Cooley co-sponsors Federal Youth Day in Ann Arbor

Cooley Law School, the Federal Bar Association and the Ford Presidential Library teamed up last week to give students the opportunity to learn about various federal careers in the field of law.

Ninety Ypsilanti High School students participated in the day-long event, which was held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

Presenters included U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade; Senior Archivist at the Ford Library David Horrocks; U.S. Attorney Terrance Thompson; FBI Agent Sean Nicol; U.S. Air Marshal Joe Doucet; former Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney's office and now Cooley Professor Alan Gershel; federal corporate lawyers Michael Brady and Mark Aiello; Assistant Federal Defender Andrew Densemo; former Assistant U.S. Attorney and now Cooley Professor Patrick Corbett; and Senior Cyber-security Engineer Mark Lachniet.

In her keynote address, McQuade urged students to stand up and be productive, accountable members of society and to make a difference in the world.

David Horrocks, a senior archivist at the library, then spoke on Ford's path to the White House.

Students next heard from Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrance Thompson who grew up in Washtenaw County, spending his earliest years on the east side of Ypsilanti.

Thompson shared with students his unstable and challenging youth, and how he separated from his single parent at an impressionable age, which led to years of defiant behavior, periods of homelessness and his decision to drop out of high school.

He spoke of an epiphany which caused him to quit his job cleaning hotel rooms to walk straight to Washtenaw Community College for direction on completing his education.

He earned his GED and did well enough at WCC to transfer to Eastern Michigan University, where he continued to work hard, surround himself with positive role models, and excel at his studies.

After landing an opportunity to work for Senator Debbie Stabenow on Capitol Hill, Thompson went to law school. Thompson told the students that after passing the bar, he received a position with a prominent Detroit area law firm and now serves as an assistant U.S. Attorney.

He said he's still in awe each time he announces in court his representation of the United States of America.

Thompson's presentation was followed by a number of break-out sessions on various federal careers. After lunch, Corbett and Lachniet gave a final program on cyber-related crimes and cyber-security.

The Federal Youth Law Day was a true community partnership, noted Cooley Law School Associate Dean Joan Vestrand. In addition to the contributions of the Federal Bar Association, Cooley Law School and the Ford Library, Dominos Pizza, Busch's Fresh Food Market, Kroger, and Action Rental all donated to the event. Cooley Law students were tour guides throughout the day.

Vestrand said that feedback from Ypsilanti High School confirmed that the students found the program inspiring and informative.

Published: Thu, Mar 8, 2012

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