Cooley Law School Logo
Events Header Image

Past Events


Cooley Law School Innocence Project to Host Wrongful Conviction Panel Discussion at Alpena Community College

Cooley Law School Innocence Project, together with Alpena Community College, will host a panel discussion, “The Impact of Wrongful Conviction: An Exoneree Panel Discussion,” at Alpena Community College on Thursday, April 11. Registration is available online for the free event on April 11 at 7:00 p.m. 

The panel discussion will feature exonerees Eric Anderson, Marvin Cotton, Ken Nixon, and Gilbert Poole.

•    Anderson was exonerated on Apr. 30, 2019, after nine years in prison
•    Cotton was exonerated on Oct. 1, 2020, after 20 years in prison
•    Nixon was exonerated on Feb. 18, 2021, after 15 years in prison
•    Poole was exonerated on May 26, 2021, after 32 years in prison

Hear their first-hand accounts of how flaws in Michigan's criminal justice system resulted in them being wrongly convicted and what it took for them to finally be exonerated. Ann Garant, managing attorney for the Cooley Law School Innocence Project, will facilitate the event. 

This event is free and open to the public with in-person and online attendance options available. All guests are asked to register before the event online. 

The Cooley Innocence Project is part of the Innocence Network which has been credited with the release of over 375 wrongfully convicted prisoners, mainly through the use of DNA testing. It is the only post-conviction DNA innocence organization in Michigan. Since its inception, the office has screened over 6,000 cases and is responsible for the exoneration of nine individuals: Kenneth Wyniemko (2003), Nathaniel Hatchett (2008), Donya Davis (2014), LeDura Watkins (2017), Kenneth Nixon (2021), Gilbert Poole (2021), Corey Quentin McCall (2021), George DeJesus (2022), and most recently, Louis Wright (2023), who spent 35 years being wrongfully imprisoned. Additionally, the Cooley Innocence Project also helped to exonerate Lacino Hamilton, Ramon Ward, Terance Calhoun, and Crystal Mulherin.


Cooley Law School Partners with Michigan Attorney General's Office to Host Expungement Fair on March 22

Registration is encouraged and available online for those wishing to have convictions expunged.

Cooley Law School will host an Expungement Fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, March 22, in the law school’s lobby. During Cooley Law School’s expungement fair last October, volunteer attorneys and law students under the supervision of licensed attorneys assisted 91 guests with their expungement paperwork.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Attorney General, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, and Safe & Just Michigan. Registration is open online for those wishing to have their convictions expunged. Limited walk-in appointments will be accepted on the day of the event.

Expungement removes arrests and convictions from a person’s public criminal record. Criminal offenses that have been expunged are no longer accessible to employers or landlords. Michigan law has always allowed for expungements, but the “Clean Slate” legislation enacted in 2020 made more individuals and offenses eligible for expungement. This process became available to the public in 2021. On April 11, 2023, the automatic expungement provisions went into effect, allowing for the automatic expungement of some felonies and misdemeanors. Under the new law, individuals with up to three expungement-eligible felonies and any number of misdemeanors can have their records expunged. Certain traffic violations and first-time operating while intoxicated offenses can be expunged. Additionally, misdemeanor marijuana convictions that would not have been considered crimes after recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan can be expunged.

Friday, March 22, 2024, noon-4 p.m.  

Cooley Law School - Lobby, 300 S. Capital Ave., Lansing, MI 48933

Pre-registration is closed, but walk-in's will be accepted the day of the event.      

Expungement Fair

MLK Day Conversation with Dr. Joseph Silver


Join MLK Day keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Silver, Sr. for  his talk on Maintaining The Vision of Freedom, Justice, and Equality. Dr. Silver is President of Silver and Associates, a full-service higher education consulting firm. The firm has over a 25-year track record of assisting colleges and universities solve complex problems, accreditation issues, and developing sound strategic planning. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024 from Noon-1:00 p.m. (EST)



Dr. Joseph Silver





A Hard Look at Textualism (and Some of Its Canons)

A Hard Look at Textualism (and Some of Its Canons). Is textualism really the objective, neutral theory of interpretation that it claims to be?

Monday, Nov. 27, 2023 @ noon
Cooley Law School
300 S. Capitol Ave., Downtown Lansing
Room 911

Please join the American Constitution Society for a compelling discussion with Distinguished Professor Emeritus Joseph Kimble. Lunch will be served.


A Night on the Serengeti: 2023 Barrister's Ball in Tampa

Join us for an unforgettable evening of elegance and excitement at this year's Barristers Ball, A Night on the Serengeti, where elegance meets adventure! 

Friday, Nov. 10, 2023
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa, Florida

The dress code is black-tie optional but allows for a touch of creativity in line with our theme. Hors d'oeuvres, dinner, and dessert are included with your ticket purchase. An open cash bar will be available, offering a selection of beverages and specialty cocktails. As the night unfolds, dance to the beats of our DJ, celebrate our award recipients, and revel in a night of enjoyment. Secure your tickets now and join us for an unforgettable adventure under the starlit Serengeti sky!


Barristers' Ball at ZooTampa

Expungement Fair

You're invited to join Michigan Representative Emily Dievendorf at an Expungement Fair on Friday, 10/27.

The In-Person Expungement Fair will be held:

Friday, October 27, 2023 from noon-5:00 p.m.

Cooley Law School
Cooley Center
300 S. Capitol Ave. 
Lansing, Michigan

Limited walk-in appointments will be accepted on the day of the event.

Expungement Fair



Affirmative Action Law Review Symposium

WMU-Cooley Law School’s annual Law Review Symposium will feature an in-depth look at affirmative action. Experts will discuss the current and future consequences of the most recent Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. The Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and overruled 45 years of precedent established in prior Supreme Court decisions. The Court’s ruling continues to allow colleges to consider how race has affected a student’s life and their ability to contribute to the educational institution. 

The annual event, which explores current relevant legal topics, will take place:

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.



Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel

Professor Michael McDaniel

Ret. Brig. General and Professor Michael C.H. McDaniel joined the WMU-Cooley Law School full-time faculty as a professor in the Constitutional Law Department in 2010 and developed an LL.M. program in Homeland and National Security Law. Before joining WMU-Cooley full-time, Professor McDaniel served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance. He was also appointed by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as her Homeland Security Adviser while simultaneously serving as the Assistant Adjutant General for Homeland Security, Michigan National Guard. During his time in the military, he served as the State Judge Advocate as a member of the Michigan National Guard for over 27 years, and he was promoted to Brigadier General in 2007. McDaniel has written extensively on a number of Constitutional issues.

Professor Juan F. Perea

Juan Perea

Professor Juan Perea joined Loyola University Chicago’s full-time law faculty in 2011. Prior to joining Loyola, he taught at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Harvard Law School, Boston College Law School, and the University of Colorado School of Law. 

Perea has written extensively on racial inequality, the legal history of race relations in the United States, and the civil rights of Latinos. His articles have appeared in Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and many others.

Attorney Elina Robinson

After graduating from WMU-Cooley Law School, Ms. Robison has spent her career providing assistance to County residents who believe they have been discriminated against because of race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. She is an Investigator and Mediator Specialist, Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, Certified Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator & Counselor, and on the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.




Wrongful Conviction Day Panel

On Monday, Oct. 2, the Cooley Law School Innocence Project, in partnership with Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, will recognize National Wrongful Conviction Day with a free panel discussion featuring Innocence Project exonerees. 

Panelists will include exonerees Kenneth Nixon, Gilbert Poole, George DeJesus, and his brother, Melvin DeJesus. Nixon and Poole were exonerated in 2021, while the DeJesus brothers were exonerated in 2022.

The event will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Warner’s Grand Rapids office, 150 Ottawa Ave. NW. Seating is limited. Attendees must register in advance online.

“Our commitment to helping those wrongfully convicted has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of our work,” said Tracey Brame, director of Cooley Law School’s Innocence Project. “It is important we work within local communities to raise awareness for the estimated 975 innocent individuals who are locked up every year.”

Established in 2001, the Cooley Law School Innocence Project is the only post-conviction DNA innocence organization in the state. Since its inception, the office has screened over 6,000 cases and is responsible for the exoneration of eight individuals: Kenneth Wyniemko (2003), Nathaniel Hatchett (2008), Donya Davis (2014), LeDura Watkins (2017), Corey McCall (2021), Nixon, Poole and DeJesus. It also helped to exonerate Lacino Hamilton and Ramon Ward, both in 2020, and Terance Calhoun and Melvin DeJesus, both in 2022.

“We are proud to host this event and support the work of Cooley's Innocence Project to create change and impact the lives of those our justice system has wronged,” said Warner Partner Christopher E. Tracy. “We look forward to the experiences and insights the panelists will share as we collectively strive to raise awareness and create a lasting impact on the lives of those who have been wrongly convicted.”

The project is staffed by Cooley Law School students, who work under the supervision of Cooley Innocence Project attorneys. Those interested in donating and supporting the work of the Cooley Innocence Project can do so at In its 10th year, Wrongful Conviction Day began as an effort of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro-bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions and supporting the exonerated after they are freed.

Seating for this in-person event is limited. Attendees must register in advance for this event. 

This event is funded in part by a grant from PNC Bank. 


Exoneree Panel

Wrongful Conviction Day