Food for thought: Cooley Law grad previously worked in the food industry

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Luciana Viramontes’ interest in law was piqued during a 10-year career in the food industry, where she became very familiar with food safety laws and regulations and developed compliance, food safety, and training programs.
“At the management level, I regularly spent time reading and interpreting laws and regulations, and this really continued to grow my interest in the further study of law,” she says.

 Clearly, her new career path was the right choice. Viramontes received a slew of honors at the July WMU-Cooley Law School Honors Convocation, including the Alumni Distinguished Student Award, Student Bar Association Distinguished Student Award, Leadership Achievement Award, and induction into Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers. Earlier in the year, she received the Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) Foundation General Motors Scholarship and Award.

Viramontes considers her induction into the National Order of Scribes a great honor.

“More and more cases are resolved through alternative dispute resolution methods, and many resolutions are reached because of the attention placed on drafting detailed, well-researched complaints, responses, and mediation briefs,” she says. “As courts dockets become congested, well-drafted legal filings can also be instrumental in providing the court with tools necessary to resolve disputes by presenting cohesive legal analysis and arguments.
Being recognized as a skillful legal writer means a great deal to me, and will certainly be a skill I can use to benefit future clients.”

She served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, which put on the Distinguished Brief Awards and a Symposium.

“I had the opportunity to work with the best and brightest students, amazing writing department faculty, our very distinguished faculty advisor, and authors from all over the country to publish multiple editions of the WMU-Cooley Law Review, both in print and online,” she says.

She also served as Media Alerts Editor, reading and summarizing precedential 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decisions published by the American Bar Association.

“The best part was working directly with the faculty adviser, having your work published online, and promoted via Twitter as a tool for practicing attorneys who subscribed to updates so they could stay current on 6th Circuit decisions,” she says.

As treasurer for the International Law Society, she was part of a team that brought the organization back to life.

“It’s definitely a growing area of law and one that intrigues me, and being a part of this community helps keep me informed and involved,” she says.

As a teaching assistant for the Dean of Academics, Viramontes helped improve the Summer Skills program.

“It was also exciting to hear about, help with, and see how the faculty and staff are continuously improving the curriculum and programs,” she says. “I’m excited about all the programs and ideas WMU-Cooley develops for every kind of student, including non-traditional students like me.”

From a young age, Viramontes was interested in careers that involved helping others.

“Initially, I wanted to join the diplomatic world, but as time went on, found myself more and more interested in the practice of law as a mechanism to help others,” she says.

A graduate of Central Michigan University with an undergrad degree in political science, Viramontes chose WMU-Cooley in Lansing for the flexible schedule options that allowed her to individualize her schedule based on her needs and those of her family.

“I’ve experienced all that Cooley has to offer on the weekend, evening, and weekday programs,” she says. “I also had a wonderful faculty advisor who supported me in customizing my schedule to get the most out of law school.”

She has high praise for the faculty, staff, and administration.

“They truly go above and beyond to make sure you’re getting the best legal education,” she says. “They push you to succeed, but also offer you a tremendous safety net—always being available to help you along the way. I’ve benefited tremendously not only from the classroom experiences but also the amazing extra-curricular opportunities.”

Moot court was a completely new and rewarding experience.

“I loved researching and writing the memorials, which are the equivalent of an appellate brief, only for the International Court of Justice. I was the only 2017 team member who was able to work on both sides of the controversy, so I really got to know both sides of the argument and this helped me prepare for the competition level,” she says. “I probably gained the most from the oral arguments experience. It really prepared me for those situations where I might be interrupted mid-argument and need to be able to think on my feet without having a prepared script.

“Overall, the entire experience of working as a team with some of the school’s most talented students, and two experienced and talented advisers, is something I’ll always remember. I also feel I will forever be part of the Jessup community and hope to help judge the competition some day.”

From her second term on, Viramontes has been working at the Senior Citizens Law Center, PLC in Grand Ledge, conducting legal research and drafting legal documents including wills, trusts, motions, discovery requests, bankruptcy filings, and briefs for this small general practice firm.

“Attorney Al Dalimonte took a chance on hiring me as a law clerk after only one term of school, and ever since I’ve had the pleasure of working on a variety of cases at the firm,” she says. “I’ve gained invaluable experience in document preparation, client counseling, and much more. I’ve found this experience invaluable as a supplement to my education, and I love that I work with fellow Cooley graduates.”

She participated in the Cooley Volunteer Corps as an agent at Michigan Legal Help, assisting people with resources to navigate the legal system.

“It was such a great opportunity to help others and I even learned some things along the way,” she says.

Her favorite volunteer activity was Cooley For Kids, when the school hosts students from Lansing Parks and Recreation for a Lansing Lugnuts baseball game at Cooley Law School Stadium.

“Hanging out with kids at the ballpark and seeing their faces light up when they got to walk out on the field and stand with the players was amazing,” she says. “What a tremendous way to give back while acting as a role model.”
Viramontes continues to hit the books as she prepares for the bar, and would like an opportunity to clerk for a judge or justice.

“Eventually, I’d like to continue my studies through an LLM program in taxation, particularly focusing on international taxation,” she says.   

A native of Porto Alegre, Brazil, Viramontes now makes her home in Delta Township, west of Lansing.

“I moved to the Lansing area in 2012 and have quickly come to appreciate so much about the area,” she says. “I’d very much like to remain here and continue to experience all it has to offer.”

The mother of two sons, Viramontes also is close to her parents, brothers, sister, nieces, and nephews, as well as a German exchange student who has become an addition to her family. 

“My family is my motivation, and I strive to leave a legacy of hard work, dedication, and perseverance for them to follow,” she says. “I’ve also been blessed with the unwavering support of my significant other, Brian Cummings, who has supported me throughout this law school journey and the significant challenges I’ve worked through in the last three years.”
 

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