Thomas M. Cooley Law School

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					LAW SCHOOL PROFILE                                                                                                                  1. 800. 973.1177

Thomas M. Cooley Law School
[by Barry Perlman ]
If you subscribe to the adage “bigger is better,” then Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI, may be the perfect place for you. Cooley boasts the
largest J.D. law school program in the nation (and the second-largest overall law school), giving it a diversity among students and faculty and a breadth in
academic offerings which separate it from other schools.

Cooley was founded in 1972 by a group of             students go part-time, the school’s flexible         academic culture.
lawyers led by then Michigan Chief Justice           scheduling enables eager students to com-
Thomas E. Brennan. The school was named              plete their education in as little as two years.     In addition to its academic course offer-
after Thomas M. Cooley, another former               For geographic convenience, Cooley also of-          ings, Cooley offers a number of outstand-
Chief Justice and leading constitutional             fers classes at Michigan partner institutions        ing clinics that prepare students for the
commentator with an unrivalled record of             Oakland University in Rochester and Western          practical application of law. The Sixty Plus,
distinction in Michigan jurisprudence history.       Michigan University in Grand Rapids.                 Inc., Elderlaw Clinic teaches students to
Cooley Law School has been fully accredited                                                               advocate for people over 60 years old in
by the American Bar Association since 1978           Cooley boasts a full-time faculty of 89 on           a variety of hands-on civil law situations.
and the North Central Association of Col-            its roster, in addition to at least 100 more         The Estate Planning Clinic offers hands-on
leges and Schools since 2001.                        adjunct professors who cover a wide range of         experience in counseling clients on wills,
                                                     elective topics. Thanks to this large team of        powers of attorney, and medical directives.
With an entering class of more than 700              experienced legal experts, Cooley is able to         The Cooley Innocence Project lets students
first-year students in 2003, size is certainly       maintain reasonable class sizes and a rela-          work with criminal defense attorneys to seek
the most striking characteristic of Cooley’s         tively good 19:1 student/faculty ratio in spite      the release of wrongly convicted prisoners;
student body. The diversity among the 2,019          of its size. Of course, a large school also          in fact, the project has been credited with the
students at Cooley is quickly apparent, with         means a large network of Cooley alumni,              release of more than 100 of these prisoners,
38% belonging to racial minority groups. In          broadening students’ potential opportunities         mainly with the help of DNA testing. These
fact, according to the school, Cooley ranks          for developing important contacts who would          clinics supplement the 1,000-plus externship
as either first or second in total minority          serve as mentors and provide general advice          sites approved for students by the Cooley
enrollment among the nation’s law schools,           that may ultimately lead to employment.              Curriculum Committee for gaining applied
in addition to likely holding the number-one                                                              experience in the practice of law.
spot for total enrollment of African-Ameri-          Cooley recently distinguished itself as a
can law students. Cooley’s diverseness not           model for promoting the integrity and repu-          As part of the school’s dedication to provid-
only ensures a comfortable environment for           tation of the legal profession through imple-        ing legal education to people from all walks
individuals of all backgrounds, but it also          mentation of its innovative Professionalism          of life, Cooley uses a fair and objective
provides students with a wide cross-section          Plan. The ambitious plan, developed in 2002          formula for determining eligibility for admis-
of cultural and societal perspectives on legal       by a joint effort of Cooley and the State Bar        sions. The formula multiplies a student’s
issues throughout their education.                   of Michigan, outlines 18 specific initiatives        undergraduate GPA by 15 and adds it to the
                                                     adopted to foster professionalism within the         student’s highest LSAT score to produce the
Cooley’s size allows the school to offer             student community, focused in three key ar-          Admissions Index. For the 2004-05 year, the
the most flexible course scheduling of any           eas: teaching students to be professional and        minimum index for acceptance is 183 (with
law school in the nation, making it a great          become professionals, incorporating profes-          a minimum LSAT score of 143), though each
choice for those who must coordinate their           sionalism in the law school environment,             class always includes a limited number of
schooling with other professional or personal        and taking successes outside the school as           alternate conditional admissions spots avail-
obligations. Cooley offers classes year-             a model for others. The Plan’s commitment            able for special cases.
round, and students have the option of taking        to providing students with the knowledge,
morning, afternoon, evening or weekend               skills, and ethics to succeed as legal profes-       Cooley makes every effort to keep tuition
classes. While greater than 70% of Cooley            sionals plays a key role throughout Cooley’s         as low as possible, with a 2004 tuition of

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LAW SCHOOL PROFILE                                1.800. 973. 1177

$750 per credit hour. This translates to an
estimated tuition for part-time students of
$17,040, and for full-time students of $21,300,
ranking Cooley 11th in affordability among the
nation’s 108 private law schools. Add the rela-
tively low cost of living in the Lansing area,
and Cooley turns out to be a great value. Plus,
greater than 85% of Cooley’s student body
takes advantage of financial-aid opportunities
in the form of loans and scholarships to offset
the cost of their education.

Cooley’s main Lansing campus consists of
the second-largest physical plant among the
nation’s accredited law schools, with superior
classrooms and other facilities. This includes
the 440,000-volume Thomas E. Brennan
Law Library, which ranks in the top third of
law libraries. Cooley is centrally located in
Michigan, and during their off time, students
can take advantage of the many outdoor
adventures the state, and its proximity to the
Great Lakes, invites, including skiing, hiking,
and fishing. Lansing is also a short jaunt by
car from Detroit and Chicago, making for easy
weekend getaways.

For prospective students searching for an af-
fordable and flexible legal education within a
large and diverse student community, Cooley
Law School is an excellent choice.


Description: Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, MI, boasts the largest J.D. law school program in the nation, giving it diversity among students and faculty and a breadth in academic offerings which separate it from other schools.
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