When Shemia (Francisco) Washington was in fifth grade, she wanted to be like Clair Huxtable, the sophisticated and personable character played by Phylicia Rashad on The Cosby Show. “Claire was an attorney, so I wanted to be an attorney. Claire spoke Spanish, so I learned to speak Spanish,” Washington remembered with a laugh.
Shemia Washington: Shining and Breaking Barriers
Rick Conklin: Lady Justice Was Calling
Cooley Law School alumnus Rick Conklin always had a passion for the law—and while earning his undergrad degree in communications from Grand Valley State University, realized Lady Justice was calling his name.
Maya Smith: Making an Impact
Maya Smith knew from childhood that her purpose was to give back and make an impact – and saw the legal field as the way to effectuate change. Clearly it was the right choice.
Distinguished Alumni Awards Focus on exemplary service in the profession
The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Amy Rombyer Tripp (Blair Moody Class, 1996) and Karen Truszkowski (Richard H. Flannigan Class, 1999). The coveted award is presented at the annual meeting of the WMU-Cooley Alumni Association, and this past year, the virtual ceremony was held on November 19, 2020. Recipients are chosen by the Past President's Committee of the Alumni Association and awarded annually.
Achieving Dream after Endurance and Sacrifice for Country
As a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, Major Carmen J. Quesenberry attended WMU-Cooley while serving as the Company Commander for her Reserve Unit in Virginia and is currently serving as the Executive Officer (XO) for the Army Reserve 3rd Battalion, 95th Regiment (Signal) located in New Mexico.
WMU-Cooley Spotlight: Jaevonn Harris
Artistic endeavors: WMU-Cooley Law graduate is also a talented artist and entrepreneur
Tammy Allison: Only you can know what is or isn't possible
Attorney and WMU-Cooley graduate Tammy Allison worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for a decade, spanning three presidential administrations, including George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, when she decided to launch the first-ever black owned Federal Executive Clemency law firm. She is only the third attorney in the United States who has worked at the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) to own a firm dedicated to federal executive clemency.
WMU-Cooley Spotlight: Katrina Hofstetter
WMU-Cooley Law School alumna Katrina Hofstetter, who earned her undergrad degree in history, summa cum laude, from Ferris State University, spent 13 years as a legal assistant at Bossenbrook Williams PC in Lansing, learning about the law, including the administrative and practical aspects, how to build lasting and trustworthy relationships with clients, and how to run a law practice.
Judge Brennan's Ten Commandments For Law School
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.
Ray Petty: My Duty is to Bring Justice to Areas of Injustice
2020 has been an unforgettable year so far; but a year that has placed a necessary spotlight on many areas of injustice that one graduating law student, Ray Petty, is ready to address head on.