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Integrity: A Modest Proposal with Judge Donald Allen

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you the Honorable Donald L. Allen, Judge on the 55th District Court in Michigan. Judge Allen spoke to us about the importance of Integrity in...Read more

A Law Degree Is More Than A Piece Of Paper, It Is A Real Privilege

This week on the Law School Insider, a podcast brought to you by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, we are bringing you a special presentation of a talk given at WMU Cooley Law School by...Read more

Storytelling is Part of the Art of Being a Lawyer!

Welcome back to the Law School Insider, a podcast brought to you by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. This week we are delving into a new topic, the topic of Storytelling for Lawyers. We...Read more

Developing Strong Relationships with Pre-Law Advisors

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Christy Lee Cole, Director of the Romney Institute for Law and Public Policy at Adrian College. Christy is also the primary pre-law advisor at...Read more

Using Your Law Degree Within State Government with Andrew Hudson

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Andrew Hudson, Assistant Attorney General with the State of Michigan Attorney General's Office. Andrew Hudson is sharing his experience with us...Read more

Integrity: A Modest Proposal with Judge Donald Allen

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you the Honorable Donald L. Allen, Judge on the 55th District Court in Michigan. Judge Allen spoke to us about the importance of Integrity in today's lawyers and shares many other salient take-aways too on finding success in this profession. 

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A Law Degree Is More Than A Piece Of Paper, It Is A Real Privilege

Christopher A. Lewis on Jun 15, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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This week on the Law School Insider, a podcast brought to you by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, we are bringing you a special presentation of a talk given at WMU Cooley Law School by past ABA President, Paulette Brown. Paulette Brown shares her thoughts on law school and law career success and this is an interview that you will not want to miss.  

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Storytelling is Part of the Art of Being a Lawyer!

Christopher A. Lewis on Jun 8, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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Welcome back to the Law School Insider, a podcast brought to you by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. This week we are delving into a new topic, the topic of Storytelling for Lawyers. We are bringing back Nelson Miller, Associate Dean and Professor from the Grand Rapids campus of WMU Cooley Law School to talk about how storytelling is part of the art of being a lawyer.

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Developing Strong Relationships with Pre-Law Advisors

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Christy Lee Cole, Director of the Romney Institute for Law and Public Policy at Adrian College. Christy is also the primary pre-law advisor at Adrian College and today she is sharing advice with all of you on developing strong relationships with pre-law advisors on your campus.

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Using Your Law Degree Within State Government with Andrew Hudson

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Andrew Hudson, Assistant Attorney General with the State of Michigan Attorney General's Office. Andrew Hudson is sharing his experience with us on working with a law degree within the state government. Andrew Hudson is an alumnus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Andrew Hudson stated that his interest in the law started with an interest in legal dramas, history, politics and more. All of this should have told him that a career in the law was the direction for him, but instead he became an elementary teacher at first and found that this was not his calling. He did not go to law school at first because he had a pre-conceived notion that lawyers had to have aggressive and type A personalities and he did not have such a personality. 

He finally did have a conversation with his own father about attending law school and his father was not surprised that he would have such an interest. Andrew Hudson studied for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and then applied to WMU Cooley Law School and due to the generous scholarship he received he chose to attend. 

When he entered law school he came in with an idea that he wanted to be an Assistant Prosecutor as he loved criminal law and the investigative side of things. He was able to get internships and extenships in this area along with pairing these experiences with courses and even competing in competitions that prepared him well for his current role.

Attending WMU Cooley Law School was a good fit for Andrew Hudson. He stated that because it was a large law school, he was able to develop his skills in a lot of different ways due to the resources that were available there. He was very involved in Mock Trial, and took the time to go to local courthouses to see what a person in this type of role would do and this, along with his externship solidified that this was the type of law that he wanted to practice. 

Looking back on his law school experience Andrew Hudson stated that if he could go back he might have considered completing one of the dual-degree programs that WMU-Cooley offered at the time. He stated that knowing what he knows now about working in state government this type of dual degree would have opened his eyes to a lot of the policy work that he does on a daily basis now. 

In asking Andrew Hudson what he loved most about his position, he stated that it was getting to know and understand the people that he is working with daily. This understanding comes with the building of the skill of relationship building and networking and it is something that Andrew Hudson said he started working on in law school. At WMU-Cooley Law School he took a client communication course which is a skills based course that requires that you understand how to work with individual clients. However, the role-playing and skills that you learn in that class he found to be very transferrable to other areas. 

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You've Been Accepted To Law School - How To Evaluate Your Offer!

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Brianne Myers, Director of Admissions at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Today we are talking with Brianne Myers about what you can do once you have gotten your acceptance letter(s) from the law school(s) that you may want to attend. Many of you may be applying to multiple schools and figuring out how to weigh the factors for admissions can seem difficult, but it does not have to be so. Today we will share some great hints, tips and resources that will assist you in the process of evaluating your admissions offers and making an informed law school decision.

Location

After you have gotten your offer the first thing that you need to consider is location. This is important because you are going to be spending 2-5 years in law school which is a significant amount of time. Where you are will also determine a lot of things for your personally and professionally. Cost of living is a big factor, as what it will cost to live in an area is not always factored into a law school decision. What it will cost to live in New York City far surpasses what it will cost to live in lets say, Lansing, Michigan. Also, where you live can also open up opportunities for you in law school.  If you are passionate about working for the government, then going to law school in a capitol city may offer you amazing opportunities for internships, externships or other clinical experiences that will open doors to network and potential jobs for the future. 

Cost of Attending

Cost is one of the big factors that you have to consider when thinking about law school. When thinking about costs, living expenses, tuition and more comes into consideration. You also have to consider scholarships that you may be offered and make sure that you are able to consider scholarships equally across all institutions that you are considering. When looking at scholarships make sure to determine:

  1. Is the scholarship a one year scholarship or will it stay with you for the entirety of your time in law school without terms being placed on it (e.g. keeping a certain GPA).
  2. How many students in a class are being offered scholarships? If you identify that 75% receive a scholarship but only 25% keep the scholarship after their first year, this may be a somewhat alarming figure.

When thinking about costs make sure to look at the long term costs for attending different law schools and not just the first year in law school.

Understand the Culture

Also, when looking at law schools you have to gain a better understanding and perspective on the culture of the institution. The best way to do this is to visit the campus. All law schools offer campus tours like the tours we offer at WMU Cooley Law School. Through on campus visit you can walk around, talk to students, faculty and staff and get a picture of what the law school is like, what class schedules consist of, campus diversity and more.  

If diversity is important to you in your law school experience, make sure to look at all aspects of diversity as this covers many areas in ones' life and ask the right questions to gain a better perspective on how diversity is reflected throughout the student body.

You can also examine student organizations at the law schools you are contemplating. These student organizations are a good indication of the level of student engagement at our different campuses.

Law School Concentrations

Some students look at law schools based on the concentrations that they offer. Brianne Myers mentioned that this is fine, however know that many times, what you think you will attend law school for is different than what you will want to focus on in your career. What is most important is that you look at the breadth and depth of the entire program available to you, so that if you do change your focus area in law school you are not disadvantaged. You also never know what you will be drawn to in law school or what law school professor will inspire you to explore a new area. These factors need to be considered as well as you consider your options.

Faculty

Speaking of faculty, having the opportunity to speak to faculty members at law schools before deciding to attend is very rewarding. You will find that faculty are very receptive to speaking to prospective students and through these conversations you will gain a stronger understanding of the law school expectations and environment. Make sure as you are going through the law school application process to ask about the accessibility of faculty if this is important to you! 

Being Practice Ready

As you look at law schools you will see the term practice ready. This is referring to what the law school provides you or requires you to complete in regards to practical learning opportunities. At schools like WMU Cooley Law School students are required to complete either an internship or externship as a part of their legal experience. At other law schools, the experiences are highly encouraged and students work to get these experiences during the summer months instead of going to school year-round. 

When you are looking at law schools ask the following questions.

  1. Will I be required to have an internship or externship to graduate?
  2. What does the institution do to help students find these opportunities?
  3. Are their pro-bono opportunities that you can take part in during law schools to get additional experiences?
  4. Are their clinics at this law school and how many opportunities per term or per year are available for students to take part in this clinical experience.

Another way to gain great experiences is through simulation courses such as Trial Skills, Alternative Dispute Resolution or Mediation. Make sure to ask who is teaching the courses. Is it a judge or someone that is practicing these skills on a daily basis?

Finally, are you taking courses that will prepare you for the type of law that you will practice when you graduate? 

Looking at the Data

Reviewing outcomes/data is something that will probably require you to reach out to gain more understanding on that you are looking at. You can ask them: Is there anything in the data that I am seeing that will better be able to help me differentiate your law school from other law schools.  Also, know that just because a law school has a 90% bar passage rate, this does not guarantee you the same result, so take all data that you are reading lightly and ask questions to better understand what you are reading.

Final Thoughts

Make sure to look at the resources that the law school provides which includes, faculty, internships, student organizations, study abroad but may also include things like writing centers or academic success centers. These and many other resources can help you to find your ultimate law school success in the end.

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Law School is a Marathon, not a Race - Find Your Passion in Your Journey

 

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Anthony O'Neill of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Anthony O'Neill is the Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel for this agency and is also an alumnus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA) is a government entity created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1987 for the purpose of constructing and renovating sports stadiums for professional sports teams in the State of Illinois. ISFA is the owner and developer of Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. The Authority also financed the Chicago Lakefront Development project, which included significant restoration to Soldier Field.

In his daily activities, Anthony O'Neill stated that he engages in activities such as:

  • Entertainment deals and contracts
  • Developing business relationships
  • Engaging with entertainers and sponsors for events that are occurring in the venues.
  • Working with other outside counsel in working through deals.

Anthony O'Neill stated that in law school he always had an interest in sports law. He mentioned watching the movie Jerry Maquire and being intrigued in the business end of working within the field. In law school he worked for litigation firms that allows him to be able to better understand working with celebrity clients and this really helped him to prepare well for what he is doing today.

The big sports law break for him came in the lawsuit that he was a part of when he represented the Wrigley Rooftop owners in a case against the Chicago Cubs which was something that allowed him to get full into the field of sports law. 

The biggest challenge that he has to work through is work with the press. He stated that you have to set the right message and you have to spend a lot of time preparing for your media communication. Also, he finds that emotional intelligence is critical. You have to look at things from another person's vantage point to be able to find success.Anthony O'Neill also stated that after you negotiate deals with parties you will find that the craft of making these deals can be very enjoyable.

In working with the press Anthony O'Neill said that you have to be yourself. Working with people in a natural manner and treating people in a way that you would want to be treated is key. Candor is also important. You want to make sure that you show all of your cards and not hold back. If you take the time to read, study and examine what your role is and what lawyers do, this will carry you far in your career.

Anthony O'Neill said that as he looks back on his law school experience he wishes he had taken more courses in Sports and Entertainment Law. He also would have focused more on negotiation in law school. Negotiation and mediation courses would have really helped him in what he does on a daily basis.

Anthony O'Neill stated that you need to work hard in law school and study hard in every course as the courses will come back around for the Bar Exam. Law School is a marathon, not a Race and you have to engross yourself in the courses. You never know when the subject matter will come back to cases that you will be a part of in the future.

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How To Apply To Law School - Get The Inside Scoop!

 

This week in the Law School Insider we are bringing you Brianne Myers, Director of Admissions at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Brianne Myers will share with you great insights into how you can successfully apply to law school and minimize some of the issues that some students run into as they go through this process.

Applying to law school does not have to be difficult and even though this can be confusing, there are things that you can do to be able to be successful in this journey.

The first thing that you need to do is take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT is offered four times per year and you need to go into the test as prepared as you can. You want to sign up for the LSAT a few months before the registration deadline to give yourself enough time to adequately prepare for the test and to make sure that all payment is complete and that you are ready to go. 

In regards to preparation for the LSAT, you need to do what is right for you. There are many resources that can help you with preparing for the LSAT. There are books, courses, tutors and more that all can assist in different ways. In the end you will have to look at your own learning style and see what connects best with this and what will help you to get the best score that you want to achieve.

As you are preparing you want to gain a better understanding of why the right answers on the LSAT are correct and why answers are wrong. Once you better understand this, you will need to move through the test questions for speed as the LSAT is set to test you at an uncomfortable speed and knowing this and preparing for this will aid you in the end.

After you have taken the LSAT you will be ready to apply for law schools. You will apply to law schools through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) provides. As a part of using the CAS, you will be asked to submit official transcripts from any institution that you attended that helped you achieve your Bachelors degree. Once transcripts have been received you can apply through the CAS for any ABA accredited law school that you wish to apply. 

The LSAC website is also a great place to do research on law schools prior to applying. As a part of this search you can limit your search to things like geography or other factors to give you a starting place for where to start and then look further into each of the options.

Some students do hit stumbling blocks that can impact their application. Some of the most common that Brianne Myers mentioned were those of students that waited too late to apply to be considered  for the term which they really wanted to be accepted. It can take a few weeks to get all of your transcripts submitted and then transferred to the law school. Also, being aware of the fees that LSAC charges for the CAS and making sure that all of these fees are taken care of ahead of time is important as well as this can hold up your CAS transcript evaluation from being sent to the law schools for which you are applying.

The biggest stumbling block for students once they apply usually falls around the CAS report not being sent because of a missing transcript, a fee not being paid or some other issue. You also need to watch for any correspondence from the law school requesting any additional information. 

Look at the law schools that you are applying to and see what they require in regards to recommendations or personal statements as not all law schools will require these. You also want to make sure that you take advantage of the resources that you have at your fingertips. Reach out to pre-law advisors at your undergraduate institutions to request assistance or just to talk to them about the process. Also, make sure to keep an open line of communication with the offices of Admissions for the law schools for which you end up applying. Ask questions and know that the staff in these offices are there to assist you along the way.

Finally Brianne Myers shares that you want to do good research in the law school application process and not rely only on internet research. Branch out, ask questions to find your ultimate law school educational success.

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Social Media: The Ethics of Fake News

This week in the Law School Insider we are sharing a panel presented first presented at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School entitled: Social Media: The Ethics of Fake News

The Presentation was a panel that included:

  • Martha Moore, Professor and Auxillary Dean at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School
  • Emily Lawler, Capitol Reporter, Mlive
  • John Lindstrom, Publisher, Gongwer News Service
  • MODERATOR - Meegan Holland, Senrion Policy Advisor, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

 

"Fake news,” is something that has become something of a buzz word. What this comes down to though is a challenge to share the full truth. 

Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School Professor and Auxiliary Dean Martha Denning Moore led a panel presentation to explore this topic further recently on the WMU Cooley Law School Lansing Campus.

At a panel discussion sponsored by the Michigan Capital Chapter, American Society for Public Administration (known as ASPA/MICAP), Professor Moore started by challenging and holding all news media accountable for the information that they share.

Professor Moore stated: “Truth is not optional.... Truth matters. We must seek it, we must pursue it. Truth is not the same as the most persuasive argument, and it is not a merger of options. We have to hold people accountable for their actions.”

The other panelists agreed with Professor Moore’s reluctance to use the term “fake news.” It was repeatedly stated that this term may be misleading, since it implies there are shades of truthfulness permissible in reporting.

John Lindstrom, with the Gongwer News Service made an interesting observation stating that historically, there has always been fake news, including falsely staging influential events. What makes it different now is the ability to disseminate information immediately, and without the filter that fact checkers provide.

Emily Lawler of mLive stated, “One of the most enlightening articles I read, right after the election, was in the Washington Post. They profiled some producers of fake news, including those with a for-profit model. One man was pretty honest in admitting that he’d manufactured the story about Hillary [Clinton] supporters being paid to go protest at Donald Trump’s events. “He made a fake ad looking for people to go interrupt Trump campaign stops on a couple Craig’s List sites, and then he manufactured a story based off his own ad.

Professor Moore shared that in the legal profession one must ask  ‘Where is the evidence?’ As lawyers, you are trained not to just take somebody’s word but to find and look at the evidence.”

Read more about the event on the WMU Cooley Law School Blog!

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Allowing Your Faith To Guide You in The Law

 

 
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