After State Police career, attorney turns to teaching


 By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News
During his 25-year career with the Michigan State Police, Lew Langham served as liaison to the U.S. Secret Service, providing protection to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, former President Gerald Ford, and Hillary Clinton.
Now an assistant professor teaching Trial Skills, Criminal Procedure and Evidence at his alma mater Cooley Law School, Langham started as a uniformed road trooper in the Michigan State Police (MSP), moving up through the department as a Detective Specialist in the Criminal Investigation Division, Narcotics Section; Detective Sergeant, Southeastern Criminal Investigation Division, Diversion Unit; Detective Lieutenant, Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team; and Detective Lieutenant, Tobacco Products Tax Fraud Team. 
“As a young man, I always knew I wanted to become a law enforcement officer,” he says. “After years of testifying in court as a government witness and sometimes expert witness responding to questions from both prosecution and defense attorneys, my passion for the law grew and I decided to enter Cooley’s weekend and evening program while I continued to work at MSP.”
After graduation, Langham—who earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Lansing Community College, bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University, and Master of Liberal Studies in Interdisciplinary Technology, with honors, from Eastern Michigan University—was offered a position as an assistant attorney general under then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, but declined since he had not completed enough years for retirement with the MSP. After retiring, he went into private practice in Southfield, where he handled a variety of legal matters including criminal defense, estate planning, and divorce.
Not long after hanging out his own shingle, the Detroit native was offered a position as assistant public defender with the Washtenaw County Public Defenders office in Ann Arbor. 
“I received the best criminal defense training one could possibly ask for,” he says. “As time allows, I still continue to work at the Public Defender’s Office as a pro bono attorney handling misdemeanor and felony trials.”
Granholm’s office called again; and Langham served as deputy legal counsel and policy advisor on legal issues related to criminal justice, prisons, homeland security, and civil rights. He also served as a liaison between the governor and various interest groups, and advised the governor on all policy or departmental issues related to the Michigan State Police, Department of Corrections, Homeland Security, Military & Veterans Affairs, and Civil Rights.
“Never a dull moment,” he says. “Fast paced, and meetings with the governor where everyone’s legal and professional opinions were welcomed.”
Langham left the governor’s office in 2007, to teach Trial Skills at Cooley Law School.
“My primary objective is to prepare students to take their knowledge from the classroom to the courtroom and conduct trials from jury selection to closing arguments,” he says. “As a professor I truly enjoy the interaction with my students.  We have intense discussions about criminal procedure, evidence admissibility and litigating a case before the jury.”
Discussions range from 4th Amendment search and seizure issues to Crawford v. Washington and 6th Amendment discussions related to the confrontation clause, and testimonial v. non-testimonial evidence.
“Watching students challenge themselves trying to connect all the legal dots, and later, observing their proficiency and understanding of the subject matter is extremely satisfying, to both me and my students,” he says.