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Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

James Turgal - A Lifetime Calling to Protect America

July 16

James Turgal stared at his phone in shock. In just five minutes, his life had been completely changed. Settled in nicely to his post as Special Agent in Charge for the FBI in Phoenix, Arizona, moving across the country was not on his to-do list. But when your boss – who happens to be FBI Director Robert Mueller – calls and tells you he needs you back in Washington, D.C., ASAP, you just start packing up your house and go.

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Nurisha A. Harvey, ESQ.: Following Family Footsteps to Advance Equal Justice

July 14

Nurisha Azizi Harvey graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor and concentration in litigation from WMU-Cooley Law School. She shared the day with the William Strong Class during a virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday, December 6, 2020. Then she was sworn in on June 11, 2021 as a new attorney during a ceremony held at the historic Sarasota County Courtroom in Sarasota, Florida  by the Honorable Charles E. Williams. The next month Harvey was admitted to the Bar of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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Cooley Law Student Seeks Chance to 'Create Change'

July 12

Never tell Heather Silcott she can’t achieve success—whether in the legal field, hockey arena, or pageant world. A comment from an employer that she could “always be a legal assistant,” gave Silcott the impetus to apply to law school—and she is now a rising 3L at WMU-Cooley Law School with an exciting legal career in her sights.

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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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Calling All Scribes

March 02

What does the word “scribes” call to mind? For most people, it evokes the image of medieval monks copying manuscripts with quill pens. But modernly it also refers to a society of legal writers.

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Historian James Kratsas: These are the best (and worst) of times

February 13

My fervent hope is to provide some historical perspective of the past year and the last three months. The title I came up with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Maybe it should have been “These are the times that try men’s souls”

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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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Judge Brennan's Ten Commandments For Law School

November 16

Starting a new law school from scratch is not a simple matter. WMU-Cooley Law School’s founder, Justice Thomas E. Brennan, had many concerns, large and small, to attend to, from hiring faculty to acquiring furniture. He devised the school’s innovative year-round schedule, created the Student Bar Association and Scholastic Review Board, composed the school’s motto, and designed its distinctive diplomas.  Another of Brennan’s concerns was that his students—also new, of course—achieve success at the new school. To that end he typed up a one-page list of suggestions he titled “Judge Brennan’s Ten Commandments for Law School.” For several years, Xerox copies were included in new-student welcome packets. In later years, some first-year professors attached copies to their course syllabus. But as far as is known, the “Ten Commandments” were never typeset or digitalized. . . until now. Here, preserved on the internet, is the handout that helped the first generations of WMU-Cooley law students achieve success.

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State's High Court Justices DO Indeed Make Law

October 05

It has happened again. A candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court has declared, “It is incumbent upon our state’s highest court to enforce and not make the law.” I have written about this mischaracterization of the role of our state’s highest court before, but a reminder seems in order. Here is an abridged version of my op-ed column in the Detroit News several election cycles ago:

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A Life of Service in the Law

June 30

Remembering John W. Fitzgerald  July 7th marks the 14th anniversary of the passing of Justice John W. Fitzgerald (1924-2006). He was the favorite son of Grand Ledge MI who rose to become Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court while playing an instrumental role in the life of WMU-Cooley Law School.

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