Legion of Merit Medal Awarded to Kathy Lawrence, Cooley Administrator
November 14, 2013 - For the second time in three years, a member of Cooley Law School’s staff has been honored by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs with its Legion of Merit award. Kathy Lawrence, an administrative assistant for Cooley’s Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism, was presented the award, on Nov. 8, during a pre-deployment event at Camp Grayling, in Crawford County, Mich. Major General Gregory J. Vadnais, the Adjutant General and director of Military and Veterans Affairs for Michigan, presented Lawrence with the award.
Lawrence was specifically recognized for her work with the Michigan National Guard through Cooley’s Service to Soldiers Program. The program, which was created by Cooley in 2007, offers free legal assistance to Michigan and Florida military personnel who are deploying, serving, or have recently returned from deployment and are experiencing civilian legal concerns. The program is offered statewide to service members of E5 rank or below, and works cooperatively with other veteran and military assistance programs.
As a member of the program team, Lawrence has attended nearly every soldier readiness processing event in the last five years, and helps coordinate attorneys and law students who volunteer to assist at the events. At these events, she personally notarizes the majority of the wills and power of attorneys prepared for the deploying troops, which has been estimated at over 4,000 documents. Lawrence also coordinates free legal assistance for service members. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs estimated the value of the assistance provided through the Service to Soldiers Program, including Lawrence's notary services and other work, at $2.8 million.
Heather Spielmaker, director of Cooley’s Center for Ethics, Service and Professionalism, who was also presented with the award in 2010, noted, “Kathy has touched many lives through her work with the Service to Soldiers Program. She loves the work she does on behalf of our soldiers and never expected any recognition. She is an inspiration to us all and exemplifies the concept of service being internally rewarding and externally meaningful.”
About Cooley Law School: Celebrating 40 years of excellence, 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 17,000 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 in Tampa Bay, Fla.