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Inspiring Paths

The Inspiring Paths program brings exceptional alumni back to Michigan Law to honor their careers in public service and to provide current students with exposure to outstanding attorneys working for nonprofits, government agencies, and public interest law firms from all over the country and the globe. In 2013, our Inspiring Paths program was expanded through a generous gift from Gwen Handelman ('81) in honor of her father, Stanley Gwynfryn Thayer ('50).  Each year, the Inspiring Paths program features an alumni speaker and a celebratory formal dinner.

Recent Inspiring Paths Speakers

  • 2019-2020
    • Azadeh Shahshahani ('04), Legal & Advocacy Director of Project South (February 2020).
  • 2018-2019
    • Hallie Ryan ('13), Managing Attorney of the Falls Church Office of the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) (February 2019).
  • 2017-2018
    • Hardy Vieux ('97), Legal Director of Human Rights First (September 2017).
  • 2016-2017
    • Elise Bean ('82), Former Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for U.S. Senator Carl Levin (February 2017).
    • Ona Hahns ('05), U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor and Daniel Tenny ('05), U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division (August 2016).
  • 2015-2016
    • Bradley Brockmann ('89), Executive Director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights (December 2015) 
  • 2014-2015
    • Colin Reingold (Dec. '08), Special Litigation Director at Orleans Public Defenders (October 2014) 
  • 2013-2014
    • Taylor Garrett ('03), Foreign Service Officer with the United States Agency for International Development (October 2013)
    • John Relman ('83), Founder and Director of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC (February 2014)
  • 2012-2013
    • Wayne Witkowski ('72), recently retired from a remarkable career as a civil rights attorney (October 2012)
    • Cindy Cohn ('89), Staff Attorney with the DC Prisoners' Project of the Washington Lawyers' Committee (January 2013)
  • 2011-2012
    • Pamela Shifman ('96), the Director of Initiatives for Women and Girls at the NoVo Foundation (November 2011)

If you have suggestions for future Inspiring Paths speakers, please email the Office of Career Planning at