Welcome to Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Cooley was established to provide an opportunity to those who share the dream of becoming a lawyer. Our two-fold mission is to prepare our graduates for the practice of law by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and ethics to succeed and to provide access to the legal profession, particularly to those who traditionally have been denied the opportunity to study law.
Since 1972, Cooley has been a leader in innovative legal education, and we have been guided by three important attributes of every successful law school—high quality people, an excellent legal education program, and first-class facilities. We also are committed to creating a culture of professionalism, so that each member of its community thinks about, is exposed to, and is challenged to adopt professionalism as a way of life, every single day.
Because we have used these attributes to success as our guide, Cooley is now the largest law school in the nation, one of the best at practice preparation, one of the most affordable, perhaps the most innovative, and has remained financially strong even during this tough economic climate.
The people of Cooley are its greatest asset.
Cooley is among the nation’s most diverse institutions. More minority students study at Cooley than at any other law school in the country. Our students come from every state in the Union, we lead all law schools in foreign national students, and our graduates are found in every state and in numerous foreign countries.
Nearly all our faculty members are former practicing lawyers and judges, and all our faculty members consider teaching and helping our students become competent lawyers their highest priority. They are accessible to students and supportive of student activities. As a result, Cooley students rate our faculty very highly, awarding them a median score of 9.10 on a scale of 10 in the most recent semester.
Cooley has a large, experienced staff devoted to supporting the educational program and our students, including an academic support program second to none, a Dean of Career and Professional Development who was President of the State Bar of Michigan, and comprehensive Enrollment and Student Services Division that serves the needs of our students.
Our program is a model of modern legal education theory and practice.
Cooley stresses legal knowledge, practice skills, and professional ethics, an approach that is the latest trend in legal education and new to most law schools, but has been in place at Cooley since its founding 38 years ago.
We set our standards high at Cooley. We expect all our graduates to pass the bar examination and to be competent, ethical practicing attorneys, so our program of legal education is rigorous, challenging, and thorough. We require our students to meet a standard of academic competence and professional conduct while at Cooley that is comparable to the standards of the legal profession. We stress personal and professional growth, including a commitment to serving the community and providing pro bono legal services.
Our curriculum includes scheduling options that offer an opportunity for students with varying needs to find a way to attend law school. You may choose from full-time or part-time programs; weekday, evening, or Saturday and Sunday classes; and from two, three, four, or five-year programs. No school offers a greater variety of scheduling options than Cooley.
After two years of classes stressing the fundamentals of law taught from the practitioner’s perspective, our students can concentrate their last year of studies in particular areas of the law. Every student has the opportunity for a clinical internship or externship placement. Coupled with simulation courses and advanced research and writing projects, Cooley graduates can honestly tell their prospective employers that they are ready to hit the ground running.
Cooley’s facilities are unmatched in size, scope, functionality, and beauty.
We have specialized in rehabilitating old buildings, having restored vacant buildings at all four campuses. With appellate and trial courtrooms at all campuses, high-tech classrooms throughout, and one of America’s largest law libraries--all of which are strikingly beautiful--Cooley provides an exceptional setting in which our students can study, our faculty can teach, and our staff can work.
Commitment to Ethics, Professionalism, and Community
Through our innovative, award-winning Professionalism Plan, Cooley created a culture of professionalism that permeates every part of the school. Each member of our community thinks about, is exposed to, and is challenged to adopt professionalism as a way of life, every single day. We changed our culture through teaching, learning, experiencing, challenging and modeling, serving, and reaching out and beyond the confines of our school.
In 2011, Cooley students and faculty, working through clinics, externships, and service, logged an almost incomprehensible number of over 420,000 hours of legal work without receiving any financial compensation. If it were billed at an average of $150 per hour, that number equates to over $60 million worth of free legal assistance worked in just one year