McDonald Pierangeli Macfarlane law firm in west Michigan is home to three WMU-Cooley graduates: Jonathan Paasch, Nicholas Romer and Erick Bradtke. This blog features Erick Bradtke and why he appreciated his legal education at WMU-Cooley Law School.
"To me, when I think of what it means to be a WMU-Cooley graduate, there are two things that stand out to me," Bradtke said. "First, it's the reputation among other attorneys, those who know our work ethic. They recognize how our alumni are down-to-earth, and incredibly real people that you can talk to anytime, and they don't act above anybody.
The second characteristic you will always find in a WMU-Cooley grad is that we have a reputation in the industry where nobody outworks us. You come to WMU-Cooley because you want to work. We know that's how we will succeed, and that translates into the work we do after graduation. Simply put, we know that those who aren't willing to put in the work will find a hard time making a success out of their career."
As much as law school was a ton of hard work and dedication, Bradtke's strongest memorey is how helpful the all the professors were during his time at WMU-Cooley.
"I think every single professor I had during my entire time in law school made time to answer my questions, regardless of when I would ask. Even when I emailed a question, I would always get a response within minutes or an hour. Sometimes it felt like I would get a response to my email before I had finished them!
"Every single professor was incredibly willing to help. It didn't matter if it was after class or before class, and obviously during class. That really stuck out to me; how approachable the professors were my entire time there. I can’t think of one single professor that would blow anyone off or would say 'I can’t believe you don’t understand this, it's so simple.' All of them were super helpful all the time.
"That caring atmosphere at the law school didn't stop with the professors. The students treated each as family. You always hear how people are so afraid of going into law school because it's so competitive and cutthroat; everyone is trying to be number one. What I found at WMU-Cooley was different. We would get into study groups where we would help each other. Sure, we were competitive, but it wasn't 'I want to beat you on this' but more of a 'let’s work together to get better.' It was a healthy competition where we weren't trying to undercut one another. We were in the library all night basically every night, but we were pushing each other to get better."
That together-is-better philosophy is something that not only has created a great bond for WMU-Cooley students during law school, but extends beyond graduation.
"I continued in the same study group in law school through studying for the bar exam," smiled Bradtke. Now I am a co-worker!"
The strong relationships built in law school and the support through networking after graduation is something Bradtke considers such a distinct advantage and the reason he has nothing but praise for WMU-Cooley law school and its graduates.
"The network of WMU-Cooley graduates who are more than willing to work with or mentor recent grads and current students is something you don't find very often. I can’t tell you how many times at networking events or any time I come across a WMU-Cooley grad, I hear them saying 'I was in your position when I started. If you ever need any help, here’s my card, give me a call or shoot me an email.' And it's not just lip service. Every single time I have ever reached out, they say, 'Let’s grab a coffee so we can chat' or 'If you have any issues with any cases or want to meet new people, just give me a call.' That's truly been my experience. It’s really been great and such a good experience for me."