WMU Cooley affiliate dean named Lawyer of the Yr

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Danielle Nelson

Tracey Brame Courtesy WMU Cooley Law School

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Associate Dean Tracey Brame was named the Lawyer of the Year by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

She was selected by members of the Leaders in the Law Class of 2020, who were chosen for their contributions to the practice of law in Michigan, continually setting an example for other lawyers, demonstrating leadership and offering expertise in many areas of the law.

“I am so humbled and so overwhelmed to be considered among Michigan’s Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly,” Brame said in her acceptance speech.

During her first year at WMU Cooley in 2006, Brame partnered with the Grand Rapids Bar Association to open the Access to Justice Clinic at the law school’s Grand Rapids campus, where she currently serves as director.

Staffed by students under faculty supervision, the Access to Justice Clinic offers free legal services to low-income and under-represented residents of Kent County who face barriers due to their criminal history and seek expungement of their convictions. To date, under Brame’s leadership, the Access to Justice Clinic has helped 100 individuals get their criminal records expunged.

In collaboration with the Kent County Probation Department, Brame also helped establish a Teen Court, offering an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders. In addition, by volunteering with the 3R’s Program, a partnership between the Grand Rapids Bar Association and Grand Rapids Public Schools, Brame has helped promote respect and understanding of the rule of law and the constitution, as well as provide mentorship and career direction for students.

“I have been fortunate enough to have this wonderful career where I happen to be doing work that I absolutely love but also has been impactful on the community,” Brame said.

WMU Cooley Associate Dean Michael C.H. McDaniel, who nominated Brame to be considered as a member for the Leaders in the Law Class of 2020, said Brame’s selection as Lawyer of the Year is deserving because of her leadership by example.

“There was a full slate of 30 attorneys who were recognized Monday evening as Leaders in the Law,” McDaniel said. “Half are partners at the most prestigious firms in Michigan; five of them are the managing partners of those respected firms. Our own Grand Rapids Associate Dean Tracey Brame was selected as Lawyer of the Year by this group. The reasons are simple: her bright, shining social conscience is a beacon for all to follow and her life of service is an example for every lawyer.”