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Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

Guide to Good Writing; Get Specific!

August 17

Strunk & White’s classic guide to good writing, The Elements of Style, urges writers to use definite, specific, and concrete language. “Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.” The goal is to write “with such accuracy and vigor that the reader, in imagination, can project himself into the scene.”

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Vaccines. Masks. Mandates and the law. WMU-Cooley Experts Weigh in.

August 13

Despite the apparent confusion and divide on the topic of vaccines, masks, and mandates, WMU-Cooley professors are very clear about what the law says, and what is allowed, not allowed, and why. 

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Using Microsoft Word’s Readability Program: advice for lawyers

June 29

Readability should be a goal of all careful writers. Lawyers, in particular, need to exercise care that their writings are comprehensible to the intended audience.

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An Introduction to Compensatory Contempt, the "Other" Contempt of Court

June 23

Contempt of court has been in the news recently, usually as a result of someone being punished for disrespecting the court. Examples here in Michigan include a restaurant owner fined $15,000 for violating a judge’s coronavirus-closure order. And a lawyer hit with a $3,000 fine for displaying the middle finger during a zoom hearing.

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WMU-Cooley Professor Renalia Dubose Speaks on Florida HS decision to pause yearbook distribution

June 10

WMU-Cooley Professor and former administrator from Pasco, Hillsborough and Orange Counties Renalia DuBose is available to speak to the media on the legal parameters surrounding Education Law and Legal Rights and the recent news surrounding the Florida High School Yearbook Distribution Being Paused Due to Black Lives Matter Content.

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It's All About IRAC

February 08

As beginning law students soon learn, what we call “legal reasoning” can be expressed by the formula IRAC. It’s the law’s version of the deductive syllogism. It stands for Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion. First, identify the salient issue (“Is Socrates mortal?”). Then, state the applicable rule (“All men are mortal”). Next, apply the rule to the relevant facts (“Socrates is a man”). This leads inexorably to the conclusion (“Therefore Socrates is mortal”).

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A Tale of Two Toms: How WMU-Cooley Law School Acquired Two Bronze Likenesses of its Namesake

January 03

WMU-Cooley Law School alum John Nocita (Turner Class, 1991) is profiled in the Winter 2020 issue of the alumni magazine Benchmark. The profile includes an account of his donation to the law school of an impressive bronze bust of Thomas M. Cooley mounted on a marble pedestal.

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Lawyers Publish or Perish. Is Legal Writing An Essential Skill?

December 18

Yes, that statement exaggerates—but only slightly. Academics must publish or perish, meaning to lose their chance at a tenured position. Lawyers, on the other hand, don’t lose their law license when they fail to publish. Yet they lose a critical professional-development opportunity.

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Origin of Michigan State Bar Foundation’s Fellows Program

December 18

Earlier this year the Michigan State Bar Foundation announced the names of inductees into the 2020 Fellows Program. Among the twelve persons honored as Fellows is WMU-Cooley Law Professor Erika Breitfeld. A number of other WMU-Cooley faculty members and senior administrators are members as well.

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WMU-Cooley Faculty Experts Shine a Spotlight in Election Coverage

November 20

Leading up to, during, and after the 2020 presidential election, WMU-Cooley Law School professors were called on by the media as subject matter experts. Associate Deans Michael C.H. McDaniel and Tracey Brame, along with Professors Brendan Beery, Devin Schindler, Jeffrey Swartz, and Renalia DuBose spoke on topics relating to election law and constitutional law, and offered analysis of the election and potential litigation stemming from counting ballots.

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