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WMU-Cooley Graduate and Board Chair Lawrence P. Nolan Assumes Presidency of the State Bar of Michigan Nolan is the third WMU-Cooley graduate to hold the post of president of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM), following Thomas Rombach (Morse Class, 1987) who served from 2014-2015, and Charles R. Toy (Kavanagh Class, 1981) who served from 2009-2010. As Nolan begins leading the association, he said he would like to bring to fruition the recommendations from the 21st Century Practice Task Force. “The task force spent a year compiling a detailed assessment of how to improve the profession in Michigan,” said Nolan. “Now it is our job to continue implementing this great work.”

Lori A. Buiteweg (right), who served as State Bar of Michigan President from 2015-2016, passes the gavel to Lawrence P. Nolan during the bar’s annual meeting.

Lawrence P. Nolan (Cooley Class, 1976) was sworn in as the State Bar of Michigan’s 82nd president during the organization’s annual meeting on Sept. 22 in Grand Rapids.


Nolan also plans to continue to co-chair the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and encourages all lawyers to perform pro bono service for those in need. Nolan practices law at the firm of Nolan Thomsen & Villas PC, in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. He is a member of the General Practice – Solo & Small Firm Section, Law Practice Management & Legal Administrators Section, and Master Lawyers Section and has served as treasurer, secretary, vice president, and president-elect.


WMU-Cooley Innocence Project Director Professor Marla Mitchell-Cichon Recognized and Honored Marla Mitchell-Cichon, WMU-Cooley Law School professor and WMUCooley Law School Innocence Project director, was not only honored with the State Bar of Michigan’s Champion of Justice Award this fall, she also recently received Ingham County Bar Association’s Leo A. Farhat Outstanding Lawyer Award. Both awards recognize Mitchell-Cichon for her outstanding legal and societal contributions, in addition to paying homage to her exemplary character, integrity, judgment and legal scholarship. Mitchell-Cichon led the efforts for the release of WMU-Cooley Innocence Project’s client Donya Davis. Davis was wrongfully convicted of carjacking, armed robbery and rape in 2007. Davis was exonerated in 2014, and is the third client exonerated by the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project. The Project is currently working on 15 promising cases and screening approximately 200 cases for factual innocence. She and WMU-Cooley’s Innocence Project faculty and students are dedicated to righting the wrongs in our criminal justice system. In December 2015, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation ending the sunset provision on the state’s post-conviction DNA testing law, MCL 770.16. The law, now permanent, helps to ensure that innocent prisoners are identified and released and that the actual perpetrators of crimes are brought to justice. “The passion Mitchell-Cichon has for criminal justice reform is also evident in her teaching and advocacy,” said Michael McDaniel, Lansing campus associate dean. “WMU-Cooley Innocence Project students practice law pursuant to Michigan’s student practice rule and under Mitchell-Cichon’s supervision. Recently, three interns represented a client in the Genesee County Circuit Court. In addition to teaching in the clinic, Professor Mitchell-Cichon has partnered with Associate Dean Christine Church to teach a Wrongful Conviction seminar based on the Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer. She is also seeking legislation to compensate the wrongfully convicted.”

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor and WMU-Cooley Innocence Project Director Marla Mitchell-Cichon with the Champion of Justice Award.


Benchmark | Winter 2016  

This issue of Benchmark prominently features our dear friend, alumnus and nationally renowned artist Gordon Boardman, who has made a monumen...

Benchmark | Winter 2016  

This issue of Benchmark prominently features our dear friend, alumnus and nationally renowned artist Gordon Boardman, who has made a monumen...