WMU-Cooley professor and graduates honored as top women lawyers


LANSING– WMU-Cooley Law School Associate Dean of Academics and Professor Tonya Krause-Phelan has been selected as a member of Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2023 Class of Influential Women of the Law. 

In addition to Criminal Law, Krause-Phelan teaches Criminal Procedure, Defending Battered Women, Criminal Sentencing, and Ethics in Criminal Cases. 

She is currently making strides to improve the law school community and student curriculum by actively engaging with faculty on identifying the key objectives, as well as roles and responsibilities of a full-scale curriculum review.

Krause-Phelan began her legal career working as an assistant public defender at the Kent County Office of the Defender.  She handled and tried all types of felony cases ranging from shoplifting to murder.  

After three years as a defender, she moved to private practice, specializing in criminal defense where she represented both appointed and retained clients in both state and federal courts. 

While still practicing, she began her teaching career as an adjunct professor at Ferris State University where she taught both Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure to criminal justice majors 

In addition to Krause-Phelan, WMU-Cooley graduates Stephanie Arndt, Christensen Law; Jennifer Hetu, Bodman; Mary Pat Meyers, Meyers Law; and Lori K. Smith, O’Reilly Rancilo are among 35 lawyers selected for the honor. 

An awards luncheon will be held September 22 at Petruzzello’s in Troy.