Graduates urged to 'improve the profession'

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WMU-Cooley Law School presented 145 students with juris doctor and Master of Laws degrees during a commencement ceremon late lastmonthfor the law school’s Michigan campuses (Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, and Lansing). 

During the graduation, which was held at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts in East Lansing, former State Bar of Michigan President Lori Buiteweg, shareholder of Nichols, Sacks, Slank Sendelbach & Buiteweg PC, presented the keynote and graduate Lori Montgomery of Toronto, Ontario, presented the valedictory remarks.

While serving as State Bar president, Buiteweg encouraged law firms to consider “widening the path to the boardroom to be more inclusive of lawyers who are motivated to be healthy and have lasting, deeply meaningful family relationships.”

As an attorney, Buiteweg focuses on domestic litigation, mediation, arbitration and collaboration.

She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Buiteweg spoke to students about accepting responsibility and to change what needs to be changed.

“You have to make bias awareness an integral part of everything you do,” said Buiteweg. “Never will you have the luxury of practicing law in a bubble. You must always be on the lookout for how to improve the profession and ensure your clients receive due process.”

Selected by her fellow classmates, Montgomery told the graduating class to use the invaluable skills learned at WMU-Cooley Law School throughout life.

“We can now see both sides of every story and think critically about different issues we may not agree with,” said Montgomery. “Going forward, don’t ever lose your passion for law and make sure you strive for change.”

Each class at WMU-Cooley bears the name of a distinguished member of the legal profession.

The winter 2017 graduating class is named after Fred Moore Vinson.

Vinson served in the U.S. legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

President Truman appointed Vinson as the 13th Chief Justice of the United States in 1946.

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