WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Florise Neville-Ewell and graduates Lisa M. Esser-Weidenfeller, Ayanna D. Hatchett, the Hon. Paula J. Manderfield, and Ayanna D. Neal, were named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2021 Class of Women in the Law. Each year, the Women in the Law program recognizes high-achieving women lawyers in Michigan and their accomplishments. An awards luncheon honoring the 34 nominees was held on Sept. 9, at the Detroit Marriott Troy.
Neville-Ewell teaches Contracts, Ethics, Property, and Real Estate Finance. She is the founder of the Ten Commandments of Real Estate Law Society (10CORE® Law Society), a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public through outreach. Neville-Ewell is dedicated to providing substantive town hall meetings for the public with law students and volunteer lawyers. The 10CORE® Law Society has provided outreach in Michigan, Florida, Georgia and Maryland. It is in the process of expanding nationally to bridge the gap between the public and knowledge by providing “access to justice through legal literacy.” Additionally, Neville-Ewell is the host of the Housing Gap Podcast, a podcast dedicated to educating tenants and homeowners.
“Housing and real estate law have been a passion for Professor Florise Neville-Ewell from the beginning of her law career,” said WMU-Cooley Professor Martha Moore, who nominated Neville-Ewell. “She is dedicated to educating the next generation of ethical, competent lawyers and is a highly principled and genuine human being who cares about the wellbeing of others.”
Esser-Weidenfeller, is a 2006 WMU-Cooley graduate and is senior shareholder with Sommers Schwartz PC, located in Southfield. She is one of the firm’s youngest-ever shareholders and represents survivors of Michigan State University Dr. Larry Nassar’s abuse. She has represented multiple local units of government in opioid suits against the pharmaceutical industry and is active with the Michigan Association for Justice.
Hatchett, of Detroit-based Johnson Law PLC, graduated from WMU-Cooley in 2006. She is an executive board member with the Michigan Association for Justice and is an officer of the Oakland County chapter of The Links. Hatchett’s practice areas include federal civil rights matters, including false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and unconstitutional use of force by police officers.
Manderfield, graduated from WMU-Cooley in 1982, and served over 20 years as a judge for both district circuit courts before retiring. She is a shareholder with Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap PC in Lansing. Manderfield holds various positions with multiple legal associations and sits on the board of Blue Care Network.
Neal is team leader for the Family and Criminal Divisions at Okemos-based Grewel Law PLLC. She is a 2002 graduate of WMU-Cooley and served 15 years as a prosecutor before returning to private practice. She has served on various boards, including the Ingham County Equal Opportunity Committee and the State Bar of Michigan’s Justice Initiatives.