Law Schools, Religion

Cooley Casserole: School Is Poised To Change Its Name Even As Preachers Make Fun Of It

Statue of Cooley apparently letting a homeless man go to law school.

I’m sure there is an episode of Mad Men where the team merely changes the name of a product of substandard quality. Surely there are tons of real life examples where something undergoes a name change to throw consumers off the scent of failure.

In the digital age, with Google footprints being what they are, name changes are probably even more valuable. Certainly, if you are a law school that thrives off of people not fully understanding the realities of the legal job market, you’ve got to be worried about Google catching up to you.

Maybe that’s what the powers that be at Cooley Law School are thinking as they contemplate merging with a public university. Have you checked out their Google footprint recently? Today, we have a clip of a preacher taking a jab at the school on Easter Sunday.

Really, the question is: what kind of public university would want to be associated with Thomas M. Cooley Law School?

First, honestly, check out the Google results I get when I type in “Cooley Law School”

The third and fourth links are to Above the Law tags about the school. The seventh link asks: “Is Cooley Law School that bad?” Further down on the page there’s a link for: “THOMAS M. COOLEY LAW SCHOOL SCAM.” The word is getting out, folks.

This past Easter Sunday, a preacher from something called Riverview Church made a little fun of Cooley in his Easter Sermon. Click here and then let the video at the right load. Starting at about the 19:20 mark, the man starts talking about biblical hope, and tells a story about a person who is desperate to be a lawyer, studies hard, and then hope, hope, hopes that he gets into “Cooley so they don’t have to fall back to Harvard.”

He’s clearly being sarcastic, on Easter Sunday, about the ridiculous legal behemoth that is Cooley.

Maybe that’s why the people who run the school are looking at making a “formal alliance” with Western Michigan University. From the National Law Journal:

Leaders from the county’s largest law school and from Western Michigan University—located in Kalamazoo, Mich.—are considering entering into a formal alliance that would bring the two institutions closer together, though the affiliation would fall short of a full merge.

The law school would get a new name but it would maintain separate finances and leadership under the proposal that leaders are considering. Details are still being ironed out, but the alliance could open the door for Cooley law students to take classes at Western Michigan University and utilize its student services, and vice versa, said Associate Dean for External Affairs James Robb. The partnership could also allow faculty to engage in interdisciplinary teaching and research, he said.

Moreover, a formal partnership would increase the footprint of both institutions. Cooley already has four locations in Michigan, and Western Michigan University has eight. First-year law courses could conceivably be taught at one of the university’s campuses, Robb said.

MOAR COOLEY! Excuse me, I think I need to go be sick…

Re-branding the school has obvious benefits. Remember, students who go to Cooley seem disproportionately unable to conduct basic internet research. Just think about how many stupid people won’t be able to figure out that “Western Michigan Law” and “Cooley Law” are the same thing. AND, Cooley will be able to make other wild claims, like they do in their Cooley Law School Rankings, about how partnering with Western Michigan enhances… whatever.

I see what Cooley gets out of this potential relationship: new name, and a cosmetic removal of the stench of a profiteering legal education scam(even though the finances will be separate). Cooley gets to spray Western Michigan perfume all over itself without having to take a shower.

But what does Western Michigan get? The main reason for opening a law school is cash, but Cooley is keeping all of its money, so that’s not happening. I can’t imagine there is anybody at WMU who believes that this alliance enhances the prestige of the university. If anything, it makes a legitimate research university look like a commuter school. Here’s what’s up on the WMU website:

“The result of such an affiliation with Cooley would make our University one of fewer than 90 universities in the nation to have both a law school and school of medicine,” notes WMU President John M. Dunn. “The benefits that accrue from that distinction would pay dividends to our students, faculty and staff for years to come. The opportunity is made even more intriguing by the common mission and values of our two institutions.”
Both schools promote academic theory and its practical applications as well as foster an academic culture that is inclusive and accessible. And both schools have long traditions of collaboration and community engagement.

Has John M. Dunn ever read an article about Cooley Law School? The “benefits” of having a med school and a law school are what exactly? And what in the hell is “intriguing” about the Cooley mission? Admitting as many people as possible with reckless disregard for their graduates’ ability to find gainful legal employment is a “common mission” with Western Michigan?

You’d think that Western Michigan was above this. You’d think all serious educational institutions would be above this.

But if there’s one thing Cooley is good at, it’s giving people who have no business going to law school the ability to pay a lot of money to go to law school. I guess it’s not that big of a leap for it to give a university that has no need for a law school the ability to say it’s affiliated with a law school.

Cooley Law School eyes alliance with public university [National Law Journal]

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