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New Board Members Mustafa Ameen, Aaron Burrell and Christina Corl


Letter from

WMU-Cooley Benchmark EDITOR Terry Carella CO-EDITOR Sharon Matchette ALUMNI RELATIONS Pamela Heos Director of Alumni and Donor Relations Helen Haessly Coordinator of Development and Alumni Services CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Terry Carella, Sharon Matchette, SeyferthPR DESIGN Image Creative Group PHOTOGRAPHY Terry Carella SUBMISSIONS Benchmark seeks story ideas from graduates on a variety of subjects such as graduate achievements, international experiences, cultural diversity, legal information helpful to practitioners, unique law practices, advice to prospective law students, and special events. If you would like to share a story idea, please write, call, or e-mail: Communications Office WMU-Cooley Law School 300 S. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933 (517) 371-5140 ext. 2916 communications@cooley.edu Benchmark is published twice a year by the administrative offices of Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. ALUMNI DIRECTORY The alumni directory is located in the WMU-Cooley portal. You will need an individual user name and password to access the database. Please call the Alumni Office at 517-371-5140, ext. 2045, or e-mail alumni@cooley.edu with questions.

The Changing Face of Law The July 1, 2019 installation of James McGrath as WMU-Cooley’s new president and dean represents the continuing evolution of our school. The theme of this Benchmark is the Changing Face of Law. McGrath brings to us a new perspective and energy that will help us continue to change for the better. He certainly will introduce initiatives, promote his own vision, and develop the school’s management structure. But McGrath is also committed to the school’s traditions of access, academic rigor, and instruction in the law and how to practice it competently. I know you will enjoy reading about him in this issue of Benchmark. James McGrath is only WMU-Cooley’s third president, a remarkable indicator of stability for an institution that is now 47 years old. He succeeds our founder, the late Justice Thomas E. Brennan, who retired in 2001, and Don LeDuc, our president and dean from then until September 2018 and who remains a tenured faculty member after 44 years at the school. Judge Jeffrey Martlew is now stepping down after ten months as our interim president. Although each president is very different, their shared commitment to our mission bodes well for the school’s continued success. Also featured in this issue of Benchmark are three newly elected members of WMUCooley’s board of directors: Mustafa Ameen, Aaron Burrell, and Christina Corl. Each of these distinguished graduates of our school brings fresh ideas, coupled with an appreciation for our mission and history. Please join me in welcoming these four new leaders to WMU-Cooley. Sincerely,

James D. Robb Associate Dean of External Affairs and General Counsel WMU-COOLEY BOARD OF DIRECTORS JAMES W. BUTLER, III LAWRENCE P. NOLAN Urban Revitalization Division Chairman, Board of Directors Michigan State Housing Nolan, Thomsen & Villas P.C. Development Authority Eaton Rapids, Michigan Lansing, Michigan HON. LOUISE ALDERSON Vice Chair, Board of Directors CHRISTINA CORL 54-A District Court Plunkett Cooney Lansing, Michigan Columbus, Ohio MUSTAFA AMEEN Law Office of Ameen & Shafii Tampa, Florida AARON V. BURRELL Dickinson Wright PLLC Detroit, Michigan

THOMAS W. CRANMER Miller Canfield Troy, Michigan

SCOTT A. DIENES Barnes & Thornburg, LLP Grand Rapids, Michigan JOHN DUNN President Emeritus of Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan SHARON M. HANLON Zelman & Hanlon, PA Naples, Florida HON. JANE E. MARKEY Michigan Court of Appeals Grand Rapids, Michigan

KENNETH V. MILLER Millennium Restaurant Group, LLC Kalamazoo, Michigan EDWARD H. PAPPAS Dickinson Wright PLLC Troy, Michigan HON. BART STUPAK Venable, LLP Washington, D.C.

Contents Features Summer 2019

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JAMES McGRATH President and Dean James McGrath joins the law school on July 1, 2019 to become only the third president and sixth dean to lead WMU-Cooley Law School.

MUSTAFA AMEEN One of three new members to WMU-Cooley’s Board of Directors, Mustafa Ameen’s decision to become a lawyer was based on the idea that he felt he could help his community on a much larger scale than many other careers.





In the last decade, Aaron Burrell has become acutely aware of dynamic shifts in the way law is practiced, including mediating diversity.

Christina Corl is a partner with Plunkett Cooney with 25 years of legal experience and expertise. She has concentrated a large portion of her practice advising colleges and universities on policies and procedures, especially in the areas of civil rights and Title IX.





On July, 1, 2019, James McGrath will become only the third president and sixth dean to lead WMU-Cooley Law School since the school’s founding in 1972. James McGrath replaces Don LeDuc, who retired from that position in September 2018 after serving 16 years. McGrath most recently held the rank of professor of law and associate dean for academic support and bar services at Texas A&M University School of Law. “The President and Dean Search Committee brought the board an outstanding candidate in James McGrath,” said Lawrence P. Nolan (Cooley Class, 1976), chair of the WMUCooley Board of Directors. “While the face of legal education experiences significant changes, his demonstrated leadership abilities and beliefs in legal education’s role in promoting and encouraging diversity make him exactly the right choice to lead Western Michigan University Cooley Law School into the future,” said Nolan. McGrath joined Texas A&M University School of Law as a visiting associate professor of law in 2005 and has taught various courses since that time. He was promoted to professor of law in 2013, and became associate dean of academic support and bar services in 2015. A key focus for McGrath will be building on WMU-Cooley’s mission of educating practiceready attorneys, while also improving measurable benchmarks.

“Teaching students to be intuitive learners who have good selfassessment skills and can relate what they are learning to what they already know is key to pulling graduates through the bar.” JAMES MCGRATH, EXCERPT FROM AN ABA JOURNAL INTERVIEW

In a conversation with WILS Radio, McGrath praised WMU-Cooley’s forward-thinking approach to education and said he feels like he is “on a team heading in the right direction.” Throughout his career, McGrath has spoken at law schools around the country about teaching techniques and continues to focus his advocacy on serious issues facing education, healthcare and LGBTQ rights. Examples of his multiple works on the topics of education and learning techniques and healthcare include “Transparency in the Classroom: An ASP – ish Doctrinal Professor’s Perspective,” and “Planning Your Class to Maximize Your Students’ Use of Highly Effective Learning Techniques.”




A key focus for McGrath will be building on WMU-Cooley’s mission of educating practice-ready attorneys, while also improving measurable benchmarks. While in Texas, McGrath served on the North Central Texas HIV Planning Council and on the Task Force to Consider Ethical Issues in Regard to the Pandemic Flu. McGrath earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from San Jose State University and a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law. He attended Harvard School of Public Health, where he earned a Master of Public Health degree, and he earned his Master of Laws in graduate legal education at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. In 2011, McGrath was a Fulbright Scholar, earning a teaching fellowship at Beijing University of Chemical Technology in Beijing, China.

“The selection of James McGrath as president and dean comes as WMU-Cooley is in a strong position to enhance its standing in legal education.” SCOTT DIENES (BIRD CLASS, 1995), WMU-COOLEY BOARD MEMBER AND CHAIR OF THE PRESIDENT AND DEAN SEARCH COMMITTEE


“The search committee, and the law school’s faculty and staff, found that his personal character and expertise in the areas of innovative legal education and performance outcomes align with WMU-Cooley Law School’s mission for training the next generation of attorneys,” said Scott Dienes, board member and chair of the law school search committee. Before attending law school, McGrath served as a corpsman in the U.S. Air Force and was an activist supporting those with AIDS and the LGBTQ community. He also operated a Providence, Rhode Island night club. McGrath is eager to get started at WMU-Cooley. He and his husband Anthony, along with daughter Kinsey, will be moving to Michigan this summer. He will officially take over the president and dean’s office on July 1, 2019, from Interim President Jeffrey Martlew, who has held the post since LeDuc’s retirement. LeDuc, who has been at the school for 44 years, remains a tenured member of the faculty.


“I am excited for this opportunity to work with faculty and staff who are dedicated to Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s mission of access to the legal profession and modern program of instruction. We will all work together to make our law school a model for the future of legal education.” JAMES McGRATH

Tampa Bay

Auburn Hills


Grand Rapids





Mustafa Ameen (Fitzgerald Class, 2006), knew growing up that he was either going to be a doctor or a lawyer. That’s what his parents told their children, after emigrating from India to the United States to secure a better life for the family. Ameen was the only one in his entire family and extended family who chose a career in the law though. Everyone else ended up in the medical field. So why the law? “I looked at it from the perspective of what can I actually do to help my community,” stated Ameen. “I knew I could help individual people as a doctor, but as an attorney I knew I would be able to help many others on a much larger scale.” Ameen has a vision where all of society understands their rights and protections. He’s personally seen this first hand in his own community. Barriers are there, intentional and unintentional, that make it hard for some communities to either become lawyers or have access to lawyers. There are cost barriers, language barriers, culture barriers, and basic educational barriers that hold back communities and marginalized people. Ameen sees this as an unfairness in our legal justice system. And he wants to do something about it.    

THE LAW IS FOR EVERYONE According to Ameen, the data clearly shows that the path to a legal career is usually learned, and an indicator of whether or not someone in that community would pursue a legal career. “If you don’t have a parent, or even a cousin, aunt or uncle, or anyone related to you, then you may only be reaching out to one or two people you might know in your community to ask them what it’s like to be an attorney. But if there is no one in your circle of family and friends in the

law, then it’s likely that a legal path may never be considered.” That’s why Ameen believes wholeheartedly in the mission of WMU-Cooley Law School. He is devoted to what the law school stands for, and now that he is one of the newest members of the law school’s board of directors, he is ready to help in making change.  Ameen says he has seen more communities in the legal field, especially in the courtroom, over the past 10 years.  “I am in court every single day, even three or four times a day,” says Ameen. “It used to be that you didn’t have a lot of minorities in the courtroom. That has really changed over the years. In fact it’s not unusual to see where the judge, the prosecutor, and the public defender are all females and minorities, which is a whole lot different from before when you would normally only see white males.”

CLASSROOM TO COURTROOM Ameen also sees more communities in the classroom, now that he teaches as an adjunct professor at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus.  “That culture of change is now in the courtroom,” proclaimed Ameen. “That is the major change I have seen in the face of the law. I see it every day in those who are actually practicing law. It is a tribute to law schools like WMU-Cooley who want to see every kind of people representing and being represented in our legal justice system. The United States is still a huge melting pot of different communities (continued)



“I started my career as a prosecutor. It’s where I would recommend any student go for a great first experience out of law school. The trial experience and the court room experience that you get is exactly what you need to propel your career in almost any direction. I don’t think you will get that anywhere else.” MUSTAFA AMEEN

and we are seeing that translate exponentially into the legal profession.” Ameen also asserts that it’s very hard to advocate for certain rights when there isn’t anyone at the table who is part of that community or group. “If you’re not part of that group that identifies in a certain way, or that gender, then it’s hard for you to understand their specific problem. So when you get someone like that into the legal profession, someone who can advocate on behalf of that group, you have a much greater chance to change the way the laws are implemented to secure fair and just outcomes for all people. 

Being able to take advantage of the law school’s schedule options not only saved Ameen the cost of living in Michigan for an entire year, it also allowed him to start his career and his earning potential ahead of schedule.  “I started my career as a prosecutor,” shared Ameen. “It’s where I would recommend any student go for a great first experience out of law school. The trial experience and the court room experience that you get is exactly what you need to propel your career in almost any

“I see how women today feel so much more empowered and energized. They are dominating all kinds of fields. I see it in the legal and medical fields. Women are out front and leaders.”

FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN — AND BACK How did Ameen end up in Michigan for law school, when he lived in Florida? “I appreciated the generous scholarship and the different programs they offered,” said Ameen. “They had an evening program, weekend program, and the accelerated program. I ended up doing the accelerated program, even doing my externship in Florida, and finishing up in two years. I got done very quick.”

Downtown Tampa


direction. I don’t think you will get that anywhere else. “It really helped me to grow as an attorney. You are in front of a judge every single day. It is confidence building and skills building. You learn how to pick a jury and relate to a jury. You learn to understand the legal consequences in a case. I did that for two years, then decided I would take a risk and start my own practice.” Ameen started his firm in his parents’ basement with a laptop, a printer, and $500. It was a modest start, but the business has grown very well.  “Now we are in a high-rise in downtown Tampa. I handle hundreds of cases every year – criminal defense and personal injury cases. We are about 12-13 years into our practice at Ameen & Shafii Attorneys at Law. It took a lot of hard work. My law partner and I now manage a caseload of over 500 cases. It can be long hours, so we have learned to work hard and efficiently. Technology is very important in our practice.”

MAKING SACRIFICES Having his own practice has been rewarding, but not without sacrifice. Thankfully, Ameen’s wife, Sabah, and two daughters support everything he does. Having a family that really understands that the “career is to help the family move forward as one” is how he is able to make it all work.  “My daughters are only six and three, but they get it. They know when daddy is going to work it is to help with their

Downtown Tampa

school and everything like that. A lot of times I actually bring them to the office so they can see what I’m doing. When I’m taking client calls, they are listening, and they understand that I’m helping others and it’s not time away from them.

“I knew I could help individual people as a doctor, but as an attorney I knew I would be able to help many others on a much larger scale.”

“So the 6-year-old asks a lot of questions about what I’m doing and who I’m helping, and I am already hearing that she wants to be a doctor and a lawyer, and the 3-year-old is showing plenty of signs that she would make an excellent attorney,” said Ameen with a smile.  That time away includes being on the WMU-Cooley Board of Directors. Ameen feels it’s a privilege and an enormous responsibility as they help shape the future of the law school and the next generation of lawyers. He has taken time to visit all of the law school locations and meet faculty, staff and students, along with the law school’s new President and Dean James McGrath, who he is excited to have taking over the helm of the law school. 


“James McGrath has a great responsibility moving forward, but he is well-equipped to handle it. He’s got administrative experience and he really has a passion to teach. He’s been a professor for a long time, so he wants to make sure our students succeed. His research shows that students are different now; they are from a different generation, and they require different teaching, which he’s ready to implement those new learning practices at our law school to lead to the best outcomes.  “Everyone at WMU-Cooley has a real passion for our law school, and are behind it 100 percent. They want to see the law school continue to succeed. They want our students to excel and succeed while preserving its mission. I’m excited for the law school’s future.”



In the last decade, Aaron V. Burrell (Woodward Class, 2010), a business lawyer with the Detroit office of Dickinson Wright, has become acutely aware of dynamic shifts in the way law is practiced. Burrell, who serves as co-chair of the firm’s diversity

Aaron V. Burrell “When I look at law schools that, quite frankly, are behind the times; those that have been slow to embrace diversity, they will ultimately find themselves irrelevant and obsolete.” AARON BURRELL


and litigation-training committees, and has a busy practice in complex commercial litigation, appellate law, and labor and employment law, is in a prime position to note changes in the legal arena. Gone are the days, stated Burrell, when law firms could overlook the growing diversity in society. “In fact, as a partner at Dickinson Wright,” continued Burrell, “I see that most of our clients now mandate diversity. The law is changing, and it’s changing at a rapid pace. Our clients do not want a law firm that hasn’t fully embraced the population that our clients serve.” That’s just one way the law has seen change, according to Burrell. There have also been rapid changes in technology, recruitment, and the basic core ways of practicing law.

CHANGE FOR THE GOOD To Burrell, these changes are positive for those who are poised for the future of change. “When I look at law schools that, quite frankly, are behind the times; those that have been slow to embrace diversity, they will ultimately find themselves irrelevant and obsolete,” he said. “WMU-Cooley Law School has been a leader in minority enrollment and a forerunner for diversity for generations,” declared Burrell. “The law school has been a trailblazer in women enrollment for decades. WMU-Cooley is already in this space, and doing a great job as a leader in diversity, and it is well-positioned to thrive in this culture of inclusiveness.” The law school’s board echoes Burrell’s

perspective, bringing on additional members with differing positions, geographic differences, and varying perspectives to challenge and move the law school forward. Burrell said he feels confident that the enthusiasm of new President and Dean James McGrath will inspire the modernization and cuttingedge approaches in how legal education is offered, while continuing to embrace the law school’s core mission of inclusiveness.

FOUNDED ON PRINCIPLES OF EQUALITY “Inclusiveness is vital in our justice system. As a result, we are obligated to make sure the legal profession represents and embodies the people to whom we are accountable.” Burrell is proud of how the legal profession is leading the way; where lawyers are starting to lead society in a better way. That reflection in the mirror started with law schools like WMU-Cooley, according to Burrell. “WMU-Cooley has done what many law schools are unable to do, which is to make sure every entering class has meaningful diversity — not just diversity for the sake of diversity, but true inclusion as members of the law school, admitted on the same standards, in a community that embraces their differences, embraces what they bring to the table.” Diversity in the classroom “ultimately, makes for a richer education, a more robust discussion, and brings together (continued)



perspectives from individuals you may have not heard in the past,” he said. “WMU-Cooley was founded upon the principle that everyone who works hard should be able to earn a law degree. The law school has always looked at an allencompassing view of the person, and we’ve given those individuals who have demonstrated clear potential, the opportunity to make it.” What that means in real terms, according to Burrell, is that every individual will need to work very hard to earn the privilege of calling oneself a lawyer. “We will work you, make sure you learn and have the practice-ready skills you will need as a foundation for success to become a contributing member of the bar. “It’s not going to be handed to you. You aren’t successful solely by getting in, you are successful by graduating. That is the WMU-Cooley mantra.”

BREAKING BARRIERS As much as Burrell feels energized by the many changes he has been seeing, he also recognizes that there will likely always be some barriers to justice.


“I still see the law balanced, in some respects, in favor of those individuals who have the most,” conceded Burrell. “It’s easier for someone who has means and resources to achieve certain access to justice than those with limited means. They face many more barriers due to economics and other disparate factors.” Burrell is doing everything in his power to transform hearts and minds. Businesses are no longer accepting “barriers on women, on advancement, inequality to pay, types of assignments and opportunities. It’s good to see that people not only are fully aware of the problem but that they want to make changes for the better.”

TAKING A LEGAL STANCE Burrell started out on a business route, as early as in high school, with no aspiration for a legal career. He became heavily involved in the high school division of DECA, formerly know as Distributive Education Clubs of America, which is an international non-profit designed to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. He got to travel the country, and even won awards for the work he did for the organization. 

“I saw that many individuals responsible for the milestones that this country has achieved are lawyers. They have played such an important part of where we are as a country.” AARON BURRELL

“I thought I was heading in the right direction,” recalled Burrell. “The experience gave me great presentation skills, and the ability to understand how to sell something.” That success in high school directed him to the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus to follow his path of business in college — until some things happened to make him stop and pause. The recession hit, and Burrell started worrying about whether or not he would be able to get a job and provide for his family. More importantly, he was influenced by the classes he was taking, especially African and African American History. It was during those classes that he visualized how he could better contribute to society. “I saw that many individuals responsible for the milestones that this country has achieved are lawyers. They have played such an important part of where we are as a country. I was particularly inspired by the African American lawyers that I read about, especially Thurgood Marshall, who first took the injustices of prejudicial policies in his hometown, but graduated first in his class from Howard Law, then took a stance against a law school that unlawfully denied

him admission. That, for me, showed me that I could make a significant difference for people in the world of law. I thought ‘I can do this.’ I felt I had the speaking skills and the writing ability, along with the diligence and focus, to do it. I decided to switch courses from a business track to political science. I had a great time learning about political theory and why our justice system is what it is today. That is what ultimately led me to apply to law school. And WMU-Cooley was the only law school I applied to.”

ALL IN AT WMU-COOLEY “I was attracted to WMUCooley for a number of reasons,” stated Burrell. “The first, after attending an open house that the school had on campus, I met with a lot of professors who were not only knowledgeable, but passionate about what they did. They were really enthusiastic about their field and legal education. They wanted to see their students succeed. “As I was walking to the car with my wife, and we weren’t married at the time, I said, ‘Okay, I am going there.’  “The other thing that really attracted me was the flexibility. Because WMU-Cooley has so many options. I was personally interested in the accelerated schedule because I wanted to complete my courses quickly.

“The fact that I could complete my legal education in two years was very attractive to me. I wanted to start my career sooner rather than later.” AARON BURRELL

“Finally, I like that certain aspects of the scholarships awarded are based on your performance and hard work. That appealed to me because I knew that I would go in and work diligently, and be focused on succeeding.”  Burrell continues to promote WMU-Cooley Law School, as a graduate of the law school, and now as a board member. He is especially proud of the law school’s mission, its rigor, and its emphasis on training students to be lawyers.   “As a lawyer representing your clients, you’re going to have to work hard, and they’re going to expect a lot from you. In law school, you need to match that work ethic and expect a lot from yourself. That’s what I learned from WMU-Cooley Law School. It gave me the opportunity to really see what I was made of; see what I was capable of doing, and, in the end, I was saying, ‘Hey Aaron, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!’ And I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Downtown Detroit



“If you stick around long enough, you’ll see everything,” noted Christina Corl, partner at Plunkett Cooney and one of a trio of new WMU-Cooley Law School Board of Directors members. Twenty-five years into her legal career, Corl (Bird Class, 1995) is rarely surprised anymore. Most likely, she indicated, “I’ve seen it before.”

Christina Corl


It is that depth and breadth of experience that made Christina Corl a natural to be tapped for the WMU-Cooley board. Corl focuses her litigation practice primarily on employer liability issues, and also has extensive experience in commercial litigation; product, premises and professional liability; and municipal law.

“What we’ve noticed most recently, is that there is a corporate push over the last 10 years to diversity. And it’s not enough to just have women lawyers; clients want to know if you have them in executive and administrative positions.” CHRISTINA CORL

Her clients have included national retailers such as Home Depot, large trucking companies, Burger King franchisees, and Gordon Biersch Brewery; governmental and municipal clients; educational institutions, including The Ohio State University, Miami University, and the University of Cincinnati; the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the USA Track & Field Association (USATF). Corl is in high demand for her expertise in employment law, working with her clients’ Human Resources departments. She drafts and helps her clients to implement policies and assists in difficult decisions regarding personnel matters. For many of her clients, Corl said she serves as a quasi-outside human resources department. She has served as associate general counsel for the FOP and USATF, and has represented law enforcement in excessive use of force issues. She has concentrated a large portion of her practice advising colleges and universities regarding policies and procedures for investigating and adjudicating claims of sexual misconduct on campus, typically in a Title IX context. She’s also represented state universities in Title IX and civil rights litigation in federal court.




When Corl first started practicing, she estimates she did as many as nine or 10 jury trials some years. One of the keys to her success has been the sheer joy that she found in the courtroom setting. Corl is part of the changing face of the law. Diversity has grown from a buzzword in the legal profession, to an essential component in the workplace. “What we’ve noticed most recently, is that there is a corporate push over the last 10 years to diversity,” Corl noted. “And it’s not enough to just have women lawyers; clients want to know if you have them in executive and administrative positions.” With governmental clients, there are even annual forms to fill out. “This has been a huge focus.”

CORL EMBODIES CHANGE Not only is Corl a partner with Plunkett Cooney, but she also manages the firm’s Columbus, Ohio, office; co-leads the firm’s Labor and Employment, Education, and Workers’ Compensation Law Practice Group; and was elected in February to Plunkett Cooney’s board of directors. The positions of responsibility have not altered her commitment to her active roster of clients. The nature of the practice has changed, however. Corl has relished the courtroom ever since she got her first taste at WMU-Cooley, where she participated in moot court competitions and served on the National Criminal Trial Team. The experience, she recalled, “tailored where I wanted to be. My teams did pretty well. It kind of dawned on me, ‘Wow! I could be really good at this!’ I couldn’t wait to get to court!”


She definitely jumped in with both feet. On the day she was sworn into the bar, Corl left that ceremony for the courtroom right next door where she argued a motion in her first case. When Corl first started practicing, she estimates she did as many as nine or 10 jury trials some years. One of the keys to her success has been the sheer joy that she found in the courtroom setting. “There’s nothing like being in front of a trial jury,” she said. “I like captive audiences,” she joked. “I cut my teeth in that realm doing jury trials. They can’t leave – so you win jury trials by being interesting and entertaining. You want to hold people’s interest.” As her practice matured, however, her increasingly high-profile clients had more at stake and, as time went on, were less willing to place their fate in the hands of a jury. These days, Corl still finds herself in a courthouse, but it’s most likely meeting with clients and fellow legal counsel to negotiate an acceptable outcome. The shift in strategy has been aided, Corl said, by her clients’ growing awareness of the need to work with her before problems arise, as well as their willingness to craft procedures and policies to keep trouble at bay.

“The most fun for me,” she shared, “is heading off disaster,” adding she’s been around long enough to be able to see trouble coming down the road. Corl’s professional success did not start out with a lifelong dream to be a lawyer. When she first left her Upper Peninsula hometown of Engadine, Michigan, for Western Michigan University, she was going to be a journalist. It was a big shift from the 140-acre farm 30 miles from the shore of Lake Superior, to undergraduate life in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but Corl excelled, graduating magna cum laude in 1991. But, by the time she graduated, Corl no longer wished to be a reporter, and set her sights on law school.

SUCCESS IN LAW SCHOOL She also shined in law school, graduating first in her class, summa cum laude, and winning the Distinguished Student Award. She also won the John Voelker Award for her service on the Law Review. Another twist came with her postlaw school plans. Originally Corl had planned to become an FBI agent, but was disqualified by her less than perfect vision. Plan B was a career as a prosecuting attorney, but before that idea could take hold, Corl was introduced to a different kind of law via a summer associate position with Plunkett Cooney in Detroit. She was intrigued and quite effective in this realm, and her career was off and running. She served as an associate at Plunkett Cooney in Michigan for two years before life directed her down another path.

The growth of technology and the advent of social media have presented huge changes in the field of law. That change occurred when, in the midst of a jury trial in Midland, Michigan, Corl’s best friend from law school married the college roommate of a man named D.J. Falcoski. Corl and Falcoski, who was from Ohio, were paired up at that wedding, hit it off famously that day, and have now celebrated 17 years of marriage. Corl then worked for Crabbe Brown & James in Columbus for 18 years before rejoining Plunkett Cooney, this time as a partner in the firm’s Columbus office. She is admitted to practice in Michigan, Ohio and Georgia. Falcoski, who is a real estate agent, and Corl, have a daughter, Catharine, 9. Corl sometimes works 12-hour days, plus some Saturdays, so Falcoski takes point on many of the day-to-day logistics. “My husband makes my life possible,” she shared. “I couldn’t have the practice I have without him.” Diversity among people in the workplace is not the only change Corl has seen. The growth of technology and the advent of social media have presented huge changes in the field of law. “The most interesting development in doing what I do - everyone is posting everything they do all day long on Facebook,” Corl said. “They make claims (in legal action) that they themselves refute on Facebook!”

Corl handled one case where a litigant claimed her story was supported by nearby “strangers” – who turned out to actually be an in-law and a former co-worker, at least one of whom laughed about the non-existent “incident” on Facebook. Or the case of the deputy who called in sick, only to have friends post photos of the whitewater rafting trip he was actually on at the time. “People have a false sense of security,” Corl said. “Friends and family repost.” All it takes, she said, is for one person to share with someone who doesn’t have their page locked down and that information is in the arsenal of information she uses to win a case. While she doesn’t spend much time on social media herself, she has a team of paralegals and associate attorneys who just love that kind of assignment.

ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY Corl sees technology continuing to change the face of law. One of the biggest changes she sees coming will take place as millennials start to be in positions of power. “There will be less brick and mortar and more virtual offices,” she said. The face of law – and its elements – will continue to change within the walls of offices also, she said. “Our office is almost completely paperless,” she explained, adding that the future will include paper-free offices everywhere, working websites, and client portals – all quite a change from the days when she started practice and the fastest way to share information was the fax machine!

HIGH ACHIEVER Corl’s successes have been recognized often. She was given the Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award from the Ohio Diversity Council in 2017; was named an Ohio Super Lawyer in Civil Litigation: Defense, by Ohio Super Lawyers, 2015-2017; and was designated an Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Star in Civil Litigation: Defense, by Ohio Super Lawyers, 2005-2007. She has also been awarded MartindaleHubbell’s highest rating of AV Preeminent. The peer-rated listing is one that is important to both lawyers and clients, she said. “Attorneys are not always complimentary of one another, so this ranking is truly a high honor and is one of the few awards/ranking that the public should find to be reliable.” Corl was also recently honored by the Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands, Inc., organization, for being a role model for youth in the greater Columbus area.

Christina Corl with her family


Ahmed Salim, Washington class, 2012




David Malson, by anyone’s standards, personifies career success and a meaningful life. But Malson would say it has been his dedication and commitment to building balance in his life and forging strong relationships that has guided him, both personally and professionally. 


Those friendships span 10-30 years, or more. All have been meaningful, from his loving relationship with his wife, Lynn, and their five daughters, to the countless friendships he has made over the decades, including trusting relationships with his work partners, co-workers and clients.

PROUD OF LAW FIRM Malson takes great pride in his workplace, and for good reason. Not only is Barnes & Thornburg LLP a Top 100 national firm with over 600 legal professionals and locations in 14 offices in nine different states and the District of Columbia, the firm is also very committed to striking a balance between high quality work for its clients and ensuring its workforce has a balance of health and wellness. Barnes & Thornburg regularly finds  itself ranked nationally as a Top Workplace and appears on Best Places to Work lists year after year. 

employee satisfaction. Having a diverse set of attorneys makes us better as a firm since our distinct experiences and viewpoints lead us to better solutions, better service and a better work environment. Hiring, training, empowering and promoting diverse talent is smart business.” For over 10 years Malson has enjoyed his position with Barnes & Thornburg. He has focused his legal expertise in the areas of estate planning, business succession planning, and legal work for doctors and their practices. He has also committed himself to volunteering and giving back to the community. He fondly remembers the friendships he has made while doing service, especially as a young adult interacting with other families and children — and “balancing everything that life threw at him.” 

Even though Malson, like most people, has “seen a few curveballs along the way,” he has kept life’s balancing act of family, faith and work in harmony. 

Malson is deeply involved in and proud of the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The simple mission, he stated, is “to hire great talent from all backgrounds and then work together as a team to create an environment of inclusion that fosters retention, training, promotion and empowerment such that all are positioned to succeed.” In an Aug. 7, 2017 Savoy Magazine story about the firm, Managing Partner Bob Grand stated, “We are very action-oriented as a firm, and our approach to diversity and inclusion is no different. We aim to align the business of diversity with the business of the firm and send a clear message, both internally and externally, that diversity and inclusion contribute directly to our business goals and top-line revenue and, most importantly, are qualities that are valued by firm leadership, attorneys at all levels and our clients. We are continuing to evolve with the modern workforce where the assembly of diverse, engaged teams yield higher levels of

WORK-LIFE-BALANCE “Work-life balance is something I have strived to put at the top of my list in terms of the every day and the every week. It’s how I wanted to handle my life,” recalled Malson. “But it wasn’t (his priority) until a colleague of mine, Woody VandenBosch, my mentor, opened my eyes to what was really happening. One day he closed the door to my office and gave me a little sage advice. “He first let me know how much he appreciated how hard I was working. He then let me know that he knew I had a wonderful wife, two (at the time) lovely daughters, and that he thought it was important for me to learn how to balance my commitment to my family (the appropriate time to spend with my family), while at the same time, to learn how to manage quality work and meeting deadlines.” (continued)



“Looking back, I am so thankful that we ended up in west Michigan. It’s been an amazing place to have a career, it’s been an amazing place to have a family, and it’s been an amazing place just to live!” DAVID MALSON

That caring piece of advice stuck with Malson, and it’s advice he has shared with many other colleagues along the way.

programs, says Malson, are benefits employees “truly appreciate” and “go a long way in supporting balance at crucial times in their lives.”

Malson chuckles over it now, but recognizes how young attorneys all too easily can find themselves spending more and more time working, thinking that is the only way to get ahead. 


“Now that I’m in my 33rd year, I still look back at that conversation as a pivotal time for me. I knew at that moment that I would spend the rest of my life making sure to prioritize a worklife balance, and to remind others younger than me of this truth. It’s the only way I know for people to be healthy, productive and happy.”  A good work-life balance at Barnes & Thornburg includes supportive programs and policies like a 16-week paid maternity or paternity leave for attorneys and staff, and establishing a mentoring program where employees can be paired with someone in another practice group department to promote growth and advancement opportunities. Both

Malson would be the first to give credit to his supportive wife for all he has accomplished in his life, which dates back to when they both attended the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Lynn’s brothers were responsible for setting them up on their first date.  “Turned out to be the most amazing night of my life. That night not only was when I met her, but instantly realized that she was the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with!” Although it was love at first sight for Malson and his wife, he notes that “a relationship has to stand the test of time,” adding that it’s through shared times, the good and the bad, that relationships grow. “You learn to talk with each other, support each other, and affirm your commitment to each other,” states

M A L S O N ’ S




It’s always a good idea to take advice from someone who has found success in every way. Here are 10 ways Malson believes will lead to happiness and a fulfilling life.  

Malson. “It’s one of the reasons why I’ve had the success I’ve had today as an attorney; because I didn’t get here just on my own. I got here because I had somebody helping me get to this point. Probably more than anything, I think Lynn and I are truly best friends.”

PROUD FATHER  Malson’s daughters, now ranging from 18-30, have been given free range to find their own happiness and life success, in their own way and on their own timeline. The parents could not be more proud.  “It’s been very interesting being the father of five daughters,” smiles Malson. “I have always felt that as hard as I’ve worked over the years to provide for my family, and as hard as Lynn worked taking care of our family on the home front, we both came to realize how important it was for our girls to understand and know that we were supportive and committed to each other. “I wanted our daughters to have an ability to come to both of us, no matter what the question or topic. I


Don’t feel as though you have to take a particular direction, always remain flexible


Invest yourself in any job opportunity by being prepared and through hard work


Find balance in all aspects of your life

look at them now and see all five of our daughters have become outstanding young women, successful in their careers, successful in athletics, in music, and all sorts of things that they’ve done over the years. We never wanted them to feel there were any perceived barriers. So whatever they chose to do, we supported it. We would tell them, of course there is no substitute for hard work, but if that’s something that you’d like to try, then we want you to try.” The couple has enjoyed watching each of their daughters excel in every way imaginable, including coaching and managing 50-plus youth soccer teams for the girls growing up. As proud as Malson is of how much his daughters have achieved, it is clear that their great spirit of strength and courage is very much a reflection of what was instilled in them from their parents. 

PROUD OF HOME Although the couple is originally from Indiana, they both consider West Michigan home. “I think we initially were thinking that


Find a mentor


Work in a culture of hard work, talent, wellness and service


Malson with his wife and five daughters

we would live in Michigan for a few years, then eventually move back to the Indianapolis area to be closer to our family,” recalled Malson. “Yet the longer we lived in Grand Rapids, and the more our family grew and friendships made, really deep friendships, this became our home. Looking back, I am so thankful that we ended up in West Michigan. It’s been an amazing place to have a career, it’s been an amazing place to have a family, and it’s been an amazing place just to live! The people of West Michigan are unbelievable.”

THE FUTURE Does Malson have a plan to retire? He’s not sure yet, but he knows when he does it will involve service to community.  “It’s interesting,” says Malson, “I’m now actually getting to a point in my career where clients have asked, ‘How much longer will we be able to work with you?’ And as much as I don’t know exactly

Keep your relationship with your spouse the most important relationship - always work together, talk together, and share life’s events together


Be involved in your children’s activities and lives


Be involved in service to your community

when I will retire, I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful team that we’ve assembled here for succession planning. There are a number of people I feel are well qualified to do the work and have excellent rapport with our clients. “As far as what I might like to do, I have thought about teaching because I thoroughly enjoyed being a guest instructor at WMU-Cooley’s campus here in Grand Rapids. The one thing I know for certain is that I will continue to be very involved in my community, as a volunteer and as a mentor. Those are the kinds of things that have always given me a lot of satisfaction.” Malson also knows that, whatever he does, he would like to do it together with his wife, Lynn. “On a personal level, we both would like to do something where we are giving back,” said Malson matter-offactly. “When we reflect on the many blessings we have had in our lives, we think about what we can do to help create blessings for other people. That’s something I never want to lose sight of in our lives.”

9 10

Families that travel together, stay together

Involvement in sports teaches you life lessons







THE PATH TO LAW SCHOOL Using social media to up in Phoenix, Arizona, Ross promote businesses and Growing doesn’t remember how she decided to become an attorney. products has become “I always wanted to be an attorney. I didn’t the norm in recent seek out to do it, I just always knew that years, but attorneys and someday I would become a lawyer,” said Ross. “My friends would change their ideas law firms often struggle of what they wanted to do when they grew to figure out how social up, but I knew I wanted to be an advocate.” media could benefit Ross credits her parents for giving her the knowledge and foundation to become their specific practice an attorney. Her mother was a librarian areas. As a young at a major law firm and her father taught sociology at Arizona State University and attorney, Shequel Ross Maricopa Community College. Additionally, (William Johnson Class, her father was recognized in the community as an activist. 2013) decided to use social media to get legal “I marched with my father to information in front of have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s a large audience and national holiday recognized by teach individuals about Arizona’s legislature. I would their rights. attend legislative hearings with him.” SHEQUEL ROSS




“I decided that I wanted to impact others and teach. I wanted to teach others about their legal rights.” SHEQUEL ROSS

FINDING A HOME IN GEORGIA While attending WMU-Cooley, Ross had an opportunity to move to Atlanta, Georgia, for her externship. She worked at the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office, where she was able to practice under the state’s Student Practice Rule. Following her externship and networking in the Atlanta area, Ross decided to return to Georgia after graduation to begin her legal career. In September 2016, Ross was sworn in to the Georgia Bar, and with support of her family, in March 2017 she opened her own firm, SHElaw firm, The Law Offices of Shequel Ross, LLC. “By the time I opened SHELaw firm, I decided I wanted to do more than practice law,” said Ross. “I decided that I wanted to impact others and teach. I wanted to teach others about their legal rights.”

SOCIAL MEDIA GETS THE WORD OUT Ross describes herself as a private person. But when she opened her firm,

“I never had a social media account before. I don’t think there could be a more private person than me. I was always careful because of the character and fitness rules for getting into law school and becoming an attorney.”

Ross decided to try something that other attorneys usually don’t do. She opened social media accounts and created YouTube videos, placing links to the videos on her website, shelawfirm.com, and sharing the videos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It didn’t take long for her legal situational memes, posts and skit videos to garner hundreds of thousands of views, comments, shares and likes. In July 2018, Ross posted a video where she stood outdoors with a diagram of a car and explained the rights passengers have while riding in a car that has been pulled over by law enforcement. The sketch was shared on Twitter and quickly got 16,800 retweets and 27,500 likes. Today, the video has over 400,000 views. Ross has created several videos that have been shared broadly across social media platforms. She has even become a recognizable figure in the Atlanta area. “I know social media is having an impact. We run numbers on this stuff and know who and when people are visiting the shelawfirm.com website,” said Ross. “I have had people yell out ‘shelaw’ in the grocery store, while on




the streets, and even by other legal professionals while in the courtroom.” Ross also keeps track of how her clients find her and said that 70 percent of her caseload comes to her office through social media.


Ross with her father, Dr. Hubert Ross.

“I hope to expand the Legal Education Movement into schools and develop games that teach students their rights.” SHEQUEL ROSS

Ross’ social media posts are available on Instagram and Twitter by following @SHElawoffice, on Facebook by liking The Law Offices of Shequel Ross, LLC; and on YouTube at Shequel Ross.


Because Ross has worked on several criminal defense, business and civil rights cases, she noticed that even simple infractions can become expensive. She quickly discovered that many individuals need to have a better understanding of their rights, so Ross created and trademarked an ongoing outreach program that she titled the Legal Education Movement.TM

It is through the Legal Education MovementTM that Ross hopes to make a difference. She has developed a “Know Your Rights” campaign that includes a printable wallet-sized Miranda Rights card. Other social media campaigns include #ADayInTheLawWithSHELaw, #AskAnAttorney, and question-andanswer videos on proper conduct during a police stop, including how to legally record a traffic stop.

Atlanta, Georgia



WMU-Cooley Alumni News Graduates honored as leaders in the law Judge Janice Cunningham (Mundy Class, 1986), Eaton County Circuit Court, was honored as “Lawyer of the Year” during Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “2019 Leaders in the Law” luncheon on April 18 at the Detroit Marriott Troy. WMU-Cooley graduates Jennie Bryan (Mundy Class, 1986), partner, McShane & Bowie PLC; Patricia Scott Judge Janice Cunningham Jennie Bryan (Riley Class, 2009), shareholder, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC; and Rebecca Walsh (Lawrence Class, 1991), partner, Reiter & Walsh PC, were each honored as members of the 2019 “Leaders in the Law” class.

Patricia Scott

Rebecca Walsh

WMU-Cooley Alumni Sworn In to U.S. Supreme Court

Alumni in Washington D.C. 2019

On March 18, 2019 WMUCooley Law School alumni were sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. This annual event is hosted by WMU-Cooley and the group swearing in is administered in a regular session of court. The motion was moved by Gary Lobel (Cushing Class, 2000).


Pamela Heos, director of Alumni and Donor Relations hosted the alumni at the court as well as an alumni reception for all area alumni and the newly sworn-in. Pictured (back row, left to right): Jacqueline Freeman (Reid Class, 2006); Shari Lesnick, Career and Professional Development, WMU-Cooley; Maxx Lesnick;

Benjamin Lesnick (Trimble Class, 2015); Elizabeth Cameron (Montgomery Class, 1992); Michael Molesky (Mundy Class, 1986); Michael Marcum (Sibley Class, 2011). Front row (left to right): Pamela Heos, director of Alumni and Donor Relations; Nicole Martins (Hilligan Class, 2012); Taneshia Morrell (Trimble Class, 2015); Gary Lobel (Cushing Class, 2000);

Sandy Boisrond (Livingston Class, 2014); Patricia O’Dell (Edwards Class, 2006); Nina DiPadova (Wood Class 2010). If you are interested in participating in the 2020 swearing in, please contact Pamela Heos at heosp@cooley. edu. Space is limited and there is a wait list.


Alumni Association Names Distinguished Student Award and Alumni Memorial Scholarship Award Winners The Executive Committee of the WMU-Cooley Law School Alumni Association has awarded four students with Hilary Term’s Distinguished Student Award and one recipient of the 2019 Alumni Memorial Scholarship Award. These awards were presented at the spring honors convocations at each campus. The Alumni Association selects these recipients by grade point, campus involvement and community service. Distinguished Student Awards were presented to Ayana Clark (Tampa Bay), Kristyna Nunzio (Grand Rapids), Tami Salzbrenner (Auburn Hills) and Clarissa (Reese) Kewin (Lansing).

Kristyna Nunzio at the Grand Rapids campus

Each recipient was presented with an elegantly matted diploma frame. The 2019 Alumni Memorial Scholarship Award was presented to Yarenia Martinez (Lansing) who received $10,000 in credit towards tuition. “I want to thank the Alumni Association Committee from the bottom of my heart for this extraordinary scholarship. The news brought tears of joy to my eyes. I am truly honored to have been chosen and this is a big blessing to me. I hope to go on to do great things with my degree as a lawyer. I am truly speechless and just want to thank the committee for believing in me.”

Ayana Clark (right), of the Tampa Bay campus with campus Associate Dean Daniel Matthews (left)

Tami Salzbrenner of the Auburn Hills campus

“We congratulate each of these deserving recipients for their work ethic, commitment and success while students at WMU-Cooley Law School. We wish them future success as they follow their dreams of becoming lawyers.” PAMELA HEOS, DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI AND DONOR RELATIONS.

Clarissa (Reese) Kewin (right), of the Lansing campus with Sharon Ellis (left, North Class, 1980)

Sharon Ellis (North Class, 1980) with Yarenis Martinez (right) of the Lansing campus

Attention Alumni, We Need Your Information! The Alumni Relations Department wants to make sure you receive school updates and invitations to alumni networking events in your area. To do that, we need to know how best to reach you. You can update your contact information easily. Please email alumni@cooley.edu with your current contact information, your preferred mailing address, and any additional information such as area of practice. If you have changed your name, were previously using a maiden name, or have any other information, please provide that, and we will be happy to update our database.



GRADUATIONS WMU-Cooley Holds Winter Graduation Ceremonies

Katherine Gennelle Chatman gives the valedictory remarks.

Graduation ceremonies for the Benjamin Robbins Curtis class were held on Jan. 12, 2019 for the Tampa Bay campus and Jan. 19, 2019 for the three Michigan campuses.


(Left to right) Jeffrey Martlew, Hon. Catherine McEwen, Katherine Gennelle Chatman and Ronald Sutton.

FLORIDA: During the Tampa Bay campus ceremony, the Hon. Catherine McEwen, U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge for the Middle District of Florida, provided the commencement address and Katherine Gennelle Chatman presented the valedictory remarks.

“Your degree, coupled with bar admission, both unleashes in you an enormous power and subjects you to a considerable responsibility in the wielding of that power.” CATHERINE McEWEN

The Hon. Catherine McEwen provides the keynote.

Speaking about the investment that law students make by giving their time and resources to attend law school, McEwen said, “Your investment won’t end here or even with your bar admission. That is because of what the oath of admission represents. This requires you to make the oath second nature by emulating every day the qualities that are basic to our profession.” Chatman began her remarks by acknowledging the graduates’ families and friends attending the ceremony. She said, “I find it important that we acknowledge our villages. Each of you sitting in the audience is to be praised for the love, the patience, the support that you provided each one of us throughout

our law school time. We are the sum total of every laugh, every smile, every tear, and every prayer.” Chatman spoke about the importance of being good to others and finding purpose while practicing law. “It doesn’t cost a single cent to be good to the people around you. It keeps you healthy,” she said. “Find your purpose in this world and live recklessly in your pursuit of it. Forget the money. Forget the fame. Forget the social ladder. If you’re doing what you love, the money will come and it will never feel like work. We’ve worked entirely too hard to not be madly in love with what we do every single day.”


Mary Anne Simmering provides the Valedictory remarks.

MICHIGAN: During the Jan. 19 graduation for the law school’s Michigan campuses, 76 Juris Doctor and five Master of Laws degrees were bestowed. Chosen by her classmates, Mary Anne Simmering of the Grand Rapids campus provided the valedictory remarks. Mary Massaron, a partner at Plunkett Cooney law firm, provided the keynote.

Jeffrey Martlew presents Heather Bowens with the President’s Achievement Award.

Talking about her classmates’ diversity, Simmering said she was honored to stand alongside them as they worked hard to overcome obstacles in the path of their dreams. “I have been impressed by our classmates dealing with autism, blindness, a twoand-a-half hour drive each way to attend class, full-time jobs with night and weekend

James Allen (right) is presented with the James E. Burns Memorial Award.

classes, having babies during law school, and the inspiration goes on and on. Each of you has a story about why you are here and how you made it this far. Your stories are incredible. Thank you for the honor of being in the trenches with you during law school and walking beside you today.”

During the keynote, Massaron spoke to the graduates about their roles as attorneys. She said:

“When you become a lawyer you are starting out on a journey – a professional journey that will be not only a job, but an opportunity to serve in a profession that has played a pivotal role in the shaping of our American democracy.”

Mary Massaron provides the keynote.



WMU-Cooley School News Annual Law Review Symposium Discussed Proposed Changes to Title IX to do a voluntary mediation in a sexual assault case, no matter what, even if both parties wanted it. Now you can.” While discussing sexual assault on college campuses and processes for handling allegations, Lawless said, “I don’t see this becoming less legalized. But at the same time, we’ve got to run institutions of higher education. We’re not courts of law on campus. Think of how many years we have (Left-right): Charyn Hain, partner at Varnum LLP; Donald Lawless, partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLC; and Karen Truszkowski, invested in trying to figure out principal at Temperance Legal Group PLLC. how to handle the procedure for member and partner at Varnum LLP; Western Michigan University Cooley Law adjudicating sexual assault on Donald Lawless, a partner at Barnes & Review’s annual symposium reviewed college campuses. And you know what? Thornburg LLC, who has represented proposed changes to Title IX of the It’s still the Wild West.” colleges and universities for over 30 Education Amendment Act of 1972 and Truszkowski expressed concerns years in student and employee matters the potential impact on students. about the proposed relaxation of under Title IX; and Karen Truszkowski Changes being reviewed in Congress rules regarding off-campus activities. (Flannigan Class, 1999), principal at include offering due process hearings “The change about schools not being Temperance Legal Group PLLC, who for those accused of sexual assault and responsible for things that happen off specializes in cases involving Title IX the relaxing of current rules regarding campus or outside of a school activity and sexual assaults in schools. activities not held on school grounds. would take away 75 percent of my “A big change, which in my opinion students’ claims. And that doesn’t mean Featured panelists during the March is good, is that schools may facilitate that they’ve been any less injured, that 29 symposium, “The Changing informal resolution as long as the they hurt any less. It doesn’t mean it Face of Title IX: An Eye on Gender process is voluntary,” said Hain. “Under isn’t affecting their ability to get an Discrimination,” were Charyn Hain, the prior guidance you were not allowed education, and that’s the bottom line.” Litigation Trial Services Practice Team

Graduates Discuss Trial Skills at Tampa Bay Campus Event WMU-Cooley graduates shared their experiences from inside the courtroom and tips on trial skills during a panel discussion hosted by the Tampa Bay campus Mock Trial Board on March 13. Panelists (from left to right): WMU-Cooley graduates Alexa Scott (Vinson Class, 2017), attorney at Beltz & Beltz law firm in St. Petersburg; and Bryant Dunivan (Washington Class, 2012), partner at Owen & Dunivan PLLC in Tampa; Roger Mills of Mills Law, P.A.; and WMU-Cooley graduate Michael Owen (Woodward Class, 2010), partner at Owen & Dunivan; and WMU-Cooley student and Mock Trial Board member Lenny Rodriguez, who moderated the discussion.



Women’s History Month Celebrated

Moot Court Team Ranks 25th in the Nation

Briana Leshinsky, Samantha Norris, Isabelle Gavriloski, Professor Linda Kisabeth, Erin Flynn, Shari Lesnick, Hillary Bahri, Trinea Henderson, Laura Skenderas and Jinay White during International Women’s Day event

The Tampa Bay campus hosted two events in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. On March 8, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers Chapter hosted a presentation, “Finding your Voice as a Woman in the Legal Profession.” The event, co-sponsored by the Hispanic Organization of Legal Advocates and Help Save the Next Girl, featured WMU-Cooley professors Stevie Swanson and Victoria Cruz-Garcia, the Hon. Miriam Valkenburg and attorney Ananis Makar. On March 15, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services held an all-women naturalization ceremony for 60 candidates at the Tampa Bay campus. The ceremony, which includes the Oath of Allegiance, was the final step to citizenship for the candidates who represented 26 countries. In Michigan, the month was celebrated at the Auburn Hills campus, where graduate Erin Flynn (Todd Class, 2014), of Kelly & Kelly, P.C. spoke on navigating a career in law as a woman. “We live in a society where women lawyers are expected to wear many different hats so they can have it all,” Flynn said during the March 20 event. “Yes, you can wear many different hats, but you don’t have to wear every single hat at the same time.”  

(Left-right): Professor Martha Moore, students Brandon Ayers, Lauren Simasko, and Josh Bemis, and Professor Erika Breitfeld.

After sweeping the writing division awards and winning the oral portion during the New York Bar Association’s Moot Court Regional Competition in November, WMU-Cooley Law School Auburn Hills campus’ National Moot Court team finished in the top 25 at the New York City Bar Association and American Trial Lawyers National Moot Court Competition, held Jan. 29-31.

While WMU-Cooley’s team did not win the competition, the law school’s national team, comprised of team members Brandon Ayers, Josh Bemis, and Lauren Simasko, lost by one point during the first round, but scored 96 out of 100 in later rounds. During the final round, WMUCooley was bested by a two-point margin, finishing 25th out 174 teams.

Flynn is president-elect of the Women’s Bar Association in Oakland, Genesee, and Lapeer counties. She has also been honored as Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 under 40 Class of 2019.

Participants in the naturalization ceremony. Participants in the naturalization ceremony.



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Honored In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and WMU-Cooley’s Equal Access to Justice Day, classes were suspended in order for students, faculty and staff to reflect and attend programs about how the law and lawyers play a role in protecting the rights of all and assuring equal access to justice.

At the Auburn Hills campus, the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) organized two activities to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Students volunteered at Forgotten Harvest food bank in Oak Park on Jan. 18, and BLSA students hosted a brunch and scholarship award presentation and the panel discussion, “Living the Dream,” on Jan. 21 with attorneys Aaron Burrell, Michael Friedman, and Erika Morgan as keynote speakers. In Lansing, on Jan. 21, students and staff volunteered at the Greater Lansing Food Bank, and on Jan. 22, the Black Law Students Association and the American Bar Association-Law Student Division hosted Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III. Canady shared a personal rule that he follows in almost everything he does. Reciting the rule he said, “Don’t hurry, don’t worry and don’t compare. Your time will come if we are patient, do the right thing and work hard.” Canady also advised law students to “do the best job you can wherever you are, and that every job or position was an opportunity to serve others and to serve the public.” At the Grand Rapids campus, the Black Law Students Association decorated bags for children who received sack dinners from Kids Food Basket, a community organization offering a solution to childhood hunger. At the Tampa Bay campus, staff, faculty and students from various student organizations led the campus Equal Access to Justice service project at Everyday Blessings, a foster care facility in Thonotosassa, Florida. Law students led various activities for the children relating to who Dr. King was and the importance of commemorating his civil rights efforts as part of the law school’s Equal Access to Justice Day.


The Auburn Hills campus participated in a day of service at Forgotten Harvest food bank in Oak Park.

Pictured at the Greater Lansing Food Bank (left-right): Lisa Davis, Randa Darwood, Cindy Hurst, Corrie Klaver, Tara Chambers, Aminata Kamara, Susan Oliver, Roslyn Murrell and Julie Mullens.

At the Grand Rapids campus, the Black Law Students Association decorated bags for children who received sack dinners from Kids Food Basket.

The Tampa Bay campus participated in its Equal Access to Justice service project at Everyday Blessings.

Leadership Updates Interim President Jeffrey Martlew announced leadership promotions at the Tampa Bay and Grand Rapids campuses, and a new assistant dean of admissions and financial aid.

Professor Daniel Matthews was promoted to associate dean of the Tampa Bay campus. Matthews fills the role formerly held by Associate Dean Ronald Sutton, who returns to the teaching Daniel Matthews ranks as a professor of law and associate dean emeritus. Before joining the faculty at the Auburn Hills campus, Matthews practiced law at Cox, Hodgman & Giarmarco, P.C. (CH&G), where he specialized in taxation, corporate law and estate planning. At the Grand Rapids campus, Assistant Dean Tracey Brame was appointed associate dean and Professor Victoria Vuletich has been appointed to fill the role of assistant dean. The Grand Rapids campus associate dean position was held by Nelson Miller, who is returning to the law school’s teaching ranks as a professor of law and associate dean emeritus of the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo locations. Brame joined WMU-Cooley in 2006 after serving as staff attorney for Legal Aid of West Michigan. She has also served as an attorney for Public Defender Services for the District of Columbia, as a research and writing specialist with the Federal Defender’s Office, and as an assistant

Tracey Brame

defender with the State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit. Brame started the Access to Justice Clinic at WMU-Cooley and teaches courses in Family Law, Race and the Supreme Court, and the Death Penalty.

Vuletich began her career as a professor at WMU-Cooley in 2008, teaching courses in Evidence and Professional Responsibility. Before joining the law school, she served as deputy division Victoria Vuletich director of professional standards with the State Bar of Michigan.

Lena Bailey

Lena Q. Bailey joined WMU-Cooley as assistant dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, effective Jan. 2. Bailey most recently served as director of admissions at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel Receives Award Associate Dean and retired Brigadier General Michael C.H. McDaniel was honored as a Mission Awardee during the 2018 “Homeland Security Today” Homeland Heroes awards. The awards were presented during the Government Technology & Services Coalition’s annual event in Arlington, Virginia, on Dec. 11. As a Mission Awardee, McDaniel, who is also director of WMU-Cooley’s Homeland and National Security Law LL.M. Program,

was recognized for his leadership and accomplishments in homeland security at state and national levels. He is a nationally recognized expert in homeland and national security law, has been a member of the Michigan National Guard for 26 years, and was integral in securing $170 million in federal funding to replace 18,000 hazardous water pipes in Flint, Michigan. The “Homeland Security Today” Homeland Heroes awards are given to federal, state,

and local individuals and teams for their dedication to the communities they serve. During the Michael C.H. McDaniel event, 24 recipients were selected for their roles in forwarding the homeland security mission behind the scenes. “Homeland Security Today” is published by the Government Technology & Services Coalition. 33


Street Law Stand Down provides hope, help, to area homeless

WMU-Cooley Law School Lansing campus students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteered in May to present the second annual “Street Law Stand Down” clinic, offering legal assistance and other social services to the city’s homeless.

The event was held in collaboration with Lansing-based Cardboard Prophets, a street-based ministry and outreach organization that works with the homeless and families in need, founded by Mike Karl. Attendees had the opportunity to receive legal guidance with issues such as criminal expungement, Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance, state identification forms, living wills, landlord and tenant issues, wage disputes, and other miscellaneous legal issues. Information regarding local assistance agencies was made available to those attending the “Street Law Stand Down.”

The event brings legal services directly to the community’s indigent population. “Creating an atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable receiving services is the objective of the “Street Law Stand Down,” said WMU-Cooley Lansing campus Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel. “The Lansing community and its various governmental and social agencies have recognized the need for this type of outreach. It is our hope that, by coming together, we can make a difference to those in need.”

Therapy dogs provide furry relief during exam week Dogs from Therapy Dogs International, an organization that brings qualified dogs and handlers to institutions where therapy dogs are requested, visited WMU-Cooley Law School’s Lansing campus at the beginning of finals week in mid-April. The Lansing campus Student Bar Association scheduled the visit to give students the opportunity to manage stress during finals and learn how therapy dogs are used in helping individuals suffering from stress, or stress-related disorders. 


Attorney explains basics of defending notorious clients Defense Attorney Matthew Newburg, (Sharpe Class, 2008) of Newburg Law, visited WMU-Cooley and shared his experience as defense counsel for Larry Nassar, former Michigan State University sports physician and USA Gymnastics national team doctor, who pleaded guilty to child pornography and 10 counts of sexual assault. Newburg’s Feb. 20 presentation, “Defending the Notorious Client,” at WMU-Cooley’s Lansing campus was hosted by the law school’s Career and Professional Development Department and the Criminal Law Society. While sharing his experiences about working as a defense attorney, Newburg said that, sometimes, the attorney is the only friend an unpopular client may have. “The client is listening to the advice you are giving, [but] that doesn’t always mean your client asks for advice before making a decision to do something you

would not recommend,” said Newburg. “As was in the case of the letter Mr. Nassar wrote and sent to Judge Aquilina during the trial without my knowing.” Newburg also spoke about the importance of the jury selection process for highprofile cases, especially when there are very strong feelings in the community, or even nationally about the client. He noted that social media is the first place he looks when reviewing jurors for any trial. While addressing whether the criminal justice system still works as it was originally intended and how the defense attorney is looked upon, Newburg noted, “If I do my part, the police do their part, and the prosecutors do their job, then the system works,” said Newburg.

Defense Attorney Matthew Newburg

“As a defense attorney, I don’t make anyone happy. This is my job. This is not who I am, it’s what I do.” MATTHEW NEWBURG

Hon. Cynthia Ward Leads Honor Code Oath Judge Cynthia M. Ward, 54-A District Court, and former WMU-Cooley assistant dean, administered the WMU-Cooley Law School honor code oath to incoming law students on May 2. During each orientation program, all entering students, faculty and staff take the oath, which states, “I promise not to lie, cheat, steal or plagiarize, and I promise not to tolerate people who lie, cheat, steal or plagiarize.”

how being ethical is critical to both attorneys and law students. She discussed the importance of protecting one’s reputation and standing for integrity. “Not every student can get the best book award in Contracts, because there can only be one student,” said Ward. “However, every student can get the award for excellence in ethics and doing the right thing and that is as important as grades.”

Before administering the honor code, Judge Ward spoke about Judge Cynthia M. Ward


Faculty Briefs Gary Bauer, Professor Presented, an Institute of Continuing Legal Education webinar recorded for general distribution, “Sell Your Practice, Don’t Leave Value on the Table,” in December 2018. Presented, a podcast, for Solo Practice University, “Starting a Solo Practice,” on Jan. 10, 2019. Presented, a podcast, for Solo Practice University, “Rural Practice Considerations,” on Feb. 14, 2019. Attended, the American Bar Association TechShow in Chicago, in February/March 2019. Attended, the ICLE Health Law Institute, in Plymouth, Michigan, in March 2019. Invited, to speak on “Transition from Practice,” at the American Bar Association Solo Summit, in Carlsbad, California, in October 2019. Invited, to speak to the Colorado Bar Association on “Transition from Practice,” in Denver, Colorado, in October 2019. Made, final edits and submitted to the American Bar Association, “Hire and Retire.” Awarded, the Sutton Call To Justice Award, by Elder Law of Michigan. The award honors those who share the mission of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc., to advocate for, educate, and assist those in need, with a continued focus on older adults and persons with disabilities. Professor Bauer will be presented with the award Aug. 7, 2019.

Brendan Beery, Professor Published, “Lading and Weight: Suggested Evidentiary Burdens in Senate JudicialNominee Hearings PostKavanaugh,” 17 University of New Hampshire Law Review 229 (2019). Submitted, for publication, “Constitutional Law: Annual Survey of Michigan Law, 2017-2018” (with Daniel R. Ray), in 64 Wayne Law Review (forthcoming, 2019).

Erika Breitfeld, Associate Professor Coached, the winning Auburn Hills National Moot Court team to a regional victory against other Michigan and Ohio law schools. The team also won the Best Brief award and the Best Oralist award. Continued to coach the team at the national championship competition held in New York City, New York, where the team finished in the top 25 of all schools. Participated, in her role as a member of the board of directors, in the Macomb County Veterans’ Treatment Court monthly meeting. Participated, as a member of the State Bar of Michigan Committee on Access to Justice, during its monthly meetings.

Mark Cooney, Professor Accepted, for publication, “Analogy Through Vagueness,” in the Journal of Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD (forthcoming, Fall 2019). Cited, in a new textbook, Legal Drafting by Design, for his 2016 article “The Architecture of Clarity.” Published, a review of the book Clarity for Lawyers: Effective Legal Language in volume 18 of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing. Moderated, a breakout session on “The Importance of Facts and the Appellate Record to Appellate Advocacy” at the 2019 Michigan Appellate Bench-Bar Conference, in Plymouth, Michigan. Judged, for the Center for Plain Language’s 2019 ClearMark Awards. Presented, at the Michigan Appellate Bench-Bar Conference Foundation’s Moderator & Reporter Training, in Novi, Michigan. Edited, Volume 18 of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing. Participated, in a meeting of the Legal Writing Institute’s AllPublications Committee. Attended, the Appellate Practice Section’s program at the State Bar’s 2018 Annual Meeting, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Volunteered, for the 2018 Anglers of the Au Sable river cleanup in Grayling, Michigan.   


Mary D’Isa, Distinguished Professor Emerita Served, on the ABA Division of Legal Education’s Silver Gavel Screening Committee and facilitated screening judges’ discussion and selection of finalists. The Silver Gavel awards recognize outstanding work in a variety of mediums that fosters the public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is Professor D’Isa’s second year serving on the Screening Committee; before that, she served for three years on the Awards Committee.

Christopher Hastings, Professor Created, with Angela Tripp of Michigan Legal Help, a new video on Limited Scope Representation. Limited Scope Representation is a new model by which Michigan attorneys can assist clients who cannot afford an attorney to file a general appearance in civil litigation.

Barbara Kalinowski, Professor Presented, “The Future is in the Past: What Ancient Philosophers Can Teach Today’s Law Students,” at the Legal Writing Institute’s One-Day Workshop at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida.

Joseph Kimble, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Began, his 31st year as editor of the Plain Language column in the Michigan Bar Journal. It is the longestrunning legal-writing column ever.  Began, his 20th year as a drafting consultant to the Standing Committee on Federal Court Rules. He reviews every proposed new and amended federal court rule for clarity, and he led the work of completely redrafting the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence.  Published, in the fall/ winter and spring issues of Judicature, his regular Redlines editing column — the first one called “Repairing Long Sentences” and the second one “Another Kick at Dates and Procedural Detail.” Published, in volume 18 of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, an article called “Deep in the Weeds of Textualism.” The article was originally published in The Green Bag. Published, in the Michigan Bar Journal, an article called “Time for a Clearer, Plainer Alternative to Our Lawyer’s Oath?” Published, in the Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly, a Commentary piece called “The Meaning of ‘Sex’ in Michigan’s Civil Rights Act — and the Expedient Overconfidence of Textualism.” A longer version has been accepted by the WMU-Cooley Law Review.

Spoke, on textualism to the following groups associated with the American Constitution Society: the Arizona Lawyer Chapter, the Student Chapter at the UNLV William Boyd School of Law, and the Student Chapter at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.   Spoke, on live grading at the Rocky Mountain Legal-Writing Conference. Among his colleagues in the field, Professor Kimble is recognized for having pioneered this method of grading, which involves reading the paper for the first time with the student present.  Notified, that he was in the top 10 percent of all authors on SSRN (The Social Sciences Research Network) for articles downloaded during 2018.

Linda Kisabeth, Professor Attended, the 14th Annual International Contracts Conference at Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana, in March 2019. Appointed, by the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners as the new chairperson for the District I Character and Fitness Committee as of Jan. 1, 2019. Voted, Chairperson of the Contracts Department at WMU-Cooley Law School.

Michael C.H. McDaniel, Professor and Associate Dean Attended, the 2018 Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit, sponsored by FEMA and the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cyber Security at the University of Albany Oct. 11-13, 2018. Moderated, a roundtable discussion, entitled “Wicked Problems in Security, Intelligence, and Emergency Management” at the first plenary session of the 2018 Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit. https://www.uapi.us/resources/ uploads/2018/10/chds_uapisummit-program_100518spreads-3.pdf. Spoke, on a plenary panel entitled “Maximum of Maximums: Planning — and Educating — for Catastrophic Events,” at the 2018 Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit. Professor McDaniel discussed the state and local response to the Flint water crisis as a “maximum of maximum” event. Presented, on the Potential Legal Effects of Sea Level Rise, in a breakout session entitled “Security & Resilience: Comparative Contexts, Integrating Academics with Practitioners in Homeland Security Enterprise” at the 2018 Homeland Defense and Security Education Summit.

Honored, with the Homeland Security Mission award from GTSC/ Homeland Security Today magazine at their annual awards reception in Arlington, Virginia, on Dec. 11, 2018. See: https://www.cooley. edu/news/associate-dean-michaelch-mcdaniel-receives-homelandheroes-award Interviewed, on Fox 2 TV in Detroit, Michigan, WZZM TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and WWJ Radio in Detroit, about the findings and implications of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election by the Special Counsel (the Mueller Report). Interviewed, in-studio Feb. 15 on WLNS TV, and by WOOD Radio in Grand Rapids and The Lucy Ann Lance Show on WLBY Radio in Ann Arbor (Feb. 18), about the constitutional implications and homeland security and military consequences of the President’s National Emergency declaration for the Southwest Border. Developed, with six WMU-Cooley students, a Veterans Treatment Court, Manual for Mentors, in partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and the State Court Administrative Office. The manual was released in May 2019, Military Appreciation Month. Dean McDaniel authored and developed a similar manual, the Veterans Treatment Courts in Michigan: A Manual for Judges, in 2015. https:// courts.michigan.gov/ Administration/ admin/op/problem-solving-courts/ SiteAnalyticsReports/VTC%20 Manual%20for%20Judges.pdf 


Faculty Briefs Kimberly O’Leary, Professor Attended, along with Professors Mable MartinScott and Linda Kisabeth, the 19th annual Contracts conference, KCON, in New Orleans, Louisiana, in March. Presented, at the 19th annual Contracts conference, KCON, in New Orleans, Louisiana, on a panel called “Teaching the Contracts Course: Strategies, Techniques, and Ideas for Consideration.”

James Robb, Associate Dean of External Affairs and General Counsel Chaired, a hearing of the city of Birmingham (Michigan) Board of Ethics that decided a case of potential conflict of interest on January 23, 2019. Published, in Detroit Lawyer Magazine (January-February 2019 issue), a feature article, “A Tribute to Justice Thomas E. Brennan.”  Spoke, on “Winning Your Case on Appeal” to the Detroit Bar Inn of Court on February 19, 2019.

Published, in Detroit Lawyer Magazine (March-April 2019 issue), a feature article, “WMU-Cooley Law School Celebrates Exoneration in Honor of Women’s History Month.”

Devin Schindler, Professor Interviewed, by WZZM-TV, about “National Emergencies and Youngstown Steel,” on Feb. 15, 2019. Interviewed, by WXMI-TV, about “The National Emergencies Act,” on Feb. 15, 2019. Interviewed, by WOOD AM/FM, about “Congressional Spending Power,” on Feb. 15, 2019. Interviewed, by The Pledge Radio Hour, about “President Trump and the Aggregation of Executive Power,” on Feb. 19, 2019. Interviewed, by the Lansing State Journal, on “Civil Liberties and Privacy in Public Forums,” on March 19, 2019. Interviewed, by WZZM-TV, about “Illegal Arrests,” on March 20, 2019.

Interviewed, by WGVU-FM, about “The Mueller Report,” on April 18, 2019. Published, a Commentary on Dementia and the Truth, in The New Yorker Magazine, on Oct. 29, 2018 (Letter to the Editor).

Otto Stockmeyer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Presented: “Three Faces of Restitution,” at the 2019 annual conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. Available on SSRN at https://ssrn. com/abstract=3340175. Published: “Reflections on Teaching Contracts,” in The Mentor (Fall 2019). Available at https://issuu. com/stockmen/docs/mentor_article Published: “Viewpoint: Name Those Judges!” in Briefs (November 2018). Available on SSRN at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283362 Published: “Will UBE Ever Come to Michigan?” in Detroit Legal News (November 26, 2018). Available at http://legalnews.com/ detroit/1467090/

Judith Klein Frank Judy Frank, 74, of Scottsdale, Arizona, formerly of East Lansing, Michigan, died on May 20, 2019; 18 years after her initial cancer diagnosis. Over those 18 years, she witnessed the marriage of her younger son, Danny, to Angie Wilson and of her older son, Brian, to Shanna Pittman. As was her nature, she welcomed Angie and Shanna into the Frank family with open arms and an overflowing heart. She also became a devoted Grammy to Danny and Angie’s sons, Max and Lev, and to Brian and Shanna’s daughter, Olivia. She was present for the conveyance of doctoral degrees to both Brian and Danny. 38

Her husband of 50 years, Allen, remains behind to continue providing guidance, wisdom and support for the whole family. She also cherished her relationships with her brother, Sandy Klein and his wife, Carol, her brother-in-law, Dennis Frank and his wife, Peggy, her late father and mother, Herb and Betty Klein, her late parents-in-law Jack and Gretl Frank, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Before attending WMU-Cooley as a student, Frank spent 18 years as an educator. Following graduation from WMU-Cooley, she practiced in the litigation section of Dickinson,

Wright, Moon, Van Dusen and Freeman, then returned to WMUCooley as a faculty member. Professor Frank was involved extensively in public service activities. Though she thrived with cancer for 18 years, her diagnosis did not define her. In addition to her familial appointments, she was a teacher, lawyer, scholar, and advocate. Most importantly, she was a friend, mentor, and all around superhero to countless people who remember her fondly. Judy was never happier than when she was surrounded by her family, all of whom were with her at the end.

Published: “Help Wanted (and Needed!),” in Michigan Bar Journal (January, 2019). Available on SSRN at https://ssrn.com/ abstract=3259626 Published: “Judge E. Thomas Fitzgerald’s Final Precedent,” in Briefs (February, 2019). Available at https://cld.bz/k2ad05w/23

Victoria Vuletich, Assistant Dean and Professor Interviewed, by the State Bar of Michigan on the 2019 Law School Experience. The podcast was posted on The Legal Talk Network.

Class Notes 1976

Cooley Class Heos, James T., was selected by his peers in Best Lawyers in Michigan as Lawyer of the Year 2019. He has been in practice in Lansing since 1976. Phone: (517) 881-5032; e-mail: jheos@nicholslaw.net. 1978

Ransom Class Johnson, Charles, was re-elected as judge of the 57th Circuit Court for Emmet County, Michigan. This is his fifth term of office as circuit judge. He was initially elected in November 1994. 1980

Potter Class Leppanen, Ann, was elected the first mayor of Bluff, Utah, a small rural town of 265 people. 1981

Long Class MacCallum, Neil, a shareholder with Collins Einhorn Farrell PC, in Southfield, Michigan, has stepped down as co-manager of the firm. He will continue his prominent role in the firm’s Asbestos and Toxic Tort Practice Group. 1988

Pratt Class Forbush, Audrey J., was elected to a one-year term as senior vice president for Plunkett Cooney. She is the managing partner of the firm’s Flint, Michigan, office. Forbush focuses her practice in the area of municipal liability with a particular expertise in police pursuits, excessive force, civil rights, whistleblower claims, labor and employment issues, and zoning and

personal injury. She also has extensive experience in the area of professional liability where she defends physicians and hospitals in malpractice claims. LaCost, Julie A., was appointed in February 2018, then elected in November 2018 as judge of 95-B District Court. She serves as chief judge of the court, which serves Dickinson and Iron counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Walsh, James E. Jr., was appointed Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice in the Seventh Judicial District of New York, in 2016. This appointment is in addition to Judge Walsh’s election as Monroe County Family Court Judge in 2014. 1996

Bird Class Corl, Christina, a partner at Plunkett Cooney in the firm’s Columbus, Ohio, office, was elected to the board of directors at WMU-Cooley Law School. Corl focuses her litigation practice primarily on employer liability issues. She is the managing partner of the firm’s Columbus office, co-leader of Plunkett Cooney’s Labor and Employment, Education and Workers’ Compensation Law Practice Group and the firm’s Professional Liability Practice Group. She was also elected to the Plunkett Cooney board of directors in February 2019. In addition, Corl was honored in May by Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands, Inc., as a role model for youth in the greater Columbus area. 1996

Stone Class Plummer, John M. III, was appointed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in March 2018 as judge of the Lawrence Superior Court No. 1. In November 2018, he was elected to a six-year term for that position. Also in 2018, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed Judge Plummer to serve on the Criminal Benchbook Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana.

T. Johnson Class Lesperance, Jeffery B., was sworn in Jan. 25, 2019 as a barrister and solicitor in a Call to the Bar ceremony of the Law Society of Ontario at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Ontario. 2002

Black Class Vargo, Kimberly Karcewski, was elected partner at Schiff Hardin LLP, in Washington, D.C. She focuses her practice on financial markets



and products. 1999

Flannigan Class Gauthier, Aaron, was appointed to the 53rd Circuit Court, serving Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties in Michigan. Judge Gauthier previously worked as a commissioner for the Michigan Supreme Court. 1999

Fead Class Jimenez, Michael A., was promoted to partner at Scarinci Hollenback in the firm’s Lyndhurst, New Jersey, office. He is a litigator with a special focus on public law, education law, labor and employment law, land use and corporate transactions and business law. 2000

Rutledge Class Hazel, Lowell C. “Chris,” was elected judge of Division B of the Ninth Judicial District Court in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. He presides over civil, criminal, and juvenile matters. Previously he served for 11 years in the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 27.

Chase Class Goodrich, Melissa, was appointed prosecutor for Cheboygan County, Michigan, on Jan. 1, 2019. 2003

Swainson Class Scott, Christopher, was named a shareholder at Plunkett Cooney. He is a member of the firm’s Flint, Michigan office, and focuses his practice on personal injury, property damage, and commercial liability. He handles matters that include premises liability, construction liability, trespass/tree removal liability, civil rights, medical liability, trusts and estates, probate litigation and litigation involving motor vehicle no-fault and negligence claims.

Toy Class Maitland, Maurice, was honored by Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc., for his continued pro bono support in helping lowincome clients resolve their civil legal issues. The organization estimates Maitland has provided over $699,100 worth of billable pro bono hours. He was also honored by AppalRed Legal Aid – Volunteer Lawyers for Appalachian Kentucky Office with its Nick of Time Award for pro bono work on a Social Security fraud crisis.


Class Notes 2005


McAllister Class

Sharpe Class

Novak, Erin A., was elected partner at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was previously of counsel with the firm. Novak focuses her practice on consumer litigation. Novak has been counsel of record in more than 300 cases involving Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims in courts throughout the country. She has obtained favorable decisions for her clients in Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices Consumer Protection Law matters.

Smith, Lori K., was named a partner at Lippitt O’Keefe Gornbein, PLLC, in Birmingham, Michigan. She is experienced in family law, including divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, and termination of parental rights.


Edwards Class Terry, Cynthia Favila, was unanimously approved by the Juvenile Board of Tarrant County, Texas, to serve as an Associate Judge under the Hon. Alex Kim in the 323rd Judicial District Court. The board consists of each district court judge and the county judge of Tarrant County. Terry will preside over Child Protective Services cases. 2007

Brickley Class Kavalhuna, Russell A., serves as the president of the Henry Ford College Board of Trustees. He was also appointed by Michigan governors Jennifer Granholm and Rick Snyder to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission, on which he still serves. Kavalhuna was also appointed by Gov. Snyder to Michigan’s 21st Century Talent Creation Subcommittee.


CJ Adams Class Plecha, Ryan, was selected to America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators. Selection is by invitation only. Less than .5 percent of active attorneys in the United States receive this honor. 2009

Coleman Class Springette, Joss, was appointed by U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Brian as Chief Negotiator for the Office of Collective Bargaining in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her confirmation hearing was April 25, 2019. Springette most recently served as general counsel for the Virgin Islands Public Services Commission. 2010

Witherell Class Moss, Maurice, from Utility Counsel for City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri, was selected to the Missouri Bar Leadership Academy. He was also chosen by 417 Magazine as one of “10 for the Next 10” (rising leaders who are leading southwest Missouri into the next decade). Nattler, Gerlinde (Linda), a shareholder in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, was named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Women in the Law Class of 2018. She focuses her intellectual property law practice on patent prosecution, opinion work and IP portfolio management, with a particular emphasis in the areas of mechanics, electronics, hydraulics

and computerized processes. Nattler is chair of Brinks’ German task force and co-chair of the green tech practice group. She is also an active member of other practice groups. Vakulskas, Daniel P., of Sioux City, Iowa, was selected to fill a vacancy as a district associate judge in Iowa’s 3rd Judicial District. He previously served as a magistrate in Woodbury County, Iowa, and with the Vakulskas Law Firm handling criminal, juvenile, small claims and commitment cases. 2011

Chipman Class Collison, Nathan, opened his own practice, Great Lakes Bay Legal Consulting, at 5140 State St., Saginaw, Michigan 48602. Phone: (989) 401-0877; e-mail: nathan@ glblc.com. Marguerite, Matthew J., an attorney with Tucker Ellis LLP, in Cleveland, Ohio, was named to the Ohio Rising Stars list. He focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions. 2011

Wilkins Class Sadic, Muamer Michael, represented WMU-Cooley Law School in Chicago at the inauguration of the North Park University incoming president, Mary Surridge. 2012

Ellsworth Class Sareini, Michael T., is President ProTem of the city council in Dearborn, Michigan.

Washington Class Mennie, John, was named as an Illinois Super Lawyer for 2019. He is an associate with the Illinois personal injury law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. He concentrates his practice on cases involving serious personal injury, medical malpractice, and products liability. 2013

Moore Class Lay, Tara, joined the Nashville, Tennessee office of Burr & Forman LLP in the firm’s Intellectual Property service group. She was brought on board as part of Burr & Forman’s acquisition of the 84-attorney Carolinas-based McNair Law Firm, P.A. Lay focuses on patent and trademark prosecution, portfolio management, clearance investigations, and transactional matters. Mashni, John, was named a shareholder with Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C. Mashni, who works in the firm’s Lansing, Michigan, office, practices in the areas of business, tax, and intellectual property, with a focus on nonprofits, cybersecurity, technology and entertainment. Ravenscroft, Noel, joined Bodman PLC as a senior associate attorney in the Banking Practice Group and the Bankruptcy and Debtor-Creditor Rights Practice Group, in the firm’s Detroit, Michigan, office. He represents financial institutions and other secured and unsecured creditors in connection with commercial bankruptcy issues and disputes.


Marshall Class Cummins, Angelina, joined Lippitt O’Keefe Gornbein, in Birmingham, Michigan, in the firm’s Divorce and Family Law Practice Group.

Johnson Class Pierre, Miracle, and Shakiva (Wade) Pierre, announce the birth of their son, Marcel C. Pierre, born on Jan. 19, 2019. The family resides in New Jersey. 2014

Livingston Class Clemko, Joseph M., and his wife Silvia, welcomed their first child, Camila Lee Clemko, Aug. 17, 2018. In addition, Clemko announces that his law firm merged with CKR Law, an international law firm with over 300 attorneys and 50 offices globally. Clemko and his partners head up the Dallas and Plano, Texas, offices. Terry, Jeffrey, was named a partner with Schmiedeskamp Robertson Neu & Mitchell LLP in Quincy, Illinois. His practice areas are employment and labor law, education law, corporate and business transactions.

In Memoriam 1979


Wiest Class

Wilson Class

Goold, Jay, 71, of Fairbury, Illinois, died Aug. 26, 2018, at his residence. He worked as an attorney with Henry Phillips and in private practice in Fairbury for many years. He was also co-owner and operator of Trees-N-Trim Christmas Tree Farm in Fairbury for 30 years.

Thrower, William (Bill), 56, died Feb. 2, 2019. He was a member of the South Carolina Bar Association and in private practice. Previously, he was employed as a civilian special agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and then as an attorney with the Charleston County Public Defenders Office.


McAlvay Class Liebler, Edward Charles, 79, died Nov. 24, 2018. With his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and his law degree, his practice focused primarily on helping veterinarians who had problems with the Board of Veterinary Medicine. 1984

Carr Class Perlos, Charles A., 60, died Jan. 31, 2019, of cancer. He was a defense attorney in Jackson, Michigan for 35 years. 1985

Smith Class Knezevich, Peter Stanley, 62, of Pinecrest, Florida, died July 31, 2018, due to brain cancer. 1987


Morse Class

Hughes Class

Ware, Glenn, 56, of McLean, Virginia, died of cancer on Jan. 6, 2019, while completing his bucket list on a vacation in Hawaii. Following his graduation from law school, he joined the U.S. Navy as a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps and served 13 years active duty and 12 years as a captain in the Reserves. While in the Navy, he received an International Law Degree from Harvard University. After retiring from the Navy, he worked as an international attorney, most recently as a partner with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Libby, Amber, was sworn in as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Cheboygan County, Michigan.


Pratt Class


Moore Class O’Connor, Lucille Hartigan, 84, died May 25, 2018. Lucille provided a $50,000 planned estate gift to WMU-Cooley in her will. She was a member of the Thomas M. Cooley Society, the school’s donor recognition society.

Hooker Class Minore, John, 56, died Feb. 14, 2019 after a short illness. 1995

Kuhn Class O’Regan, Frank T., 49, of Glen Cove, New York, died July 19, 2018. He was an attorney for the NYS Unified Court System. 1998

Snow Class Lange, Thomas J., Jr., 50, of Montrose, Colorado, died in January 2019. Originally from Staten Island, New York, he moved to Colorado in 2006. He operated his own law practice until his death. 2008

Adams Class Symko, Benjamin John, 40, died Oct. 15, 2018. 2010

Woodward Class Stover, Douglas Alan, 54, of East Lansing, Michigan, died Feb. 1, 2019. He was an Equalization Director for Ingham County, Michigan, retiring in 2018.

Flint, Robert Stanley “Bob” II, 60, of Jamestown, New York, died May 24, 2018.

WMU-Cooley encourages all graduates to contribute information to the Class Notes. We want to learn about your law career and other accomplishments in the legal profession. E-mail communications@cooley.edu 41

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Profile for WMU Cooley Law School

Benchmark | Summer 2019  

James McGrath, President and Dean, New Board Members - Mustafa Ameen, Aaron Burrell and Christina Corl

Benchmark | Summer 2019  

James McGrath, President and Dean, New Board Members - Mustafa Ameen, Aaron Burrell and Christina Corl