American Bar Association / ABA, Federal Judges, Law Schools, Plaintiffs Firms

Class Action Lawsuit Against Thomas M. Cooley Law School Dismissed


We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are contemplating an appeal. This is a long term project for us involving multiple schools in multiple jurisdictions. But however things proceed, we are very proud of our involvement in these cases, to date. The law school litigation has helped reform the reporting of law school employment data and our efforts have, in part, made the market for legal education more transparent. Young people have more and better information than they ever had in the past about whether a law degree is a good investment.

Cooley is actually a particularly striking example of the transparency our litigation helped to create. Judge Quist points out that for the class of 2010 Cooley was previously able to report on employment reports that are “inconsistent, confusing, and inherently untrustworthy” (decision, page 16) and “so vague and incomplete as to be meaningless” (decision, page 22) that 76% of its graduates were “employed” and at an average starting salary for “all graduates” of $54,796. That type of data distorted the market by giving prospective students an inaccurate sense of the actual value of a Cooley law degree.

Cooley itself now properly discloses that it is aware of only 398 of the 927 members of its class of 2010, or 43% graduates, being employed in jobs that require a law degree, that 86 of those 398 graduates employed as lawyers are actually self-employed, and that the average salary for “all graduates” is actually an average of 161 graduates’ salaries and no self employed graduate’s salaries were included in that calculation. Self employed graduates rarely have any salary to report. Cooley’s more accurate data for the class of 2010 is found here: Other organizations, like Law School Transparency, use the new data to draw other conclusions.

That is material information for anyone deciding to spend over $100,000, most of it from the federal government, on a Cooley degree. We are proud that our efforts, have in part, led to these benefits to the consumer and, hopefully, the taxpayer.

MacDonald v. Cooley: Opinion on Motion to Dismiss

Opinion on Motion to Dismiss: MacDonald v. Cooley [U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan]
Cooley Law Grads’ Lawsuit Dismissed [WSJ Law Blog]
Buyer beware: Why judge dismissed federal lawsuit against Cooley Law School []
In Buyer Beware Decision, Judge Tosses Grads’ Suit Against Cooley Law School [ABA Journal]

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