Category Archives: Awards

WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel Inducted into U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Fame at St. Bonaventure University

Retired Brigadier General and current WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean and Professor of Law Michael C.H. McDaniel was inducted into the alumni ROTC Hall of Fame for the Seneca Battalion of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at St. Bonaventure University, located  in Olean, New York, on April 1, 2017. Following the induction ceremony McDaniel presented the keynote during the University’s annual ROTC Military Ball.

On April 1, Brigadier General (ret) and WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean and Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame at his alma mater St. Bonaventure University.

Brig. General (ret) and WMU-Cooley Associate Dean and Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame at his alma mater St. Bonaventure University.

During his remarks McDaniel advised the audience of cadets, alumni and guests that what makes our military great is still our people, the men and women in uniform, and always will be.

“It is because of the values not just instilled in us but required of us, as students of St. Francis, here, at St. Bonaventure University, because we take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, not a loyalty oath to the Commander in Chief​, and because our Army values are based on that legacy,” he said.  “The oath to the Constitution is in the Constitution, significantly placed at the end of the body and before the Bill of Rights. The oath then is to defend both the system of co-equal republican government and the rights of the individuals. And so we fight, voluntarily, for the principles in the Constitution and because of the promise to all Americans embodied in the Constitution.”

McDaniel, a 1975 St. Bonaventure graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in history, then earned his Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1982.  Having been an active participant in the Army ROTC program for two years as an undergraduate student, he applied for and received a direct commission from the Michigan National Guard as a Judge Advocate General Corps officer in November 1985.

He began his career as the staff judge advocate for the Camp Grayling Joint Training Center, then served as trial counsel and then staff judge advocate for the 46 Infantry Brigade, 38th Infantry Division, and  as detachment commander (Mich.) for the 38th Inf. Div. He served as a military judge, then, upon promotion to colonel, as state judge advocate.

His civilian career as a trial attorney with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office began in January 1984. From 1998 to 2003, he was the assistant attorney general for litigation in the Executive Division of the Michigan Department of the Attorney General. His duties included the review of all civil and criminal actions proposed to be initiated by the department in state or federal trial courts, and evaluation of all proposed settlements of every court case.

Appointed by the governor as Michigan’s first Homeland Security adviser in 2003, he served in that capacity until July 2009. In this position, McDaniel was the liaison between the governor’s office and all federal, state and local agencies for homeland security, with responsibility for developing statewide plans and policy on homeland security preparedness. During this assignment, he served concurrently as the assistant adjutant general for homeland security in the Michigan National Guard.

From August 2009 to January 2011, McDaniel was the deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense strategy, force planning and mission assurance at the Department of Defense.  He advised the DOD secretary, undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and America’s Security Affairs on all homeland defense-related strategies (quadrennial defense review, homeland defense & civil support strategies, the mission assurance strategy, and domestic counterterrorism and counter-narcotics strategies, among other efforts).

McDaniel graduated from the U.S. Army War College and earned a Master of Strategic Studies in 2005. He also earned a master’s in security studies (homeland security) from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2007. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2007 and his final military assignment was as assistant adjutant general for Army Future Missions, Michigan National Guard, from January 2011 until October 2012. He retired in December 2012.

Professionally active, McDaniel served as a member of the National Governors Association’s Homeland Security Advisors Council, where he was elected to the Executive Committee in 2006 and 2008. He was named by the Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security, as chair of the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council in 2007. He joined the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School faculty as a full-time constitutional law professor in 2011 and was promoted to associate dean in 2016.

McDaniel’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (with 2 devices) and the Michigan Distinguished Service Medal (Fifth Award).

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Judge Donald L. Allen: Years to Develop your Reputation, Seconds to Destroy it

“We talk a lot about integrity. I think there is one thing people need to understand. It takes years, maybe even decades, to develop a reputation for your integrity, for your professionalism. It takes years and years of doing the right thing, but it only takes seconds for that to be destroyed. Think about that for just a second. Years to develop a reputation that you would be proud of, seconds to destroy.” – Judge Donald L. Allen on integrity during WMU-Cooley Law School’s Integrity in Our Community award ceremony.

Judge Allen spoke to WMU-Cooley law students, faculty and staff about the importance of values, integrity and preserving one’s reputation at the Integrity award ceremony. He went on to say, “The ability to help others challenge injustice and to make sure what is wrong is made right is one of the privileges of a law degree. Law students are learning how to be in a position to earn a living basically helping other people. That is a tremendous privilege. I want to leave you with a quote, and this quote comes from John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He says, ‘With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.'”

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Judge Allen is the presiding judge of the 55th District Court Sobriety Court, which focuses on the rehabilitation of repeat offense substance abusers in Ingham County. He has spent most of his professional career as an assistant attorney general at the state’s attorney general office. In 2005, Allen was appointed deputy legal counsel to Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The following year, Granholm appointed him to serve as director of the Office of Drug Control Policy, which he served until his 55th District Court appointment in 2008. Judge Allen was appointed chief judge of the court by the Michigan Supreme Court on Jan. 1, 2016. Watch Judge Allen’s speech (25:31)

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WMU-Cooley Patent Law Team Place High in U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Competition

“Team Joyce Hill and Christopher DeLucenay truly demonstrated an initiative and work ethic that one usually only finds in seasoned Patent attorneys,” declared WMU-Cooley Professor and Coach Gerald Tschura after his two Intellectual Property students brought home the overall third place trophy in the Midwest Regional International Patent Drafting Competition. “I was impressed by their creativity and competitive spirit. Joyce and Chris exemplify exactly that caliber and high degree of competency you need to to succeed as patent attorneys today.”

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Gerald Tschura, Me, Joyce Hill, Chris DeLucenay, Dr. Christal Sheppard

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Gerald Tschura, Me, Joyce Hill, Chris DeLucenay, Dr. Christal Sheppard

For the second consecutive year, WMU-Cooley students performed exceptionally well during the Midwest Region International Patent Drafting Competition.  The competition is hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

“Joyce and Christopher worked extremely hard, beginning in December, to conduct a thorough patent search and to prepare and submit a patent application based on a hypothetical invention provided by the competition,” explained Tschura. “Our submission, along with all the other competing schools, were then scored by a select panel of judges. Teams were then selected to orally present and explain their applications before two separate distinguished panels of judges and examiners from the USPTO as well as leading practitioners in patent law.”

“The team did an outstanding job and represented their school with distinction,” punctuated Tschura. “This second year of the competition saw a significant increase in the number of competing schools which made the competitive arena that much stiffer. After all written submissions were completed in mid-January, the field whittled down to nine schools that orally presented in February and defended their cases to panels of judges in at the USPTO office in Detroit. Competing teams were identified only by number for all submissions and during the presentations to assure anonymity in judging.”

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Professor Tschura went on to explain that “after the final round, the judges announced that only one point separated the top three teams. We finished in third, but only slightly behind St. Louis University and York University (Toronto).  I like to note that WMU-Cooley was the only law school of the four in Michigan to finish in the top three at the competition, and the only law school to have placed in the top three twice!”

Professor Tschura had only kudos for his team, and they for him. “Many thanks go to Joyce and Chris for their effort and hard work and for making WMU-Cooley proud.  Future inventors and clients will be very lucky to have either of these two outstanding future lawyers as their patent attorney!”

Joyce Hill was also pleased with how the team did in the competition, but also enjoyed her time at the competition. “I thought it was a great learning experience,” stated Hill. “I have so many to thank, but especially Professor Tschura for all of his help and guidance in making the competition such a success.  There is nothing like practicing what you have learned in school.”

The competition, hosted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is now an annual event, with ambitions of including competitions at each of the USPTO regional satellite offices across the country.

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Professor Christi Henke Personifies Griffith Award Tribute

The Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award recognizes “that member of the adjunct faculty whose service best reflects the character and attributes of Professor Griffith: dedication to the law school; excellence in teaching; passion for persuasive advocacy; compassion for law students; and optimism about life and the future of legal education.” To show our gratitude, WMU-Cooley pays tribute by honoring one of them with this annual award. They are the unsung heroes of legal education. 

Griffith award winner Professor Christi Henke with Rick Griffith’s widow Margie Griffith.

Past award recipients have included judges and state officials, Assistant Attorneys General and local prosecutors, defense lawyers, solo practitioners and big-firm partners, corporate house counsel, and even a Canadian barrister.

This year’s recipient,Christi Henke, has taught Contracts I and II since 2008. She has also taught Sales, Agricultural Law, a Multi-state Bar Exam Skills course, and trained professors in both Contracts I and II.

About a year and a half ago, Professor Henke started teaching Con Law I, and this term is teaching Con Law II.  One term she taught five classes on three campuses! (Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Auburn Hills).

As hard a worker as she is, it is the quality of her teaching that makes her shine in the eyes of her students. Over the years, Professor Henke’s teaching effectiveness score on student evaluations averaged a superlative 9.87 out of 10.

Associate Dean Michael McDaniel shared these sentiments from her evaluations:

  • She provides her students with the tools to succeed in law school.
  • She affords each student the opportunity to ask questions and seek guidance both in the classroom and individually.
  • She shows tremendous compassion for students.
  • She encourages students to be passionate about the law.
  • She prepares her students for success in a legal career.

RateMyProfessor.com gives Professor Henke high marks as well. She has been tagged as:

  • Respected
  • Gives good feedback
  • Caring
  • Amazing
  • Hilarious

Overall, she scored 4.8 on a 5-point scale for “Awesomeness” and was awarded a Chill Pepper for Hotness!

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WMU-Cooley Law School established the Frederick J. Griffith III Adjunct Faculty Award in 1997 as a memorial to Rick Griffith, and to recognize the contributions that WMU-Cooley’s adjunct professors make to the mission of the law school. Rick Griffith was a former Michigan Supreme Court Commissioner, and practiced law Of Counsel with the Lansing firm of Murphy, Brenton & Spagnuolo, while teaching at Cooley as an adjunct professor for nearly two decades, until his untimely death at age 52.

The award was endowed by contributions to the Griffith Memorial Fund made in Rick’s memory by his family, friends, associates, and faculty colleagues. The award carries with it a cash stipend and a memento recognizing the recipient’s selection. The memento is a commemorative ceramic tile created by Detroit’s renowned Pewabic Pottery, commissioned specifically for this award.

From left: Distinguished Professor Emeritus Otto Stockmeyer, Griffith Award winner Christi Henke, Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel, Rick Griffith's widow Margie Griffith.

From left: Distinguished Professor Emeritus Otto Stockmeyer, Griffith Award winner Christi Henke, Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel, and Margie Griffith.

Blog contributor Distinguished Professor Emeritus Otto Stockmeyer began his teaching career at Cooley Law School as an adjunct professor in 1976. Over the years he has also taught as a visiting professor at Mercer University Law School and California Western School of Law. At one time, before entering teaching, he was Rick Griffith’s supervising attorney at the Michigan Court of Appeals.

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Criminal defense lawyers must remember that they are impacting the lives of a real person

“Ms. (Valerie) Newman is an inspiration. She is passionate about her work, and her words will have a lasting impact on our students and how they approach their profession.” — WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Lisa Halushka 

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Valerie Newman, an attorney with the State Appellate Defender’s office, was honored with WMU-Cooley’s Integrity Award during its Integrity in Our Communities Speaking Series this summer. The award is presented to legal professionals who demonstrate the highest integrity in their profession.

“Valerie is very deserving of this award – her civility in the criminal justice system and her belief that the system works best when attorneys work together for the common goal of achieving justice,” shared Associate Dean Halushka to the group of faculty, students and community leaders. “She has always urged students to remember that when they practice, especially if they practice criminal defense law, they must remember that they are impacting the lives of a real person. She makes clear to students to never define their clients by their worst day, weakest moment, or biggest mistake.”

In attendance was also Devontae Sanford, a young man who was recently exonerated from a quadruple homicide he was wrongfully convicted of in Wayne County. Ms. Newman, who worked tirelessly to release Devontae from prison, invited Devontae on stage to answer questions from the audience. Devontae commented that Ms. Newman was like his second mom and provided hope to him while he was in prison. He told the audience that he hoped the law students in the audience would become lawyers who cared about their clients.

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Distinguished Brief Award Focuses on Importance of Careful, Thorough Writing

The WMU-Cooley Law Review hosted its 31st Annual Distinguished Brief Award ceremony on July 21, 2016, at the Country Club of Lansing. This unique event celebrates the best of Michigan’s practicing bar, formally recognizing authors of the three most scholarly briefs filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in each Court term.

WMU-Cooley Law Review Symposium Editor Courtney Sierra, WMU-Cooley Law School President Don LeDuc, Hon. Stephen Markman, Distinguished Brief Winners Desiree Ferguson, Brett DeGroff, Brent Morton, Joshua Van Laan, and WMU-Cooley Professor and Law Review Advisor Mark Cooney

WMU-Cooley Law Review Symposium Editor Courtney Sierra, WMU-Cooley Law School President Don LeDuc, Hon. Stephen Markman, Distinguished Brief Winners Desiree Ferguson, Brett DeGroff, Brent Morton, Joshua Van Laan, and WMU-Cooley Professor and Law Review Adviser Mark Cooney

Professor Mark Cooney, the Law Review’s faculty adviser and the event emcee, noted that this award reflects the importance of effective writing and the school’s longstanding commitment to teaching and celebrating effective writing.

“You’ve got to persuade your reader with the brief. And the judges and court staff who read appellate briefs are swamped with briefs on every imaginable issue, so it’s crucial to write clearly and concisely, with strong organization. And for Michigan Supreme Court briefs, writers must clearly articulate what the proper rule should be going forward.”

After the event, Cooney, who was an appellate specialist in his practice days, mentioned that WMU-Cooley’s writing courses “have always emphasized clarity and all the seemingly little techniques that writers must master to achieve clarity. If the brief isn’t clear,” he said, “you can’t possibly persuade your reader. Confusion and frustration aren’t good recipes for persuasion.”

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The Law Review was thrilled to have so many pillars of the Michigan legal community in attendance and appreciated their words of wisdom. Courtney Sierra, Law Review’s editor, shared that “This experience has shown me just how vital excellent writing can be in our legal system and that striving for exceptional writing is a key to being successful in my new career.”

She also offered her thanks to the attendees and “to my Law Review colleagues — especially Jon Paasch, Zach Green, Lyndsey Hof, Nick Langenkamp, and Shiela Burke — for helping me plan the event.” She noted that the Law Review will publish each winning brief in an upcoming volume.

The Law Review’s special guest was Justice Richard H. Bernstein, who gave an eloquent, heartfelt introduction of the evening’s keynote speaker, Justice Stephen J. Markman. Attendees were captivated by Justice Bernstein’s positivity and his gifts as an orator.

Hon. Richard Bernstein

Hon. Richard Bernstein

Justice Markman’s thoughtful keynote speech focused on the importance of careful, thorough briefs. He  highlighted the need for well-organized and well-written briefs not only for effective advocacy for clients, but for helping the Supreme Court appreciate why the case is important to Michigan’s larger jurisprudence. He added a light-hearted note about how even the finest briefs cannot ensure victory, recalling that although he’d voted for two out of the three award winners this time, at a past dinner he’d seen three winning briefs that had not garnered his vote in the cases.

Hon. Stephen Markman

Hon. Stephen Markman

During the ceremony, Professor Cooney thanked the panel of judges who evaluated the briefs and selected the winners. He told the audience that the list looked like “a judicial all-star team — perhaps our finest group yet, including veteran judges from every level of Michigan’s court system: Honorable Brian K. Zahra, Honorable Bridget Mary McCormack, Honorable Rosemarie E. Aquilina, Honorable Patricia D. Gardner, Honorable Kirsten Frank Kelly, Honorable Kathleen Jansen , Honorable Patrick M. Meter, Honorable Christopher M. Murray, Honorable Michael J. Riordan, and Honorable Paul J. Denenfeld.” He thanked them for “the generous gift of their time and expertise.”

The Distinguished Brief Award winners, who included one recent WMU-Cooley graduate, were recognized for producing exceptional briefs while balancing busy caseloads. This year’s winners were all criminal-law practitioners, a first. They were (listing attendees first and then in alphabetical order):

  1. Brett DeGroff, Desiree Ferguson, and Michael L. Mittlestat (State Appellate Defender’s Office) (People v. Lockridge);
  1. Brent E. Morton and Douglas R. Lloyd (Eaton County Prosecutor’s Office) (People v. Uribe);
  1. Joshua R. Van Laan, Victor A. Fitz, and Eric J. Smith (Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office) (People v. Seewald).

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WMU-Cooley Graduate Helps the Homeless and Inspires Volunteers

For a quiet guy, Shane Goodale has made a lot of “noise” ever since joining the legal arena — good noise; noise that makes changes in people’s lives and inspires them to do good things on their own.

Shane Goodale

Shane Goodale

Goodale, 41, graduated from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2012. In the three years since graduation, Goodale, who has a solo practice in Okemos, Michigan, continues to, not just speak out about the needs of people in the community, but do something about it, along with inspire others to join in and help.

This summer, Goodale saw a months-in-the-making drive to help the homeless in a practical way come to fruition when he collaborated with Sera Bella salon in the Meridian Mall to provide free haircuts to those in need. Personal grooming might not seem like a necessity to some, but Goodale knew from his experience as a volunteer just how much a difference a spruce-up can mean to people.

He started the quest to provide haircuts in the spring, but learned that, in Michigan, cosmetology services must be provided in a licensed salon. He found a salon that would help at Sera Bella after a conversation about the project idea. The manager arranged for stylists to provide the free haircuts; Goodale made arrangements to get interested clients of a Lansing shelter to the mall salon. Goodale was also able to work with Sbarro pizza, from the mall’s food court, to provide free pizza. Inspired by the project, Sera Bella plans to keep a collection box on site for both monetary and non-perishable food donations.

Shane Goodale received WMU-Cooley's Student Great Deeds Award from Heather Spielmaker in 2011.

Shane Goodale received WMU-Cooley’s Student Great Deeds Award from Heather Spielmaker in 2011.

Goodale is no stranger to the shelter from which the haircut clients came. Called Open Door Ministry and located at the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing, the shelter has been a volunteer outlet for Goodale since his days as a student at WMU-Cooley.

During his tenure as a law student, Goodale inspired fellow students to help the homeless as part of a class project. That experience led him to found a free legal clinic called HAPP, the Homeless Assistance and Prevention Project. The clinic provides free basic legal services to people who visit the Open Door Ministry, as well as pro bono opportunities for succeeding classes of law students.

Goodale was acknowledged in 2011 for his volunteer work when he was presented with the first-ever Lansing campus WMU-Cooley Student Great Deeds Award. He was also noted for his service with the Meridian Township Planning Commission, and his service on the board of directors for Stormfield Theater. In addition to his continued service on the Open Door Ministry Board of Directors, and with HAPP, Goodale also now serves as a member of the Parkwood YMCA Board of Directors, and as a community reinvestment fund board member for the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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