Vol. 86 No. 2 July 8, 2011
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: Law School Rankings
Todd Leahy, Copy Editor
In January, we learned that other benefits not allowed under NCAA
Villanova cheated. Last term, I rules. Finally, Auburn University is still
was assured of my choice of law under investigation regarding a pay-to-
schools by being reminded that I play scandal involving Heisman Trophy
had chosen to come to the second winner and number one NFL draft pick
best law school in the country. Cam Newton. These programs know the
What was all the fuss, the furrowed NCAA’s rules and have hired numerous
brows, and the under-the-breath compliance officers to ensure rules aren’t
whispering about? Law school violated. Yet violations occur, and no
rankings, of course. program is beyond suspicion. Why do
We all checked them. When these programs violate the rules? Plain
we decided to attend law school, and simple, there’s too much money
we got online or bought the magazine—US News and World Report. at stake not to. Millions of dollars flow into winning programs and
They were the end-all, be-all of rankings. Many of us may have sought winning programs beget more winning which begets even more money.
out their rankings when making our undergraduate decisions. But, In college recruiting and player retention, money is the great motivator.
when we spent time online or shelled out our hard-earned money for Although the money is less (thousands rather than millions at any one
the paper copy, did we know that schools were manipulating the system time) the law school “recruitment” process and its accompanying
and that the criteria used was set up to reward traditional powers? ranking system is still driven by the desire for dollars.
The battle over rankings has been long, and the commentators The system is corrupt and the law schools know it. US News (in
numerous. In 2007, Time ran an article entitled, “The College Ranking that same Time article) even admitted that it’s possible for schools to
Revolt.” In the piece, Time noted that US News (who has been ranking game the system. The lingering question then, is US News is so flawed,
schools since 1983) bases 25% of its ranking on a survey that asks is what can be offered as an alternative? Enter Thomas M. Cooley Law
school administrators to assess their peers. The survey, therefore, School and the Brennan Ranking System known as “Judging the Law
rewards reputation. Thus, schools like Yale and Harvard find themselves Schools.”
satisfying one-quarter of the survey simply by being Yale and Harvard. Recognizing the inherent biases in the US News rankings, our
Further, the US News survey places heavy emphasis on low acceptance distinguished founder constructed his own ranking system. In this
rates and high scores on standardized tests like the LSAT, SAT, GRE, system, less attention is paid to reputation and other difficult to measure
and others. The US News formula gives little attention to what really statistics. In this system, all measures are given an equal weight, 2.5%
matters: the education students get once they’re on campus. each. Thus, reputation is 2.5% of the total as are LSAT, GPA, and
The US News formula has led to rampant cheating among law employment statistics. In an effort to get closer to an objective ranking
schools. Villanova University recently admitted that they falsified system, the Brennan System collapsed all statistics, but is not without
LSAT and GPA data reported to the American Bar Association to try to its faults.
influence their ranking. In the US News formula, the LSAT is 12.5% In the recent edition of “Judging the Law Schools” Harvard
of the school’s ranking and GPA accounts for 10%. The magazine has comes out on top followed by our very own Thomas M. Cooley rather
consistently ranked Villanova between a high of 60 and a low of 67. A than the traditional powerhouses found atop the US News rankings—
22.5% change in their ranking could vault the school into elite status, although Yale makes a strong showing coming in fourth place. What
and once elite status is gained, those pesky reputation points begin to accounts for a school like Cooley moving from US News’ fourth tier
kick in. If the system rewards a stacked deck, are schools really wrong to number two in the nation? The inputs, of course. By manipulating
when they attempt to stack the deck in their favor? the data used, a different result is found. Like the Yale’s of the world
Certainly. At every law school in those rankings, a course in benefitting from tradition in the US News rankings, in the Brennan
professional ethics is being taught. The law is a profession policed System, Cooley benefits by its sheer size and number of students.
by other lawyers. Perhaps the same should be true of law schools. Is “Judging the Law Schools” is not without its detractors, and
it possible for law schools to police themselves and keep a rankings among the most vocal are those who dismiss this system as Cooley
system honest? In fact, the American Bar Association could ensure that crying sour grapes about its US News ranking. But such is not the
schools can’t manipulate LSAT and/or GPA data. Every law student case. As anyone who has even a passing knowledge of statistics will
submits their undergraduate transcript to the Law School Admissions tell you, you can’t (no matter what system is used) capture the quality
Council (LSAC), this same body knows exactly what we all received of a school in a single score—too much depends on what you choose
on the LSAT. Why let schools report this data themselves when an to emphasize. There is nothing wrong with the Brennan System, it is
outside, objective party already knows the truth? not a lesser system than US News. However, even a quick glance at
It’s too easy, however, just to blame law school administrators. the inputs will demonstrate that both are open to the same types of
In fact, there is plenty of blame to go around. Almost all schools talk manipulation.
about how much they hate the rankings systems (check out the websites In February 2011,
and dig deep enough, you can find it), but students and employers have bestselling author Malcolm
come to rely on US News to measure the future. If students are going Gladwell entered into the law
to determine where to apply based on the rankings, then the schools school ranking debate. Like those
are going to continue to manipulate their place in those rankings. who rail against the BCS system
Thus, it has become common practice among administrators to justify and want a playoff, Gladwell seems
unethical behavior for the good of the school. to believe that another rankings
Perhaps the most fitting analogy for what’s happening with system will end the argument
law school rankings is NCAA football. The University of Southern about who is the best.
California has been stripped of its 2004 BCS Championship and In his article “The Order
Reggie Bush has been asked to return his Heisman Trophy. The school of Things,” Gladwell ranks US
violated numerous NCAA rules on player eligibility. They will lose a law schools based on just three
number of scholarships and miss the chance to play in a bowl game criteria: (1) value for the dollar,
for the next few years. A similar story broke recently involving Ohio
State football players trading memorabilia for tattoos and receiving ...Continued on Page 2 Malcolm Gladwell
2 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
...Continued from Page 1
THE PILLAR (2) LSAT scores, and (3) faculty
Thomas M. Cooley publishing. In his final analysis,
Law School the top four law schools were:
300 S. Capitol, Room 307 University of Chicago, Brigham
Lansing, Michigan 48901 Young University, Harvard, and
517.371.5140 ext. 4009 finally our old friend Yale.
Gladwell argued that
A Square Sitting on a Rainbow
Tabitha Harnage, Staff Writer
the rationale behind his article
was the inherent bias in the US Recently The Motor City hosted its annual “Gay Pride” day and
Editor-in-Chief News rankings. “Rankings are parade. Being a straight, conservative woman, to say I was apprehensive
not benign. They enshrine very to attend is putting it mildly. I am from a small country-ish town in
particular ideologies, and, at a time south Florida. There are very few homosexuals there; I say few because
email@example.com when American higher education I have known only one from my home town.
is facing a crisis of accessibility While “Joey” and I were on I-94, I found myself wondering what
and affordability, we have adopted sights I would be seeing upon our arrival. Rainbow flags, colorful attire,
Faculty Advisor a de facto standard of college techno music, drag queens “ dancin’ ” in the street in their 6 inch
Emily Horvath quality that is uninterested in both stilettos? I really had no idea of what to expect. The little knowledge
of those factors,” Gladwell wrote. of gay culture I have stems from reality shows on Bravo, the occasional
Gladwell makes an inarguable fabulous gay I see walking the street, and my new BFF “Joey”. I’m not
point; rankings are most often sure what is going to happen at this event. Will I be shunned because
biased by the person doing I’m straight? Does it matter that I voted for McCain? When I see a
the ranking. Thus, the school man in drag, can I stare or do I pretend it’s normal? Can I ask them
Matthew Pickens that comes out on top is nearly questions? Various thoughts were running through my head constantly.
predetermined by the time some We parked and began our stroll towards the pageantry. With
statistician begins math that law the hot and muggy weather, “Joey’s” rainbow face makeup stood out
Copy Editor students will treat as gospel. But screaming “Beauty is pain, people!” We arrived just as the festivities
Todd Leahy it’s a math we don’t understand began. Hundreds lined Jefferson and Woodward desperately searching
and seldom take the time to look for the gay insignia. Where were the floats, the flags, the queers and
inside of the numbers. the queens? As the parade began, people began marching with their
Design Layout In the end, what is all the non-Roy G Biv rainbow flags down the street towards the festival. Some
ASAP Printing fuss about in the rankings wars? were chanting “equality” and “gay rights” and handing out candy and
I believe that Mark Twain said it Lays potato chips to the children, while a few queens would strut their
best, “There are three types of lies: stuff down the pavement in a faux fashion show for the crowd. The
lies, damned lies, and statistics.” parade was smaller than “Joey” and I expected, although it was quite
The great American humorist was marvelous.
on to something. Whether it’s Following the street show, we found ourselves donating $5 to
the US News, “Judging the Law enter the festival area. There were booths throughout Hart Plaza;
Schools,” or Malcolm Gladwell, some were offering advice for the HIV infected and information on
there is no objectivity in the churches one could become involved in if gay, where others offered
rankings game and certainly no rainbow paraphernalia and Red Bull + vodka. We strolled throughout
gospel. the festivities, trying not to get too sunburned.
Like the Associated Press Finding ourselves near the amphitheater, we perched ourselves
college football rankings, law down on a wall and bore witness to the commitment ceremonies
school rankings are open for that took place. Following the sentimental exchanging of vows the
interpretation and manipulation. presentation made a 180 degree turn to debauchery with a drag show
In the law school game it’s a hosted by a spunky host who was colorful, to say the least. Their
Villanova reporting fake scores, in makeup and apparel were applied and tailored to perfection. I found
college football it’s players having myself wondering, do they offer MAC lessons? I could probably use
eight cars in a three year period a little more color as my mother would say. I was feeling a little hot,
(really, Terrell Pryor? Really?). maybe due to catching too many rays so I took a break in a dining hall
When ranking are important, near the stage. “Joey” had met a few friends from Mexican Town that
but come down to opinion and joined him in watching the show while I cooled off. I really admire
statistical manipulation, can we their moves, especially since they are wearing the 6 inch leather heels.
blame schools for breaking the
In light of the 85 degrees, all I could think was “You go girl!”
rules? What would we do if we
Following the Lady Gaga stage show, our “gay-tank” was filled.
were in the same position?
We were ready to head back to Pleasantville, USA. We took in a last
In the final analysis,
look and purchased a $4 bottle of water before exiting the celebration.
US News is in the business of
The day was not at all what I had expected. I wasn’t shunned or
selling magazines (and web
spat on. No one was mad because I liked boys. The drag queen was
subscriptions). Would any of us
happy to take a picture with me and the D.J. made a shout-out to all
Pillar Copyright Policy have bought a rankings system that
the straight women. All in all, it was a good day. I feel like I have been
All articles published in print and online said, “You decide” or “Depends
with a byline are copyrighted property educated and enlightened. My horizon has been broadened, if only a
on what you’re looking for”? Of
of The Pillar. The Pillar reserves exclusive tad.
rights for reproduction, both in print and course not. So rankings will
online. Other reproduction or distribution continue to be used to make law
of copyrighted material without the express written
consent of The Pillar is prohibited.
school decisions and law schools
will continue to manipulate their
The views expressed by our staff do not in any way
place in the rankings in a quest
reflect the views of Thomas M. Cooley Law School for our tuition dollars. Until the
or its administration. American Bar Association steps in
to regulate rankings the way they
Submission Requirements regulate professional ethics, the
The Pillar welcomes articles and other submis- world of rankings will continue
sions for publication. All submissions must
contain a signature and contact information.
to be an ethical morass where
Submissions can be emailed to pillarsub- the road to Hell may be paved
firstname.lastname@example.org, delivered to The Pillar with the best of intentions. All
Office Cooley Center 307, or placed in The Pillar
mailbox in the SBA office. The Pillar reserves the we can do as students, when we
right to edit for length along with the right to look at rankings, is keep old Mark
make final editorial decisions.
Twain in mind, and proceed with
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 3
ANN ARBOR CAMPUS NEWS
The Ann Arbor Campus: Miniscule or Magical?
Richard D. Jackson, Staff Writer
By now most everyone familiar atmosphere isn’t for everyone and
with Cooley is aware that there is a can be a bit too “small-town” for
fourth campus located in Ann Arbor, some. The beauty of Cooley is that
Michigan. Beyond this solitary fact, if you need a bigger campus because
many reading this article might that is your personality, then you have
know very little about the Ann options and can switch campuses
Arbor campus, the place I like to – no hard feelings. However, once
call “Cooley’s best-kept secret.” you leave Ann Arbor, you will have
For example, most probably do not found friends and future colleagues
know that the Ann Arbor campus that will have a special place in your The Ann Arbor Campus.
is located at the former Ave Maria heart for a lifetime.
Law School, or that the first start-to- Of course nothing in life is 100% perfect; the Ann Arbor campus
finish graduates of Cooley in Ann is no exception. The problems we experience, though, are insignificant –
Arbor will wrap-up in December more like inconveniences rather than true issues. Stephanie Minzey is a
of this year! No matter what you Lansing student who graduates in January, but is taking her first class in
Writer Richard Jackson. know or don’t know about Cooley’s Ann Arbor this term. Her feelings are that “[t]he people have been very nice
new addition, upon witnessing the and helpful, but I don’t like how there is no bookstore or other main offices
atmosphere for yourself, you are not likely to believe that you have entered like Lansing that I am accustomed to. But I would probably take another
a law school – and that’s a good thing! We’ve all seen the movies, read class here if I could.” I can attest to this inconvenience as I have taken two
the books, or heard the stories of how law school is meant to be a living classes at the Lansing campus for scheduling preferences. I do like having
nightmare; a rite of passage for any aspiring attorney that must be conquered multiple options for each course and the idea of having access to all the
before we can move on with our real lives. support offices in one location. However, anything we need to submit to
The problem with that law school stigma is that it just isn’t so on Lansing can be sent by inter-office delivery the very next day and all we
have to do is drop the item at one central office location. The biggest issue,
the Ann Arbor campus. Sure classes are tough and the workload is hard to
in my opinion, is the lack of a bookstore on the Ann Arbor campus, but the
manage if you are not focused, but in Ann Arbor, the environment is one that
Lansing bookstore is always very helpful with shipping orders quickly and
fosters success through incessant encouragement. Ann Arbor’s first SBA accurately, which helps to rectify this issue.
President, Max Coolidge, shares my love for the Ann Arbor campus. I asked In spite of small inconveniences, the Ann Arbor campus still has
Max for his feelings about our campus and he summed it up this way: a special flare that sets it apart from any other law school campus. I had
I think the Ann Arbor Campus is destined to become – if not the opportunity this past weekend to assist in a presentation to the Board
already – Cooley’s flagship campus. We’ve got fantastic of Directors during their meeting on the Ann Arbor Campus. I can only
professors and we get all the benefits of a large law school with speculate on the Board’s thoughts at the end of the presentation, but I
the personal attention of a much smaller school. I think what has assume it was a combination of impressed and pleased. The basic premise
set the Ann Arbor campus apart from the beginning is our culture was that as the Board members began their lunch, the students “studying”
of positivity; Dean Vestrand has always called on us to find ways in the library broke out into a flash mob and began singing to the Board.
to lift people up and support one another. We’re competitive and Following that was a PowerPoint presentation of different Ann Arbor sights
strive for excellence, but we try to make sure we make ourselves and activities. Did I mention that the presentation was a spoof and showed
better without having to tear someone else down. scenes of students sleeping in class, classes being held in a Starbucks, and
Most all on our campus can embrace Max’s sentiment as we observe even a professor showing his book award answer of: “Because Professor
this positive culture on a daily basis, simply by walking the halls. What Ray said so!”? From there, the Board witnessed more serious presentations
you will find here is the “open door” policy at its best, and just as it should and speeches from students who are at different stages in their legal
be. Every professor, faculty member, and dean is eager to speak to all who education. Dean Vestrand, with her astonishing support of all things Cooley,
decide to enter their offices. What’s more, they don’t limit the discussion encouraged the idea.
to only the course’s subject matter or law school, so feel free to discuss While it was a funny and informative presentation, the conclusion was
practice experience, family, religion, jobs, personal issues, restaurants, amazing. The students who worked with Dean Vestrand on this presentation
sports, or anything else you may have on your mind at the time. If this seems surprised her and made a special presentation to her in appreciation for
too casual or even atypical, then that’s just because it is! The beauty isn’t in everything she has done for our fledgling campus. At this point, I looked
how the Ann Arbor campus is like other schools or even like other Cooley around and every student there (myself included) was teary-eyed and choked
campuses; the beauty of the Ann Arbor campus is, again, in how we all work up. That moment caused me to understand that we truly have something
to set Ann Arbor apart from the typical law school stigma. Chris Jennings, special here at Ann Arbor – something that can’t be explained in a simple
article or described in a five-minute discussion. It is a feeling fostered by all
a second-term student told me,
who work and matriculate here; an emotion which you have to live and be
The Ann Arbor campus is nothing I was expecting; everything
part of to comprehend. We are a family.
about it has been a wonderful experience. The professors make
One of the single largest advantages of Cooley is that we have
coming to class enjoyable and even interesting, while the colleagues everywhere. If you want to work in Iowa and, for some reason,
students here create a positive learning environment. The older move to the U.S. Virgin Islands, you’re in luck! There are Cooley grads in
students are always sharing advice. I had always pictured law both places and Cooley grads help other Cooley grads. The difference is that
school being a more cutthroat atmosphere where everyone has to at the Ann Arbor campus, there’s a special kind of relationship. It’s more
fend for themselves. Yet, here, in Ann Arbor, the professors and to it than we simply graduated from the same law school, but we became
other faculty, like the ARC [(Academic Resource Center)], go friends during our time in Ann Arbor. I came to Ann Arbor in January,
above and beyond to help students achieve at the highest level. I 2010, from southern Kentucky where I have a home, a career in business
am happy to be a part of the Cooley tradition and would not have and banking, a wife, four children, and where I spent time as an elected
it any other way. official as a City Commissioner. To leave all that behind for two years was a
How does the campus make these lasting impressions on its students? daunting prospect, one I wasn’t even sure was possible. Now, I am less than
It is what many call “old-fashioned” human courtesy and interaction. We six months from my last law school final ever and am preparing to go back
treat each other as we wish to be treated; we speak to each other honestly to my family and set-up a private practice in my home town. Could I have
and openly; we respect each other’s wishes, opinions, and lifestyles; we accomplished this at another campus? Maybe. However, I am certain it
embrace the Honor Code; we support each other; we help each other in would have been a more difficult journey with a slimmer chance of success.
times of need; and we listen. So what, right? Doesn’t everyone do this in Cooley – Ann Arbor has become a home for me – a place where I will always
their group of friends or their clique? Yes this is commonplace in a tight-knit feel like I am welcome and where I was once part of something special;
circle of friends or family, but we live this way as an entire campus. You’re something greater than myself and so much more than just an education. If
thinking this just isn’t possible, that I am speaking of a perfect place that you don’t believe me, take a class here and see for yourself. While you’re
cannot be reality in today’s society. Well, I challenge you to come in with here, pick up a copy of “Sweet Home Cooley – Ann Arbor,” then you’ll
an open mind and you’ll be amazed at how happy a place the Ann Arbor understand why we are happy to sing the verse: “Lord I’m coming home to
campus truly is. you!”
From time to time, I hear fellow classmates call our campus “Cooley
High School,” a reference to the small size of our campus and how it seems (AUTHOR’S NOTE – I mean this article as a glimpse into the atmosphere
and ways of the Cooley Ann Arbor campus only – I intend no disrespect or
that everybody knows everything about everyone. I recognize that this
negativity towards any other Cooley campus whatsoever).
4 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
First-Years Moot Court Competition Let Lexis Help You Land a Future Job
Approaching Soon Tanu Chaturvedi, Staff Writer
On June 3, 2011 at the Lansing campus of Thomas M. Cooley Law
The Thomas M. Cooley Moot Court Board is pleased to announce
School, Ms. Kirsten Winek of Lexis-Nexis provided students with an
the First-Year Melissa Mitchell Criminal Procedure Competition for
informational session on how to utilize Lexis-Nexis as a tool in their
job search. Ms. Winek pointed out helpful information that can be
Moot Court simulates the appellate level of advocacy. In the First-
accessible through Lexis-Nexis for law students and Martindale Hubble
Year Competition, teams of two will argue a fictional Fourth Amendment
which is owned by Lexis.
issue before a simulated Supreme Court of the United States. Although
Ms. Winek highlighted that there are links on Lexis that are
competitors come prepared with their arguments, the true test is how
accessible to all Cooley Law students that would be able to assist them
they handle the barrage of questions they will be confronted with by the
in the search for a future internship, clerkship, or job . These links can
judges. It is not only a hands-on lesson about appellate proceedings,
be found under the Career Help Tab on the main screen. Under this
but it is a test of a student’s ability to maintain a legal argument under
tab, one can search for the title Legal Communities. It is under this
enormous pressure. This ability is vital for all of us who aspire to be
tab that one can connect with the large legal community worldwide
attorneys, and it is vital no matter what area of law or what type of legal
through one’s Lexis account.
practice we choose. Under these tabs on Lexis, one can access a search option that would
Members of advancing teams, as well as the top-ten advocates, have allow a student to network and market with prospective employers.
the opportunity to enroll early in the Intra-School Moot Court Class. Lexis has features to search employers by law schools attended by
All competitors are invited to apply for a position on the Moot Court lawyers within their firms and even undergraduate universities. One
Executive Team, or become a General Body Member of Moot Court. can even run a worldwide search by geographic location or practice area
Competing is also an excellent way to learn more about Criminal and upload one’s resume with the simple click of a button. Further,
Procedure and prepare for the final exam in class. several webinars and tutorials are available on job-hunting performance
The competition will begin for students’ at all three campuses on tools. Also, through Martindale Hubble, the online worldwide attorney
Friday, July 8th and Saturday July 9th. The Quarter and semi-final directory owned and operated by Lexis, one can create an online profile
rounds will be held on Sunday, July 10th , at the Lansing campus. The and use the website as a sort of “Linked-In” for legal professionals.
final round will be held in Lansing on Monday, July 11th, at 5:00 p.m. There are also job-postings available through Lexis-Nexis.
in CC501. However, perhaps the most useful features of the job search tools
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come and see the finalist available on Lexis involve the ability of the user to research a particular
compete. If you have any questions about the competition or are firm and their attorneys in precise detail. One can look at charts of
interested in helping out, please contact our First-Year Committee: their practice areas, what judges and courts the firm has litigated in
Brandon Abro, Evan Balmer, Princess Page, Tauri Thomas from Lansing, front of or with, pull up actual cases the firm has litigated and one can
Autumn Nigro from Ann Arbor, John Kuzmich, Richard Shemanski actually read these cases, and bring to light all of this information in an
from Auburn Hills and Cody Betush, Katie Sessions, Christine Welton actual interview which is likely to set apart the candidate who utilizes
from Grand Rapids. You may also contact the Moot Court Chairperson, these tools from other prospective applicants for the same job.
Julianne Oliver at email@example.com. Lexis access is available to all Cooley students that are presently
enrolled, and access remains active six to eight weeks after graduation
Relieve Sore Back & Neck Muscles… from Cooley. Ms. Winek is happy to set up one-on-one sessions with
interested students that need more information or further assistance.
Eliminate Headaches… Her contact information can be found on the Lexis website home page
Increase Concentration… for all Cooley students.
For Your Health & Well-being… Cooley Law School Professor Joins Panel
on Pentagon Papers
Massage Cooley Law School Associate Professor Devin Schindler participated
recently in a seminar at Grand Valley State University on the lasting impact
of “The Pentagon Papers” and the recent documentary, “The Most Dangerous
& Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.”
The event, held at GVSU’s Loosemore Auditorium, was particularly
timely because on Monday, June 13, exactly 40 years after Ellsberg made
history with his explosive leak of the Papers, the 7.000-page report was
Wellness released in full by the National Archives. The Pentagon Papers was a secret
government study that chronicled deception and misadventure in the U.S.
conduct of the Vietnam War.
Ellsberg, at the time a Pentagon employee, spirited out highlights of the
Pentagon Papers, which were published in the New York Times on June 13,
(517) 203-1113 1971, in one of the most epic whistle-blowing events in U.S. history.
Participating with Schindler on the panel, which was held at the Gerald
R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, was Ellsberg, via Skype;
www.massageandwellnessonline.com as well as Gleaves Whitney, director of the Grand Valley State University
Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and former U.S. Rep. Peter
Hoekstra. Schindler, a constitutional law and First Amendment expert, has
General Public: $55 / hour been a member of the Cooley Law School faculty since 2007.
$35 / half-hour
$75 / 90 minutes
Students: $45 / hour
$30 / half-hour
$65 / 90 minutes
Conveniently located in downtown East Lansing,
between Abbott and MAC at 201-½ E. Grand River Suite 19
Above Noodles & Company
*** Validated Parking *** Former U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Director of GVSU Jauenstein Center Gleaves Whitney,
and Professor Devin Schindler.
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 5
Sharing Outlawed Something to
Cooley Law Review Interim Publicity Editor Geoffrey Weed
In this modern era of online piracy, many lawmakers are concerned with drafting new statutory Dominque Vielle, Staff Writer
protections for intellectual property.1 Those who support such measures argue that they are necessary to As future attorneys, we all
combat copyright infringement, especially infringement conducted through foreign websites.2 But others, know that in our future we will
join a profession that helps and
such as Senator Ron Wyden, argue that some of the new protections go too far, infringing on free speech
serves others. Many of us enter
and posing a threat to electronic commerce.3 law school with the intent to enter
A case in point can be found in a recently passed Tennessee law that makes it unlawful to share log-in into a profession that will benefit
information for websites that provide users with “entertainment content.”4 Popular services such as Netflix, and change the lives of the people
Hulu, Pandora, and Rhapsody will be covered by the new law.5 In describing how the proposed bill would in our communities.
To help us start on this
work, its sponsor, Rep. Gerald McCormick, told the Associated Press that the bill makes it illegal to “send
path, many of Cooley’s student
your username and password to all your friends so they can get free subscriptions.”6 But while the bill would organizations and offices present
apply to everyday consumers who share log-in information with family members or friends for free, the true opportunities for students,
legislative intent is evidently to prevent the sale of log-in information by criminals on a large scale.7 staff, and faculty to serve the
communities where Cooley has
The Bill was first introduced to the Tennessee legislature in February 2011.8 After it was presented to
a presence by participating in
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, he promptly signed the bill into law.9 It will take legal effect on July 1, support activities for volunteer
2011.10 programs and charitable causes.
Under the new law, those who give out log-in information resulting in a theft of less than $500 of The Center for Ethics, Service,
entertainment will be guilty of a misdemeanor, which could be punished by a jail sentence of up to one year and Professionalism encourages
and aids students to participate in
and a fine of up to $2,500.11 A felony charge and even harsher penalties.12 Repeat offenders would also face
community service by identifying
felony charges.13 charitable opportunities and
The recording industry, being familiar with digital piracy, strongly supported the groundbreaking matching students who want
legislation.14 In support of the measure, the industry pointed to the fact that it loses billions of dollars to to serve with organizations
illicit media sharing.15 Another rationale advanced in support of the new law is the hope that it will provide needing help. This summer the
Center for Ethics, Service, and
much-needed protection for artists.16 Mitch Glazier, an executive from the Recording Industry Association of Professionalism is coming to the
America, released a statement expressing his opinion that, “[g]iven the significant economic contributions aid of a couple in need in the
of the music community to the [State of Tennessee], it’s important to ensure that the hard work of artists, Cooley community.
musicians and labels is protected against emerging ways to steal music.”17 For the past six months
Professor Gell has been offering
Of course, there are many who oppose the new legislation.18 In an interview with CBS News, one
pro bono assistance to a local
Tennessee college student described the new law simply as “stupid.”19 Others have offered more reasoned couple, for privacy’s sake we will
critiques.20 For instance, journalist Jared Newman argues that the law will be difficult to enforce.21 He call them Meredith and Eric,
contends that because subscription services that stream entertainment content are intended for use from with estate planning and end-of-
various locations and on different devices, it will be difficult to determine which accounts are being used life issues. Eric had just been
diagnosed with cancer and given
illegally.22 Likewise, Newman claims that the legislation is unnecessary because subscription services already only a few months to live when
have adequate legal recourse to protect their interests.23 He argues that civil actions against violators are Professor Gell met them. While
sufficient and that there is no need for criminal sanctions.24 Finally, he notes that subscription services helping them out with putting
already have the ability to limit the number of devices to which users can simultaneously stream content.25 Eric’s affairs in order, it seemed
that assisting the couple with
At this point, it is unclear whether other states will follow Tennessee’s lead and pass similar legislation.26
their legal needs would be the
Similarly, as the discussion above indicates, the wisdom of such legislation is fiercely debated. But it is only one area of concern. Looking
abundantly clear that the music industry will actively lobby for governmental action and protection.27 Either to the future, as most lawyers
way, whether needed or not, the new law in Tennessee is just the latest shot in the ever-intensifying war do, Professor Gell realized that
against digital piracy – a war that began with the inception of Napster and shows every sign of continuing Meredith would need a full-time
job once Eric passed away, and
on indefinitely into the future.28 that her need for serious dental
assistance would hold her back.
1 See Grant Gross, Senator Blocks Controversial Copyright Bill, PC World, May 27, 2011,
http://www.pcworld. com/businesscenter/article/228841/senator_blocks_controversial_copyright_bill.html. Unfortunately, Eric passed
2 Id. away a couple weeks ago and
4 Don Reisinger, Is Sharing a Log-in a Criminal Act?, CNET News, Jun. 2, 2011, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20068233-17.html. Meredith is going to need that
5 Chloe Albanesius, Share Your Netflix Password, Go to Jail?, PC Magazine, Jun. 2, 2011, http://www.pcmag. com/article2/0,2817,2386316,00.asp. smile more than ever. A dentist
that volunteers at Mel Trotter’s
8 Id. dental services program has
9 Reisinger, supra note 4. agreed to do all the work at his
11 Douglas Stanglin, Tenn. OKs Bill to Criminalize Sharing Passwords for Netflix-type Accounts, USA Today, Jun. 1, 2011, cost, but additional funds are still
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/06/tenn-oks-bill-to-criminalize-sharing-passwords-for-netflix-type-accounts/1. needed. In order to help, Cooley’s
13 See H.B. 1783 (Tenn. 2011), available at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/HB1783.pdf. Center for Ethics, Service, and
14 Ellis Hamburger, Tennessee Law: Sharing Your Netflix Password Could Land You In Jail, Business Insider, Jun. 2, 2011, Professionalism is asking Cooley
15 Tenn. Targets Sharing of Web Subscriptions, Boston Globe, Jun. 2, 2011, students and staff to help them
http://www.boston.com/business/ technology/articles/2011/06/02/tenn_targets_sharing_of_web_subscriptions/ (hereinafter “Tenn. Targets Sharing”). to reach their goal to raise
16 Albanesius, supra note 5.
$500.00 to help her get that smile
18 See, e.g., Edecio Martinez, Sharing Netflix, Rhapsody Login Illegal in Tennessee, CBS News, Jun. 2, 2011, by donating your extra change
http://www. cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20068350-501465.html; Jared Newman, Live in Tennessee? Careful with that Netflix Password, PC World,
Jun. 2, 2011, http://www.pcworld.com/article/229283/live_in_tennessee_careful_with_that_netflix_password.html.
from pockets or couch cushions.
19 Martinez, supra note 17. Collection containers are
20 See, e.g., Newman, supra note 17. circulating the Cooley campuses
21 See id.
22 Id. and donations are being accepted
23 Id. in the Center for Ethics, Service,
25 Id. and Professionalism office. In the
26 See Albanesius, supra note 5 (quoting Mitch Glazier, who noted that the Tennessee law in question is the first of its kind). words of an old proverb, “If you
27 See Martinez, supra note 17.
28 See Ed Oswald, Sean Parker Says Music Industry Will Rebound, PC World, May 26, 2011,
see a friend without a smile; give
http://www.pcworld. com/article/228806/sean_parker_says_music_industry_will_rebound.html. him one of yours.”
6 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 7
Alumni Profile: Kevin Meyer
James Scalera, Staff Writer
Law students often times face unique obstacles and become confused determination and ambition Kevin moved forward with this idea, making
as to how best to succeed and where to focus our talents and abilities. We several contacts in entertainment hubs like Los Angeles, New York, and
may sometimes wonder how we should approach a certain course, what kind Nashville and drawing several notable artists and bands to the festival in the
of law we want to practice, where we find ourselves ending up after we years to come. In the 1990s however the MSU Festival began to dwindle
graduate, or even what influenced our decision to pursue the practice of law. and lose support, but Kevin refused to let the idea of such an event dissipate.
Some may have decided to attend law school to attain a better lifestyle for This is what motivated Kevin to found the Common Ground Music
themselves and their families. Others may have been driven by a deep love Festival in 2000. Branching off of the idea of the MSU Festival, Kevin
for law and the legal practice, while still others may have looked towards believed that an annual music festival featuring national acts and centered in
the opportunities that a law degree can potentially provide. And some are Lansing could assist in revitalizing the downtown area while generating an
simply motivated by ambition, dedication, and hard work because of their economic impact for the Mid-Michigan area. The strong work ethic that he
own intuitive spirit. The latter is what seemingly best describes Thomas M. developed over the years resulted in Common Ground becoming a reality.
Cooley Law School alumnus Kevin Meyer. This year will mark the 12th year of the annual week-long festival that is
Kevin’s journey through college, law school, and up to the present day recognized as the premier summer event in the greater Lansing area with
has been marked by one amazing trait he possesses: the ability to remain renowned performers, great food, and activities for individuals of all ages.
true to himself and continually pursue his passion for music. Kevin succeeded in making the idea of Common Ground become a reality
As an undergraduate student at Michigan State University (MSU), because he was able to advance an idea using his talent and insight. This
Kevin took some time off from school, forming a band with a few other year’s festival includes several national stars such as Trey Songz, Lynyrd
individuals and traveling around the Great Lakes area to perform. Initially a Skynyrd, LL Cool J, and Melissa Etheridge among many others.
business administration major at MSU, he decided to go pre-law because of Kevin is the Executive Director of both Common Ground Music Festival
his ambitious attitude toward the music industry. He believed that if he was and the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, which started in 2009 in Canada
not going to continue to be a performer, he could instead become involved and features several famous country musicians annually. He is also the
in the field of entertainment law. CFEE of Meridian Entertainment Group and continues to practice law in
Kevin’s interest in music influenced him to continue performing with his Lansing. While his clients in the music industry are separate from his law
band following graduation from college. He then refocused his skills and clients, Kevin reiterates that he uses the tools and skills that he acquired at
work ethic to the area of law, deciding to attend Cooley. However, Kevin’s Cooley each and every day. Whether negotiating a contract with a musician,
interest in music and the music industry never died as he found himself applying his knowledge of intellectual property, or informing others of how
particularly interested in the fields of entertainment law and intellectual the law applies in a specific context, Kevin has always utilized his knowledge
property. He was determined to continue to focus on the legal aspect of the of the law throughout the years regardless of whether he is serving as a
music business and would often research entertainment law and intellectual lawyer or working as a businessman. Amazingly, Kevin and his associates
property treatises in the Cooley library. organize roughly 200 nights of entertainment acts each year in places around
Then Kevin’s truly admirable work ethic influenced him to start a the world, yet Kevin still finds time to practice law. His unyielding devotion
production booking company while simultaneously attending law school. and integrity is undeniable.
He developed a network of proprietors and musicians and obtained a talent Kevin’s advice to those of us currently at Cooley is to get hands-on
license from the State of Michigan. He then worked with others to book experience whenever we have the opportunity. He feels that if there was
music events in Michigan, Ohio and Florida, booking as many 50 to 60 acts something he could have done differently he would have participated in
per week in order to help finance his legal education. Kevin’s entrepreneurial clinics, externships, clerkships, or other opportunities wherein a law student
spirit enabled him to both run a business and work towards obtaining a law can get real world experience prior to starting a professional career. He
degree, meeting the demands that such an endeavor undoubtedly presented. believes in focusing your talent in areas that interest you and networking
Earning his law degree in 1985 and subsequently passing the bar wherever possible in order to move to the next level.
examination in 1986, Kevin proceeded to start his own general practice. All of us are unique; each of us will have our own distinct experience with
However, the demand for lawyers in the entertainment field was low in law school and what is to come after graduation. But one thing is certain: as
Mid-Michigan and Kevin’s passion for music did not dwindle. He therefore individuals who aspire to be lawyers,
continued to practice law while taking advantage of any opportunity to we all strive to be leaders and to
become involved with the music industry that came his way. help others succeed, something
In 1987, Kevin was asked to take part in organizing the MSU Festival that begins with ourselves. Kevin Marc P.
in East Lansing, Michigan, a music and arts festival established as part Meyer’s story exemplifies that by
of the sesquicentennial celebration for the State of Michigan. Realizing urging you to go your own way with Mallory D.D.S.
Kevin’s potential, the organizers of the festival requested that he attempt the skills you will acquire at Cooley
to draw national acts in the following year. Consistent with his uncanny so that you too will succeed. General Dentist
107 E. Washtenaw
Lansing, MI 48933
8 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
Health Care Challenges Shine an Uncomfortable Spotlight on the Federal Judiciary
Cooley Law Review Interim Publicity Editor Geoffrey Weed
It would be naïve to assume that the political beliefs of federal Such seemingly lockstep political decision-making has led many
judges are universally subservient to the rule of law.1 But, in the harsh to the conclusion that similar decisions will continue at the appellate
light cast by the current challenges to President Obama’s healthcare level.13 In fact, a great deal of the news coverage of the impending
reform, even the jaded might be shocked by the seeming politicization appellate review has centered on the political backgrounds, leanings,
of the federal judiciary.2 Such open, tawdry, political bias is arguably and beliefs of the various circuit court judges.14
an embarrassment to the legal profession and the national conscience. For instance, the four challenges that are currently on appeal include
The trouble centers around the numerous challenges that have two that were heard by a Fourth Circuit panel on May 10, 2011; one that
been brought against the embattled Patient Protection and Affordable is scheduled before the Sixth Circuit on June 1; and another to be heard
Care Act (the “Act”).3 Depending on one’s political inclinations, the by the Eleventh Circuit on June 8.15 In discussing the Fourth Circuit’s
Act might more commonly be called the “healthcare law” or, for those review, one article opined that “Obama could hardly have wished for a
oppose the legislation, “Obamacare.”4 A provision that is particularly better outcome,” as he had appointed two of the judges on the panel,
important in the pending challenges requires citizens to purchase while the third judge was a Clinton appointee.16 The same article went
health insurance by 2014, providing financial penalties for those who on to quote a law professor from the University of Richmond, who
fail to do so.5 Those challenging the Act argue that the legislature said, “This was certainly a favorable draw for the government . . . [a]
lacks constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause to force ll three judges appeared more skeptical of the challengers’ argument
Americans to purchase insurance.6 Supporters of the Act, on the other and more accepting of the federal government’s.”17 Indeed, with an
hand, argue that because every person is a healthcare consumer at apologetic tone, another journalist premised his analysis by stating, “It
some point in life, it is indeed constitutional for the federal government pains me to partisanize [sic] things in such a manner, but the fact is
to mandate the purchase of health insurance.7 that Republican appointees have generally struck down the measure
As of the beginning of May 2011, thirty-one different lawsuits had and Democratic appointees have generally upheld it.”18
been filed seeking to invalidate the Act.8 Federal district court rulings In fact, the political or ideological differences between those
had been handed down in five of those cases, four of which were poised challenging the Act and the Fourth Circuit panel were evidently so
for appellate review.9 Sadly, as commentators have been quick to point great that one panel member, Judge Andre Davis, laughed openly at
out, the polarization of the district court decisions strongly suggests counsel for the challengers during oral arguments.19 But what is not a
that those decisions were political, not jurisprudential.10 Of the five laughing matter is the tendency of such behavior to bring scorn upon
decisions, a federal judge appointed by a democratic president heard the judicial branch, to erode the foundation of the rule of law.20
three of the cases, while a federal judge appointed by a republican Whether the decisions ultimately reached by the appellate courts
heard two.11 Predictably, the democratic appointees all upheld the Act, will follow strict political lines remains, of course, to be seen.21 Perhaps
while the republican appointees each ruled that it was at least partially at either the Circuit Court or Supreme Court levels, the challenges
invalid.12 will receive a truly impartial review. Yet, in some ways the damage has
1 See Andrew Cohen, The Health Care Law Arrives on Appeal, Atlantic Monthly, May 9, 2011,
already been done; the clear public consensus seems to be that political
http://www. theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/the-health-care-law-arrives-on-appeal/238550/ beliefs, not legal principles, reign supreme in our federal courts.22
2 See id.
4 See, e.g., Paige Winfield Cunningham, Federal Appeals Courts Set to Hear ‘Obamacare’ Cases: 13 See, e.g., Cohen, supra note 1.
Requirement to Purchase is Challenged, Wash. Times, May 9, 2011, http://www.washingtontimes.com/ 14 See, e.g., id.; Sack, supra note 9; Larry O’Dell, Appeals Court in Va. Gears Gealth Care Cases,
news/2011/may/9/federal-appeals-courts-set-to-hear-obamacare-cases/; David G. Savage, Healthcare Denver Post, May 10, 2011, http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18031831.
Law Showdowns Loom in Appeals Courts, L.A. Times, May 10, 2011, 15 Sack, supra note 9.
http://www.latimes.com/health/la-na-health-court-20110510,0,729942.story. 16 O’Dell, supra note 14.
5 Bill Mears, Appellate Court Set for Health Care Review, CNN.com, May 9, 2011, 17 Id.
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/ POLITICS/05/09/health.care.courts/. 18 Cohen, supra note 1.
6 Debra Cassens Weiss, Health Care Law Gets First Appellate Hearing on Tuesday, ABA J., May 9, 2011, 19 Garrett Epps, Will Ken Cuccinelli’s Health-Care Challenge Be Sidelined?, Atlantic Monthly, May 11, 2011,
7 Cunningham, supra note 4. sidelined /238714/.
8 Federal Appeals Court to Hear Arguments in Va. Health Care Overhaul Challenge, Wash. Post, May 9, 20 See, e.g., John W. Frost, The Topic Is Civility – You Got a Problem With That?, Fla. Bar J. 6, Jan.
2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/federal-appeals-court-to-hear-arguments-in-va-health- 1997, available at https://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/JN/JNJournal01.nsf/Articles/
care-overhaul-challenge/2011/05/09/AFl6dBYG_story.html. 2E51A0DE81102CC585256AD B005D60FA.
9 Kevin Sack, Battle Over Health Care Law Shifts to Federal Appellate Courts, N.Y. Times, May 8, 2011, 21 O’Dell, supra note 14.
http:// www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/us/09appeals.html?_r=1. 22 See id.; Cohen, supra note 1; Epps, supra note 19.
10 See id.; Cohen, supra note 1; Savage, supra note 4.
11 Sack, supra note 9.
The Thomas M. Cooley Moot Court Board is sponsoring a “baby drive.” We are collect- A box will be in the moot court office, room
ing baby items that will be donated to the Hannah House in Lansing, Michigan. Hannah’s 306, for all donations. If there are any ques-
House is dedicated to providing shelter, food, clothing, classes, and mentoring to homeless tions, comments or concerns, contact:
pregnant women in an effort to help prepare moms to effectively rear a family. All UNUSED
and/or GENTLY USED baby items are needed. Here are some possible suggestions: Katera Howard
Moot Court Executive Team:
• Diapers • Bottles Special Projects and Philanthropy
• Diaper Bags • Pacifiers firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bibs • Clothing
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 9
Alcohol, Rage & Jealousy – Cooley Law School Turns Out in Force
The Cause of a Friend’s Death? for 2011 Kidney Walk
Ntandose Hlabangana, Staff Writer
Over 100 people from Cooley Law School recently participated in
This summer, the Thomas M. Cooley Lansing Mock Trial Board held the National Kidney Foundation’s 2011 Kidney Walk this month. Team
the Lansing Evidence Competition, which is a competition for those Cooley accounted for about 20 percent of the walkers in the annual
students who are currently in Evidence or have already completed event and raised $5,630. Overall there were 550 walkers participating,
the course. This term’s competition was based on the popular drama and there was $52,575 raised in sponsorships and walker money to date.
Beverly Hills 90210, where Ms. Kelly Taylor, Ms. Donna Martin and Ms.
Brenda Walsh were involved in a vehicle accident on a New Year’s Eve
night. Ms. Martin died from the accident and Ms. Walsh was charged
with one count of vehicular manslaughter.
A competition such as this provides students with the dynamics
of trial advocacy. This is where each competitor’s skills to argue a
case and cross-examine witnesses are practiced and allows them to
learn and understand the rules of evidence. The Trinity 2011 Lansing
Evidence Competition winner was Thomas Riley, with Alvin Lee from
the Ann Arbor Campus taking second place.
I had the opportunity of witnessing Mr. Lee in the Preliminary
rounds of the competition. As any participant in Mock Trial or Moot
Court Competitions would say, Mr. Lee expressed that the most valuable
thing he gained from the competition was experience. In his words, he
highlighted that participating in the competition was one thing “no Team Cooley at the Kidney Walk.
amount of studying, listening to lectures or planning can ever give you.
The walk began and ended at Cooley Law School Stadium, home
It is one thing to read about trials or perform short exercises in a class,
of the Lansing Lugnuts. Walkers could do a 1.3-mile or a 2-mile route,
but it is an entirely different animal to throw yourself into a hostile
passing several Lansing landmarks along the way. Live music, games,
setting and put everything on the line. It helps you learn a lot about crafts and prizes helped round out the day’s events.
yourself and what you are able to do, as well as develop self confidence Dr. Christopher Lewis, Director of Enrollment Programs and Student
and grow from your mistakes.” Services for Cooley, coordinated efforts at Cooley with a group of
students and staff. Lewis indicated the team effort raises awareness, as
well as funds.
“It’s important for the entire Cooley community to realize that kidney
disease affects so many in and outside of our campus. There are many
individuals living with this disease in silence, and being involved in this
walk is just one way in which Cooley can show its support. Cooley has a
history of making a difference in our local communities and we hope to
continue doing this far into the future.”
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded
in 1972, the private, non-profit law school operates J.D. programs
across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.
Today, Cooley Law School has more than 15,000 graduates across the
nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws
programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May
and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at
Mock Trial LEC winner Thomas Riley and Judge Vicky Coe.
Both Mr. Riley and Mr. Lee had some advice to give to future
participants in the competition, which may also be relevant to those
currently taking Evidence, and applicable to law students in general,
which we may be able to carry forward in our professions when we do
practice. An important key to being successful at anything, especially
as law students and in our profession is preparation and due diligence,
for it pays off in the end. As law students we have committed ourselves
to be where we are, and as Mr. Lee states, “it is paramount that you
put everything you have into it, if you choose to commit yourself to
something.” Because by choosing to commit yourself to something
and putting your all into it, you thrive to be the best at it and it will be
reflected by the work product.
“Knowing your rules of evidence, and knowing why they exist,”
is a helpful note for future participants and those currently taking
evidence, as they prepare for finals. “Also when looking through the
affidavits during prep time, ask yourself four questions with every
sentence, 1) Why did the case drafters include this? 2) Does it help the
Prosecutor or the Defense (or both, in some cases)? 3) How can I get
this into evidence when I am the attorney for the side the information
benefits? 4) How do I keep this out of evidence when I am the attorney
for the side that is not benefited by this information? These are wise
words to take heed of, from Mr. Riley. Not only may they benefit future
participants but they too, may be used as a studying tool for that
evidence final, in a few weeks.
Congratulations to Mr. Riley for winning the competition and Mr.
Lee for second place. These are two examples of hard work and due
diligence paying off.
10 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
Disaster Relief Legal Association Volunteers in New Orleans
Khalilah Reed, DRLA President for The Pillar
While many students were on their way home after finally completing every morning from their hotel in the French Quarter. In addition to
exams in week 15, 22 DRLA members as well as advisors were working hard students were also able to experience to unique culture
preparing to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana for the week of April of New Orleans.
17-21 to volunteer their time doing Pro Bono Public Interest work. Students that volunteered at SLLS worked in the areas such as
DRLA’s mission is to gain practical legal and life experience by serving tax, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness prevention, child in need
those in need. While in New Orleans, the mission of DRLA was of care, and title clearance. Many students also accompanied their
met. As you may know the city of New Orleans is still recovering supervising attorney to court proceedings, and did client consultations
from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the physical and interviews at the homeless shelter in the lower 9th ward. Students
devastation and mental devastation that the city faced, many important at the Orleans Public Defender’s Office were able to observe and assist
records and legal documents were lost as well. New Orleans is still in voir dire hearings, murder trials, and client connotations. Many
in need of passionate individuals who are willing to volunteer their students also did jail visits, translated for some of the Spanish speaking
time to make the city a place where people can call home. With this inmates, and transcribed jail phone calls. Whether students decide to
in mind, students were given the choice of either volunteering at the practice in the private sector or public sector this experience showed
Orleans Public Defender’s Office or Southeast Louisiana Legal Services them the importance of helping people in need and how fulfilling that
(SLLS). Nine students volunteered at SLLS and the remainder of the can be. The trip was extremely successful and it is the goal of DRLA
students volunteered at Public Defender’s Office. Students traveled to to provide Cooley students with more life changing experiences like
their worksites by catching the Streetcar, walking, or catching a cab these.
Integrity in Our Communities Speaker Series
Dionnie Wynter with Dean John Nussbaumer
On Monday, June 20, 2011, the Auburn Hills campus of Thomas M. Congressman Clarke credited the CLEO program in which
Cooley Law School welcomed Congressman Hansen Clarke as the Trinity he participated years ago, with helping him succeed in law school,
Term 2011 Integrity in Our Communities Speaker. This is a lunchtime complimented Cooley on its commitment to graduating students who
lecture series offering students, staff and faculty an opportunity to hear aspire to public service, including 2010 Cooley graduate Jacquise
from attorneys, judges, and dedicated professionals who share their Purifoy, his Chief Correspondent. He encouraged the CLEO students
experiences on the topics of ethics, service, and professionalism. For to consider attending Cooley because Cooley values faculty members
this event the Center for Ethics, Service and Professionalism partnered with a heart for serving the community, singling out Professor Florise
with Edge for Excellence, a group established by Cooley Professor John Neville-Ewell in particular, for her foreclosure prevention work. He also
Taylor, which offers mentorship and encouragement to law students gave credit to Cooley for the work the school has done in changing the
who are men of color. image of the legal profession. Ethics and integrity were stressed and
Approximately 75 people attended the event. On hand were the Congressman reminded the students to be themselves.
students from the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Dean John Nussbaumer made welcoming remarks and Professor
College Prelaw Summer Institute and current Cooley students. John Taylor thanked everyone for attending.
CLEO Pre Law Summer Institute Students and Members of Edge for Excellence The Congressman and members of Cooley faculty and administration.
and Faculty and Administration.
The Military Veterans Law Student Association hosted a skeet shoot for their members and friends.
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 11
Join Us at Our New MSUFCU
Branch in Downtown Lansing
104 S. Washington Square
As a student, faculty, or staff member of Cooley Law School, you
are eligible for membership at MSU Federal Credit Union. MSUFCU
is member-owned and is pleased to give back to the community.
We are a proud sponsor of several Cooley Law School events.
MSUFCU members enjoy:
• Free checking with Totally Green Checking
• Award-winning member service
• Over 100 surcharge-free ATMs in the Greater Lansing area
• Low rates on loans, lines of credit, and credit cards
Open your new account today!
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Study & Play In The Park!
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♦ One & Two Bedroom Apartment Homes In A Park-Like Setting
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Equal Housing Opportunity
12 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
Book Edited by
Real Property Taxes in
Michigan, a book edited by
Cooley Law School Professor Gina
Torielli, has won an ACLEA Award
of Outstanding Achievement.
The Association for Continuing
Legal Education (ACLEA) is an
association of the providers of
continuing legal education. It was
established in 1964 and includes
members from the United States
and Canada, as well as the United
Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand,
Africa, and Mexico.
The book helps practitioners
understand the law and learn the
best strategies for handling any
real property tax matter.
The Institute for Continuing
Legal Education, which offers the
book, states the volume can help
• Know what documents and
evidence are persuasive to the
local assessor and board of
• Pick the best strategies for
appealing an assessment to
the State Tax Commission or
Michigan Tax Tribunal;
• Understand what triggers
uncapping and how to avoid it;
• Structure transactions to avoid
or minimize real estate transfer
• Know how a tax lien can
impact your clients’ interest in
real property and how to
protect their interests;
• Prepare the best defenses to
a tax lien foreclosure, whether
at the administrative or at the
Several chapters of the book
were authored by tax practitioners
who are either Cooley Law School
alumni or adjuncts with Cooley’s
LL.M. program. The book can be
email: email@example.com purchased from the Institute at
HURRY IN FOR
The Great Apartment Sale Pet Friendly
$388 per person! Air Conditioned
Patios and Balconies Available
while supplies last DirecTV and Spartan-Net Available
Walk to Campus
www.facebook.com/abbottpointeapartments Professor Gina Torielli.
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 13
AUBURN HILLS CAMPUS NEWS
Meet the Auburn Hills SBA Executive Board
Philip Kim, Auburn Hills Campus Editor
The Auburn Hills campus elected for office, she responded, “I was SBA Treasurer Andrew Rountree SBA Secretary Caitlin Pierce
its SBA Executive Board for 2011- not ready to leave the SBA yet, (“Drew”) (“Cupcait”)
2012. The “E-board” comprises and I wanted to help the incoming
of the following people: E-board using the experience that
I had gained from previously being
SBA President Anthony Johnson on the Auburn Hills E-board. But,
(“AJ”) in fact, I feel that they are doing
a fine job on their own.” Erinn
is currently in her ninth term at
Richard E. Shermanski, Jr.
Drew is from Beaumont, Texas,
and he graduated from Great
Lakes University with a degree Cupcait attended Oakland
AJ grew up in Columbus, Georgia in Business Administration. University where she received her
and attended Thomas Edison Hence, Drew became Auburn degree in Psychology. Cupcait
State College in Charleston, Hills’ current SBA Treasurer. was appointed Secretary by AJ
South Carolina. He received his Drew has been very active on during this term, and the Senate
B.A. in History. While receiving campus since his first term of law approved her unanimously.
his college degree, AJ was, and school at Cooley-Auburn Hills. In Caitlin was previously elected
still, enlisted in the United States addition to being SBA Treasurer, class senator, and is in her third
Air Force. He has been enlisted he has served on the Moot Court term at Cooley.
for six years. AJ is currently in Board as the Judges Chair; the
his sixth term of law school at The Sherminator is from Luzerne Mock Trial Board as the current SBA Director of Public Relations
Cooley. He ran for President County, Pennsylvania, where Competitions Chair,; he helped Jessica Lashier
because he wants to leave the he previously ran for both start the Intramural Sports (“Jess”)
school in a better situation that County Commissioner and State Organization; he currently serves
he found it; meaning, AJ wants Representative. The Sherminator as a T.A. for Torts I; and is also a
more student involvement, and attended Pennsylvania State R.A. for Professor Aiello. Drew is
better communication with the University where he received doing his externship for the U.S.
administration. AJ recently got degrees in Political Science and Attorney’s Office in Detroit, and
married to his wife, Annelise (Le History. He decided to attend when he graduates he plans to
Granger), on 05/14/2011. the Auburn Hills campus because work as a prosecuting attorney, or
he claims, “That is where all of in the Air Force JAG. Drew ran for
SBA Vice-President Erinn Sams the cool kids are.” Shermanski SBA Treasurer because “he wants
(“Erinn”) decided to run for Parliamentarian to make a difference at Auburn
“the moment he was born” (I Hills… no, actually, I ran because
believe this to be a true testament Phil Kim asked me to do so, and
of the Sherminator’s life). The no one else opposed me.” (I
Sherminator has been a part of asked Drew to run because I feel
the AH-SBA since his first term he’s most responsible candidate to
at Cooley, when he was elected handle the student funds). Drew
Bushrod-Washington Senator. is currently in his sixth term at Jess received her B.A. from
He’s in his fifth term at Cooley. Cooley. Oakland University in Sociology
and attended the Auburn Hills
campus because it was closest to
her house. Jess was captured by
the excitement of SBA elections,
and she decided to run right
before the petitions were officially
Erinn is from Buffalo, New York, due. This is Jess’s second term
and she graduated from SUNY- involved with the SBA, and she
Buffalo with a B.S. in Mathematics. decided to get involved because
Erinn chose to attend the Auburn she wanted to get more involved
Hills campus because it was closest with student organizations on
to her home. Last year, Erinn campus. Jess is currently in her
was the SBA Director of Public ninth term at Cooley.
Relations, and is currently the
only returning E-board member.
When I asked Erinn why she ran
14 The Pillar, July 8, 2011
The Pillar, July 8, 2011 15
Understanding the Process: The Red Cross Taps into Delta Theta Pi
The Importance of Mediation and Cooley – Literally
Thomas Angelillo, Staff Writer Herold Jemison, Staff Writer
If there is anything that I have learned from law school it’s the Over the past several months one would be hard pressed to turn on a
importance of understanding the process. Although mediation is not a direct television or read a newspaper article or more accurately, web feed or tweet,
application of the law, it is a valuable tool in reaching resolution in almost not read about natural disasters wrecking havoc and destruction across the
every type of legal matter that comes your way. As the economy continues nation and around the world. Graphic imagery of demolished homes or
to be depressed it is no wonder mediation has become a hot commodity,
sensational pleadings for financial help are but two factors of the aftermath.
showcasing its ability to reach resolve without the costly fees associated
Injured survivors of disasters often times need whole blood replacements.
with litigation. As the economy changes professionals must change as well.
Clients are pursuing litigation less and are seeking cheaper alternative ways The American Red Cross is one of the primary organizations that help
to reach resolution. The answer to this economic change for law students meet this need, often by teaming up with other community organizations to
and attorneys is mediation training. coordinate co-sponsored blood drives.
Mediation is a very extended and detailed process but involves no legal Cooley’s Delta Theta Phi usually hosts a drive each term in conjunction
knowledge. It is more about finesse and composure then anything else. with the American Red Cross of the Great Lakes Region, around week 10
Everyone is familiar with the age-old saying that “actions speak louder than or 11. However, in response to an increased need of whole blood units the
words”; well those words couldn’t be truer. During mediation both parties drive was moved up to week 7. On Monday June 13th from 12pm - 6pm,
want an equal bite at the apple. They don’t want to feel that the mediator is
students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to stop by room 911 of the
bias or pre-determined in there solution. As law students this is a difficult
Cooley Center to make a whole blood donation. The collection goal for this
task to undertake. We are trained from the very first day to think critically,
systematically and to reach a logical conclusion. You must separate your drive was 33 units of useable whole blood. According to Kayla Byrd, Delta
desire to find the right answer, and replace it with the desire to come to an Theta Phi Dean and Drive Coordinator, 37 potential donors showed up to
agreement that both parties can live with, because in mediation there is no the drive and 31 useable units of whole blood were collected. This number
logical legal conclusion or right answer. The resolution, which is potentially is slightly down from last terms 36 units collected but is still a respectable
reached, is one that both parties would subsequently think is best, based number considering this is summer.
on the nature of their conflicting interests in the dispute. The role of the Monica Stoneking, (Communications Manager for the Great Lakes
mediator is not as an award giver, as a judge is traditionally understood to Region of the American Red Cross), says that summer months are typically
be. A mediator is simply present as a facilitator of two disputing parties’
difficult for collection of whole blood units. Vacations and increased
negotiations. In other words, it is a third party assisted negotiation, and
outdoor activities, contribute to decreased numbers at the draw centers. To
searches not for truth but for acceptable resolution.
To understand the process a mediator must first formulate their help continue to meet the needs of hospitals, the Red Cross is reaching out to
introduction. This serves as a roadmap on what the parties will be engaging community members and asking for donations. Ms. Stoneking mentions that
in throughout the mediation. An example of such an introduction would be: at times people don’t necessarily think of donation in terms of immediate
Welcome. It is nice to finally meet you two in person. My need which is understandable unless they have been directly impacted by
name is Thomas Angelillo and I am a third year law student such a need. This is why collaborated efforts with community organizations
at Thomas M. Cooley Law School. I will be conducting this (such as churches, schools, and other businesses) are key to the Red Cross’
mediation today. I commend the two of you both, for choosing collection totals. These collaborations help increase community awareness
mediation as a possible alternative to litigation.
of donation needs without which (according to Ms. Stoneking), the Red
In participating in this mediation each party will be provided
Cross would not be able to sustain the procurement of life-saving whole
a pen and piece of paper. While the other party is talking, please
take notes so that no party is interrupted, this way every party blood.
will calmly be heard. In terms of immediate need, blood types B- and O- are in urgent demand.
I do encourage you to talk to each other, just not over one B- is very rare [only found in 2% of Caucasians, 1% of African Americans,
another. If, during the mediation there are threats that I believe 1% of Hispanics and only 0.4% of Asians]1. O- is the universal blood type
are creditable or threats of great bodily harm, then I must disclose and in instances of extreme emergency, can be given to any patient without
them to the courts. Also if information comes to light that has having to first test them for blood type. The Red Cross would like to implore
not been disclosed before then this information may become individuals with these blood types to make a donation, as it may help save a
discoverable as well.
life. For those unaware of their blood type, making a donation is an excellent
Otherwise, this meeting is confidential and no information
way to find out and is useful information for one’s own personal medical
unless specified above will be revealed from this meeting. There
will be no surprises. knowledge.
I want to make it clear that I am not here as a judge or a This summer, as an additional incentive the Red Cross of the Great Lakes
decision-maker. I do not have that power or capacity in this Region has partnered with Meijer and Best Buy to offer donors the chance to
setting and further am not entitled to this opinion. win one of several gift cards. Donors have the opportunity to win a $125 gas
Overall, this is an agreement that you will come too together, card or $200 grocery card from Meijer, or a $500 gift card from Best Buy-
and I am here to facilitate this. Each of you will get a copy of this -drawings to be held at the end of each of the summer months. Donations
agreement, if one is reached, and it is binding upon you signing it. can be made at the American Red Cross’ donation center at 1729 E Saginaw
Once the process is underway, you as the mediator must control the
in Lansing, MI, or to find a donation center or blood drive near you visit
situation and know that sometimes there are deeper underlying issues between
www.redcross.org and enter your zip code for a convenient location.
the parties that stall the process. In a deadlock, you as the mediator want to
facilitate mediation with the strategic move of calling a caucus in assisting The American Red Cross is one of the nations primary emergency response
parties to come to their own agreed resolution. Either a party or mediator organizations, offering assistance during disasters both domestically and
that is involved in the dispute can call a caucus. Caucuses are meetings with internationally. For additional information about the American Red Cross,
each party that individually seeks out what lies at the root of the party’s visit their website at www.redcross.org.
emotions and their interactions with each other to get to resolution. Delta Theta Phi is a legal fraternity whose mission statement is “To
Overall, Mediation is a very detailed process and this article is just a foster lifelong friendships and professional affiliations through legal
snapshot of what training and being a mediator is all about. As mediators education, international networking and mutual respect.” In addition to the
we are expected to exhibit preparedness, confidence and impartiality when
blood drive DTP coordinates a variety of academic, philanthropic and social
utilizing this process for it to successfully work. Mediation has become a
events throughout the school year. For additional information on DTP, visit
great tool to be able to offer clients in our current economic time. As law
students we must recognize the importance of the economic trends and how them on the portal or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
it impacts our careers. The use of mediation training is one way of moving
with this changing tide.
16 The Pillar, July 8, 2011