Past Events


The History of Racial Injustice in the Criminal Justice System

Black History Month with Takura Nyamfukudza.

Join us on Thursday, Feb. 18 @ 4:00 p.m. for our WMU-Cooley Community Conversations event, with WMU-Cooley Law School graduate Takura Nyamfukudza, partner & litigator with CN Defenders.

Takura Nyamfukudza


Careers in Tax

Find out how to find a career at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

Join the discussion at noon on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021

​Meet Comfort Aduwa, Ashley Van Fleet, and Lauren Simasko.  Lauren and Ashley are both attorneys at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Detroit. Comfort is a graduating senior and has taken a position with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Philadelphia.


Career in Tax



It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: America in 2020

Explore lessons of the past with historian James Kratsas.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 noon
America finds itself divided. While this has happened before in our history, we typically come together to overcome a crisis like the COVID virus. Throw in a contentious presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement, and economic hardship caused by the pandemic and it’s a wonder we are hopeful at all. What can we expect moving forward? Will we rally and not allow distrust, fear and hatred to rule us? America is poised at a crossroad. We have been there before in difficult times and overcome that which threatens us. 

Exploring the lessons of the past, the presentation will show what was different about the United States in 2020 from previous crises and what has not changed. Although nobody can predict the future, there are many reasons our nation will endure. 




Ask Admissions: The Road to Enrollment

Register Here by January 28
Time: 12 - 1 p.m. (EST)
Join us for a virtual Q&A conversation with WMU-Cooley Law School Admissions. During this event, ask any questions you may have about becoming a law student and listen to the WMU-Cooley Admissions team discuss their enrollment process.


Ward Hunt Class Commencement - Virtual Ceremony

Join us live for our virtual graduation ceremony.

  • Date: Sunday, January 24, 2021
  • Time: 1 p.m. (EST)
  • Watch Live 

Controversy in the Community

Grand Rapids Campus BLSA hosts  a MLK Day presentation entitled, “Controversy in the Community” on Monday, January 18, Noon-1:00

Join the virtual online event via Cisco Webex at:

MLK Day BLSA Event

Panelists include Professor Mark Dotson teaches Torts I, Torts II, Criminal Procedure, Equity and Remedies and Business Organizations.  Before joining Cooley, he earned his B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1980, and his J.D. Cum laude from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School om 1990.  He was admitted to the Wisconsin Bar and practiced litigation law with the Quarles & Brady Law Firm in Milwaukee. He specialized in product liability and health care, with extensive motion, discovery, and trial experience. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.

Professor David Tarrien teaches Introduction to Law, Advanced Writing, Research and Writing, Federal Disability Law, Law of Cyberspace, Education Law, and Special Education Law.  He joined the full-time faculty at WMU-Cooley Law School in 2013.  Before joining Cooley, he earned his B.A. from Concordia College in 1997, M.A. from Western Michigan University in 2000, and his J.D. from Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School in 2002.  He served as an assistant attorney for Colpean and Associates in Lansing.    

Professor Tarrien is active in community service. He is WMU-Cooley’s representative on the West Michigan Presidents Compact Committee, and has been a member of the boards of directors for both the Dyslexia Center of West Michigan and Arts in Motion. He is the founder and current board president of Friends of Dyslexia Education for West Michigan Children, which raises funds for area reading programs. He previously served as vice president of the school board for St. Andrew’s School in Grand Rapids, and as a volunteer researcher for the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition in East Lansing.

Attorney Brandon Davis leads the Office of Oversight and Public accountability in Grand Rapids.  The office works to promote trust, transparency and accountability through independent and impartial monitoring and oversight of public safety complaints. Prior to this post, Mr. Davis was a senior labor relations specialist with the city and an assistant prosecutor in Muskegon County.  Mr. Davis is originally from Detroit, where he started he career in law as a defense attorney and Wayne County assistant prosecutor.  He earned his B.A. from Central Michigan University in 2007 and his J.D. from Wayne State University in 2010.

Professor Tonya Krause-Phelan teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Defending Battered Women, Criminal Sentencing, and Ethics in Criminal Cases. Professor Krause-Phelan assists with the West Michigan Defenders Clinic. She also coaches national mock trial and moot court teams.  She earned an A.A. from Ferris State University in 1983, B.S. from Ferris State University 1985, and a J.D. DePaul University College of Law 1988.  Before joining WMU-Cooley, Professor Krause-Phelan worked as both a private criminal defense practitioner and as an assistant public defender with the Kent County Office of the Defender in Grand Rapids.

While in private practice, Professor Krause-Phelan served as adjunct faculty for the School of Criminal Justice at Ferris State University, where she taught Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.  During her years in practice, Professor Krause-Phelan lectured on a variety of criminal law topics, including "Junk Science in the Courtroom: Cross-Examining the Child Sexual Abuse Accommodations Syndrome Expert" and "Getting Experts in Court-Appointed Cases." She has also served on the faculty for the Hillman Trial Advocacy Program.  Professor Krause-Phelan frequently appears as a commentator on numerous radio, television, print, and internet media sources regarding criminal law and procedure issues.

Professor Krause-Phelan has served as co-editor and editor of The Informant, a publication of the former Kent County Criminal Defense Bar. She also has served as editor of Right to Counsel, a publication of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.

MLK Day 2021: Chaos or Community?

MLK Day 2021: Chaos or Community, Monday, Jan. 18 from Noon-2:00 p.m.

The Lansing Campus of WMU-Cooley Law School’s Black Law Students Association event features panelists Monica Lewis-Patrick, CEO of We the People Detroit and Victoria Burton-Harris, Assistant Prosecutor of Washtenaw County, and Mama Sol, a national hip-hop and spoken word artist, transition trainer, humanitarian, breast cancer survivor, publisher, and single mother.

Join the event online via Cisco Webex at:

MLK Day BLSA Event

Victoria Lewis-Patrick is the Co-Founder, President, and CEO of We the People of Detroit. She is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate. She has been at the forefront of the water justice struggle in Michigan, across the country and globally. Lewis-Patrick is known throughout the environmental justice community as The Water Warrior. She is actively engaged in the struggle for access to safe, affordable water for all under-resourced communities.  

Lewis-Patrick currently serves as a member of several organizations, boards, and committees dedicated to the advancement of water equity, including the National Water Affordability Table, All About Water/Freshwater Future - Subcommittee, PolicyLink- Water Energy Resource Caucus (WERC), Michigan Water Unity Table, End Water Poverty, Healing Our Waters/Equity Advocacy and Action Committee, and  In October of 2015, she was named to the World Water Justice Council. In 2019, she was appointed to the International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Advisory Board, and she received an appointment to the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice by Gov. Whitmer.

As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council, Lewis-Patrick has authored legislation, conducted research, and delivered constituency services to thousands of city residents. Lewis-Patrick attended the historic Bennett College. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Sociology and a Masters of Arts of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Criminal Justice/Sociology and Public Management. She is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Michigan.

Victoria Burton-Harris serves as the Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Washtenaw County. Burton-Harris was appointed to this position January 1, 2021 by Prosecutor Eli Savit. She is a native of Flint and a graduate of Flint Southwestern Academy. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2012. During her time at Wayne Law, Victoria taught high school students at Southeastern High School and worked at the Free Legal Aid Clinic as a student advocate for underprivileged families. Passionate about the relationship between law, social justice and equality, she began preparing for a career focused on criminal law and social justice. Victoria served as president of the Black Law Students Association, where she encouraged students to use their legal experience to create positive change for community residents. In 2014, Victoria opened a private firm in the heart of downtown Detroit specializing in family law and criminal defense at the state and federal trial court level. Victoria has represented hundreds of families across Michigan in cases ranging from child custody to murder. Victoria's work has been highlighted on CNN, Democracy Now, The Guardian, Essence, The New York Times, The Appeal, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News and local Detroit news stations FOX 2 Detroit, WDIV and WXYZ Detroit.

When she started her law firm, she had the vision of being a "people's lawyer," and using her law degree to be a vehicle for change. Victoria's passion for justice and equality has led to her involvement with several grassroots organizations as a legal adviser, including We The People-Detroit, Metro Detroit Association for Cab Drivers, BYP-100 and New Era Detroit. Victoria has served on the Legal Services Advisory Committee for HAVEN of Oakland County, developing trauma-informed training criteria and procedures for attorneys handling domestic violence cases. She has also served on the New Lawyers Advisory Board for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, where she has also presented at conferences and seminars. She currently sits on the Coalition for Police Transparency & Accountability, National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Board of Directors for the National Lawyers Guild Michigan chapter and the Board of Directors for Covenant House Michigan, a youth homeless shelter where she developed a mentoring program for residents.

Mama Sol has achieved recognition as a national hip-hop and spoken word artist, transition trainer, humanitarian, breast cancer survivor, publisher, single mother, and “self series” workshop facilitator. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Mama Sol is no stranger to adversity, yet she remains on a constant mission to see, bear and be Light! She has made motivating and assisting people her life’s work.  

Sol’s distinct style of delivery combines her love of lyrics, rhyme and music with her love for youth. She electrifies audiences, urging them to see beyond their circumstances, to choose solutions over excuses. Counteracting the negativity often associated with hip-hop, Sol uses her extraordinary gift and passion for words to encourage others towards self-love, uplifting perspectives, and greater purpose.

Sol had the privilege of writing for FUBU The Collection, alongside video extraordinaire Hype Williams at a very young age.  It was this opportunity that affirmed Sol's desire to become a full-time writer and use her literature to inspire & uplift the masses. She has shared mics, stages & exchanged lyrics with musicians & artists such as Rakim, Destiny's Child, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, MosDef, Talib Kweli, Tank, Dead Prez, Snarky Puppy & many others. Sol has not forgotten the promise she made long ago, to be a positive light in the world.


WMU-Cooley Community Conversations: Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

In this conversation, we will discuss how we can continue to honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and pay homage to his dream today, as attorneys and as a society.


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