Duly Noted

WMU-Cooley Grand Rapids Associate Dean Brame named ‘Leader in the Law’

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids Associate Dean and Professor Tracey Brame was named to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “Leaders in the Law” Class of 2020.

The honorees were chosen for outstanding contributions to the practice of law in Michigan, continuously setting an example for other lawyers, demonstrating tremendous leadership and offering a wealth of expertise in many areas of the law.

“I’m humbled to be honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s ‘Leaders in the Law’ Class of 2020 among my esteemed colleagues throughout the state,” Brame said. “I went into law in order to provide equal opportunity representation to all members of our community. Since joining WMU-Cooley, I’ve dedicated my teaching to inspire students to take an active and socially-conscious role throughout their education and practice.”

While Brame is passionate about criminal law and defense cases, she has a strong disposition for advocacy work and feels there are far too many African Americans in prison who did not receive appropriate legal representation. This belief leads her to work in the community to enriching the lives of youth.

Brame, in partnership with the Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA), opened the Access to Justice Clinic, where she currently serves as director. Staffed by students under faculty supervision, the clinic offers free legal services to low-income and under-represented residents of Kent County who face barriers due to criminal history and seek expungement of convictions. To date, under Brame’s leadership, the ATJ Clinic has helped 100 people get criminal records expunged.

Collaborating with the Kent County Probation Department, Brame also helped establish a Teen Court, offering an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders. She also volunteers with the 3R’s Program of the GRBA and  Grand Rapids Public Schools.

“Tracey does all this – and additional volunteer roles – while serving as an associate dean and professor at WMU-Cooley, working with administrators to ensure the law school’s Grand Rapids campus is a thriving law school environment,” said Ret. Brigadier Gen. Michael McDaniel, WMU-Cooley professor and associate dean for Lansing. McDaniel, who nominated Brame, was recognized as a Leader in the Law in 2017. “She strongly believes in guiding and mentoring the next generation of lawyers, and serving as a role model, especially for minority students. Using her years of academic and litigation experience in federal district court, state and federal appellate and public defender offices in Michigan and Washington, D.C., Tracey teaches and advises her students to think critically about their career choices and to raise awareness of the challenges minorities often face in the work environment.”


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