Students work to update Michigan's SCRA guide

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In 2009, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Center for Ethics, Service, and professionalism introduced the “Michigan Judge’s Guide to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.” Because of changes to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), WMU-Cooley teamed with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Foundation Inc. to update the guide to meet 2015 standards.

The SCRA offers special protections to soldiers against civil actions like divorce and foreclosure while they are deployed, however, varying state laws and interpretations can produce confusion in the law’s application Matt Cooper, chair of the SCRA Foundation and attorney with the firm Schuitmaker, Cooper, Cypher, & Knotek PC, worked with WMU-Cooley students Heather Spielmaker, Matthew J. Flynn and Nathan Chan; and Sean F. Crotty, attorney with the Honigman law firm, on updating the guide that specifically outlines legal issues for members of the military, lawyers, judges, and persons who advise military personnel and their families while navigating through complex legal areas. During this process, WMU-Cooley students earned publication credit for their work.

“This is the second time that WMU-Cooley students have had the opportunity to work on this project for service members and we are so impressed with their level of dedication and the resulting updated guide,” said Cooper.  “We know that this legal resource is very important for military members and their families and directing our attention and abilities towards the 2015 updates is something that we are all proud to be part of.”

Spielmaker, who has led multiple initiatives to help military members and veterans while working for and attending WMU-Cooley, says the guide is crucial for veterans and active military personnel with cases in the courts.  

“Certain nuances in handling these cases are extremely important to create fair and appropriate outcomes,” Spielmaker added. “I am extremely proud to have been a part of this project.”

Access to the “Michigan Judge’s Guide to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act” is available at www.scrafoundation.org.

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