Cooley Law School presents Inaugural Student Great Deeds Award

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By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

The first-ever Lansing campus recipient of Cooley Law School's Student Great Deeds Award, Shane Goodale, was recognized this month at the school's Honors Convocation.

Goodale, who "is very honored to receive the award" was accompanied by family members at the ceremony. He received the award for a variety of volunteer endeavors.

Shane is the founder of Cooley's Open Door Ministry Assistance Project where pro bono legal services are offered to those in need. Goodale's program has not only helped dozens of Lansing residents, but has also created many pro bono opportunities for his classmates at Cooley.

"The Ministry Assistance Project is housed at the Central United Methodist Church across from the State Capital Building in downtown Lansing," Goodale said. "It is a day homeless shelter.

"In my professional responsibility class, we are encouraged to become involved in the community. I have a friend who told me about the shelter and then I came to know Executive Director Chris Bobier and it came to my head that this would be a great community outreach project. I thought 'why don't we provide legal services for the homeless people."

Goodale put that thought into action, contacting Bobier who was receptive to the idea. He then took the idea to Professor Nancy Wonch who taught the class who encouraged him to continue with the plan. Goodale wanted to use his newly learned legal skills to help the less fortunate in Lansing. Other Cooley students joined him. That was in 2009.

Since then Cooley students have provided pro bono legal services and assistance each term to homeless and low-income individuals at Open Door Ministry. The organization's primary focus is on emergency situations, and its overall mission is to provide sustenance, counseling, assistance and love to those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

When asked about the nature of the legal problems, Goodale said, "we direct our clients to legal services if they have criminal charges, we write letters and provide assistance. One client had medical bills and was an Asian immigrant who thought he was going to jail but we helped him get all his bills taken care of through a scholarship program at Sparrow hospital."

Goodale also donates his time to Meridian Township as a member of the Planning Commission, and serves on the board of directors for Stormfield Theater. Goodale who attended Indiana State University, will graduate in December of this year.

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Published: Thu, Aug 11, 2011

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