Earlier this month, we were the first to break the news that due to continuing declines in both enrollment and revenue, Cooley Law School — a five-campus empire that’s regarded by some as one of the worst schools in the nation — would not only be conducting faculty and staff layoffs, but would also stop accepting first-year students at its Ann Arbor campus. At the time, a member of Cooley’s administration said there were no present plans to phase out the Ann Arbor campus.
Alas, it looks like those plans may have changed.
Will Cooley Law be one of the first schools to succumb to the the pressures of the new normal and close down an entire satellite campus?
Please note the update at the bottom of this post.
The median LSAT score for students at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is 145. This means that Cooley is already trawling in the waters of the bottom 25 percent of LSAT takers. So when Cooley Law Dean Don LeDuc says that the school might consider lowering its admissions standards to cover the drop in law school applications, it’s fair to ask what’s lower than the bottom of the barrel.
Are they going to start admitting people who took the LSAT in crayon? Are they going to start admitting people who can’t read? If the median score is 145 and you’re going to bring that number down, what (if any) “standards” does your school still purport to have?
Cooley would rather lower its standards than lower its tuition. In fact, LeDuc says that tuition is going the other way: Cooley announced that it will raise first-year tuition by 9 percent and tuition on everybody else by 8 percent. It’s almost as if Cooley has taken upon itself the responsibility of punishing people too ignorant to research legal education….
Cooley is getting some competition for low-hanging fruit.
Some law schools are voluntarily cutting back on the number of students they admit as they try to be more focused on getting jobs for the kids they do admit. Other schools aren’t making the cuts voluntarily, but want everybody to think that smaller class sizes are a choice and not a reality of fewer law school applicants.
And then there’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School. They’re looking at a precipitous drop in their number of applications and admitted students, but they can’t pretend like they’ve voluntarily decided to stop admitting so many students. Instead, Cooley’s dean acknowledged that other schools are accepting less qualified applicants, which has caused downward pressure on Cooley’s numbers.
Hey, that’s a better story for Cooley than the alternative: that prospective law students have gotten wise to Cooley’s game and are staying away….
Shortly after the ads were posted, Cooley Law fired back with a defamation complaint against the firm, alleging in a school-wide announcement that Team Strauss/Anziska and Kurzon Strauss had been “unethically soliciting former and present Cooley students to join in a class action lawsuit.” One month later, that very class-action lawsuit was filed, and rocked the world of legal education as we know it — calls for reform were made, and career services offices scrambled to clean up their employment statistics.
Perhaps Cooley Law wasn’t as superstitious as it should have been, because now, one year later, the little law firm that could has launched an additional suit against Cooley Law and its dean, Don LeDuc, this time alleging that the law school’s public claims against Kurzon LLP were false and defamatory….
Boasting four campuses and more than 15,000 graduates in Michigan wasn’t enough for this elite law school. The nation’s #2 law school needs MOAR CAMPUSES (and unemployed graduates). So the administration started cooking up a plan to remedy this issue, on the down low.
Yet another Cooley Law campus will soon be invading a state near you on the east coast. But which one will be plagued with more unemployed law school graduates?
You see what happens, Cooley? You see what happens when you sue anonymous commenters on the internet?
We’re only on day two of Cooley’s reputation defense lawsuits, and it’s already obvious that the lawsuits have made it possible for more people to be more critical of the education offered by the school.
So far, the most damning statement about Cooley’s education has come from Cooley itself. Cooley president Don LeDuc said that the school filed these suits “to protect Cooley’s reputation and stand up for our students and more than 15,000 graduates.”
And yet, of those 15,000 graduates, when it came time to defend Cooley’s reputation, the school went with lawyers who were not educated at Cooley.
Not only did the school not use its own graduates for this work, one of the anonymous commenters the school is suing appears to be a recent Cooley graduate former Cooley Law student. I mean, with friends like these, right?
CORRECTION (7/16/11): It appears that this commenter did not graduate from Cooley, but instead studied there for a time before transferring out.
In any event, that defendant has decided to respond to the Cooley lawsuit…
Well, apparently Cooley isn’t going to sit around and wait for somebody to sue them. Instead, the school is going to sue first.
A message from Cooley president Don LeDuc informed students that Cooley is suing a New York law firm and four anonymous “John Doe” commentators on the internet. We haven’t seen the lawsuit, so we don’t know exactly who the school is suing. According to LeDuc, Cooley is not trying to “police the internet.” Instead he says the school is trying to defend its reputation and the value of a Cooley Law degree.
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.