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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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Detroit's Revitalization Flows Through Work of Graduate Choi Portis

July 15

Choi T. Portis (Wilkins Class, 2011), a Detroit native and deputy general counsel for the city of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, will tell people affectionately and with a laugh that her day job is centered on “fighting over sewer water.”

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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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John Desmond: Lawyers Can Serve a Greater Role as Leaders & Educators

July 12

When offices started closing down back on March 16 of 2020, John Desmond (Person Class, 1994) remembered thinking at the time that this whole thing would only last two to three weeks, maybe four weeks max.

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Erika Weiss: Embracing Heritage Leads To Native American Law Practice

July 11

Growing up, Erika Weiss’ (Livingston Class, 2014) family didn’t talk much about their Native American ancestry. While In middle school, Weiss remembers often being asked, “what are you?” She wasn’t sure how to answer what seemed like a strange question, often saying to herself “I’m a human,” while realizing she “stuck out like a sore thumb” to those asking the question.

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Samuel Onyegam: Doing What He Loves To Do and Making an Impact

July 10

Samuel A. Onyegam (Wilkins Class, 2011) would be the first to say he had a good time as a student at WMU-Cooley Law School. But that didn’t mean he was into partying or the bar scene in Lansing, Michigan. He had one priority as a law student. He would make as much out of his law school education and experience as possible, and a good time meant staying focused on “learning the law the right way.”

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Chelsea Rebeck: Success Means Anticipating and Pivoting with Change

June 08

Southfield, Michigan tax attorney Chelsea Rebeck (Ellsworth Class, 2012) could see the handwriting on the wall as soon as the first news reports of the Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns started streaming in.

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Up to the Challenge: Cooley Grad Succeeds Against Series of Overwhelming Odds

May 27

Law students often face tough challenges during their demanding legal studies. But Samantha Norris, who graduated from WMU-Cooley Law School on May 23, faced a far greater challenge—a strenuous battle against cancer.

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Shemia Washington: Shining and Breaking Barriers

April 29

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.

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Rick Conklin: Lady Justice Was Calling

February 22

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.

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