ABA Journal


Law Schools

Cooley’s New Florida Law School Enrolls 104 Students, Exceeding Expectations

May 9, 2012, 12:35 pm CDT


The average education debt for law grads at private schools last year was nearly $125,000.(

104 x $125,000 = $13,000,000 possible total debt coming out of this school in a few years

I wonder what Mr. Martlew thinks about those numbers.

By Atty on 2012 05 09, 2:28 pm CDT

Poor unfortunate souls. Mr. Martlew is hallucinating.

By DPLESQ on 2012 05 09, 3:14 pm CDT

There is no way that Cooley has 4,000 students at five campuses. That has to be a typo. My school graduates 300 students per year. There is no way the ABA would allow that many students at one school. Cooley would produce more lawyers than some hairdressing schools. That has to be a typo.

By That Has to be Wrong on 2012 05 09, 3:53 pm CDT

Cooley has a number of campuses, and graduates a class every semester, of which there are three in every year. By my math, which is always suspect, the 4000 students, if evenly distributed across three years of classes and in three separate classes per year, produce a total of 444 graduates per year at all campuses. The truth is that Cooley has far more first year students than second year students, and more second year students that third year students, so with attrition, many fewer than the possible 444 actually graduate. Still, Cooley does produce a rising tide of graduates.

By MI Atty on 2012 05 09, 4:06 pm CDT

These poor souls are signing up to expend $52,476 per year to attend Cooley full-time during a recession

By Esq. on 2012 05 09, 4:07 pm CDT

Terrible news for everyone except those pocketing the $$$ from this scenario.

No More New Schools -- Not Even One!

By Lee on 2012 05 09, 5:30 pm CDT

@1 - He's probably thinking "cha-ching!"

By NoleLaw on 2012 05 09, 5:42 pm CDT

Fraud & theft of the American taxpayer.

By cjfardle on 2012 05 09, 6:16 pm CDT

You guyz are going to get sued for talking bad about Cooley like Campos or those bloggers.


By Bob on 2012 05 09, 8:37 pm CDT

I have to be careful here. Cooley gave me a chance to go to law school when other intangibles mattered. Now they let anyone in. Anyone. Brennan is on record as saying they want to be the largest law school in the country. Well he seems to be there. But when you let students in who are flunked out in a couple of terms with thousands of dollars in debt an no way to repay it, you have to wonder. While my almamater gave me the chance I would not have gotten anywhere else (and I am doing just fine), I am embarrassed at what they are doing to these young kids. I no longer donate to the school.

By zekethewonderdog on 2012 05 10, 2:23 am CDT

He says Tampa Bay needed a law school as if there is not already a law school in Tampa Bay, and 10 others in Florida. No offense, but Cooley's numbers come from its admittance of and willingness to throw money at students who would never get into a credible law school. I feel sorry for these students when it comes time to take the bar; but, I gess it works in the favor of the other FL law schools' students.

By Tampa Bay Law Student on 2012 05 11, 9:04 am CDT


By Tampa Bay Law Student on 2012 05 11, 9:06 am CDT

How did you get 444 in total? I got 4000/5 campuses = 800 students per campus, 800/3 years = rough average class size per campus of 266, (probably less given the drop out rate) times 5 campuses = 1333 3ls graduting per year...although I could be totally wrong, however I'm not sure how else you would do it without know variables Such as ratio of 1l:2l:3l...either way it's a whole lot of people in a very weak market. I can't believe they got 100 people to enroll in the Tampa program, I've always been of the mindset that if you don't have the chops to go to a semi decent law school you could be in for a rude awakening come the bar, and practicing. A few moths ago a few Cooley grads got sanctioned for poorly written briefs and inability to adequately represent their clients, among other things. Scary.

By Kelley on 2012 05 11, 10:42 am CDT

I went to Cooley, graduated in May 2010. We are consistently challenging the other Michigan law schools for the highest bar-passage percentage. The skills I learned at Cooley go far beyond just learning substantive law; I learned very practical skills (trial, motions, brief writing, etc.).

I began my first semester with nearly 400 others. By the next term, we were around 300. But I graduated with 385 people in my class. Another amazing quality of Cooley is that it offers extremely flexible scheduling options. My wife and I had 2 children while I was in law school. When we found out we were having our 2nd, Cooley allowed me to double up my classes, taking 17 credits for my last two semesters, which allowed me to graduate almost a year early -- in time for the July bar. Cooley gave me the tools I needed to get a job offer before I even took the bar.

I am eternally grateful for Cooley! I didn't go there because no one else would take me. I went there because I knew it would give me a top-notch legal education, and it did.

By Cooley Grad on 2012 05 11, 11:53 am CDT

The ABA has created this problem. The cost of establishing law schools that meet their requirements
has become phenominal. Law has always been a self-teaching profession. You read a case or code section. You refine your written and oral communication skills, You learn by doing. The profession has become overly academized. I have been practicing law for 32 years. I graduated from an unapproved law school in Atlanta, Georgia. The building was barn like. There were few volumes in its library,. The teaching staff was composed of solo practitioner attorneys. The tuition was $348.00 per semmester. The environment was unpretentious. We learned the necessary issue perception and research skills to practice law. There was no diploma factory concept. The only problem was that the ABA prerequiisites followed by most states, prevented me from moving back to my home town and practicing law there. I am now admitted in three states, and I have handled cases all of the country. My law school is now "approved" by the ABA. Nice of them! No retroactive bebefit for me. The point is that the ABA has created this monster of exhorbitant tuitions, and inability to practice interstate. It is time that the state bars re-think all of this.

By Carl E. on 2012 05 11, 11:57 am CDT

By Flawjer on 2012 05 11, 11:58 am CDT

Cooley works for me. I could have attended other schools but I decided on Cooley for their part-time class schedule because I choose to work full-time.

By Cooley student in Grand Rapids on 2012 05 11, 12:24 pm CDT

The real problem is Cooley itself. It's an academically poor law school - that accepts anyone with a pulse and a checkbook - that is only interested in turning a profit. Cooley is neither interested in the academic advancement of its students, nor in furthering the legal profession (unless there is some benefit for itself). When I was in college at Michigan State we had an ongoing joke that the worst students in E. Lansing were actually in graduate school: at Cooley. The ABA needs to put an end to the Cooley diploma mill, not only for what it is doing to the legal profession, but for what it is doing to its own students.

By CAPT Freedom on 2012 05 11, 12:33 pm CDT

Maybe it's desperation, not enthusiasm...

By Chris K on 2012 05 11, 12:43 pm CDT

I graduated from The Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1991. Other law schools told me I would never graduate from their school let alone pass the bar. Cooley gave me the opportunity and I sat for and passed 5 bar examines on the first attempt for each jurisdiction. I would put my $$$$ on any Cooley graduate against any other graduate in the country. Cooley helped me achieve my dreams whereas other schools rejected my application. One law school dean even told me all those years ago because I was a white male his school was not interested in my application. All PRAISE to Cooley!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Greg on 2012 05 11, 12:45 pm CDT

I have been an alumnus of Cooley for well over a quarter century and an adjunct professor for well over two decades. I always teach my students that there are two kinds of lawyers - Cooley lawyers and those that wished they had been Cooley lawyers. As Justice Brennan said to me on day one, "If you are presumed to know the law, then you should have a chance to study it."

Former Marine Sergeant, retired Assistant City Attorney, successful solo practice, Adjunct Professor at a law school and at a college, and on and on - Cooley has been an integral part of my life and I have been honored and blessed to grow with Cooley. To reaffirm what Cooley Grad stated above, Cooley has provided generations the ability and access to a legal education that other institutions simply do not.

I went to a great law school.......don't mess with my Cooley.

By Wm Burt on 2012 05 11, 12:55 pm CDT

You can find examples of incompetent lawyers from any law law school, but I can tell you that I have had the experience of working with many very good attorneys that graduated from Cooley.

By E. Herrmann on 2012 05 11, 1:01 pm CDT

I transferred from Cooley after my first year to a T25 school and actually found Cooley to be much more challenging. While I don’t question the quality of a Cooley education, this is starting to get ridiculous. We don’t need to open any new law schools in this economy and with such an overpopulation of attorneys.

By Dan on 2012 05 11, 1:06 pm CDT

CAPT Freedom probably has self-esteem issues and really wants to feel important by holding others in contempt for attending Cooley. I graduated from Cooley and passed the bar the first time. Not all Cooley students are bad students. It's unfair to stereotype. A good student would know that.

By JHALL on 2012 05 11, 1:10 pm CDT

When I went to Cooley, all of the professors had candy for us on the first day of class, and they gave us insights as to how every judge ever would consider our arguments. I memorized the California Code of Civil Procedure, not because the school was located in Michigan, but just because I thought it was a good idea after considering the intellectual rigor of the fellow students. Unicorns handed me my diploma, it never rained or snowed at my Michigan campus, and I really couldn't imagine going anywhere else. LSAT standards are the old way; Cooley and its cattle calls are in. All hail Tommy C!

By Cooley Is Da Best on 2012 05 11, 1:16 pm CDT

The name of the law school in Tampa Bay is Stetson. To say that the Bay demands another school is rubbish.

By Tampa Bay Attorney on 2012 05 11, 1:18 pm CDT

@#14: Nice, try, Mr. Martlew.

By Succesful troll is succesful on 2012 05 11, 1:18 pm CDT

When I graduated from law school in Florida 15 years ago there were only 6 law schools in the entire state. Fifteen years later there are now 12 law schools in Florida. Did anyone stop to ask if we needed 12 law schools? There is already a glut of lawyers in Florida and, like a third world country where most of the population is under 25, most of the glut of lawyers in Florida are these newbie lawyers with little hope of finding a real law job. How the heck did the ABA allow Cooley to establish a foothold here? Just goes to show you the ABA is powerless to stop law school expansion - if it even cared to. This rant is not anti-Cooley, I know a few lawyers who went to Cooley and they seem to be just as capable as the next attorney. But seriously, the LAST thing Florida needs is another law school.

By Fla Lawyer on 2012 05 11, 1:23 pm CDT

There is good and bad in this. I practice just down the street from Cooley's flagship Lansing MI campus, and I am an adjunct at the Michigan State U. College of Law, so I keep an eye on academic issues. I have several friends and colleagues who have involvement with Cooley as professors and administrators. I'm also the one who does the initial recruiting and screening of associate candidates at my firm. Further still, back before the U.S. News law school ranking people considered the qualifications of transfer students when measuring an institution, MSU played a mean game of taking busloads of Cooley refugees who would otherwise not get into MSU as 1L's. I have taught many of those students and sought their opinions on Cooley.

My observations are that Cooley has a wide open front door, which gives many people an opportunity that might not otherwise get it. A small number of those people capitalize on that opportunity and become success stories. However, they admit a lot of people who, in my opinion, have no business in law school. If one looked at the ratio of bar passers as compared to incoming 1L's, it would be shockingly low. What it more, they seem to be absolute masters at assisting students in obtaining financing for their education, and from what I have been told, their "three semester" academic year allows students to borrow at a greater rate than those at more traditional two semester institutions. With their high cost, that amounts to a mountain of debt - all for a school that many firms simply will not hire from under any circumstances. As you can all see from these comments, Cooley, students, grads and professors have a pretty big chip on their shoulder over reputation issues - so much so that Cooley came up with its own Law School ranking system (to compete with U.S. News), that puts Cooley well above MSU, U of Michigan, and usually somewhere around Harvard and Stanford.

Despite the small positives stemming from the opportunity Cooley presents for some of its success stories, the nationwide "diploma mill" perception that I am sensing from these comments (and from my experience) is well deserved, in my opinion. I do not believe Cooley to be a benefit to our profession. That said, I'm sure there will be a Cooley campus near you some day soon and those of you who hire associates can form your own opinions.

By MSU guy on 2012 05 11, 1:31 pm CDT

Stetson Law is 100 years old and the admissions the applicants have gone down considerably this year. Lowest admissions class in a decade. Stetson is also the #1 school in the nation for trial advocacy and #3 for legal writing. How if admissions are down did cooley get 104 students? Who would choose riverview over St. Petersburg?

And to the guy who said cooley gives real world trial skills. I bet any cooley grad to go up against a stetson grad.

By Concerned Student on 2012 05 11, 1:45 pm CDT

Cooley grads apparently only argue by anecdote---hate to see them in the court room.

By Rack City on 2012 05 11, 2:07 pm CDT

I am neither lawyer nor J.D. student. I would like to attend a J.D. program, mostly for academic reasons. I teach business law and real estate law at a community college full-time, amongst other business related subjects. Although I would love to earn a J.D., I cannot due to time constraints and legal education programs in the Chicago area that are designed for the typical working individual or full-time student.

One thing Cooley offers that is attractive and rare is a part-time weekend program. There are very few of these in the country. I cannot speak to the quality of their program, but I can say that a weekend J.D. program near Chicago would be an attraction sufficient to bring in a number of students who could not otherwise attend law school because of a busier Monday-Friday schedule.

Perhaps they are "successful" in part due to their flexible thinking as it relates to students' lives and schedules. Any law school so interested in catering to a wider audience of capable students could change the landscape for the better by maintaining higher admissions standards yet offering a more flexible schedule overall.

By C.C. Prof on 2012 05 11, 2:08 pm CDT

"so much so that Cooley came up with its own Law School ranking system (to compete with U.S. News), that puts Cooley well above MSU, U of Michigan, and usually somewhere around Harvard and Stanford."

i've got to find this....where?

By Rack City on 2012 05 11, 2:10 pm CDT

Hello all,

It's interesting to see people who know nothing of Cooley, other than what they hear about Cooley, talk bad about Cooley. Why do you all speak of Cooley's quality of education if you have never experienced Cooley's education?! Don't answer it's a rhetorical question. You all don't know. The only factual information you have is the data on enrollment, attrition rate, etc. Yes, their enrollment may be high, but that says nothing about the quality of their education. Every professor at Cooley has to have been a practicing attorney before being allowed to teach at Cooley. I don't know if that's the case at other law schools but it is at Cooley. And since I don't know, I won't sit here behind this computer and talk smack like if I know.

If your upset with their enrollment policy, Okay, that's one thing, but don't sit behind a computer and a keyboard a bash Cooley's education , if you don't know squat about it. Go against a Cooley grad in a courtroom or in any other forum, and then base your opinion about the quality of the Cooley Grad's education, and then make that a representation of Cooley's quality of education.

Cooley may have lower admissions standards than most law schools; however, it's a tough school to graduate from, and if you do graduate from Cooley, you will be without a doubt, qualified to practice law.

So, in conclusion, the quality of the education recevied at Cooley is a separate issue from the amount of students enrolled each year. Speak as you will with the enrollment issue; however, don't speak about the school's education if you have never been exposed to it. Also, don't reply to my comment like your some bad A$$. Your not. Please be respectful.

Have a good day!

By MI on 2012 05 11, 2:13 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By hate to be that guy but arent you an atty on 2012 05 11, 2:19 pm CDT

Reading all these and many other comments on the subject, it is easy to see why lawyers have such a bad reputation. Many of the comments come from elitest, pompous, twits who haven't grown out of the "my school is better than yours" thinking.
Not all students fit the model of graduating undergrad at 21-22, going directly to a law school that mommy and daddy pay for, have no family obligations, etc, etc. For those who live in the real world, Cooley and similar schools offer a chance for us mere mortals to enter a higher profession and possibly break the caste system that is alive and well in the US.

By Quitting Never Quit on 2012 05 11, 2:22 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Lover Girl on 2012 05 11, 2:33 pm CDT


Sorry about that. I am so used to MS Word making the corrections for me. As for the error, everyone makes them, no one's perfect. And if you really hate to be (that guy) don't be him.

@ 36. You sound like a very sensible and down-to-earth person. I wish we had more people who think like you on these threads.

By MI on 2012 05 11, 2:34 pm CDT

@28 I too graduated FL law school 15 yrs. ago and what many fail to see is that FL is not a state where there is an opportunity for legal career growth and sophisticated clients. There are no factories here, there is no center for financial institutions here and hence, there are few job opportunities for people. The average client has barely enough to pay for his own expenses let alone attorney fees. FL is also a transient state where one cannot even expect that old clients will return for further business. With so many law schools built and so little jobs available, there will be some backlash eventually because some regulation is needed in the amount of law graduates.

By Ira on 2012 05 11, 2:35 pm CDT

Ah Cooley...

I never had an opinion of Cooley one way or another until they filed a defamation lawsuit against an anonymous blogger and subpoenaed Paul Campos.

Anyone who pays money to Cooley after they filed their defamation lawsuit should be ashamed of themselves.

By Jordan Rushie on 2012 05 11, 2:42 pm CDT


By kc on 2012 05 11, 2:50 pm CDT

We needs to be closing law schools, not opening new ones. The supply of lawyers already far outweighs the demand. When will the legal community take a hint from the medical community and restrict the number of lawyers - by way of restricting the number of law students?

By AMart on 2012 05 11, 3:11 pm CDT

@ 30: Stetson isn't the number one trial ad school; Cumberland regularly trounces Stetson in that area. Not that it's a rivalry or anything . . .

But more seriously, the problem with Cooley is not the education or the people who graduate or that it lets anyone in.

The problem is the business model of Cooley which depends on bringing in anyone, saddling them with student loan debt, and not providing any ways to mitigate the large student loan debts their graduates (and dropouts) end up with.

In short, Cooley doesn't look after its students, it looks after its bottom line. I think this is why so many people dislike it.

By John on 2012 05 11, 3:26 pm CDT

I attended Cooley in Lansing, MI for one year in 1985. When I transfered, all of my credits were accepted and they took me on Law Review based upon what I accomplished at Cooley. That school gave me a chance to become a lawyer when other schools would not. At that time, They were in the top 5 nationally in teacher salaries with some of the most accomplished profs in the country. Cooley was tough! Half my class could not make it after the first year. Cooley had the highest pass rate on the Michigan Bar Exam (well over 90%) and much better than the pass/fail rate of University of Michigan Law School. Funny, all of my classmates that graduated are very successful today.

Keep it up Cooley!

By John D on 2012 05 11, 3:37 pm CDT

I just got to laugh at some of the comments by the arrogant few who downgrade the Cooley Education. While I don't agree with the rapid expansion, the education I received at Cooley was top notch. Following law school I landed a judicial clerkship, which in turn opened the doors to work in Florida at an Av rated mid size law firm. I was mentored by a Yale grad who was kind enough to take me under his wing and drill the importance of preparation. Well, now I have the Av rating and membership in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. I am also member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. I say this not to brag, but to try and convey to those arrogant few that to be a good lawyer, you have to work hard at your craft. When I was an associate we actually fired a Harvard law grad because he was too lazy and his work product stunk. I had associates ask me to review their work before they turned it into a partner--associates who had attended much higher rated law schools-- because the partners loved my work product. Now, I am the partner making money I never thought I would make in my wildest dreams. So, to all those Cooley grads out there, keep your chin up. work hard and destroy your adversay.

By AV rated attorney on 2012 05 11, 3:54 pm CDT

I went to Cooley for my first year because of my low LSAT scores and I later transferred to a top 20 law school and graduated top of my class. Cooley gave me an opportunity when no one else would and I thank them for that. The benefit of having multiple law schools from which to choose rests on the unique opportunities that each of them afford. Let's not bash schools and make over broad statements that are hurtful and unnecessary. What is most important is that schools produce lawyers that practice law well. Bottom line. Haven't we learned lessons from the Martin Luther Kings of the world about tolerance and finding common ground? There are so many things for us to reflect positvely on when so many things are going wrong in this world. How about we celebrate people wanting to join our profession! My two cents.....

By Nicole on 2012 05 11, 4:02 pm CDT

I attend Cooley currently as a 3L. I'll be the first to admit there are fewer familiar faces these days than when I started. Some transfer, some flunk out and some decide that a legal career isn't for them. And in my first 2 terms there were some classroom responses from my peers that made me wonder how they graduated high school - much less college. I'm sure this something most of us have experienced, if even to a lesser degree, in all law schools. I don't waste my time worrying what other people think of my school or me. My grades are solid and during my externship I have outperformed my co-workers (2 from State and 1 from U of M). If I can do it now, I'll do it in practice as well. My thoughts on all this? Not every Cooley student is incompetent just like not every Harvard grad is guaranteed to be set for life. Other schools may open more doors for you, but it’s what you do once you get inside that matters. Law school success, like life, is determined not by the labels stuck to you - but by the amount of work and dedication you put into it. In the end the only name on that diploma that matters is yours and victories are won by hard work - not having a more impressive ending from the "I received my law degree from..." sentence.

By M Baker on 2012 05 11, 4:13 pm CDT

My only direct experience with Cooley law students is as a volunteer judge at one of the annual moot court competitions in which they compete along with other Midwest, ABA-approved law schools. I do not know the names of the schools when I judge, but often am told later. The Cooley students always perform admirably and often beat the 'name' schools. I can also tell you that the Cooley coaches greatly care about the students and the objective as much as any moot court coach and obviously give their all. Glad to see some posters who are true to their school and for the other positive (and better informed) insights from those who have had good experience with Cooley students, faculty and/or alumnus, as I have other the last eight years.

As for the financial issues, I am certainly at least against the scale, if not the concept, of student loans. The reality is that a student loses most, if not all, of four years of productive working life in college and three more in law school. The payoff at the end has to be dynamite to justify this, even without the 'dead sequoia' of student loan debt blocking the career path after graduation.

Therefore, law study should be undertaken only by the committed. All others who apply should be committed. Personally, I would like to see student loans limited to $25K max, like it was when I went to school (perhaps $50K to cover inflation since that time?!--absolutely no more.)

Graduating young debtors into the profession after getting this much easy money isn't good for taxpayers, economy or moral character of either the profession or society at large. It certainly isn't good for young people who can be less than astute about their future and would have been better off trying to minimize their debt by working to the extent possible as I did...or spent the last 4-7 years working and getting educated via night school.

By suretylink on 2012 05 11, 4:30 pm CDT

Oh, you are member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum? I guess you no need know spelling or grammar. Cooley Education the Best!

By NoleLaw on 2012 05 11, 4:33 pm CDT

I went to Cooley in Lansing and graduated May'10. I graduated in the top 25% of my class and passed the CA bar the first time. I now have a great legal position with a financial company. Can't complain about Cooley.

By SD Atty on 2012 05 11, 4:49 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By MCCOOLEY on 2012 05 11, 4:50 pm CDT

Cooley is capitalism at its finest- provide a supply where there is a demand. Don't let morals get in the way. Cooley is basically a heroin dealer- people want heroin/JDs despite all of the associated problems while the dealers control a limited supply and jack the price up. The only difference is that a heroin addiction won't land you in debt for the rest of your life.

By DCW on 2012 05 11, 4:55 pm CDT

@50: Congrats on passing the CA bar. I was on Cloud 9 when I passed NY's in '86 and I understand CA is even harder.
@47: I was told during law school that where you graduate determines your first job and then your merit and ability start taking an increasingly larger roll in determining your future from there. I would suggest to anyone in the profession to key on growing in the profession and your area(s) of practice, as opposed to just your immediate job. Branching out in service to the local and national bar association sections, community outreach, publishing and other areas can help you and others blossom.

(For some reason, I'm stuck on tree analogies today but I won't back away from the advice.) Best of luck to both of you.

By suretylink on 2012 05 11, 4:57 pm CDT

@ #21: " I always teach my students that there are two kinds of lawyers - Cooley lawyers and those that wished they had been Cooley lawyers."

I personally fit neither description.

By Esq. on 2012 05 11, 5:10 pm CDT

I posted earlier about my experiences attending Cooley, and how well they prepared me for practice. I forgot to mention, by the way, that Cooley students placed FIRST in the 2011 ABA Client-Counseling Competition. I think that speaks to our students and faculty more than the ignorant comments others who have never set foot on a Cooley campus are posting. I know that Cooley isn't considered the "best" law school. But I don't think that this makes all other schools mentioned in the above posts "better" than Cooley.

I decided to go to law school when I was 30 years old. I'm a U.S. Army veteran who only even went to college because of an injury that forced me out of service. I chose Cooley because it allowed me to start classes in January. I signed up for the LSAT the night I decided to go to law school, and took it 2 weeks later. I never even applied with other schools because they all wanted me to wait until the following fall to begin classes. And when I needed to finish early so I could work and let my wife stay home to raise the kids, Cooley let me double up classes & graduate early.

There were a lot of people in my 1st semester classes who said that they only came to Cooley bc it was the only school that would take them. But Cooley at least gave them a chance. A few of them made it but most were gone before the 1st year was over. The grading system there is extremely difficult. People I know who transferred to MSU or other schools, who had 2.5 gpa's, entered their new law schools with 3.5 or better. That alone should tell you something.

Cooley isn't the's people like those of you who are bashing Cooley when you know nothing about it. We all made fun of Cooley for creating its own ranking system. But who cares, no one looks at it anyway.

Just get over the fact that a Cooley grad got the job you wanted or will soon be replacing you. We are well prepared and we weren't handed anything. We who went to Cooley know what its like to work for something and know that once beyond the law-school hurdle, we have to work even harder.

Good luck to you all in finding/keeping your jobs. I wish you all lots of luck, but don't put Cooley down unless you are one who was flunked out. If you didn't go there, you don't know what you're talking about.

By Cooley Grad on 2012 05 11, 5:15 pm CDT

@NoleLaw. Envy is you. Me is rich. LOL

By Av rated Attorney on 2012 05 11, 6:36 pm CDT

So, about 10 miles from my house is a garbage dump. I drive by it on the interstate about once a month.

I have never actually gone to the dump, but I know it stinks.

By Just the Facts, Ma'am on 2012 05 11, 6:45 pm CDT

Looks like the Cooley defense force is out today. Perhaps this is how they keep all their newly-minted, jobless graduates occupied?

By BD on 2012 05 11, 6:55 pm CDT

The supply of attorneys has exceeded the demand for some time. Economic desperation and easy student loan credit drive people to school, despite the lack of opportunities on the other side.

I have practiced law in Florida for 22 years. I still earn less than it takes to support a family at the level which used to be known as middle class. However, for the unemployed even the illusion of opportunity looks good.

Many older attorneys are forced by economic need to delay retirement. This also strains the supply/demand dynamic.

I too pity the new law students, but if I were a new college graduate today I wouldn't know where to turn either. Law school has long been a place for people who don't know what else to do. We have a lot of people like that today.

If I had it to do over again I would skip law school and join the military (if they would take me). Had I done that 25 years ago, I could retire now.

By Tom (Florida Attorney) on 2012 05 11, 8:10 pm CDT

If you can make it through any law school, including a mediocre school like Cooley, you can pass the bar. Just take Bar Bri or a similar course, spend time mastering the test format, practice tons of questions and you pass the bar. Law school classes--little value in bar preparation. You spend most of the time on theory, extreme hypos, old case law, etc. that has nothing to do with the bar questions.

By BarPass on 2012 05 11, 9:10 pm CDT

This should be less about Cooley bashing, and more about yet another law school opening up and getting flooded with applications. Heck, if Harvard had opened up a Tampa campus and enrolled another 100 students that would be an issue. Unfortunately though, demand has to stop before supply will follow, and right now demand is still high.

By StillStanding on 2012 05 11, 9:56 pm CDT

There is an overwhelming epidemic of student loan debt and unemployed new attorneys. Law students have implored the ABA for help in this area for years, even going as far as making it a high priority to be addressed by former ABA Chairs and the ABA House of Delegates. The market is flooded and it is irresponsible to open a new law school, when there are already at least 27 law schools in the Southeast Region, in this climate. The problem is that private business is dictating the situation, focusing more on their bottom line, and the ABA is not acting like the regulator it should. The ABA may only even require "Truth in Education" when it really should demand responsibility to the profession.

On a side note, someone should do a better job fact checking. Stetson University College of Law already has a presence in the Tampa Bay area with campuses in both St. Petersburg/ Gulfport and Tampa.

By ABALSD Alum on 2012 05 11, 10:19 pm CDT

62, the point that you miss, as do many others, is that the ABA cant restrict the number of law schools just in order to clear the glut of lawyers. Its an antitrust thing.

By Just the Facts, Ma'am on 2012 05 11, 10:38 pm CDT

Who wants to bet that 9/10th of the comments here are actually from cooley staff or paid astroturf bloggers? They all read like the creepy "testimonials" of the snake oil salesman on late night television.

If you had gone to a reputable school, you cooley bots would understand that the plural of anecdote is NOT data. The data clearly shows than less 25 percent of a Cooley class can get legal jobs after graduation. Less than 7 percent bother to report a salary (showing just how embarrassed they are about the position gained afterward). That is a horrific failure by any standard, especially after 3 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in sunk costs.

Read it:

Nobody cares how "ready" you are to practice, when you can't get a job.

By Nick on 2012 05 12, 12:27 am CDT

The students goes into world and makes the school popular not the other way around. The student is the primary factor and the school.

Many older students at Cooley too.

Here's the kicker. You just need to pass the bar in some states in order to practice school isn't required, but what a challenge. (damn colorado) My people that went to Cooley practice law at corporations and the like. Disclosing income is stupid when lawyer income is under high scrutiny.

By J Taytay on 2012 05 12, 7:04 am CDT

Oh yeah, many many Cooley grads have become federal attorneys and JAG.

By J Taytay on 2012 05 12, 7:08 am CDT

You are either intellectually dishonest or stupid, Taytay. If your "response rate hypothesis" is correct, I guess that is why NYU and Columbia have like 80 percent response rate from kids at the most prestigious firms in the world. Same goes for those clerks and fed govt employees. As kids get better jobs, they tend to higher response rates. Go through the data, that is publicily available for all to see.

As for the first comment, I'm not sure whether that sentence was in English or not. The fact is that the data overwhelming shows that Cooley produces terrible outcomes at high prices. Do you have some alternative data I should look toward? Or do you just have more moronic conjuncture?

By Nick on 2012 05 12, 2:07 pm CDT

It's not the schools that make the students, it's the students that make the schools. To say that one must attend one of the "name" law schools (the name recognition having been established by the success of the students who have chosen to pursue their legal education there) to become a successful attorney is fallacious logic.

By Charles J. Lemberg on 2012 05 12, 5:04 pm CDT


Thanks for providing us with the strawman fallacy. Nobody suggested that one had to go to "name school" to be successful- the process is certainly on a continuum. It is also complicated by the signaling theory of education, the theory that education does not increase workers' productivity. Instead, the fact that you obtain an certain type or rank of education shows that you were more productive all along, which makes employers want to hire you.

The point is however, that one's chances coming out of Cooley are objectively terrible (less than 25 percent become attorneys, less than 7 percent feel their salary is worth reporting). Whether that is because the students are educational sub-normal or merely because Cooley signals to employers negatively can be argued about. Now, you can go on a cite horitio alger-like anecdotes all day long- but that doesn't change the data.

By Nick on 2012 05 12, 5:17 pm CDT

I think many of you are missing the whole point of the article. It's not about whether Cooley in itself is a good school or what type of lawyers it produces. It's about the fact that Florida is flooded already with enough law schools and there are no good job opportunities for new or even old graduates in this state. It doesn't matter if the new law school is even Harvard, Yale or whatever since I would still be against it. As a FL attorney it is a major struggle to make a living here and overflooding the state with new law school grads isn't fair not only to them but also to the existing lawyers.

By Ira on 2012 05 12, 5:32 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Wayne State Law on 2012 05 12, 6:16 pm CDT

Nick @69,

Although "Nobody suggested that one had to go to “name school” to be successful", you can't deny that the posts in this thread illustrate an underlying belief that a "better" law school will produce a better attorney.

An attorney (as well as all other professionals) should be judged upon his/her true qualifications, not by where he/she attended law school. In many cases, once an attorney has established, via his/her work product, that he/she possesses the requisite qualifications, opportunity will be there for him/her.

Unfortunately, there are still elitist institutions that fail to recognize this and never look beyond the attorney's place of matriculation.

Concerning the over-supply of attorneys and the need to close law schools: I have a problem with limiting the number of attorneys in this way. If someone, after completion of his/her due diligence, decides that the legal profession is one in which he/she wishes to endeavour, his/her efforts should not be curtailed by artificially set quotas.

On another point, I do not completely understand the outrage being leveled at law schools. The scarcity of jobs in the legal profession has been known for quite some time. Anyone with a modicum of common sense should realize that completion of a course of study in law school does not guarantee a six-figure income for the rest of his/her life. Still, there is talk of filing suit against law schools for misleading and defrauding applicants about job prospects after graduation. Shouldn't knowledge of reality be imputed to the applicants? After all, it's not something new. And, if these applicants are then presumed to have knowledge of the true prospects for gainful employment after graduation, how can the law schools be held accountable for what is basically a bad decision on their part?

BTW, I do not get the reference to horitio alger.

By Charles J. Lemberg on 2012 05 12, 10:12 pm CDT

I'm a proud Cooley Grad. I was accepted to Wayne State and U of D-Mercy as well, but chose Cooley because it had summer semesters as well as Night and Weekend courses. Going part-time, while working a full time job, I finished in 3 years and one semester. I took the earliest MI Bar exam I could and passed with over 30 points to spare. I've since opposed many attorneys from many top-tier law schools and have been very successful for my clients. Yes, Cooley allows many students that other schools would not allow; but many of those students who couldn't get in anywhere else are those who only Cooley can help succeed (because of their amazing resources and assistance) and, in fact, many great lawyers today are produced -- especially among the minority communities -- who would not otherwise be able to achieve their dreams or be an asset to the legal community, without the help of Cooley. I wouldn't trade my Cooley education for any other. I'm a proud Cooley grad.

By MI Attorney on 2012 05 13, 12:13 am CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By To Number 73 on 2012 05 13, 2:32 am CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By To MI Attorney #73 on 2012 05 13, 11:17 am CDT

@74 and @75 - The proper contraction for "you are" is "you're", not "your". How did either of you manage to be accepted into law school?

By Second-guessing my Career Choice on 2012 05 13, 11:30 am CDT

Bottom line: you learn little practical knowledge in law school classes to make you a "better attorney." If you are smart going in, learn the law through diligent study, you will be a good attorney. Classroom experience--very overrated.

By Essence on 2012 05 13, 3:17 pm CDT

Since a lot of you Cooley grads are griping about how the bashing is only coming from those who have never heard of Cooley from actual students, I'm going to throw my two cents in. While it is true that, as many of you Cooley grads have stated verbatim (which makes me think that the glowing reviews are, for the most part, canned responses posted by the Cooley Admissions office), Cooley does give chances to those who would otherwise not be accepted into a school, that alone does not make it the best law school in America. I have spent the past three years at Michigan State University College of Law, and I have had the chance to converse with both current and former Cooley students. They are the ones who tell us non-Cooley students all of the horror stories about how wretched Cooley is, how it really is just set up to be a cash cow and little else. I still remember sitting in my RWA class on the first day of second semester of my 1L year and hearing a recent Cooley transfer talk about how all of the rumors were true, but how the rumors sounded far more generous to the school than the actual truth. Stories of withholding promised scholarships, teaching to the Michigan Bar Exam rather than a typical law school education (thereby ensuring a higher passage rate [who wouldn't pass if they had 2 years of a bar review prep course]), and screwing with students' schedules just to keep them from transferring (and, thus, losing out on tuition from that student) were all common tales, among other less-than-glowing testimonials, told by the current students and transfers. These stories make sense when one considers the sort of money that Cooley has to splash about in purchases that have nothing to do with making it a better law school. *coughLugnutsbaseballfieldcough* I did know one Cooley grad who did make a decent income as a lawyer (he went to my church in East Lansing), so I am aware that there are success stories. However, in my mind, the few success stories do not outweigh the vast number of horror stories coming from the very people who attended Cooley itself.

By MSU COL Grad on 2012 05 14, 7:11 am CDT

Capt Freedom- MSU is in Lansing; Cooley in Lansing. I didn't go to Cooley, but your running joke questions where the dumbest students were located.

By RIC on 2012 05 14, 3:24 pm CDT

@34; "One thing Cooley offers that is attractive and rare is a part-time weekend program."

I went to Cooley at the Auburn Hills facility in '09 for ONE semester as a part-time student. Here is what I experienced;

1. Insolent attitudes by the staff.
2. A bag of "success stories" followed by "we're here to help you succeed" followed by a "ghost town" on the weekends.
3. The Academic Resource staff and management having an insolent attitude in helping. The only books offered for study were the same books I could buy at a book store. Anything more? Only a snide remark.
4. Simplistic, high school-type group sessions given by the ACR staff to enhance a students' exam writing skills. Being an engineer, these groups did not give one iota of improvement to show that these sessions would enhance or improve performance and in fact would only confuse us taking these sidebar lessons. Asking questions would benefit no one because we would be told to "wait" and no further questions were warranted.
5. Nasty female staffers which most could use a course in civility and manners towards its students. They acted as though YOU were doing THEM a favor by attending that facility. Even my female co-students had choice words for these female staffers and the words did not begin with the letter "B". No matter the age, you'll be treated like a high school student.
6. Want help? Plan on taking a 1/2 day or full-day off during the week because on the weekends, the only people you'll see are your co-students, the prof, and the guards at the front door.
7. As an engineer, I understand a process that is conducive to success. At Cooley? Chaos seems to be the norm. I asked the ARC Manager if she knew of any tutors. Her response was, "no we don't have any and I don't know of any also". Almost word for word. Well I don't expect someone to babysit me but it would have been nice to know which direction I was heading so I could make better decisions to prepare for my 1st sem exams and success.
8. Don't expect much help from your co-students because most are married with children. Once class ends, they're gone. I was usually the only one left after 6pm studying. I got to know the guards by their first names. I also got to know this European gal that used to walk around the halls at night every so often she would stop to say hello to me. I have no idea what she was doing.

So some say Cooley is more difficult that other schools? What criteria are you supporing this claim? Being an older student with a Sys Eng degree and an MBA with nearly 20 years in my field, I can say the the "harder" claim is not supported because of tasks, reading, and extropolation of information being more difficult (than any other law school) but because "the staff throw's the books at you and leave you to fend for yourself". There is an old saying in my field, "work smarter, not harder". Throwing books at students and disappearing on the weekends is is not how you teach anyone but it certainly shows one you don't care about them. This is not "leadership". I expect my boss to not babysit me and allow me the ownership to proceed and fail at my own risks on the job but this is not how you "grow students". You grow students through leadership and setting examples. I know of others that have attended UofD, UofM, MiState and have heard many great stories about how they help and assist in the success of their law students. What I experienced was a joke. I paid my one semester bill off and never looked back. I cannot go back to law school and yes Cooley was one chance I was willing to take but they burned me bad. Now I study for a paralegal certification. The point of attending law school was to enhance my career not get burned. If I had been 20 years younger, I would have reached out for a higher quality school but hey, I guess law school just wasn't in the cards for me.

By Scott on 2012 05 14, 6:44 pm CDT

Scott @ 80 - I think the clearest indicator of why law school was not in the cards for you is best illustrated by the atrocious way in which you butcher the English language.

By Charles J. Lemberg on 2012 05 14, 8:53 pm CDT

Though I disagree with Dean Martlew's contention that Tampa needed more supply in the law student pipeline, I sincerely congratulate Cooley’s fall 2012 Tampa Bay entrants. As a rising 3L in the Tampa Bay area, I have some advice for you: (1) there is no substitute for academic excellence; (2) it’s never too early to begin networking; (3) take advantage of every opportunity provided to you; and (4) try to minimize your debt while in school.

Maybe I am naïve, but I believe that you have picked a truly noble profession. Also, I speak from experience when I say that the Tampa Bay legal community has some of the most decent, hardworking, and brilliant people around.

It’s tough out there – best of luck!

Stetson Law J.D. 2013

By Stetson Law JD 2013 on 2012 05 15, 1:38 am CDT


I don't think dean martlew contended that "Tampa needed more supply in the law student pipeline," I think he contended that your school doesn't exist: "the Tampa Bay area was ready for a law school."

By Just the Facts, Ma'am on 2012 05 15, 4:54 am CDT

@ 83 - Thank you for your comment. Although Stetson may not exist to you, I assure you that it is a great institution that produces top notch attorneys. I am proud of my school and the degree that I have worked so tremendously hard for.

By Stetson Law JD 2013 on 2012 05 15, 1:38 pm CDT

Glad to be last. IMO, it matters naught if the ABA allows 100 additional law schools to open next year. Quite simply, there is a limit to how little income a person would need to make to be motivated do legal work. And by legal work i mean to put up with all the crap attys deal with to make a buck.

That limit can be estimated quite accurately. I will venture to say that 95% of the licensed attorneys would rather not practice full time if they stood to make $30,000/yr. I figure there will be 5% that 30k will do just fine given their circumstances. But, even at 50k/yr, I would guess 50% would rather make 40k managing at home depot.

So, let there be more law schools. I wish i could establish one and hit the jackpot.

By TTYL on 2012 05 15, 2:18 pm CDT

TTYL @ 85 - I couldn't agree more. Let market forces determine the supply of attorneys, just as it determines other things in our free market, capitalistic economy.

By Charles J. Lemberg on 2012 05 15, 3:40 pm CDT

Stetson, you might want to brush up on those reading skills. I didn't say you don't exist, that cooley dean did.

By Just the Facts, Ma'am on 2012 05 15, 8:18 pm CDT

@ 87 - Thank you for your recommendation/clarification. I wish you continued success in the legal field and hope that you have a great summer.

By Stetson Law JD 2013 on 2012 05 15, 11:49 pm CDT

I did my first year of law school at Wayne State University where I got good grades, including Honors in the 1L Legal Research and Writing Course. I transferred to Cooley's original Lansing campus after completing my first year because I was bored as a full-time student after having worked a few years between college and law school, and I wanted to work and go to school at night/on weekends. I found the quality of instruction at Cooley to be superior to what I received at Wayne State. I enjoyed every minute of my time at Cooley, I passed the Bar Exam on the first try, and my experiences with other lawyers since the years since has given me no reason to believe that my legal education left anything to be desired by comparison. Cooley is great!

By Colonel C on 2012 05 16, 1:14 am CDT

The critics and advocates are equally amusing -- the critics for blaming a school that sells services to willing buyers; the anecdotal advocates for being anecdotal. Going to any law school does not necessary qualify anyone to practice law, which requires a license. Last time I looked at the real world statistics, the so-called student debt crisis and student debt is hardly limited to law schools, and certainly not to any particular law school. Those who counsel applicants away from Cooley, about which I know absolutely nothing, are great nannies for adults, albeit fairly young adults, who presumably have a college degree and who should not need nannies anymore.

By Realist on 2012 05 18, 12:37 pm CDT

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