Judge to grads: 'Advocate with purpose'


Macomb County Probate Court Judge Sara Schimke (right) delivered the keynote address during recent comencement ceremonies for WMU-Cooley Law School’s Michigan campus graduates. Schimke is pictured with (left to right) WMU-Cooley Law President and Dean James McGrath, and graduate Karen Walksnice.
(Photo provided by WMU-Cooley)

After reminiscing about her days as a student, Macomb County Probate Court Judge Sara Schimke reminded new WMU-Cooley Law School graduates recently of the responsibilities they will face as they embark on their careers.

Schimke, the keynote speaker at the school’s recent spring commencement ceremony at the Michigan State University Auditorium, recalled her first day in law school, “walking into a massive hall and being welcomed by the then dean and being handed a free insulated Cooley travel mug.

“Little did I know how hard I was going to work for that mug.”

 Schimke was appointed in March by Gov. Grethcn Whitmer to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Probate Judge Kathryn George.

In her commencement speech, Schimke told graduates they will face many new challenges.

“Law school was a challenge. As lawyers, you are now held to a higher standard,” Schimke said. “You will be scrutinized and pressured. You are the ones carrying the torch for your generation.

“Advocate with purpose and grace and change the world, even if it is your client’s world – because you have the power.”

During the commencement, 60 juris doctor degrees and five master of laws degrees were conferred.

Chosen by her peers, Karen Walksnice presented the valedictory remarks.

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

This graduating class is named after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Blatchford.

Blatchford was first introduced to the law through his father, who was legal counsel for the Bank of England and the Bank of the United States.

He practiced international law and turned down a seat on the New York Supreme Court in 1855.

During the 1850s he reported extensively on federal court decisions from New York’s Second Circuit Court in what was known as Blatchford’s Circuit Court Reports.

In 1867, he was appointed as a federal judge for the southern district of New York. President Chester Arthur appointed Blatchford to the Supreme Court in 1882. During his time on the Supreme Court, he wrote 435 decisions, most in areas relating to commerce and patents.


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