Cooley in the Community

Students, staff, and faculty serve the communities where Cooley lives by supporting the activities of numerous organizations. The Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism encourages community service among Cooley employees by identifying service opportunities and matching employees who want to serve with agencies needing help. Each year, a Cooley employee from each campus is publicly recognized for outstanding community service and receives the Great Deeds Award. Through the Great Deeds Award, the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism has recognized these employees for excelling in community service:  Jill Pullum, Joan Vestrand, Tony Alvarado, Fred Puffenberger, Martha Moore, Nelson Miller, Nancy Wonch, Stevie Barachkov, Aletha Honsowitz, Danielle Hall, Julie Clement, Audra Foster, Katherine Fleming, Marjorie Gell, Julie Mullens, Norm Fell, Jason Eyster, Val Schnable, Patrick Corbett, Dave Tarrien, and Victoria Cruz-Garcia.

For additional information on Cooley's pro bono programs and opportunities, visit Pro Bono Programs.

Program Highlights

Tampa Bay Students Learn About Children's Advocacy

On June 18, 2013, Cooley's Children's Advocacy Law Society partnered with Cooley's Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism to host a "meet and greet" among the student organization and the non-profit organizations "Crossroads for Florida Kids" and "Florida's Children First." Approximately, two dozen students gathered to hear representatives of the non-profits discuss their organizations and how they use their law degrees to help children with legal needs. Students also learned about the important role pro bono attorneys can play in children's advocacy.

Newly Formed Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) Chapter Host Mentoring Event

Michigan Hall of Justice
Pictured (from left to right) are: Mao Lee
(Cooley FAWL Vice President),
Feleshia Henderson (Cooley FAWL Treasurer),
Jocelyn Paiz (Cooley FAWL President),
Michal Brown (Cooley FAWL Secretary), and
Brittany Maxey (FAWL President Elect).

On June 19, 2013, Cooley's newly formed chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) partnered with Cooley's Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism to host a speed mentoring event for students. Student participants included members, and prospective members, of Cooley's FAWL chapter. During the event, attorneys from the Pinellas County chapter of FAWL served as mentors and Cooley's chapter received its official charter from FAWL.

Lawyers for Literacy 2013

Lawyers for Literacy Event Student ParticipantsStudents, staff, and family from the Tampa Bay campus participated in the Hillsborough County Bar Association's annual Lawyers for Literacy event. Participants read books to children attending head start and early head start programs at various locations throughout Hillsborough County. The children participating in the event were provided with a book to keep.

American Bar Association's National Pro Bono Week

National Pro Bono Week at the George Edgecomb CourthouseSeveral students, and the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism, celebrated the American Bar Association's National Pro Bono Week by helping staff the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit's Pro Bono Table at the George Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa. Participants distributed information regarding pro bono opportunities for attorneys and free legal resources for the community. The information distributed included several pro bono services offered by Bay Area Legal Services and other programs in Hillsborough County. Cooley participants included: Martha Aristizabal, Eula Bacon, Amy Bandow, Marla Boudreaux, Michal Brown, Marla Garland, Shawlonda Johnsonbarnes, Nicole Karlau, Alice Porch, Amir Rezvani, Jennifer Robinson, Brian Sklaire, Goran Vasilic, and Jerita Wilson.

National Make a Difference Day 2012

National Make a Difference Day 2012Several Tampa Bay campus students, along with the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism, participated in National Make a Difference Day on October 27, 2012. National Make a Difference Day is a nationwide day of helping others on the fourth Saturday in October. The students participated in a veterans' assistance project organized by the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa and the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Through the project, gifts were collected to fulfill veterans' "wish lists," and delivered to veterans living in foster homes in and near Hillsborough County. Cooley participants included: Alexandra Anderson, Martha Aristizabal, Amy Bandow, Milena Castro, Felicia Corsaro, Christopher Dold, Datiana Gay, Jose Morales, Anthony Preston, Amir Rezvani, Jennifer Robinson, and Brian Sklaire.

Mental Health Walk 2012

Mental Health Walk 2012Students, staff and family from the Grand Rapids campus participated in the 10th annual Stomp Out Stigma walk for mental health. “Team Cooley” raised over $300.00 for the West Michigan Mental Health Foundation. The walk supports educational programming to encourage individuals living with severe depression to seek help.

Supporting Area Veterans

Supporting Area VeteransThe Cooley Veterans Corp, supported by the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism at the Grand Rapids, organized a drive and delivered "wish list" items such as: batteries, blankets, socks, puzzle books, stamps, paperbacks, snack items, and personal care products for the veterans living at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. The drive was a huge success!

Schools of Hope

Schools of HopeSchools of Hope students, faculty, and staff at the Grand Rapids campus collected school supplies for Heart of West Michigan United Way's Schools of Hope program. Students Monique Howery and Blair Parker volunteered to help "Stuff the Bus." All items go to Grand Rapids Public School students that can’t afford needed items to start school.

Day of Caring

Day of CaringDay of Caring Heart of West Michigan United Way's Day of Caring was a huge success. The Grand Rapids campus participated in three projects (2 more than in 2010). The student section of the Women’s Law Association of Michigan, along with Student Services staff, treated the ladies at Clark Retirement Village to mini-manicures. Members of the Student Bar Association served cake and ice cream to over 500 students, parents, and teachers at Potter House School. The school was celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Outdoor Carnival Fundraiser

The Black Law Students Association held an outdoor carnival fundraiser that netted over $2,000 for Kids Food Basket, a local nonprofit that serves sack suppers to school age children that would not get an evening meal. The event was a huge success! Students, faculty, and staff contributed items for a silent auction. A lemonade stand, a pizza "hut," and ice cream booth, kept everyone from starving. Four faculty members: Professors Tarrien, Krause-Phelan and Molitor, and Assistant Dean Tracey Brame, went into a dunk tank to raise additional funds.

The First Tee of West MichiganThe First Tee of West Michigan

The First Tee of West Michigan Students and staff volunteer to assist The First Tee of West Michigan with the program launch at three Grand Rapids Public Schools. It is the first time the Professional Golf Association sponsored program has been brought to Grand Rapids. Twenty grade school students were introduced to the game of golf, showing respect for others, and taking aim at life goals, over a three day period.

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls Cooley students and staff helped the Grand Rapids Senior Neighbors Center decorate for the holidays. The Cooley volunteers put up Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and front window displays. Children from West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science made paper snowflakes which the volunteers displayed in the windows and cards for the older adults to enjoy.

Thanks and Giving

Students, faculty and staff at the Auburn Hills campus collected and distributed complete Thanksgiving dinners and Walmart gift cards to 200 less-fortunate families in the City of Pontiac. Contributors and partnering sponsors included the Oakland County Bar Association, Straker Bar Association, Cooley-Auburn Hills and Cooley Ann Arbor Student Bar Associations, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Law Offices of Duane S. Weed, National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Kappa Foundation, and Cooley Law school alumni.

Light the Night Charity Walk

Cooley students and staff participated in the annual Light the Night charity walk in Royal Oak, Michigan to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Michigan. A total of $885.00 was raised by the Cooley Auburn Hills team to build awareness of blood cancers and raise funds for cures.

Pro Bono Month

As part of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School'scommitment to service, its students, staff, faculty and alumni affiliated with the nation’s largest law school will provide an estimated 14,000 hours of pro bono legal services this month to hundreds of Michigan residents and nonprofit organizations.

Take it to the Streets

Students and staff participated in Dégagé Ministries' "Take It to the Streets" fundraiser. The walkers had a great time and raised over $300.00 to support services provided to the homeless and low-income in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids.

Cooking in the Neighborhood

Faculty and staff from the Grand Rapids campus participated in the Heart of West Michigan United Way's "Day of Caring." To assist with fundraising efforts, CooleyCares' volunteers cooked and served breakfast at Senior Neighbors’ SE Grand Rapids location. Several more volunteers cooked and served a barbecue lunch for residents of Verne Barry Place Apartments. Residents there were all once homeless and are living with mental illness or physical challenges.

The Least We Can Do

Cooley's Service to Soldiers: Legal Assistance Referral Program recently assisted Michigan National Guard JAG officers in preparing wills and powers of attorney for approximately 650 deploying Guardsmen and women at Fort Custer in Augusta, Mich., the largest Service to Soldiers event to date.

Michigan Soldier in Iraq Sworn In as an Attorney Via Live Video Conference

The Long-distance ceremony for Army Major Miles Gengler of Grand Blanc is a cooperative effort of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, National Guard, and Michigan Supreme Court.

Cooley Delivers

Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Family Law Assistance Project and Estate Planning Clinics deliver meals bi-weekly to seniors throughout Auburn Hills as a part of the local Meals on Wheels program. Faculty, Staff attorneys and Cooley students contribute to the overall well-being of seniors by providing regular nutrition and contact with a caring volunteer. Pictured here are Assistant Professor Dustin Foster and Staff Attorney Lindsay Citrin of the Estate Planning Clinic getting ready to deliver meals on Sunday, August 9, 2009.

Campus Highlights

At the Ann Arbor campus, students and staff assist in the Misdemeanor Defender's Office and in the Clerk's Office of the 14B District Court. They participate each year in Making Meals Happen, providing Thanksgiving dinner to 200 families in Washtenaw County. Cooley students and staff also perform community service for Avalon House and Food Gatherers, support the Irish Perennial Society, the Volunteers of America, the Public Service Committee of the Washtenaw County Bar Association, the Washtenaw County Bar Association's Bias Awareness Week, and the American Red Cross. Additionally, this year they held a mitten, hat, and scarf drive for needy residents of the Washtenaw County.

In Grand Rapids, students and staff assist St. John's Home, a nonprofit agency that provides a variety of programs for troubled children in Grand Rapids, Ferguson Apartments for formerly homeless people, Heart of West Michigan United Way, the Stomp Out Stigma–Walk for Mental Health for the West Michigan Mental Health Foundation, and the Grand Rapids chapter of the Hispanic Latino Law Society. Students and staff also help to fill personal care packages to be distributed to veterans who seek services at the annual Stand Down event for veterans, paint ceramic bowls for the "Soups On For All" charity event to benefit God's Kitchen, purchase basic essentials and special items for the patrons at Dégagé Ministries at Christmas time, and educate parents of school age children with documented special needs on their rights at Individualized Education Program meetings. Students also support the Grand Rapids Heartside Agency Kids Food Basket, which is a nonprofit organization that provides over 3700 sack suppers to Grand Rapids Public School children living below the state and federal poverty level every day, with "Feast for Kids," the largest fund raiser for the organization.

In Auburn Hills, students and faculty continue to prepare tax returns for indigent Pontiac residents through a program with Lighthouse of Oakland County; assist organizations including Women’s Survival Center, Links (a not-for-profit corporation sponsor that raises funds for nonprofits), CARE House, an arm of the Oakland County Abuse and Neglect Council, Ruth Peterson Community Center, Meals on Wheels, Northridge Church in Plymouth, Lathrup Village Community Foundation, Elim Baptist Church, and the American Cancer Society; offer direct assistance to shelters including Open Door Rescue Mission Soup Kitchen, Interim House, Haven House, Spirit of Hope Soup Kitchen, and Habitat for Humanity; contribute to lawyers’ research and writing for a real estate website designed and maintained by Professor Florise Neville-Ewell to educate people about real estate and foreclosure issues; and sponsor families and soldiers for meals and gifts during holidays.

In Lansing, faculty, staff, and Cooley students offer assistance at Lansing Area AIDS Network, City of Lansing Diversity Committee, Loaves and Fishes, Open Door Ministry, City of Lansing Project Homeless Connect, Ingham County town hall meetings where we assist with housing and foreclosure issues, the City of Portland, Downtown Lansing YMCA Wellness Center, Lansing Education Advancement Foundation, Ingham County Teen Court, Task Force on School Closings or Consolidation, Alzheimer's Association/Michigan Great Lakes Chapter, the Beekman Therapeutic Riding Program, Advent House Ministries, City of Lansing Park Board, and the Fenner Nature Center, and sponsor families at Christmas time.