This article originally appeared on legalnews.com. This article has been republished with the publication's permission.
After 7 years in law enforcement and four years of legal studies, police officer Brandon Grysko is heading into a new career field, after graduating magna cum laude from WMU-Cooley Law School second out of 152 students and with a 3.96 GPA.
Grysko’s first step in the field of law was earning an undergrad degree in criminal justice and police science from Madonna University in Livonia.
“I wanted to be a police officer and getting a degree in criminal justice was a path to get there,” he says. “Academically, the policy issues that present themselves in the CJ field always captivated me.”
Grysko says his 7 years at the Livonia Police Department— three of them as an instructor and field trainer—has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“An officer sort of takes on the life experiences of everyone he comes in contact with,” he says. “By the end of a year, two years, a young twenty-something officer has already seen and done more than most people ever will—terrible crashes, sobbing victims, raging fires, heartfelt confessions, felony arrests, you name it.
“There’s seemingly less significant things that stand out, too, things I remember vividly—working with the best-of-the-best people, helping an old lady with a burst pipe to shut her water off at 6 a.m., or using a football to shoot down a soccer ball that some kids got stuck in a tree.”
Studying the law, he notes, will open doors for his career advancement.
“It piques my intellectual curiosity, and I have a passion for public policy and writing about current issues,” he says.
He pursued that passion as an associate editor for the WMU-Cooley Law Review.
“Law Review taught me a lot about legal writing, and just writing in general, something that’s always been a hobby of mine,” he says. “But I had some great teachers that got me to the point of even being on Law Review—Mark Cooney and Rachel Glogowski—two of the best writers out there.”
Earlier this year, Grysko was a student attorney at the law school’s Estate Planning Clinic in Auburn Hills; and last summer, interned at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho PLC in Livonia, assisting in municipal insurance defense of employment law and police liability cases, and analyzing police video and police reports in preparation for litigation, among other duties.
Last November, Grysko founded Workplace Dispute Resolution, to bring principles of mediation, negotiation, and creative problem solving to the workplace, and to help people cope with conflict. He has spoken with high school and college students about negotiation and problem-solving using scenario-based presentations and skill-building modules, and plans to continue these presentations.
“In this day, it’s easier to send a snarky email or a short text rather than to meet with someone face to face and work together to problem solve,” he explains. “Right now I’m 100 percent focused on studying for the bar exam, but I’m excited to pick back up on my blog and community speaking engagements once life settles down a bit. I’ve really enjoyed the two seminars I’ve given so far on negotiating and problem solving. The engagement of the students as they grasp these concepts is electrifying.”
Grysko serves on the Livonia Police Officers Association executive board, representing members in contract negotiations, disciplinary matters, and other workplace issues.
“Being in public safety can be very rewarding but also very challenging. As part of the LPOA team, I’m situated to watch out for the members’ interests—and it’s been an honor and privilege,” he says. “I’ve also been able to hone my skills as an advocate and a negotiator—I’ve even had the opportunity to draft some contract language. I think these experiences will serve me well as an attorney in the future.”
With law school in the rear view mirror, Grysko looks forward to spending a lot of time watching his two young daughters grow up, and reading science fiction novels. He also plans to be more active in the Livonia Bar Association and the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.
“And way down the line, I see myself involved with a non-profit or interest group promoting fatherhood and family values,” he says.
Grysko views his career role as that of an advisor and a mentor.
“Along those lines, I want to take on those roles for my future clients,” he says. “Practicing law is more than just a money-for-services transaction—there’s a real opportunity to build lasting relationships. I could definitely see myself representing local governments or police unions, but my interests are so varied that I really can’t rule anything out. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a legal area that doesn’t interest me.”
A Livonia resident since infancy and where he continues to make his home, Grysko has had the full support of his family during 4 years of law school, with mostly part-time studies.
“None of this would be remotely possible without my wife, Bridget,” he says. "I can’t say enough about her. Every once in a while guy meets perfect girl and fools her into marrying him—well, that’s my story anyway! And now we have Maddie and Lyla, two beautiful little girls. I’m blessed, no other way to say it.”