Entering students at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus participated in the Professionalism in Action (PIA) program and took the law school’s honor code oath during orientation on Jan. 5. The Professionalism in Action orientation program is provided by WMU-Cooley Law School in cooperation with the State Bar of Michigan.
Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Carl Marlinga administered the law school’s honor code oath, which all entering students, faculty and staff take as a commitment to the law school’s ethical standards during orientation. The honor code states that “ethics are as important as academic performance and the mastery of practical legal skills,” which Marlinga echoed during his remarks.
"The study of ethics is important for all professions, but lawyers in particular because it is a specialized part of what should be a natural commitment that all of us have to honesty, morality and justice," said Marlinga.
Pictured (left-right) Lisa Halushka, WMU-Cooley Law School; Antoinette Raheem, Law & Mediation Offices of Antoinette R. Raheem PC; Michelle Donovan, Plunkett Cooney; Matthew Weaver, Giarmarco Mullins & Horton PC; Lewis Langham, Law Office of Lewis Langham Jr PLLC; Keela Johnson, Giarmarco Mullins & Horton PC; Donald Rockwell, Nill Rockwell PC; Honorable John Gilbreath; Alan Gershel, Attorney Grievance Commission; Honorable Carl Marlinga, 16th Judicial Court; and John O'Brien, U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Michigan.
Donald Rockwell, State Bar of Michigan president, provided opening remarks for the PIA portion of the orientation program, where students were able to meet judges and attorneys from the community and discuss ethical situations legal professionals may face.
"Ethics. If I were to define the most important aspect of a legal profession, that's it. You can be the most brilliant lawyer in the history of lawyers, but if you are not ethical, you are nothing," said Rockwell.
Judges and attorneys who participated were Michelle Donovan, Plunkett Cooney; Alan Gershel, Attorney Grievance Commission; Honorable John Gilbreath; Keela Johnson, Giarmarco Mullins & Horton PC; Lewis Langham, Law Office of Lewis Langham Jr PLLC; Marlinga, 16th Judicial Court; John O’Brien, U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Michigan; Antoinette Raheem, Law & Mediation Offices of Antoinette R. Raheem PC; Rockwell, Nill Rockwell PC and president, State Bar of Michigan; and Matthew Weaver, Giarmarco Mullins & Horton PC.
Marlinga began his career in private practice. He served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Macomb County, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and a special trial attorney with the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force. Marlinga was a founding board member of the Care House Facility for forensic interviews and the care of sexually abused children. He has worked with the University of Michigan Innocence Project to set aside convictions of wrongfully convicted individuals.
Rockwell is the founder of Nill Rockwell, P.C., and devotes most of his time to serving as university counsel for Kettering University. He also litigates and serves as a mediator, arbitrator, case evaluator and umpire in various types of disputes, including personal injury, property, business, insurance and employment claims. He has served on the SBM Board of Commissioners for many years, and has served as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president-elect. He has also served on the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly. Rockwell has served as a judge on the 67th District Court bench in Genesee County. Rockwell is also currently serving as president of the Flint Township Civil Service Commission, as well as a board member and secretary of Carriage Town Ministries.