Staff Attorney Appointed to WMU-Cooley Innocence Project
WMU-Cooley Law School has named Ayda Rezaian-Nojani as staff attorney of the Cooley Innocence Project. The Cooley project works to secure the release of factually innocent Michigan prisoners through the use of post-conviction DNA testing. The staff attorney position is made possible through recent federal grant funding awarded to Western Michigan University and the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project. The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project is part of the Innocence Network, credited with the release of 336 wrongfully convicted individuals. Since its inception in 2001, the Cooley project has exonerated three men and screened over 5,000 cases.
Rezaian-Nojani will oversee case intake and screening as well as assist in preparing clinical students for litigation. She earned her Juris Doctor from WMU-Cooley Law School in 2013 and her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Windsor in Ontario in 2008. She has been a licensed Michigan attorney since 2013. Rezaian-Nojani is working toward her Master of Laws degree, with an expected graduation in 2016
“Ayda Rezaian-Nojani is a valuable addition to the WMU-Cooley Law School Innocence Project,” said director Marla Mitchell-Cichon. “Her experience, community involvement and volunteer work make her a natural fit. She is passionate about serving clients and teaching students."
“The WMU-Cooley Law School Innocence Project is the only DNA-based innocence organization in Michigan and as staff attorney, I will devote my energy toward identifying and securing the release of those who are wrongfully convicted,” said Rezaian-Nojani.
Prior to joining the WMU-Cooley Law School Innocence Project, Rezaian-Nojani worked with the school’s Access to Justice Clinic, the Grand Rapids Urban League’s Tenant Law Project, and the Eaton County Court’s Eviction Diversion Program. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, and the Grand Rapids Bar Association.
About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.