Down to business: Student aims for a career in transactional law


Photo courtesy of WMU-Cooley Law School

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Wanting to have the power to help people, Jose G. Mancera is in his final year at WMU-Cooley Law School in Lansing, with graduation next January. “I feel people in general can get taken advantage of, and I want to be someone people can trust for help,” he says. “It’s true, knowledge is power, and knowledge of the law equips a person with the tools to help others.”

His passion was evident in his work at the law school’s Sixty Plus Elderlaw Clinic, where he interned September through December before continuing as a volunteer. His work resulted in Mancera being honored recently with the clinic’s annual Board of Directors Award.

 “It feels nice, and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” he says. “The clinic is an excellent place to get one’s feet wet because the supervisors are there with you every step of the way. I owe it to Professor Gary Bauer and everyone that works in the clinic for providing a thriving environment where one can continue to learn and grow.”

Most of Mancera’s work at the clinic involves estate-planning objectives such as wills, medical directives, and powers of attorney. Many seniors need deeds drafted while others require assistance in administering a probate case. He also interviews wards of the Court and then reports and makes recommendations to the Court of the existing Guardianship.

 “I finally got to put into practice what I learned from classes like Estate Planning and Wills Estates & Trusts, and I was able to engage in client counseling,” he says. “Regardless of the different client needs or family dynamics, I found it valuable in serving them. These clients have so much life experience—it’s encouraging to know their needs were met.

 “I decided to return and volunteer not only because it was worthwhile, but because I’m motivated in continuing to learn on how to best serve clients and develop skills necessary to accomplish that. It’s been very beneficial being able to practice law by drafting client documents and giving legal advice.”

Mancera has enjoyed his experience at Cooley Law. “All the professors have practical knowledge and experience that enhance learning,” he says. “It’s a great school to learn the law as professors will make time to meet with you. It’s also conveniently located blocks away from state courts, which allows students to observe different courtrooms.”

Mancera found serving as an Associate Editor on the Law Review was a lot of work, but he enjoyed broadening his knowledge of legal issues in different areas of the law. “I remember the first article I edited—I wasn’t happy with the point of view, nonetheless, I was content it didn’t stop me from being professional and completing the assignment,” he says. “It was important for me to give my best effort as I take pride in my work, and I understand the importance of teamwork.”

A native of Hanover Park, Ill., Mancera started his career path with his undergrad degree in political science from Northeastern Illinois University. “I wanted to know how the world works,” he says. “Politics is always on the news and I wanted to be conversant with it. I immediately learned politics can be part of our daily lives.”

Currently a Lansing resident, Mancera would like to return to the Windy City after graduation to practice law in the Chicagoland area. He plans to focus in transactional work, including estate planning, property, and bankruptcy law.

Away from his legal studies, he stays active by going to the gym and jogging outside when weather permits. “Recently, I picked up chess, and now I’m wondering why everyone doesn’t play it,” he says.