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Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

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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The Importance of the First Year of Law School

September 23

Blog author WMU-Cooley Distinguished Professor Emeritus Otto Stockmeyer devoted 35 years to teaching first-year law courses. In an update of a 2017 blog post he offers his thoughts on the important role of the first year in training successful lawyers.

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The Importance of Definitions in Law School

September 14

Here at WMU-Cooley fall classes are beginning. New students will quickly learn that first-term courses do not include Vocabulary 101. Rather, students are expected to master the law’s terminology on their own, by looking up every word in their assigned cases that they don’t understand.

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Law school success means being a self learner and following a system

July 31

Dalton Dennis remembers early on that his father never made things easy. Whatever they did, his father wouldn't give him an answer. He wanted him to come up with that himself. It was frustrating, even infuriating for Dennis as a young boy and teenager. What he realized later was that was the best thing his father ever taught him - how to think on his feet and to answer his own questions. It's those exact lessons and skills that have put him at an advantage in life, including success in law school. 

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Nina Yakubov: To Teach A child To Achieve, You must show Achievement

March 13

Nina Yakubov is one of those people who always had a good idea what she wanted to do, even at an early age. Growing up in Russia, being around very educated people, Yakubov was especially amazed by how lawyers could think in a way nobody else could. She thought of attorneys as "Super Heroes." 

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Shari Wilson:The Face of Change and Advocate for Hope

March 03

Life for Shari Wilson started off like it did for many kids – hanging out with the family, going to school, playing with friends. For just about nine years, the Wilson family led the quintessential American life. Mom taught at a nearby school. Shari rode her bike and played outside until the streetlights came on.

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Joeie Skelly: Destined For Law School

February 25

Joeie Skelly knew that she wanted to be a lawyer since she was 8 years old. “While other kids were playing house,” she recalled, “I pretended to play lawyer.”

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Jalitza Serrano: Best Ways to Learn in Law School

February 19

WMU-Cooley Law School 3L student, Jalitza Serrano, is living proof that you can not only conquer your fears, but transform them into something positive to help others.

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Daniel Cardwell: Drive Comes From Within

February 17

Back in high school, no one had the 20/20 vision to see where Daniel Cardwell would be in the year 2020 – not even Cardwell himself. Moving around to different states growing up, as his entrepreneurial parents launched businesses, his education suffered. He even dropped out of high school. It wasn't until later when he discovered his struggles in school were due to an undiagnosed learning disability that things changed.

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De-Andreth Isaacs-Hanson: Extraordinary Circumstances Lead to Legal Profession

December 24

When De-Andreth Isaacs-Hanson first heard the words biliary atresia, she didn't know what she was going to do, but she knew she wasn't going to accept her young daughter's dismal prognosis, put her in hospice, and watch her die.

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