Cooley professor honored as 'Leader in the Law'

On March 17, Marla Mitchell-Cichon, WMU-Cooley Law School professor and director of WMU-Cooley Law School’s Innocence Project, was honored as one of 30 “Leaders in the Law,” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. The 2016 “Leaders in the Law” class also includes three Cooley graduates, a former WMU-Cooley adjunct professor, and a former board member.

Mitchell-Cichon has been involved in legislative reform to improve Michigan’s criminal justice system since 2002. She works to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted, to improve DNA testing laws, and to educate lawmakers about pending legislation that may result in the state compensating victims of wrongful convictions. The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project has successfully exonerated three clients. The project has also successfully litigated cases on appeal, obtaining DNA testing in almost 100 percent of its cases.

In addition to her commitment to improve the criminal justice system, Mitchell-Cichon is dedicated to her career as a professor and the success of her students. Mitchell-Cichon developed the Access to Justice Clinic located on WMU-Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids campus to allow students to assist individuals with the collateral consequences related to their involvement with the criminal justice system and family courts. The clinic focuses on expungements and removal from the Central Registry and Sex Offender Registry.

Michigan Lawyers Weekly stated, “Chosen from dozens of nominations, the 2016 Leaders are attorneys who are changing the law, expanding access to justice and improving the profession and their communities. They are the lawyers in Michigan setting the example for other lawyers.”

Others associated with WMU-Cooley Law School who were honored as 2016 “Leaders in the Law” include: Cooley graduates James Cambridge of Kerr Russell & Weber, Ronald Chapman of Chapman Law Group, Paul L. Mitchell of Paul L. Mitchell PLLC, former WMU-Cooley adjunct professor Karen Bush Schneider, and former WMU-Cooley board member Anthony Jenkins.