Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

Will the Uniform Bar Exam Come to Michigan?

January 14

Last October the Michigan Board of Law Examiners posted the names of 451 law graduates who passed the July 2018 Michigan Bar Examination.  Most of them probably hoped never to have to endure a bar exam again. But today’s reality is that more than one-third will likely change jobs within three years of law school graduation. And many would like to look for employment beyond our borders.

Read more about Will the Uniform Bar Exam Come to Michigan?

Remembering Our Founder

December 18

The Honorable Thomas E. Brennan, founder of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Sept. 29, 2018 at the age of 89. He has been called one of the most important innovators in legal education of the past 40 years. A visionary. A risk-taker. An “idea guy.” His legacy reaches far beyond the founding of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, rippling through the lives of more than 20,000 graduates of the institution he imagined back in 1972, touching even the lives of generations of people he never would meet.

Read more about Remembering Our Founder

Stacey Dinser Honored with Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award

December 14

An adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Stacey Dinser might be considered a bountiful giver.  It’s just something that comes naturally to her. It then is no surprise that her dedication and enthusiasm for teaching the law have resulted in her being honored with the 2018 Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award.

Read more about Stacey Dinser Honored with Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award

Beloved Storytellers (Part Two): Cardozo's Opinion Style

November 30

In England, Lord Denning was hailed at his death as "the best-known and the best-loved judge in the whole of our history." This tribute was due at least in part to his storytelling style of opinion writing. Are there American judges with a similar flair for storytelling? Surely one is Justice Benjamin Cardozo of the New York Court of Appeals (1914-1932) and United States Supreme Court (1932-1938).

Read more about Beloved Storytellers (Part Two): Cardozo's Opinion Style

Beloved Storytellers (Part One): Denning the Master Storyteller

November 30

Alfred Thompson Denning--England's Lord Denning  to the legal world—died in the final year of the 20th Century at the age of 100. Before retiring in 1982, he had served on the bench for 38 years, the last 20 as Master of the Rolls, the head of England's Court of Appeal. At a memorial service held in Westminster Abbey, the Lord Chief Justice of England hailed Denning as "the best-known and the best-loved judge in the whole of our history."  Lord Denning was most renowned for his clarity of expression. His judicial opinions (the English call them "judgments") were regarded as models of lucidity. He wrote in short, crisp sentences intended to make the law accessible to lay people. A biographer referred to his writing style as “pungent English." Many law students encounter their first Denning opinion in Contracts in a case involving Anglia Television's suit against the American actor Robert Reed for backing out of an agreement to star in a made-for-television movie. Lord Denning sets the stage in the opening sentences of his opinion:

Read more about Beloved Storytellers (Part One): Denning the Master Storyteller

The Adventure of the One-Dollar Diamond

November 08

Blog contributor Otto Stockmeyer is a WMU-Cooley Law School Distinguished Professor Emeritus. This is another in his series of posts offering a fresh look at famous cases.

Read more about The Adventure of the One-Dollar Diamond

Masterful Advice from Master Lawyers

October 10

The Master Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan is composed of nearly 20,000 Michigan lawyers who have 30 or more years of practice experience. Its membership was surveyed in March of this year to help the Section’s Council set future priorities. The survey also asked Section members, as experienced lawyers, what words of wisdom they would share with a new lawyer. More than 650 respondents offered their thoughts, which ranged from the specific (“Shine your shoes and always be early.”) to the general (“Relax. You will make mistakes. They’re not fatal.”). Here are some pieces of advice of particular application to law students and new grads:

Read more about Masterful Advice from Master Lawyers

Contracts quintessential first-year course: Law school professor makes his case

October 09

Blog author WMU-Cooley Distinguished Professor Emeritus Otto Stockmeyer presented a paper at an annual conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters, which was held March 10, 2017, on the campus of Western Michigan University. He titled his presentation “Reflections on Teaching the First Day of Contracts Class.” Professor Stockmeyer offered his thoughts on why he believes Contracts is the most significant course in the first-year curriculum, why the study of contract law should begin with the subject of remedies, and why Hawkins v. McGee (the “hairy hand” case made famous by the book and movie versions of The Paper Chase) makes an ideal starting point.

Read more about Contracts quintessential first-year course: Law school professor makes his case

Selling a Haunted House? WMU-Cooley Legal Experts Give Advice on Scary Business

September 26

It’s that time of year. October 31st is hiding around the corner. Halloween and haunted houses. Both scary business. WMU-Cooley Law School Professors give practical advice to home owners with chilling concerns for more than just one day out of the year. This blog originally posted on October 26, 2016. 

Read more about Selling a Haunted House? WMU-Cooley Legal Experts Give Advice on Scary Business

Name Those Judges!

September 25

Blog author Otto Stockmeyer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, was a Commissioner and Research Director at the Michigan Court of Appeals for 12 years before joining the WMU-Cooley Law School faculty in 1977. His role in the formation of the court’s research staff is described here. 

Read more about Name Those Judges!