Daily Briefs

WMU-Cooley Law School announces new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative

On Jan. 12, while celebrating its Founders Day, WMU-Cooley Law School announceds a new initiative devoted to increasing the practices of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession. This new program, WMU-Cooley’s DEI Champions, will celebrate WMU-Cooley’s long history as one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, while also recognizing our partners in the community who are equally committed to these values.

Throughout 2021, WMU-Cooley will be inviting individuals and organizations to become an official DEI Champion, signaling their commitment to working with the law school in recruitment efforts, student scholarships, more diverse hiring practices and curricular enhancements. Events will be planned throughout the year to recognize these partners and to promote this initiative.

“The American Bar Association’s latest profile of the legal profession showed that only 14 percent of U.S. lawyers identified as being an underrepresented minority,” commented James McGrath, President and Dean of WMU-Cooley Law School. “While WMU-Cooley is well above that mark with 43 percent of our students as self-identified minority students, we believe that the entire legal profession can and must do better.”

The DEI Champions effort will be co-chaired by Christina Corl from the Plunkett Cooney law firm, and Aaron Burrell from the Dickinson Wright law firm. Corl and Burrell are also members of the WMU-Cooley Board of Directors. “I am thrilled to be part of this new initiative and encourage everyone who cares about diversity, equity and inclusion to consider joining us in this effort,” said Corl. “It is an important time in our history to have all aspects of our justice system be inclusive and diverse,” added Burrell.

For more information about this initiative or to find out how you can become a partner DEI Champion, please contact Pamela Heos, Director of Donor Relations at 517-371-5140 ext. 2014 or heop@cooley.edu or visit the BECOME A DEI CHAMPION page for more information.  


Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission elects first Black female chairperson

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission held its biennual election of officers on Monday, January 11. For the first time since it was created in 1969, the Commision elected a Black woman as chair.

Hon. Karen Fort Hood, who sits on the Michigan Court of Appeals, was elected chairperson. Hon. Jon Hulsing, who sits on the Ottawa County Circuit Court, was elected vice-chairperson. James Burdick, Esq. was elected secretary. The biographies of these Commissioners accompany this email. The officers serve for a two year term.

Judge Harold Hood was the first, and the only other, African American chosen to chair the Commission. Judge Hood served as chairperson from 1988-1990. Judge Karen Fort Hood and Judge Harold Hood are not related to each other.

The Judicial Tenure Commission is responsible for helping Michigan judges remain ethical and addressing complaints that they have acted unethically.


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