The Thomas M. Cooley Law School today announced that Joan Vestrand, associate dean of the school's Ann Arbor campus, has been appointed to serve as a hearing panelist for the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, the adjudicative arm of the Michigan Supreme Court that supervises and disciplines Michigan attorneys.
In Michigan, when a misconduct complaint is filed against an attorney, it is first investigated and then recommended to the Attorney Grievance Commission. If it is determined the complaint is warranted, the Attorney Grievance Commission can then authorize the filing of a formal complaint for public hearing. Once a formal complaint is filed, the Attorney Discipline Board assigns a three-member hearing panel to hear the case. The hearing panel determines one of five outcomes: probation, reprimand, suspension, revocation or dismissal.
Vestrand was selected by the nine-member Attorney Discipline Board to serve on a hearing panel and apply court rules and rules of evidence in the formal complaint cases as a judge would in a non-jury trial.
Vestrand previously prosecuted allegations of professional misconduct in her role as a senior staff attorney for the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. She also spent several years defending lawyers in disciplinary matters as a partner of Moore Vestrand & Pozehl, P.C. At Cooley, she teaches professional responsibility.
There are approximately 400 hearing panelists in Michigan. Each panelist must have at least five years of experience practicing law and no public discipline record. Of the more than 3,000 attorney complaints received by the Attorney Grievance Commission each year, about 200 are formalized and assigned to hearing panels.
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, it operates J.D. programs across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Today, Cooley Law School has nearly 14,000 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 cooley.edu.