New students hear from 'those in the trenches'


- Photos by John Meiu

By John Minnis
Legal News

The 197-body 2010 entering class at Wayne State University Law School ended orientation week on a strong note, with a reception and program on professionalism at the Detroit Athletic Club.
For the first time, Wayne Law School took part in the State Bar of Michigan’s Professionalism in Action Program where 1Ls during orientation meet with legal veterans to discuss the myriad, thorny issues involving professionalism.
“We are very pleased, delighted and honored to welcome members of practicing bar and judiciary attending our Professionalism in Action Program,” said Robert M. Ackerman, dean of the law school. “I would like to give special thanks to Anne Marie Burr, director of legal research and writing, who really put this thing together.”
Burr said she is impressed with this year’s entering class, which includes students from 16 states, eight countries and many leading universities. The 2010 entering class posted a median LSAT score of 156 and a median GPA of 3.40.
“I’ve been spending 24 hours a day with them over the past week,” Burr said.
State Bar Immediate Past President Edward H. Pappas initiated the Professionalism in Action Program last year. During law school orientations, new students are divided into small groups and paired with experienced attorneys to explore ethical issues.
According to current State Bar President Charles Toy, “Professional ethics prescribe what a lawyer must do while professionalism includes both ethics and what a lawyer should do.”
The first Professionalism in Action Program two took place in May 2009 at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Auburn Hills campus, followed by a second program in August 2009 at the Michigan State University College of Law.
The program has since been held at all Cooley campuses.
“It’s one thing to hear the professors talk about professionalism,” Ackerman said. “It’s another thing to hear from those in the trenches.”
Speaking to the entering 1Ls, Toy said, “I welcome you on behalf of the 40,000 licensed attorneys in the state of Michigan,” he said. “Don’t worry, only 32,000 are actively practicing.”
Toy noted that though the Professionalism in Action Program began just last year, it has become very popular among entering law school students.
“It provides an opportunity for you students to interact with veteran attorneys on a very important topic, professionalism,” Toy said. “I’m so pleased Wayne State is participating in the program and that you, too, can participate in the program.”
One legal veteran participating in the program was Gerald E. Rosen, chief judge for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, in Detroit. Rosen is also an adjunct professor teaching evidence at Wayne Law.