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.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.