WMU-Cooley Law School to Offer Workshops to Support Entrepreneurial and Poverty Relief Initiatives in Grand Rapids

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is offering a series of workshops in Grand Rapids designed to promote area business expansion, including growing minority- and women-owned businesses. The workshops are open to the community, including a for-credit option for WMU-Cooley law students and WMU graduate students.

The workshops will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Jan. 11, Jan. 20, and Feb. 7 and feature a panel of expert guest speakers. The courses are fashioned to help participants define their professional mission, identify local and global business needs, and identify methods to meet those needs. The courses will help participants network with lawyers and professionals, provide support for pro bono service, and work in teams to develop solutions.

“The objective of the course is to raise awareness of needed professional services in overlooked areas of West Michigan's economy," explained Nelson Miller, WMU-Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids associate dean. “By doing this, we hope to, at the same time, encourage investment and growth in these underserved communities." 

The first workshop will feature a panel discussion with speakers Darel Ross and Jeremy DeRoo, LINC-UP; Kenyatta Brame, Cascade Engineering vice president; Brent Geers, founder of Geers Law; Tim Ready, WMU Center for Ethnic Relations director; and Grand Rapids Black Chamber of Commerce representatives.

The second workshop will feature Trey Dimsdale, Acton Institute community engagement director; Jorge Gonzalez, executive director of the Grand Rapids Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities leadership.

The final workshop will focus on women-owned businesses in the local community.  Speakers will include Bonnie Nawara, CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (G.R.O.W.), as well as several female entrepreneurs who will share their stories and insights on overcoming obstacles of a success in starting and developing a business.

“We are excited to be a part of this program,” stated Gonzalez. “WMU-Cooley’s approach, which reaches out to underserved populations, not only will teach people about the systems available to them, it will also assist in advancing and promoting businesses that have experienced barriers in the past.”

WMU-Cooley Law School professors encourage participants to review information found at povertycure.org and Building Your Practice with Pro Bono before attending the workshops. The law school will provide electronic copies of the book to those registered for the workshops.

Participants not seeking credit will be charged a $100 registration fee, which will benefit WMU-Cooley Law School’s academic programs. The course was organized by WMU-Cooley Law School professors and is sponsored by WMU-Cooley Law School’s Center for Entrepreneurial and Commercial Law.

For more information on the course and to register, contact Associate Dean Nelson Miller at millern@cooley.edu.

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.



Goal is to promote business expansion

Focus is on minority- and women-owned businesses

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