Graduates Honored for Outstanding Pro Bono Work by the Legal Services Corporation
August 28, 2012 – Three graduates of Thomas M. Cooley law school are among six attorneys recently honored by the national Legal Services Corporation (LSC) board of directors for their volunteer work with LSC-funded legal aid programs. Michael Stanley, a former business owner who attended law school after losing his sight; Elizabeth Joy Fossel, partner in the Grand Rapids, Mich. office of Varnum LLP; and the Hon. Angela Kay Sherigan, managing partner with Wojnecka & Sherigan and associate judge for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, were each recognized for their outstanding pro bono service. It is the first time in more than 15 years that LSC presented the awards to Michigan attorneys.
"Elizabeth Fossel, Angela Sherigan and Michael Stanley are wonderful examples of attorneys willing to serve the communities they live in," said James Robb, Cooley associate dean for development and alumni relations. "We are proud of what they have accomplished as attorneys and community leaders. They have set a great example for all current and future Cooley graduates."
Stanley began pro bono work with Legal Services of Eastern Michigan (LSEM) in 2011. He initially committed to volunteering for a six-month period at LSEM's Flint, Mich., office for an average of 20 hours a week. After seeing the great need at LSEM and the importance of his pro bono work, he decided to stay on and has contributed more than 1,000 hours of pro bono service in the last year. He also took on senior citizen cases and then became very involved in the Center for Fair Housing.
Fossel was nominated to receive this award by Legal Aid of Western Michigan. Since 1994, she has handled a variety of cases through the organization’s pro bono program. She has spent more than 1,500 hours (valued at more than $400,000) on cases for Legal Aid of Western Michigan. In 2011 Fossel accepted 11 cases from Legal Aid of Western Michigan and has taken on many cases requiring completion in short notice. In addition, if there are cases that she is unable to take, Fossel will find other attorneys willing to help.
Judge Sherigan was nominated by the Michigan Indian Legal Services. She has provided pro bono assistance in the areas of child support, child custody and child welfare cases. For the past 10 years Judge Sherigan has volunteered her time and services to the Michigan Anishinaabek Cultural Preservation and Repatriation Alliance, an organization seeking to protect the human remains culturally related to the alliance of 13 Michigan Native American tribes.
LSC is the largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans. LSC is a nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes nearly 95 percent of its total funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 900 offices throughout the nation.
About Cooley Law School: Founded in 1972, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 16,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.