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“My law school education has been a huge advantage as CEO of Northwood University. Because of it, I can see further into the development of our programs and processes, and identify potential areas of concern.” KEITH PRETTY

Cooley Graduate Leads an Ever Expanding University Since joining NU in 2006, Keith Pretty has expanded Northwood University’s far-reaching educational community to three full-service campuses, raised admission standards, and developed 30 new adult degree programs.

Touching Lives Since 1986

The Law Unleashed

Since the time that Stephanie Gregg began her career with Cooley Law School on Nov. 24, 1986, she has touched the lives of thousands of students who have found their way to Cooley.

Third-year Cooley Law School students Renee Edmondson (left) and Danielle Dawson (right) recently helped develop language to amend legislation aimed at creating Michigan’s first-ever Animal Abuser Registry.


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Join the Cooley Law School alumni association! I invite you to take advantage of valuable benefits of membership in the Cooley Alumni Association. Association members are eligible for membership in the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, low-cost home and auto insurance from Liberty Mutual, and discounts on Cooley Bookstore purchases. The newest benefit for our dues-paying members is group life insurance from the Standard Insurance Company, which has open enrollment through June 30, 2012. You will want to act fast on that one. Joining the Cooley Alumni Association has never been easier, and it’s now all online. Simply go to alumni/membership.html, click on the membership card taking you to Cooley’s bookstore site, select your graduation

year range (dues are discounted for 2011-12 graduates), and enter your contact and charge card information. Your membership is good through August 2013. You will not only enjoy all the benefits of membership, but you will also help support alumni activities across the nation. Last year alone we organized alumni events in 21 states, plus D.C. and Ontario. Every membership helps us promote referrals, increase job leads, and make the social and business connections that are so important to Cooley’s graduates. Sign up today! Sincerely,

James D. Robb, Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations –

Bart Stupak JoINS CooLey’S Board of dIreCtorS Bart Stupak (Dethmers Class, 1981) has been elected to a four-year term on Cooley Law School’s Board of Directors. A partner with Venable LLP, in Washington D.C., Stupak practices in the firm’s legislative and government affairs group. From 1993 to 2011, Stupak represented Michigan’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stupak began his career in public service as a police officer in Escanaba, Mich., and he continued his career in law enforcement as a Michigan State Police Trooper. After he retired due to an injury sustained in the line of duty, Stupak ran for Congress. During his legislative career, Stupak served on the Energy and Commerce Committee and as chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. In this role, he helped lead investigations into key issues such as physical and cyber security breaches at U.S. nuclear labs, food and drug safety, and insurance company policy matters. Stupak also played an important role in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. In spring 2011, Stupak was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

CooLey’S INteLLeCtuaL property Law proGram earNS top raNkING IN NatIoNaL report Cooley’s intellectual property (IP) law curriculum has earned a top ranking in a recent independent report published by researchers at the William Mitchell Law School. The Mitchell Report on Intellectual Property Curricula ranks the strength of the IP law curricula at all 222 law schools in the country. The Mitchell Report rankings are based on the breadth and depth of each law school’s IP curriculum, reflecting the number of course offerings and the availability of courses in designated categories. Cooley’s IP curriculum was ranked first nationally in course offerings (earning 24 points) and second in number of categories satisfied (15 categories). The full Mitchell Report is available at mitchell-report-on-intellectual-property-curricula/

faCuLty aNd StudeNtS GIve thouSaNdS of hourS BaCk to theIr CommuNItIeS Cooley’s faculty and students have given thousands of hours worth of legal work to various groups and individuals through the school’s in-house clinics, students’ externships and pro bono programs run by Cooley faculty members. During 2011, Cooley faculty and students provided nearly 425,000 hours of free legal assistance. Students engage in clinics and externships in prosecutors’ offices, public defenders’ offices, judicial and government positions and with various other legal services. Students also participate in the nine legal clinics operated by Cooley faculty and by attorneys who volunteer their time. The clinics include: Sixty Plus Inc., Elderlaw Clinic; Estate Planning Clinic; Cooley’s Innocence Project; Family Law Assistance Program; Washtenaw County Public Defender Clinic; Kent County Public Defender Clinic; Public Sector Legal Clinic; Access to Justice Clinic; and Cooley’s Immigration Rights and Civil Advocacy Clinic. The free legal service provided by Cooley students and faculty would have a monetary value of more than $60 million if figured at an average hourly rate of $150.

CooLey profeSSor reCeIveS NatIoNaL Bar aSSoCIatIoN’S Gertrude e. ruSh award The National Bar Association (NBA) has honored Cooley Professor Carolyn House Stewart with the Gertrude E. Rush Award. Named for the only woman co-founder of the NBA, the award recognizes recipients for their pioneering spirit, community and professional leadership, concern for human and civil rights, and for being a model of excellence in legal education.

CooLey Law SChooL’S home paGe wINS top 10 award The Georgetown University Law Center recently announced the awards for its annual Top 10 Law School Home Pages of 2011. Cooley’s home page,, reached top-10 status, competing nationally against 200 American Bar Association-accredited law schools. The Georgetown University Law Center study used 24 objective elements to rate each law school’s home page and assessed them across three broad categories: design patterns and metadata, accessibility and validation, and marketing and communications.

Stewart was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1978 after earning her J.D. at the University of South Carolina. She has practiced before the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th and 11th Circuits. She has served as a government lawyer in Florida at both the state and county levels, and as in-house corporate counsel for Fortune 500 companies. Stewart teaches Contract Law at Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus. Before joining Cooley, Stewart handled cases in the civil litigation, casualty and labor law sections at Macfarlane, Ferguson & McMullen.

aNNuaL dIStINGuIShed StudeNt award aNd aLumNI memorIaL SChoLarShIp The 2012 Alumni Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Victoria Benevidez, J.D. candidate, (Moore Class, 2013). Benevidez attends Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus and is a resident of Holland, Mich. Aletha Honsowitz, National Board member of the Thomas M. Cooley Alumni Association, awarded her with a $2,500 tuition credit. From left: Lawrence Kish and Evan Balmer

“Not only does this award help financially, but I am truly honored and grateful to have been chosen. I hope I can live up to the scholarship’s expectations and become an outstanding lawyer.” Alumni Association Distinguished Student Award Hilary Term winners were Evan Balmer, Lansing campus, and LaToya Palmer and Alena Vackova, both from the Auburn Hills campus. Past Alumni Association President, Lawrence Kish (Marston Class, 1978), presented the award to Balmer at the Lansing Honors Convocation, and current Alumni Association President, Audra Foster (Fellows Class, 1997) presented the awards to Palmer and Vackova at the Auburn Hills Honors Convocation. From left: Alena Vackova and LaToya Palmer, winners of the Alumni Distinguished Student Award

From left: Aletha Honsowitz and Victoria Benevidez

ALUMNI DATABASE The user name will always remain the word alumni. The password changes each term and will be disclosed in issues of Benchmark and Benchmark Column. Please call the Alumni Relations Office at (800) 243-ALUM (in the Lansing area, call 517-371-5140, ext. 2038), or e-mail if you have any problems. BENCHMARK COLUMN | MAY 2012 | VOLUME 4 | NUMBER 2


Faculty Briefs Tammy Asher, Associate Professor Published, as co-author with Rhonda L. Ross, “A Fatal Flaw in the Clean Air Act: How the Clean Air Act Fails to Adequately Regulate Ambient Concentrations of Hazardous Pollutants,” in 32 Utah Environmental Law Review 1 (2012). Accepted, an invitation to teach a legal writing course for the College Prelaw Summer Institute June 13-June 22, 2012.


Gary P. Bauer, Professor



For most, a law degree connotes the practice of law in a courtroom while advocating for a client. But for Keith Pretty (Kelly Class, 1978), a law degree means something quite different. Pretty, the current President and CEO of Northwood University (NU), studied for his J.D. degree while working full-time as assistant to the Minority Leader of the Michigan State Legislature. His law degree, which has provided a strong foundation for his career in higher education, has also given Pretty an undeniable edge. “My law school education has been a huge advantage as CEO of NU,” said Pretty “Because of it, I can see further into the development of our programs and processes, and identify potential areas of concern.” EDuCATIONAL ROOTS

Growing up in an Allen Park, Mich., household that highly valued education and community involvement has strongly influenced Pretty’s success. His mother was an elementary teacher and pursued multiple degrees while his father served as Postmaster and Vice Mayor of the community while sitting on the local school board. All four of the Pretty children graduated from college, and three have gone on to earn advanced degrees. “We were blessed to be raised in such a nurturing household,” Pretty said, “Our parents really understood the value of education and were always pushing us to be the best we could be academically and physically.” Pretty embraced academics and physical fitness, excelling in the high school classroom and becoming a star athlete in several sports. At 6 feet 5 inches tall, he had aspirations of playing college basketball, but recruiters overlooked his skills on the court. When Western Michigan University (WMU) offered him a position on the football team, he jumped at the chance to join the Broncos football team and pursue his undergraduate degree at WMU. While at WMU, Pretty had the good fortune to meet attorney and professor William F. Morrison, who recognized Pretty’s leadership potential and enthusiastically stepped into the role of mentor. With Morrison’s urging, Pretty joined a group that was focused on persuading the legislature to establish a law school at WMU. At that time, there were no law schools west of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. At the same time, the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Thomas E. Brennan, and a group of judges and attorneys announced the opening of an independent, non-profit college of law in Lansing, Mich. It was 1972, and Chief Justice Brennan would name the law school after another Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Thomas M. Cooley.

WMU may not have won the law school, but Pretty’s involvement in the effort underscored his long-held belief that he would, one day, pursue a career as an attorney. That possibility was certainly top-of-mind as Pretty approached graduation in 1973. But a wonderful development intervened. Pretty’s prowess on the gridiron at WMU had drawn the attention of the Green Bay Packers who selected him as the 411th pick in the 1973 draft. Professional football proved to be an irresistible opportunity, and Pretty moved law school to the back burner to join the Packers. Yet, fate had other plans for him. FROM TIGHT-END TO LAW SCHOOL AND BEYOND

After a career-ending shoulder injury during pre-season practices, Pretty decided it was time to follow his dream of going to law school. He got a job working full-time with the Michigan Legislature soon after his injury, and was accepted into Cooley’s Butzel Class shortly thereafter. Pretty, who never had a problem balancing a busy schedule, felt that the sooner he got his J.D., the better. So he enrolled in the accelerated program, took classes at night and graduated two and a half years later with the Kelly Class. Pretty practiced law in a firm he opened with a friend until he got a call from Amoco offering him a position in governmental affairs. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to senior Washington representative in charge of Amoco’s Washington, D.C. office. He may have been a long way from Michigan, but he made certain that he maintained his ties to WMU. Among other connections, Pretty served as president of the WMU alumni association board and played a leadership role in the efforts to recruit a new WMU president. When the new president, Diether Haenicke, was hired and in place, he approached Pretty with an opportunity to develop and carry out a strategic plan for the university. Pretty accepted, leaving his position at Amoco and joining WMU as general counsel and vice president of external affairs. In his new role, he helped to revise the curriculum, raise admission standards and develop 22 new doctoral degrees. Pretty had found his niche in higher education, but this was just the beginning. HIGHER EDuCATION LEGACY

When Walsh College, a private business school, asked Pretty to be its next president, he could see the college’s potential and took on the leadership challenge in 1999. Once again, Pretty’s strategic thinking helped him formulate and implement a plan that significantly expanded enrollment and created numerous graduate programs, including the college’s first-ever doctoral degree program. Pretty’s success was certainly being noticed in higher education circles. So it came as no surprise seven years later when NU asked Pretty to lead its university as President and CEO.

Attended, the ABA 2012 TECH Show in Chicago for three days to gain competence in the latest technical innovations with particular emphasis on the present and future opportunities for those in solo practice. Ronald Bretz, Professor Won, the Beatty Award for excellence in teaching, at Cooley’s January 2012 graduation.

Evelyn Calogero, Professor

Since joining NU in 2006, Pretty has expanded NU’s far-reaching educational community which includes three full-service residential campuses in the United States located in Midland, Mich.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; south of Dallas; and 30 adult degree program centers in eight states. These program centers are designed to benefit non-traditional students with flexible night, weekend and online course options. He has also raised admission standards and expanded the graduate school to Florida and Texas. NU, which is a private, not-for-profit, independent business school, also has five international campuses with two locations in the People’s Republic of China, and one each in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Switzerland. “I travel a lot,” said Pretty. “I’m the CEO of the entire Northwood system, so I try to make visits to all of our campuses. I’m in China at least once a year.” NU has grown and thrived under his leadership, but Pretty says none of it would be possible without the faculty. “I believe in collaboration and teamwork, and that’s what we are here; a team. NU wouldn’t be the institution it is today without the great faculty members it has in leadership roles,” said Pretty. BRINGING IT FuLL CIRCLE

When asked about his plans for the future, Pretty responded, “I am blessed to be at a great institution that is growing and getting stronger every day. There are great opportunities and much to be done. Between work and my family, I stay busy.” Pretty and his wife, Gretchen, have been married for 28 years and have four children including one boy and three girls; two of the girls are identical twins. It seems obvious that the nurturing family and value for education is being passed on to the next generation. “My kids definitely help keep me young,” said Pretty. “My oldest is going off to Notre Dame for law school; one of the twins is coming to Northwood this fall, the other is going to Ferris State University on a volleyball scholarship and our oldest daughter is a senior at Hope College. We are so proud of them.” Even though Pretty’s family keeps him busy, he still finds time to remain engaged with his students and Cooley. “I’ve referred a lot of people to Cooley. Its network is extensive across Michigan and it provides so many opportunities that you would never imagine.” Pretty maintains his personal ties with Cooley by serving on the board for the alumni association and being a donor. “I feel strongly about giving back to those who have helped me,” said Pretty. “My education at Cooley prepared me for more than I could have ever imagined and was the foundation on which I built my future.”

Planned, and facilitated, a panel discussion and created material about “Giving Children a Voice in Court Proceedings” at the April 11-12, 2012, State Court Administrative Office, 8th Annual Child Welfare Services Issues Conference, Pathways to Permanency: Engaging Older Youth to Achieve Positive Outcomes, held at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing, Mich. The panelists included youth who have attended and participated in court hearings in their own child welfare cases, a judge who encourages youth participation, a lawyer guardian ad litem whose youth clients have participated in their hearings, and the foster care worker and therapist who prepared one of the youths to attend and to testify during the trial to terminate her mother’s parental rights. Attended, and spoke to high school students and state legislators at Michigan Youth in Government’s Leadership Breakfast, March 2012. Continues, to plan and prepare materials for presentation at the child welfare appeals breakout sessions for the 2013 Appellate Bench Bar Conference, presented by the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Foundation; a June 2012 training of appellate lawyers in child welfare appeals, presented by the State Court Administrative Office’s Child Welfare Division; and the June 2012 Exploring Careers in the Law, a moot-court summer learning program for high-school students, presented by the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center. Mark Cooney, Professor Published, an article titled “Plain Isn’t Plain” in The Scrivener, Winter 2012. Published, an article titled “A Legal-Writing Carol” in the Michigan Bar Journal, December 2011. Gerald A. Fisher, Professor Re-Elected, to a second term as chairperson of the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission. Contributed, a chapter consisting of two stories for a recently published book edited by Cooley Associate Dean Nelson Miller entitled, Lawyers as Economic Drivers—The Business Case for Legal Services. The stories are titled, “The Use of Legal Skills in the Land Use Arena to Reconcile Deep Differences” and “Strike an Acceptable Balance Between Preservation and Productivity.” Wrote, updates for chapters in Michigan Zoning, Planning, Land Use Law, and Michigan Municipal Law for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. Presented, a program for the State Bar Real Property Law Section Annual Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla., on March 16, 2012, with suggestions for local government steps to promote development and redevelopment in Michigan. In connection with that trip, he attended a gathering of Cooley alumni from Florida, hosted by Associate Dean James Robb. Presented, at the Advanced Institute of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys in Lansing, on March 20, 2012, on the legislative process employed for the enactment of new zoning legislation in 2011. He was an active participant in shaping the legislation that amended the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act relative to mineral mining.

Continued on Following Page >



Gerald A. Fisher (Continued) Presented, two programs at the annual meeting of the Michigan Townships Association in January, 2012, speaking once at the Attorney Institute and once at a general meeting of township officials. Presented, to the Oakland County Bar Association Real Estate Law Committee on March 27, 2012, on zoning. Presented, an in-house workshop for the city of Royal Oak Zoning Board of Appeals on March 8, 2012. Prepared, an article for the Ingham County Bar Association on the pending bills in the Michigan legislature relating to medical marijuana, published in the association’s April 2012 report to members. Authored, a guest opinion that appeared in the April 21, 2012 edition of the Oakland Press on the subject of nature education programming in the Oakland County, Mich., parks. Interviewed, by the Press and Guide of Dearborn for a Feb. 4, 2012 article regarding a dispute between a Dearborn District Court judge and the city of Dearborn in which the judge asserts the benefit of a self-drafted indemnity agreement by which he claims the city bears the burden of a judgment in excess of $1 million entered against him. Interviewed, by Michigan Lawyers Weekly for a Feb. 20, 2012 article regarding a decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals holding that the Detroit City Clerk was required to place on the ballot an initiative petition to amend a city ordinance to be voted on by the electors of the city. Interviewed, by the Grand Rapids Legal News on March 7, 2012 on municipal law subjects. Interviewed, by the Detroit News on April 2, 2012 relative to potential Open Meetings Act issues in connection with the work of the state of Michigan in determining whether to appoint an Emergency Financial Manager in the city of Detroit. Attended, meetings as Board or Council Member of the State Bar Public Corporation Section, Oakland County Bar Foundation, Oakland County Fellows, Oakland County Parks Foundation, Quality of Life Committee of the Oakland County Business Roundtable, Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys Professionalism and Education Committee, and the Land Information Access Association (LIAA). For the January 2012 meeting of the State Bar Public Corporation Section, he arranged for the meeting to be held at Cooley’s four campuses in Michigan using the distance education facilities. He also spoke at the groundbreaking for a new Oakland County sports field facility in Southfield, Mich. He also attended the annual luncheon of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society. Participated, in collaboration meetings during February, March, and April with the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. Assisted, pro bono, the city of Southfield on issues involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). Reviewed, and provided written analysis, pro bono, on proposed legislation for the Michigan Municipal League. Joseph Kimble, Professor Finished, a new book called Writing for Dollars,Writing to Please:The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law. It summarizes the empirical evidence that plain language can save enormous amounts of money and is strongly preferred by readers, including legal readers. It also debunks the myths and misconceptions about plain language, collects 40 historical highlights, and outlines the elements of plain language. Published, remarks about the newly redrafted Federal Rules of Evidence as part of a symposium sponsored by the William and Mary Law Review. Professor Kimble led the drafting work on the new rules. He is the drafting consultant on all five sets of federal court rules. Spoke, at a legal-writing seminar at The John Marshall Law School. The seminar was sponsored by Scribes— The American Society of Legal Writers. Donna McKneelen, Assistant Professor Testified, on Feb 7, 2012, before the state Senate Judiciary committee on the need for compensation for wrongfully convicted individuals. Served, Jan. 27-28, as a panel speaker as part of Cooley’s Stages of the Law series, at the Wharton Center for the Performing Art’s showings of “The Exonerated.” Provided, a one-hour presentation/interview on Feb. 21 on radio station WCHB Detroit Radio One with their segment on “Fighting For Justice.”

Four Cooley Graduates Honored as

Most Influential Women in West Michigan

MARY V. BAuMAN (Miles Class, 1986) is a partner at Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids, Mich. Her employee benefits and executive compensation practice is focused primarily on health and welfare benefits, and she is chair of a 15-member multi-disciplinary health care reform team that represents six practice groups. In 2011, Bauman became the first woman in Hope College’s 145-year history to be named chair of the board of trustees. She was honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a 2011 Women in the Law winner and received West Michigan’s 2011 Legacy Award for promoting diversity in the area. Bauman has worked with Grand Valley State University’s prelaw society and Cooley Law School to establish internships for students of color who are interested in pursuing legal careers.

“Successful attorneys are excellent writers, critical thinkers and hard workers. In addition, law school students should be able to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. one way to accomplish that is to find an area of the law that is of special interest and then work toward becoming an expert in that area.”

THE HON. SARA J. SMOLENSKI (Goodwin Class, 1982), the chief judge of the 63rd District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., has earned a reputation among her peers as a distinguished judge and community leader. She spends many hours volunteering as a legal advocate, contributor and activist for a number of nonprofit organizations. She is a guest speaker at many community events and uses some of her unique, real-life experiences to bring humor to her talks and to engage audiences. Smolenski serves on the board of Hospice of Michigan and has been involved with many other organizations including: St. John’s Home, Kent County Literacy Council, American Cancer Society, YWCA, and Resources Against Violent Encounters to Women of West Michigan. She has served as president of the Women Lawyers Association of West Michigan and held various posts with the Michigan Judicial Conference, Michigan District Judges Association, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Grand Rapids Bar Association Law Day Committee. Smolenski has earned numerous awards for her community involvement including the Western Region Outstanding Member Award and the Jean King Leadership Award from the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan.

"female attorneys need to believe in themselves. most students who get into law school are going to be serious about furthering their education. I believe female law students need to be serious about their studies and committed to becoming the best attorneys they can be. I think success as an attorney means advocating for your client with confidence and courage. Being prepared is a huge first step in doing your job correctly. Believing in yourself will allow you as an attorney to move in a positive direction for yourself and for your client.”

Attended, the annual Innocence Project Innocence Network Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on March 28-31. Continued on Following Page > BENCHMARK COLUMN | MAY 2012 | VOLUME 4 | NUMBER 2

THE HON. JANE MARKEY (Dethmers Class, 1981) serves as a judge for the Michigan Court of Appeals. She first joined the judicial ranks after winning the 1990 general election for the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich. Markey’s win is said to have paved the way for women around the state to seek judicial office. But Markey was already known for blazing trails for women, which began with her enrollment in law school in 1978 when women in legal studies were a distinct minority. After being admitted to the bar, she bypassed what were considered acceptable legal practice areas for women, such as divorce, child custody, and legal research. Instead, she chose to practice in the male-dominated area of civil litigation, representing individuals, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and other professionals throughout Michigan. During the 17 years she has served on the Court of Appeals, Markey has been involved in shaping decisions about the constitutionality of Michigan’s anti-stalking law, the make-up of Kent County juries, and issues pertaining to the Michigan No-Fault Act, child custody, property division, medical malpractice, medical marijuana, civil litigation and others. Since 1995, Markey has served on Cooley’s board of directors.

“one catches more flies with honey. know that extraordinary civility and professional courtesy will greatly benefit both your client and your own satisfaction, as well as build a good will have to work twice as hard to achieve half as much – still. the glass ceiling is just clearer. your femininity is an asset, but use it with ethics and professionalism. and finally, recognize that trying to be super woman is a guarantee of enormous stress and it’s impossible to achieve balance.”

JOY FOSSEL (Grant Class, 1987) practices law at Varnum LLP in Grand Rapids, Mich., serves as chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and leads the firm’s internal and external efforts. In 2011, she logged more than 300 hours of pro bono work and has been recognized by the legal community for her efforts in providing free legal services to individuals or organizations in need. She has received the Michael S. Barnes Award from Legal Aid of West Michigan in recognition of exemplary dedication to pro bono service. The State Bar of Michigan honored Fossel with the John W. Cummiskey Award, the bar’s highest honor for pro bono services, and she was named one of Michigan’s top 20 women attorneys in 2011 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

“the current and much-needed focus on diversity embraces women as a whole and means that women in law today will have many more career doors open to them than did the women who graduated 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. But they should not mistake opportunity for entitlement. those women who choose law as a career will have to work just as hard, if not harder, and just as smart, if not smarter, than did their predecessors. while technology will help in this regard, there will never be a substitute for the commitment and dedication to excellence that the practice of law demands.”



Nelson Miller, Associate Dean and Professor Published, the book, Lawyers as Economic Drivers:The Business Case for Legal Services, as co-editor with Associate Dean James Robb and Cooley Law School student John Crane. Contributed, the essay “Data and Scholarship on Lawyer Economic Activity” to the foregoing book Lawyers as Economic Drivers. Published, the novel “Pierce’s Cause — A Trial Lawyer���s Allegorical Novel.” Monica Navarro, Associate Professor Interviewed, by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Crain’s Detroit Business, and the Detroit Free Press. Attended, multiple board of director meetings and planning sessions with the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan, Southwest Counseling Solutions, the Health Law Section of the Michigan Bar, the Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the ABA’s The Health Lawyer Editorial Board. She also participated in the State Bar of Michigan’s Diversity Committee monthly meeting. Assisted, the Cooley/Auburn Hills team in its preparation for the ABA’s National Appellate Practice Competition.


UNLEASHED Cooley students help draft amendments to legislation on animal advocacy

Third-year Cooley Law School students Renee Edmondson and Danielle Dawson may still be immersed in their studies, but they are already putting their classroom knowledge and skills training to work in the real world. Renee and Danielle recently helped develop language to amend legislation aimed at creating Michigan’s first-ever Animal Abuser Registry. Introduced in February 2012 by Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, House Bills 5402 and 5403 would require convicted animal abusers to register, pay a $250 fee, and notify police of address changes. The proposed legislation, which has made headline news across Michigan and beyond, is bolstering the duo’s confidence in their lawyering skills while providing them with an extraordinary look into the legislative process. “The experience has definitely made me more focused on my career choices,” said Renee, who, like Danielle, studies at Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus. MuSICAL ROOTS

Growing up in rural Ohio, there was always a stream of pets and stray animals at Renee’s side. Her love for animals made friends and relatives wonder if Renee had a future in veterinary medicine, but her passion for music trumped all interests. She enrolled in Baldwin-Wallace College, in Berea, Ohio and graduated in 2001 with a degree in clarinet performance. Renee then moved to Michigan to attend Western Michigan University. She earned a master’s degree in clarinet performance in 2004 and met her future husband, Steve Edmondson, a student in the school’s aviation program. The couple moved to Alabama following graduation, and Renee searched in earnest for employment in her field. After music jobs proved elusive, Renee accepted a retail position with Old Navy. When Steve’s contract with an air cargo company expired, they packed up their two dogs, three cats and goldfish and headed back to west Michigan. Renee took a management position with an Old Navy location in the Grand Rapids area and Steve accepted a position nearby with an air ambulance company. Four years later, the couple experienced more changes – a layoff for Steve and a pregnancy for Renee. The couple decided it was a good time to reflect on their lives and career goals. For Steve, this meant pursuing medical school. For Renee, it was time to move forward with a long-held

vision of earning a law degree. Just five days before the baby’s delivery date, Renee took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The new parents knew their dual educational pursuits could not be achieved without flexible school programs. Steve began studies at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., in the biomedical science program during the day while Renee began taking night and weekend courses at Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus. “The flexibility Cooley provides and how they work with you has been a huge benefit for me, especially as a new mom,” she said. “They really give you a chance; you need that reassurance to succeed.” As Renee was starting her legal studies, Steve graduated from Grand Valley and entered Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. DOG BITE CASE SPARKS INTEREST

Initially drawn to a criminal law career, Renee’s focus began to shift during a Torts class that analyzed a dog bite case. “It was apparent that I was on the side of the dog,” she said. She noticed that Danielle held similar views. In fact, Danielle practiced her own form of animal advocacy as a freshly minted graduate of Michigan State University in May 2005. For her, an impromptu trip to Mississippi to rescue animals with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Southwest Michigan during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina turned into a life-changing experience. “I was blown away by the destruction and devastation,” Danielle said. “The large number of displaced pets was shocking. It was amazing to see the way these rescue groups worked together to help as much as they could. So many pets had been surrendered or abandoned by their owners because they could no longer care for them, which was absolutely heartbreaking.” The experience made a lasting impact. After she returned home to Grand Rapids with her new puppy, Danielle accepted a position with a small law firm in Grand Rapids as a paralegal. “It renewed my interest to study law,” she said. She took the LSAT, applied to Cooley, and was accepted. A friendship soon ensued between Renee and Danielle, and the two began discussing plans to form Cooley’s first Animal Law Society.

That’s when they were introduced to Adjunct Professor Ginny Mikita, the former in-house counsel for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Professor Mikita serves as the advisor of the student Animal Law Society. “Professor Mikita is my mentor; she has been fantastic,” Renee said.

Attended, the ABA’s Emerging Issues in Health Law program in San Diego, Calif., with the ABA’s Health Lawyer Editorial Board, which she vice-chairs. Attended, the annual Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Health Law program with the Health Law Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan on which she serves. Attended, discussion sessions with the chair of the Judiciary Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives in connection with the passage of a modified False Claims Act in Michigan. Served, as a faculty participant in the Faculty Mock Trial charity-event sponsored by the Criminal Law Society and the Mock Trial Board of the Auburn Hills campus. Published, an article in the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review titled “A Look at the Constitutional Implications of Retrospective Laws: The Case of the False Claims Act.” Judged, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Distinguished Brief Award competition.


Kimberly E. O’Leary, Professor

Earlier this year, Renee and Danielle took a keen interest in the state’s first draft of the legislation proposing an Animal Offender Registry. While both agreed with the need for the legislation, they saw areas that could be strengthened.

Published, a book review of Andrew E. Kersten’s book Clarence Darrow American Iconoclast in America magazine (November 2011).

Renee e-mailed Rep. Santana’s office, offering help with amending the legislation. Two days later, his office was in touch with the students, inviting them to his Lansing office for the first of two work sessions. Renee said the experience has been amazing. “I look forward to seeing the legislation through to the end.” Renee said both she and Danielle are also interested in family law and can see how animal law issues could dovetail with those of family law regarding everything from issues of domestic violence to custody. “It’s a competitive field,” Renee said, “but I was raised to work really hard with a good work ethic, and Cooley has helped to provide the confidence I need to move forward in my career.” The same can be said for Danielle. “Cooley requires each student to have determination and a strong will to succeed. None of this has been easy, but Cooley provides a real-world environment where, if you want something, you have to work hard to achieve it.” Danielle brings new meaning to hard work. While she continues to attend Cooley part-time, she has a full-time job, co-directs the Animal Law Society and planned her wedding to her husband, Tom Dawson, in Mexico last spring. While Tom works full time, he is also taking classes to obtain his degree in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University, and the couple takes turns caring for their two dogs.

Published, an article co-authored with Vicki Eggers, Tanya Krause-Phelan, Joni Larson, Nelson P. Miller, and Derek Witte, “Using a Faculty Inquiry Process to Examine Student Responsibility for Learning,” in 61 Journal of Legal Education 280 (2011). Attended, the Midwest Clinical Teachers Conference, in Madison, Wis., in fall 2011. James D. Robb, Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations and Senior Counsel Published, as co-editor, the book Lawyers As Economic Drivers: The Business Case for Legal Services, by Vandeplas Publishing, marking the role of lawyers in promoting economic expansion. Published, in the book Lawyers as Economic Drivers: The Business Case for Legal Services, a chapter called “If the First Thing We Do Is Kill All the Lawyers, What’s the Second Thing We Do?” The article points out the historical importance of lawyers in establishing and preserving an orderly society that promotes economic growth. Presented, at the Crain’s Detroit General and In-House Counsel Summit, co-produced by the Association of Corporate Counsel, in two panel discussions on Legal Issues Surrounding Social Media, on April 25, 2012. Presided, as chairperson, over a hearing of the city of Birmingham Board of Ethics on the question of a possible conflict of interest of a city official, and wrote the resulting advisory opinion of the board. Appeared, before the entire U.S. Supreme Court, on a motion for the admission of 10 Cooley alumni or faculty members to the bar of the Court.

“The full schedule is paying off,” Danielle said. “Cooley is preparing me for the future. It demanded dedication and perseverance that I found I was completely capable of handling.” Continued on Following Page > KNOWLEDGE. SKILLS. ETHICS. | COOLEY.EDU


Marjorie Russell, Professor Taught, Opening Statement techniques at a Trial Lawyers College regional seminar in Key Largo, Fla., February 22-25, 2012. Taught, Witness Examination Preparation Skills at the CDAM Spring Conference, March 15, 2012. Taught, Direct and Cross Examination skills at the Army JAG Joint Advocacy Seminar in Coronado, Calif., April 5, 2012. Devin Schindler, Professor Spoke, on March 20, 2012, on WOOD Radio on “The Upcoming Health Care Debate.” Spoke, on March 26, 2012, on WMMT TV, on “A Preview of the Upcoming Supreme Court Debate over Healthcare.” Spoke, on March 26, 2012, on WZZM TV, on “The Healthcare Debate in Brief.” Spoke, on March 27, 2012, on WOOD Radio, on “Day One of the Healthcare Debate.” Spoke, on March 27, 2012, on WZZM TV on, “A One-Man Debate over Healthcare Reform.” Spoke, on March 28, 2012, on WOOD Radio, on “Day Two of the Healthcare Debate.” Spoke, on March 28, 2012, on WWJR Radio, on “Justice Kennedy and the Healthcare Debate.” Spoke, on March 28, 2012, to the Grand Rapids Business Journal, on “How Will the Supreme Court Rule on PPACA?” Spoke, on April 2, 2012, to WCW-TV, on “Understanding Commerce and the Debate over Healthcare.” Spoke, on April 9, 2012, on WCW-TV, on “Race and ‘Stand Your Ground.’” Spoke, on April 16, 2012, on WZZM-TV, on “Medical Marijuana and Employment Law.” Taught, a four-class series on the Constitution, for OLLI, the Osler Lifelong Learning Institute. Jane Siegel, Associate Professor Coached, Cooley's team at the PACE National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in February. The team finished in the top third of



TO A LAW DEGREE Where do agronomy and the law cross paths? Would you believe the two meet quite naturally on golf courses? It’s true – or it will be -- if Pamela C. Smith (Sharpe Class, 2008) has anything to say about it. As Director of Agronomy for the city and county of Denver, Colo., Smith oversees the outdoor operations for Denver’s seven municipal golf courses. She is a Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) and, since 2008, she has also been an attorney. How scientific soil management mixes with the law is, Smith said, still a work in progress. Smith’s story goes back to her teen years in Michigan, her home state. Needing a job at age 15, she signed up to trim grass and rake bunkers at the golf course where her father was a seasonal mechanic.

Serving, as Acting Assistant Dean for Trinity Term at the Grand Rapids campus. Otto Stockmeyer, Emeritus Professor Published, an article, “Meet Scribes: A Society That Promotes LegalWriting Excellence,” in Illinois Bench & Bar (May 2011). Published, an article, “The Tortuous History of the Mutual-Mistake Defense in Michigan Contract Law,” in Michigan Academician (2011).

In her 10-year stint as superintendent, Smith earned her CGCS designation and took on environmental challenges. Under her supervision, the course earned certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The program mitigates potentially harmful outcomes of golf course operations while it improves efficiencies, natural areas and wildlife habitats. She is now in the midst of this same certification process for Denver’s courses. In spite of her demanding full-time job, Smith was also teaching the golf management program at Trine University and raising Connor, her son. In the midst of her busy life, she applied and was accepted to Cooley Law School.

While Smith had viewed the work as just a job at first, she began to take an interest in learning more. When her brother, a chef, took a job at a golf course in Elkhart, Ind., she encouraged him to help her get a job with the course maintenance crew.

“I’m grateful to Cooley,” Smith explained, “for providing working adults the opportunity to obtain a world-class legal education.” Beginning classes at the Grand Rapids campus during the golf course’s slow time in January, she attended classes on weekends and completed her class work in Lansing.

Smith’s new tough, but knowledgeable boss gave her a basic understanding of what she calls a common-sense approach to golf course maintenance. The more modern, up-to-date methods of golf course maintenance came from her next boss in Muncie, Ind., where she was hired as the assistant superintendent.

Smith graduated from Cooley and passed the Michigan Bar Exam in 2008. Soon after, she had the opportunity to speak with Judge James Rieckhoff. With a smile, she reminded him of his suggestion to her more than 15 years before that she should consider becoming an attorney. Some goals just take a little longer to achieve.

While Smith’s unintended career thrived, she still had other dreams. With an eye toward becoming a politician, she graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Golf course maintenance had already carved out an important role in her life, but she was focused on attending law school and going into politics.

The job offer from Denver came just before graduation and Smith jumped at the chance. “The thought of being an attorney is challenging and idealistic,” she explained. “However, it is hard to let go of 25 years in the golf industry to start a new career.”

In the back of her mind, Smith had always believed she was destined to become an attorney. Reinforcement of that belief came when she was only 19. After finding out the name of the young man, a minor, who had stolen her car, Smith discovered that she could sue his family in small claims court. She took on the case and won. Before she left the courtroom, Judge James Rieckhoff, Elkhart County Court, leaned over the bench and said to Smith, “Have you ever thought about becoming an attorney?”

77 law schools. Attended, the Global Legal Skills Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, in March, and moderated a panel discussion on international publication for legal scholars.

With that pledge and a renewed commitment to her golf career, at age 24, Smith landed her first job as a golf course superintendent. During the next few years, she greatly expanded her knowledge and secured a superintendent position with Blackberry Patch Golf Course (now Bella Vista) in Coldwater, Mich.

“Yes, your honor, I have,” she thought. So with her undergraduate degree in hand, Smith applied to law school, but she was not accepted. Disappointed, Smith slowly began to realize she had invested years of her life into building a career, and reasoned she would just put all her effort into doing well in the career path she was already following.

In 2009, Smith passed the Colorado Bar Exam. Her new challenge is to find ways to “meld her two careers.” She sees lots of opportunities, particularly in the realm of liability law. Before studying the law, she probably would not have thought twice about putting a sidewalk around a golf course if that is what the owners wanted. Today, she would counsel against the sidewalk because it would invite non-golfers to put themselves in harm’s way. Eventually, Smith would like to conduct seminars that help the golf industry to better understand the liabilities connected to their courses. For the moment, she is sensitive to the fact that Denver hired her to oversee its golf courses and not to be its legal advisor. But she certainly has not closed the door on adding legal counsel to her professional repertoire. Judging from her career thus far, she will find a way.



Published, an article, “Meet Google Scholar Citations,” in the Scribes newsletter The Scrivener (Winter 2012).


Delivered, a paper, “On the Road Again: A Trip Through the Poetry and Checkered Subsequent History of Sherwood v.Walker,” at the 7th International Conference on Contracts at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, Calif., on March 3, 2012.

Schachter Portnoy, L.L.C. is a law firm that takes pride in hiring Cooley graduates. Darin Portnoy (Witherell Class, 1990) was a solo practitioner before creating the firm with his partner Howard Schachter. Seven attorneys work in the firm’s two offices located in Princeton, N.J. and Valhalla, N.Y.

Delivered, a paper, “The Case of Rose of Aberlone Michigan’s Great Contribution to Contract Law,” presented at the Historical Society of Michigan’s Local History Conference at Macomb Community College, Warren, Mich., on March 30, 2012. Received, the 2011 Cohn Prize in Law and Public Policy Scholarship from the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. Amy Timmer, Associate Dean and Professor Presented, on Cooley’s mentoring programs at the annual National Association of Legal Professionals conference in Austin, Texas, in April 2012. Chris Trudeau, Associate Professor Presented, “The Public’s Perception of Legal Writing,” at the 2012 Clarity/Scribes International Writing Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 2012. Presented, “The Public Speaks: An Empirical Study of Legal Communication,” at the 2012 Legal Writing Institute in Palm Desert, Calif., on May 31, 2012.

Continued on Following Page >

Portnoy and Schachter manage the firm, which specializes in creditors’ rights, receivable recovery, collection litigation, and contract matters. In addition to Portnoy, the firm has two other Cooley graduates on staff, Kap Misir (Brickley Class, 2007) and Craig Faye (Adams Class, 2008). Three additional Cooley graduates have worked with the firm, and when the firm has any open positions, the first choice for hire is a recent Cooley Law School graduate. “I feel Cooley graduates are practice-ready, hungry to learn everything and are not afraid to get to work,” said Portnoy. “I’ve interviewed numerous attorneys over the years and feel that Cooley grads know what it takes to succeed.” The idea of studying law came to Portnoy as a teenager soon after he started driving. He worked as a delivery person for a printing company in South Plainfield, N.J., delivering law books to Rutgers University and Seton Hall law schools. When he got stuck in traffic, he would glance through the pages of the books he was delivering.

“Those books were very interesting to me, and that’s when I decided that I was interested in becoming a lawyer,” recalled Portnoy. Even before graduating from Rutgers University’s Cook College with a degree in economics, Portnoy knew he was headed to law school. While visiting his cousin’s business, Portnoy spoke with an employee who graduated from Cooley and explained that Cooley would give him a practical education and, at the same time, get him ready to take the bar exam. That conversation convinced Portnoy that Cooley was the right choice. Portnoy first put his practical education to work in solo practice. To this day, he credits Cooley with not only making him practice-ready but also preparing him to run a very successful business. He now plans to open an office in Michigan and, eventually, to create a national firm. In March 2012, he was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan. Portnoy is also admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. “I have been able to build a firm that has become one of the leaders in creditors’ rights in New Jersey, and we are still growing,” said Portnoy. He added that he believes, that for a firm to succeed, it is crucial to have top-notch management and superior attorneys.

Darin Portnoy shares the judge’s gavel with son Dylan after being sworn in on Feb. 24 by the Hon. Rosemarie Aquilina (Carr Class, 1984), Michigan 30th Circuit Court Judge.

Portnoy teaches litigation strategies to the attorneys in his firm. He spends time conducting seminars on all types of collection matters, medical denials and appeals, and negotiation skills. He has also served as an adjunct professor teaching business law at Middlesex County College and Bergen Community College, both in New Jersey. Portnoy gives a lot of credit for his success to his family. He is quick to point out that his parents, and especially his grandmother, influenced him tremendously in his educational drive. His wife of 18 years, Christine, has been supportive and instrumental in helping him open and grow the firm. It’s no surprise that both of their children, 17-year-old Rachel and 11-year-old Dylan, tell their friends that they plan to practice law with their dad. And, following in the tradition of their dad both children say they want to get their law degrees from Cooley.


William Wagner, Professor


Accepted, for publication, “Friending Due Process – Facebook as a Fair Method of Alternative Service,” in the Widener University Law Review (forthcoming 2012).


Presented, non-partisan expert testimony on House Concurrent Resolution 11, (concerning fundamental liberties under the U.S. Constitution) to the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors, on Feb. 7, 2012. Presented, “United States Supreme Court Practice – The Amicus Curiae Brief,” at the American Constitution Society program in Lansing, Mich., on March 23, 2012.

Gregg, who retired from Cooley on March 30, 2012, reflected, “When I look back 25 years, there are so many memories, mostly dealing with the contact I have had with students and especially during the early days.” Looking back at those early days, Gregg talks about Cooley’s tremendous growth and the expansion of the programs offered. In the beginning, she would meet with students interested in attending Cooley and spend her evenings doing file reviews of every applicant. As the school grew, so did Gregg’s staff, and she had to delegate more of her responsibilities. She said that letting go of duties was tough because she enjoyed meeting the new students. In the beginning, Gregg recalled, most of her time during the day was spent on the phone with new and prospective students. “Students were excited to be able to make their dreams come true by attending Cooley. Judge Brennan believed in giving law school access to more individuals and not being elitist. Students today still have that same excitement.”

Gregg also witnessed huge changes in the ways Cooley communicated, moving from telephone communications and mailing brochures to the extensive use of the Internet and social media. According to Gregg, having information available online and using electronic applications instead of paper greatly increased efficiencies. Above everything else in her 25 years, the best part of Gregg’s job was staying in touch with Cooley graduates. Since announcing her retirement, she has received countless letters that document how she touched the lives of Cooley students through the years. Her goal, she said, was to “maintain the human touch, giving applicants our full attention and treating each one as the individuals they are.” “I will miss all the great people I work with at Cooley. I have spent as much time with my Cooley family as I have with my own family over the years. But most of all, I will miss meeting the new students.” “It has been our honor and a privilege to have Stephanie Gregg as our Assistant Dean for Admissions for the past 25 years,” said Don LeDuc, Cooley’s President and Dean. “Stephanie had a way of interacting and connecting with our students that made them feel as if they belonged to a family. Her passion extends to our graduates, as she enjoys staying in contact with them and following their professional careers.”

What will Gregg do with all her time? The first thing Gregg wants in retirement is to be free of projects. She’s ready to have some hammock time and catch up on some reading. “I also have a background in writing and art; I am going to give watercolors a try and see how that goes,” she said. Gregg also plans to build some new memories with her five grandchildren. She promised her six-year-old granddaughter that they would build a secret garden together on the eight acres of land that she and her husband of 46 years, John, own just north of Eaton Rapids, Mich. “Retirement means spending more time with loved ones,” Gregg said, summing up her plans for the future.

“I will miss all the great people I work with at Cooley. I have spent as much time with my Cooley family as I have with my own family over the years. But most of all, I will miss meeting the new students.”

GUARDIANS Helping the innocent win their freedom is only the beginning for Donna McKneelen, co-director of Cooley’s Innocence Project. Justice won’t be fully served until they also have their lives back. That’s why McKneelen continues to work with the two Michigan men Cooley’s Innocence Project helped to free. “One of our biggest concerns right now is compensation for those who are exonerated,” she said, explaining that many former inmates find it very difficult to rejoin society after a lengthy time in prison. Nearly a decade has passed since McKneelen and co-director Marla Mitchell-Cichon watched Kenneth Wyniemko, who was wrongfully imprisoned for a rape he did not commit, walk free as a result of the Innocence Project team’s efforts. Sophisticated DNA evidence, combined with research conducted by a small, dedicated group of Cooley students and faculty, conclusively exonerated Wyniemko. The case was the second to be overturned in Michigan as a result of new DNA testing technology not available when Wyniemko was first convicted. Today, Wyniemko makes a living touring the country talking to others about his ordeal. Others have had a harder time adapting.


Since the time that Stephanie Gregg began her career with Cooley Law School on Nov. 24, 1986, she has touched the lives of thousands of students who have found their way to Cooley. She was hired as the school’s director of admissions by Cooley’s founder, Judge Thomas E. Brennan Sr. As Cooley grew, the position and Gregg’s duties grew with it. Eventually she was promoted to assistant dean of admissions to recognize her contributions to the school.


Accepted, for publication, “The Diabolical Use of Myth and Symbol in Constitutional Jurisprudence – A Lesson from the Separate But Equal Doctrine,” in the Trinity International University Law Review (forthcoming 2012).

Presented, “At Risk: The Fundamental Right of Parents to Direct the Upbringing of their Children,” made at Pepperdine University School of Law conference on the Competing Claims of Law and Religion in Malibu, Calif., on Feb. 23, 2012. Presented, “Bringing Justice to the Nations – Developments in International Law,” at Trinity Law School in Orange, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2012. Presented, “The Proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution,” at the Best Interest Summit in Caro, Mich., on Feb. 11, 2012. Presented, “Navigating to the City on the Hill – Moral Foundations Undergirding the Rule of Law,” at Constitution Coalition’s Educational Policy Conference, in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 28, 2012. Presented, “Nannies in Blue Berets – Does Your Child Belong to the United Nations,” made at Constitution Coalition’s Educational Policy Conference, in St. Louis, Mo., on January 27, 2012. William Weiner, Associate Dean and Professor Spoke, to the Ingham County Bar Association as part of the “luncheon lecture” series, discussing last year’s Supreme Court cases. The “Phil and Bill Show” (with Professor Philip Prygoski) has been a staple of the series for 30 years. Attended, the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, in Washington, D.C., in January 2012. Attended, the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law, in Washington, D.C., in March 2012.

Senate Bill 61 would provide a means for people like Hatchett to get back on their feet. While the legislation can never restore to the exonerated their lost years, it would provide a measure of justice, McKneelen said. For McKneelen, seeking justice is at the heart of the Innocence Project. The program shows Cooley’s deep commitment, not only to the clients, but also to instill in its students the importance of justice for all.

McKneelen explained that exonerated individuals often find themselves without resources or support when they return to the community. “Spouses have moved on. All of a sudden they need to worry about things like: Do they have food? Do they have clothing? How are they going to pay for their living expenses?”

This term, McKneelen is working with eight students on the Innocence Project, while teaching in Ann Arbor and Lansing. She is especially proud to maintain ties with many Cooley graduates who continue to offer pro bono services to help exonerate the wrongly convicted.

Furthermore, getting a job isn’t easy for some. Low skill levels, lack of technological know-how, employer fears and other issues can be big roadblocks for those who win their freedom.

In addition to gaining the experience and satisfaction of working to free people like Wyniemko and Hatchett, students in the Innocence Project absorb a more global truth as well. They learn, McKneelen explained, that the most important mission they will have as lawyers is to serve as guardians of the justice system.

Earlier this year, McKneelen testified before Michigan’s Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of Senate Bill 61, known as the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act. The legislation would allow wrongfully convicted people to sue the state for compensation of up to $40,000 for each year they were imprisoned, plus economic damages and attorney fees. Wyniemko gained an out-of-court settlement for his wrongful conviction, but others have been less fortunate. Michigan laws currently limit the ability to sue. Nathaniel Hatchett was only 17 when he was convicted of kidnapping and rape. He spent 10 years behind bars before being freed thanks to the work of the Innocence Project. With no job training or employment record, Hatchett faces many challenges reintegrating to society, McKneelen explained.






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: 1976 Fletcher Class Gorsalitz, Stephen D., was elected vice

1993 Hooker Class Kolasa, Michael J., has

2001 Blair Jr. Class Beaber, Jamie, was elected as partner at

2007 Brickley Class Romaszewski, Sandra A.,

president of the Michigan Judges Association for 2012. He is a judge in the Family Division of the Kalamazoo County 9th Judicial Circuit Court. The Michigan Supreme Court recently appointed him chief judge for all Kalamazoo County courts.

opened a new division for The Stephenson National Bank & Trust in Marquette, Mich. As vice president and trust officer of Marquette Trust & Investment Services, he focuses primarily on financial, tax, and estate planning, as well as account investment management for clients.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C. His practice primarily involves intellectual property and international trade litigation. He is a member of Steptoe’s Intellectual Property Group and International Department.

was noted as a leader in the field of Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (PA) by Chambers USA and Chambers Global. Since 1990, Chambers has identified and ranked the world’s best lawyers, based on such criteria as technical knowledge, business acumen, prompt delivery, and value for money. Sandra is an attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP.

1977 Graves Class Zurvalec, David, was appointed to serve on the Michigan Board of Health and Safety Compliance and Appeals for a term expiring in 2015. He will serve as chair. Zurvalec retired as vice president of industrial relations for the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association. He worked for the MMA for 30 years, serving as in-house counsel.

1981 Dethmers Class Hamre, Paul, of Paw Paw, Mich., was named

1994 Ostrander Class Scott,Troy A., was named director of human resources for the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals, and the State Court Administrative Office. He previously served as director of human resources and general counsel for Dean Transportation in Lansing, Mich.

secretary of the Michigan Judges Association for 2012. He is the Chief Judge of the Van Buren County Family, District, and Circuit Courts. He spent 15 years in private law practice before being elected as a circuit court judge in 1996. In 1997, he was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as the first Family Court judge in Michigan.

Family Wealth in Charlotte, N.C. as Director, Client Management. She joined Wells Fargo in 2010 as a Wealth Consultant for The Private Bank. Previously, she was a Senior Tax Manager for LarsonAllen LLP.

1981 Kavanagh Class Morse, David, announced that he will not seek

1995 Kuhn Class Eighmie II, Hugh J., opened the Eighmie Law

re-election as prosecutor for Livingston County, Mich. He is the county’s longest-serving prosecutor.

Firm at 2018 S.E. Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, Fla. The firm handles civil matters, concentrating in auto/truck/motorcycle crashes, slip/fall, mortgage foreclosure defense, and civil litigation. He previously served as a Navy Judge Advocate attorney. Phone: (772) 905-8692.

1982 Wing Class Burke, Joseph, was appointed to the bench for the 15th District Court in Washtenaw County, Mich. He previously served as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Washtenaw County for over 20 years. He was also in private practice 1982-1993.

1983 O’Hara Class Hicks,Timothy G., was named president of the Michigan Judges Association for 2012. He practiced law for 13 years before he was appointed to the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon County, Mich., in 1996. He served as chief judge 1998-2003.

1985 Morell Class Murphy, Cathy, was named council president for the Highland Heights City Council in Highland Heights, Ohio.

1986 Mundy Class Attala,Tim, who serves as Of Counsel for Miller Canfield in the firm’s Detroit office, received the 2011 Distinguished Award for Philanthropy from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He was also recently appointed as a council member to the international law section of the State Bar of Michigan.

1986 Miles Class Carolan, James A., presented a national webinar through Avant Resources with a program titled, “Return of the Death Tax” for estate planning and tax professionals on Nov. 1, 2011. He also created and co-presented a national webinar for Strafford Publishing titled “Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts: Tax Efficient Estate Planning Techniques. Both webinars were for estate planning and tax professionals.

1986 Sherwood Class Headen, Frederick, was named by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to a 10-person Detroit financial review team. He is the director of the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Local Government Services Bureau.

Amesbury, William H., is a judge on the Court of Common Pleas of the 11th Judicial District in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Unified Judiciary for 10 years. In addition to his civil and criminal duties, he was recently named the Supervising Judge of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Courts, and Veteran’s Courts and the Day Reporting Center within the 11th Judicial District. He has taught at Pennsylvania State University and at King’s College, both in Wilkes-Barre. He recently attended a week-long seminar at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nev., for comprehensive drug court judicial training.

1994 Williams Class Schmitz, Ann Marie, has joined Wells Fargo

1996 Stone Class Holcomb, James R., was promoted to General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

1997 Fellows Class Cooper, Jon, was named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the American Hockey League’s Outstanding Coach for the 2011-2012 season. He is the coach of the Norfolk Admirals.

Green Jr., Robert A., a partner at Lucas, Green & Magazine, P.L., has opened a law office in Hernando County, Fla. He also has an office in Pinellas County, Fla., and one in Pasco County, Fla. The practice concentrates on injury law, civil litigation, and malpractice claims. The trial-oriented practice handles trials for non-litigation firms in the Tampa Bay area. The firm has achieved an AV rating, Super Lawyers status, and inclusion in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum. Phone: (727) 849-5353; e-mail:

1998 Sharpe Class Herman, Robert D., argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on March 13, 2012, on behalf of the petitioner in In re Kollman, determining the definition of “public interest” and the statutory construction of the New Jersey Expungement Statute as it relates to distribution offenses and expungements less than 10 years post-release.

1998 McDonald Class Wallace, Kortney Dalley, was promoted from director to managing director in the Detroit, Mich., office of KPMG. She leads KPMG’s international corporate services group.

the 14A District Court in Washtenaw County, Mich. She has served as the managing attorney with Fink Law Group in Dexter, Mich.

Nichols, Michael J., spoke on Michigan Rule

was re-elected to the executive committee of Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C., where he serves as vice president for the Farmington Hills and Detroit offices. He is a litigator and co-leader of Foster Swift’s General Litigation Practice Group.

1992 Montgomery Class Williams, John, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was

2000 Jay Class McGraw, Robert P., was named a prosecutor

appointed to serve as judge of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division. He has served as an administrator of the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts since 2009.

attorney for The Law Office of Ranj Mohip, LLC, has been recognized as a 2012 Rising Star by His practice consists primarily of real estate transactions and litigation.

2002 Paterson Class Frederick, Samuel, was elected as a shareholder for the firm of Foster Swift Collins and Smith, P.C., in Lansing, Mich. He is a member of the firm’s Business and Corporate Practice Group and leads the firm’s Information Technology practice. He focuses his practice in the areas of intellectual property protection strategies and information technology, specifically in trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and software licensing.

Sutton-Lewis, Heather, and Katherine Turner have started the law firm of Turner & Sutton-Lewis, P.A., at 1342 Colonial Blvd., Ste. 226, Ft. Myers, Fla. 2002 Chase Class Serrano, Cathy, was named to lead the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission in Ft. Wayne, Ind. The commission investigates allegations of discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas.

2004 Needham Class Mann, Steven D., was elected a principal of Miller Canfield law firm. He works in the firm’s Detroit, Mich., office, focusing his practice on serving the needs of public agencies.

Stoops, Kevin, was elected to serve on the board of directors of the firm Sommers Schwartz in Southfield, Mich.

2005 McAllister Class Engelhardt, Chad, was named to the Top 40 Under 40 list by the National Trial Lawyers Association. He is a medical malpractice attorney with Moran, Raimi, Goethel & Karnani, P.C., in Ann Arbor, Mich.

2005 Starr Class Kalogerakos,Tony A., has opened his second office, located at 111 N.Wabash Ave., Ste. 801, Chicago, Ill. He also has an office in Lincolnwood, Ill. He specializes in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Morrison, Brian, has joined the firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood in Wilmington, N.C., in the firm’s corporate practice group. His practice focuses on corporate and estate planning matters for individuals and corporate clients.

for Herkimer County, N.Y. He previously worked as a prosecutor for the district attorneys’ offices in Rensselaer and Cortland counties, as a senior attorney at the Mental Hygiene Legal Service in Utica, N.Y., and with the Office of Professional Discipline at the State Education Department in Rochester, N.Y.

2009 Riley Class Boone, Aaron, was inducted into the Otsego Gerald R. Hadden Athletic Hall of Fame. He is an attorney with Business Intelligence Associates in Portage, Mich.

Griffin, Patrick S., was admitted to practice for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Based in Washington, D.C., he practices in all aspects of intellectual property while specializing in high technology patent procurement. He is also an executive board member of the Cooley Law School Alumni Association. Phone: (202) 955-8725; e-mail Sprader, Brenda, operates the firm, Brenda E. Sprader Attorney at Law, at 8 W. Walton Ave., Muskegon, Mich. She specializes in family law, divorce, custody disputes, adult criminal law, simple wills, power of attorney and guardianship.

Welch Jr., Robert A., was promoted to Senior Associate at Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook in the firm’s Detroit, Mich., office. He focuses his practice on birth trauma and medical malpractice litigation. West, Brandon, owns and operates the Law Office of Brandon West, 400 S. Jefferson, Ste. 452, Spokane, Wash. He specializes in criminal, tribal, and personal injury cases. Phone: (509) 747-2855.

2010 Woodward Class Hall, James C., was selected as one of Kentucky’s Top 40 Under 40 trial attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers. He is an associate attorney at Gary C. Johnson, P.S.C., in Lexington, Ky., and focuses solely on personal injury law.

O’Connell, Daren S., has joined Potestivo & Associates, P.C., as an associate attorney in the firm’s Rochester Hills, Mich., office. He supports the firm’s Michigan Foreclosure Department. 2010 Witherell Class Booth, Brandon J., has joined the law firm of Howard & Howard, in the firm’s Royal Oak, Mich., office. He concentrates his practice in the areas of construction law and business transactions.

consulting department at BDO USA, LLP.

2006 Fitzgerald Class Glass, Alana, was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Roeper School.

Office of Lawrence E. Moscoso, at 5902 Airline Dr., Houston, Texas. His main area of practice is immigration law. Phone: (713) 382-2516.

2007 Fisher Class Jorde, Brian E., a shareholder with Domina Law Group, P.C., L.L.O., in Omaha, Neb., was cited for his work on behalf of affected property owners and environmental groups against construction of the TransCanada Keystone pipeline.The Nebraska legislature cited a paper Jorde co-authored as it drafted and enacted legislation to preserve Nebraska’s resources.

2007 Boston Class Tilleson, Joel A., was elected Alderman in April 2012 to represent the 5th District of Wauwatosa, Wis. He is an attorney with Falkmetz.

firm of Hynds, Rooks,Yohnka and Bzdill as an associate attorney in Morris, Ill.

Draper, Emily, married John Beckley Jr., on Nov. 5, 2011.

Duda, Conan D., was promoted from Intellectual Property Intern to Associate at Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, in the firm’s Royal Oak, Mich., office. He concentrates his practice on patent preparation and prosecution, as well as opinion work in the chemical and mechanical arts. Feneley, Kelly, opened Feneley Law Firm, PLC, 105 W. Michigan Ave., Marshall, Mich. Her areas of practice include family law, estate planning, estate administration, and probate, municipal, and real estate law. Phone: (269) 781-8640; e-mail: Hampton, Rodney A., of DeWitt, Mich., has opened Rodney A. Hampton, P.C., a general practice firm, at 824 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing, Mich. Hauswirth, Jonathan P., has joined the Houghton, Mich., law firm of Vairo, Mechlin & Tomasi, PLLC. Hughes, Scott A., has joined the Grand Rapids, Mich., firm of Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, PLC, as an associate. He practices civil litigation, and environmental, energy, and natural resources law.

Kleihege, Katie, joined The Law Office of Catherine Groll, PLLC, in Lansing Mich. She focuses her practice on medical malpractice, no-fault auto insurance, and personal injury cases. Phone: (517) 703-1100. Leadford, Joshua J., has joined the Masud Labor Law Group as an associate. He has a background in labor and employment law. Macyszyn, Martin, has joined the law firm of Lucas, Green & Magazine, P.L., in New Port Richey, Fla., as an associate attorney in the firm’s civil litigation department. He focuses on personal injury. Phone: (727) 849-5353; e-mail:

West,Trent, joined the Vandalia, Ill., law firm of Burnside, Johnston & Sheafor P.C. as an associate.

N O T I C E S 1977 Graves Class Payne, Nolan Lee, 80, of Kalamazoo, Mich., died March 9, 2012. In his career, he practiced landlord/tenant law and served as president of the Michigan Landlord Association, as well as the Kalamazoo Area Chapter. He retired in 2009.

1978 Ransom Class Weldon, Douglas E., 58, of Kalamazoo,

Rogers, Kevin A., married Julianne Rumler on Sept. 10, 2011. He is in private practice in Jackson, Mich.

1982 Goodwin Class Marks, Marvin E., 54, of Ironwood, Mich.,

Office of Janet McCullar, P.C., in Austin, Texas, where she practices family law. Phone: (512) 342-9933.

O’Leary-Holder, Breeda, joined Fausone Bohn, LLP, in Northville, Mich., as an associate attorney. She was also sworn in as an assistant city attorney for the cities of Wayne and Westland, Mich. She practices municipal, criminal, and family law, and estate planning. Phone: (248) 380-0000, ext. 3221.

Severe, Luc El-Art, was appointed Labor Moscoso, Lawrence E., opened the Law

Dearth, Christopher M., joined the law

Mich., died Jan. 5, 2012. He served for many years as an attorney for the Kalamazoo County Court System. He was also an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University.

2011 Sibley Class 2006 Edwards Class Vetvick, Chris, joined SourceCorp/Rust in Fort George, Nikki, is an associate with the Law

1999 Flannigan Class Worth, Texas, as a Research and Development Fink, Elisha V., was appointed as magistrate of Project Manager. He formerly was in the tax

of Evidence 703 at the American Academy of Forensic Science Annual Conference on Feb. 23, 2012, in Atlanta, Ga.. He was also accepted into the academy as an associate member of the jurisprudence section. In March, he spoke on “Uncertainty in Blood Testing” and “Uncertainty in Breath Testing,” and served as a trial skills instructor at the Ohio Association of Defense Lawyers annual excellence in DWI Defense seminar. In other activity, he helped organize the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys and facilitated a Drug Recognition Evaluator seminar in Detroit, with attorney Patrick Barone. He also became the Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense for 2012-2015.

1989 Douglass Class Millenbach, Paul, of Grosse Pointe, Mich.,

2001 Iredell Class Mohip, Ranj, managing

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Relations and Hearings Officer with the Generations+/Northern Manhattan Network of the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. He educates executives, managers and supervisors on labor law issues and union contracts and agreements involving the five hospital facilities in the network. He also presides over disciplinary proceedings for unionized employees.

2011 Chipman Class Atallah, Mary K., has joined Potestivo & Associates, P.C., as an associate supporting the firm’s Landlord/Tenant and Litigation departments.

Barlaskar, Abe, has joined Plunkett Cooney as a member of the Litigation Practice Group in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills, Mich., office. He concentrates his litigation practice in the areas of premises and retail liability and motor vehicle negligence.

died Jan. 27, 2012. He had a law practice in Ironwood now known as Superior Law.

1983 Blair Class Hallstein, George William, 62, of Eau Claire, Wis, died March 2, 2012. He was staff counsel for Votel, McMahon & Godfrey, in St. Paul, Minn., defending insurance litigation in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In his career, he was also an assistant public defender in Eau Claire County 1984-1988, a litigation attorney for American Family Insurance until 1991, a solo practitioner 1991-1997, and a partner in two other law firms. He served in the Army as a Pathfinder in Vietnam 1970-1972.

1988 Green Class Thornton, Patrick Kelly, 53, died Jan. 15, 2012. He was a business law professor 20012009 at Houston Baptist University. He joined the Texas Army National Guard as a Judge Advocate General. He authored two books on sports law, and taught both sports law and intellectual property law abroad, in countries including Russia, Australia, and Vietnam. He served as an active duty officer 2005-2010 and provided legal advice to victims of Hurricane Katrina. For his service, First Lt. Thornton was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

1990 Wilson Class Fisher Jr.,William L., 48, of Indianapolis, Ind., died Jan. 24, 2012. He served as the Decatur Township Small Claims Court Judge. He also had worked in private practice, and before that, for the Marion County Public Defenders Office.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY As part of Cooley’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Benchmark Column is now printed on an environmentally friendly paper helping to reduce our carbon footprint. BENCHMARK COLUMN | MAY 2012 | VOLUME 4 | NUMBER 2

May 2012 Benchmark Column