pennsylvania, I still make time for students who need my advice. My goal was to lay a foundation for those who will follow me and to continue to help these organizations grow. Did I accomplish my goal? I am going to let the next generation of students be the judge of that.

In Summary - The Rules of a Leader:

  • Seek to inspire and build

  • Know your limitations

  • Don’t be afraid to step up

  • Don’t worry about titles

  • Lead by example

  • Don’t simply boss around others

  • Be aware of the needs and concerns of those around you

  • Always remembering, you are a Leader

Editorial Address: The Pillar Transition

By: Alexandra Anderson

Editor-In-Chief, Tampa Bay

Gratitude. That is the overwhelming emotion I feel towards the many people who have helped The Pillar transition. Our paper has a rich history, growing from a pamphlet reminiscent of a newsletter, to an actual newspaper and now to on-line format. The decision to charge into the future and use this format was made to suit our student body and alumni. Law students and legal professionals are so technologically inclined today. As the largest law school, this format was the only feasible way to stay connected with our students, both former and current.

I would like to thank our advisor Professor Emily Horvath for her guidance and knowledge throughout this process. Without her help this dream would never have come to fruition. Dr. Christopher Lewis for always being a beacon of support and understanding. Dean James Robb for offering his support to The Pillar and to me as the Editor-In-Chief. Dean Jeffrey Martlew for always helping me solve problems and lending me an ear for any idea that crossed my mind. Dean Charles Toy for being so steadfast and kind. He always makes time for students no matter which campus he visits, and truly wants to see us all do well in life. Dean Paul Zelenski for being an advocate of our cause and always lending his support in anyway that we need. Dionnie Wynter and Brianne Myers for their outstanding leadership and support. I would like to thank all the managing editors for their dedication and patience for The Pillar. Without them this would be an impossible venture. Most of all, I would like to thank Ric Tombelli for his expertise and guidance. Without him this process would be but a dream.

Today is our soft launch! Please take the time to read over the articles that have been posted. Consider The Pillar a fine wine that will get better over time. We need your opinions so please email any of The Pillar staff with comments or concerns, so that we are able to make adjustments.

As you can see, both the Lansing and the Ann Arbor campus pages are empty. There are no staff members on Ann Arbor's campus and we only have one managing editor on the Lansing campus. The Pillar is a student run newspaper and Thomas M. Cooley is the largest law school in the nation. I know there are writers within our midst. If you are interested in writing for The Pillar, please contact me at or any of the managing editors.

For our official first edition, look for my section highlighting our faculty, students and veterans. In order to be featured, please send a nomination to The Pillar email address and in the subject line put "Nomination of (name) at (campus)". In the body of the email, please explain the reason for the nomination. This way we can highlight one person for each category on each campus. The Pillar will need a short bio and a photo to place in the article if selected.

I am so overwhelmed at the accomplishments of The Pillar and thrilled to see the product of our dedication. Enjoy the rest of your semester, study hard and may the curve be always in your favor!

Alexandra "Alex" Anderson is the Editor-In-Chief for the Pillar and is on the Cooley Tampa Bay Campus. If you have an idea for an article, would like to join the Pillar team, or just want to show support for the newspaper, her email is

Getting Acclimated to Law School

By: Antonia B. Harbin

Managing Editor, Auburn Hills

Starting law school can be the most exciting and yet the most daunting time in a law student’s life. In one since, you have decided to enter one of the most creative, strategic and rewarding professions there is and on the other hand, there is a very detailed and comprehensive road that you must take to get there.There are so many unanswered questions. What is the law school experience going to be like? How will I manage to learn such a significant amount of material for one exam? Not to mention how many times will I be subjected to the Socratic Method in my first term? But, there is good news … those questions get answered and your mind is put at ease very quickly. As each term passes, you learn there is a way through it. Many have done it before you and someday you will be the one giving the advice on how you made it through.

In the meantime, as you are still trying to relieve your apprehension of what lies ahead here are six practical tips outside of briefing cases for class and good old-fashioned studying that will help you get acclimated to law school and off to a strong start:

  • Pace Yourself - Week 6 definitely comes up quickly and midterms will be here before you know it, therefore it is best to pace yourself and learn the concepts as they are introduced so that you don’t find yourself cramming near week 15. Understanding the concepts as you go along will also put you ahead and allow you to get started on practice exams early.

  • Visit Your Professor - Don’t wait till you are too far behind. Make an appointment with your professor and get extra help if you need it. All of the Professors I have met at Cooley are happy to help students succeed and become great lawyers.

  • Use the ARC - The ARC is a great resource that should be utilized. It is located in room 292 on the second floor of the Auburn Hills campus. The ARC offers several supplements, CDs, and Law Flashcards.

  • Find a Study Group or Partner - Studying with another person is eye-opening. Getting a different perspective is always a good idea. Groups help you think outside your own box. You may also grasp a concept better from a colleague rather than your professor and if nothing else, studying with a group is another chance for repetition.

  • Get Your Feet Wet - Although, you should definitely focus on getting acclimated to law school and on your studies, don’t be afraid to get involved in some of the many organizations Cooley has to offer or activities like “mock trial’ in your first year. Near the beginning of the term, make sure to attend the ‘student orgs fair” where most of the organizations on campus will be represented.

  • Begin Networking - It is never too early to begin networking. As soon as you begin law school opportunities will present themselves to network. Get started early- you never know who you will meet and where that relationship will take you.

Getting acclimated can be difficult. But, with the right approach you can do it effectively. Although, you are a 1L and are at the beginning of your law school journey; the end is in sight if you start out on the right foot.

Starting Down the Externship Trail

By: Andy Wright

Managing Editor, Grand Rapids

This is the first article in a series aimed at helping you find a great externship.

Cooley’s externship program sets it apart from other law schools. Working under the supervision of practicing attorneys for credit is like swimming in the ocean without the fear of drowning or being eaten by sharks. The freedom to learn and make mistakes before hitting the “real world” is truly invaluable.

For many students, planning an externship is a frightening enigma wrapped in a condundrum. A quick tour of the externship database from the portal presents law firms as far as the eye can see. The database is sortable, of course, making it easy to narrow the field to a certain city or practice area. But what then? Throw a dart at the printout and hope for the best?

So, you don’t know what you want to do when you graduate? Join the crowd, because many law students don’t. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely in the dark about your future. The truth is, there is no “right way” to find the perfect experience. However, there are certain steps you can take, to get started down the right path.

1) The early bird catches the worm: It is never too early to start thinking about your externship. Your career ideals may (and likely will) change – you may want to save the porpoises in your first term and be a corporate shark by your last. This is normal. Its better to figure this stuff out before you don your cap and gown.

2) Know yourself: Are you introverted or extroverted? Are you a skilled writer or do you need a lot of practice? Do you enjoy working in a team or are you more of an individual contributor? Honestly assessing who you are now can prevent a bad fit that wastes precious time.

3) Don’t rely solely on your resume: In other words-- network, network, network. I am the perfect example of networking at... work. My externship fell into place a little like this: conversations with a career counselor led to conversations with professors which led to conversations with the professors’ practicing peers which led to references who recommended me for opportunities. You might have noticed a trend there. Simply put, conversations lead to opportunities.

4) But don’t ignore your resume: The Career Professional Development (CPD) office is there for a reason. Use it! The counselors know how to shape our rambling experiences into works of resume art. Do you remember your writing professors? Give them a call! Their usefulness goes beyond student torture. Seriously, they know how to put together a resume that begs to be seen.

5) Relax and be your best you: This goes hand-in-hand with networking. Simply put, don’t get yourself so overwrought by the whole process that you lose yourself along the way. Take some time out to step back and reflect, doing what best relaxes and focuses you. If you need to meditate, do it. Reflect on your successes and keep the things that made them happen for you.

Opinion- What is Justice?

By: James Goodman, III

What is justice? If I ever met justice would I know what he looks like? Is justice something that can be objectively viewed? Is justice something that you can look up in Webster’s Dictionary and instantly become a qualified expert on the matter? Can justice be measured or quantified by an algorithmic formula? No, that can’t be right. Does anyone know how old justice is? Has justice been around long, or is he fairly new to the area? Is justice black, white, or…oh never mind. I forgot that justice doesn’t have a skin color. So if no one knows who or what justice is, then how will anyone know how to find him when he is needed most?

Opinion- The Perfect Injustice

By Ricardeau Lucceus

From the onset, we all have been taught to consider owning a house as the major module of the American dream. As a result of this reasonable indoctrination, the majority of Americans devote their full capabilities toward acquiring a home. It should be stressed that owning a house is important because it helps create stability for stability for the economy and society as a whole. Knowing how crucial the possession of a residence is to the individual and society, those in charge of making this noble acquisition possible made great use of power to shape everyone into accepting a perfect injustice under the legal instrument called “Mortgage”.

Campus Comedy Pt. 1 & 2 - Shorts to Mom

Dear Mom,

Wow, is it cold. No ice has formed on Lake LeDuc yet, but it sure is cold. I know you were concerned about me going north, and you did say it could freeze, but I didn’t think it could get this cold. Fortunately Lake LeDuc, or LL, as Eva likes to call it, is staying warm enough. The sun will be up in a few hours and I can sun on the beach all day. No mom, Eva isn’t one of those kind of girls. You know the kind that you kept warning me about and the kind of girl you told me not bring home at the break. Eva is different kind of girl. She is really smart and she taught me how to twist the leg off a bird faster than anyone else. When you showed all of how to do it, I thought you were fast, but Eva is the fastest. One time Eva was too fast. At the last duck dinner Eva was too fast, and now I am missing a bit of my tail. Not a lot, just a couple of scales. You favorite son Shorts, is now just a little shorter. Eva said she was sorry, but that I did taste pretty good. Not a lot, just a couple of scales and the tip of my tail. You favorite son Shorts, is now just a little shorter.

Mom, I do miss you and Dad, and I miss home. Our little home under the Parkway bridge by the canal was perfect. I remember the first time my brother Lennie and I caught a fish and brought it home for dinner. We were so proud that we could help feed our family. How did Lennie and I know that it was one of those Burmese Python type snakes and that it’s older sister would follow us home. It was fun watching Dad trying to kill it. I know Dad was upset at the time but it was better than any Thanksgiving meal we ever had before. We lived on python for the next month.

Oh oh. It looks like it’s time for me to wind up my letter and swim over to the far side of LL. One of those hairless land apes is coming down to the shores of LL. Just like the ones you told me to avoid at all costs.

Please write and tell me how you are and about everything that is happening at home. Say Hi to Dad for me.


Your favorite son


PS: Do I have any new brothers and sisters?

PPS: If you ever thought of sending more pickled python I would certainly enjoy it and I would share a piece of it to Eva. I would like her to get the idea that I bring food, not, that I am food.


Dear Mom,

Lake LeDuc is starting to warm up. The sun is up longer and it feels so good to lie on the beach of Lake LeDuc. The warm spring brought an early crop of ducks, fish, and turtles. Whenever I get hungry, I just slide off the beach, into the water, and before you know it I have a belly full of fish. Life just doesn’t get any better than this.

I was lying on the beach a few days ago, when Eva surfaced with Lily and Flip. Lily is from the South, and Flip is from somewhere colder that I have never heard of. It is so exciting to make new friends at Lake LeDuc.

We talked for hours until Flip and Lily said they were going to go home and they told me to follow them. We swam for a short distance on the lake and then submerged and entered a long, dark, covered canal. At the end of the covered canal we swam out into a lake and surfaced. When we surfaced, I didn’t recognize the lake, and I didn’t know where I was. Flip pulled out a piece of paper; he called it a map, and showed me where Lake LeDuc was on the map, and traced out the path we took to get to this new lake, Lake Corner. Lake Corner is where Flip, Lily, and Eva live.

Mom, I was amazed! I have never seen anything else like this before. Flip showed me how all of the lakes in this area, including Lake LeDuc, are all connected by these covered canals. These covered canals even connect to the large rivers and swamps all over. Flip gave me my own map, and Eva said she would swim back to Lake LeDuc with me to show me how to use the covered canal markings.

I stayed in Lake Corner for a while and enjoyed my new friends and learned more about my new map. About an hour before the sun began to set Eva and I swam back to Lake LeDuc. I asked Eva if she wanted to sleep on my spare bed, but she said that she wanted to get back to her place in Lake Corner and write a letter to her Dad.

Today I met two new friends, learned to use a map as well as discovered the covered canals, and found out the world is much bigger than I thought.

Please write back and say hi to Dad for me.


Your favorite explorer son,


PS Thanks for your letter and the pickled python. I agree with you that Aunt Sophie’s moving in with you and Dad will drive all of you crazy. There was a reason why Uncle Lou, and Uncle Bart, and Uncle Ray left her.

PPS I shared a bit of the pickled python with Eva. She thinks you are the best and wants to meet you.