About the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism

Inspiring law students for a lifetime of excellence, service, and integrity

Thomas M. Cooley Law School continues to implement its American Bar Association Professionalism Award-winning Professionalism Program. Cooley’s Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism is dedicated to the following ideals:

  • Lead by modeling and teaching ethics
  • Foster and encourage service
  • Practice professionalism
  • Commit to our communities

By creating a culture of professionalism in the law school, Cooley intends to foster the highest caliber of relationships between the Cooley community and the legal and local communities. We hope our employees, students, and graduates are not just honorable, but are also people you would want as neighbors.

To this end, the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism has launched and maintains many initiatives to ensure our students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to achieve this goal and have many opportunities to do so.


Supporting the law school's mission of preparing law students for professional practice, the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism models and teaches ethics and professionalism, fosters and encourages service, and promotes commitment to our communities.

In the area of ethics, Cooley’s Strategic Plan Mission Statement directs that we ensure our students understand and embrace the legal, moral, ethical, and professional responsibilities of lawyers. The Vision Strategy directs that we enhance programs and courses to help graduates prepare to practice law with professionalism and good character. To accomplish this mission and vision, we wrote, adopted, and implemented Cooley’s Professionalism Plan, which was recognized as one of the best in the country when the ABA’s Standing Committee on Professionalism awarded Cooley the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award in 2006. All of our professionalism efforts and programs are now subsumed in the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism.


Associate Dean of Students and Professionalism Amy Timmer is assisted in operating professionalism programs by Assistant Dean and Professor Cynthia WardProfessor Nancy Wonch, Director of the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism Heather Spielmaker, Center Assistant Directors Amy Bandow (Tampa Bay), Ieisha Humphrey (Auburn Hills), Karen Rowlader (Grand Rapids), and Melissa Stowe-Lloyd (Ann Arbor), Coordinator of Student Professionalism Lisa Davis, and Administrative Assistant Kathy Lawrence.  Associate Deans and Professors Lisa HalushkaJeff MartlewNelson MillerJohn Nussbaumer, and Joan Vestrand, Assistant Deans and Professors Frank AielloTracey BrameChristine Church, Martha Moore, and Ron Sutton, Professors Victoria Cruz-Garcia, Chris Johnson, Peter KempelMike McDanielFlorise Neville-EwellMonica NuckollsLauren Rousseau, Kathy SwedlowDavid Tarrien, and Victoria Vuletich, Campus Director Dionnie Wynter, and Graduate Programs Director Cathy McCollum also make significant contributions to our professionalism efforts. 

Thomas M. Cooley Law School brought together nearly 60 leaders in the legal and higher education fields for the school's inaugural Professionalism Advisory Committee meeting.

Contact Us

If you are interested in more information please contact Heather Spielmaker at (517) 371-5140 or e-mail spielmah@cooley.edu.

Ethics Speakers Bureau

To promote ethics in the legal profession, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism is pleased to provide a speaker to your organization on ethics related topics.

Speakers are also available to speak about law school professionalism programs, and on ethical issues/dilemmas particular to specialized areas of practice such as criminal law, family law, probate, real estate, personal injury and corporate law.

While these presentations are free of charge, donations to the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism are gratefully accepted.

General Topics Include

Avoiding Grievances and Malpractice
Responding to Disciplinary Complaints
Managing and Understanding the Disciplinary Process
Screening for Conflicts of Interest
Advertising Properly
Marketing without Soliciting
Mentoring Law Students and New Lawyers
Ethics Issues for Government Lawyers and Those Who Deal With Government Entities
Understanding and Applying the Rules of Professional Conduct
Proper Handling of Attorney Fees, Retainer Fees and Trust Accounts
Handling Files Properly
Serving Pro Bono Effectively
Serving the Legal Profession
Developing a Positive Professional Identity
Discovering a Meaningful Practice
Dealing with Bias in the Legal Profession

Speakers List

Curt Benson
Lisa Halushka
Peter Kempel
Dena Marks
Martha Moore
Hon. Richard Suhrheinrich
Amy Timmer
Joan Vestrand
William Wagner
Nancy Wonch