June 14, 2011
Cooley Partners with Oakland University to Offer Nationally Recognized Pre-Law Summer Program for Underserved College Students from 8 States
Twenty sophomores and juniors from 16 colleges and universities across the country have joined judges, lawyers, and professors from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in the month-long College Pre-law Summer Institute (CPSI) that began June 1 on Cooley’s Auburn Hills Campus, 2630 Featherstone.
A partnership of Cooley Law School, Oakland University, and the American Bar Association’s Council of Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), the CPSI offers students an opportunity to study the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and in law school. The purpose of the intensive, pre-law program is to help diversify America’s next generation of lawyers.
Students will receive nearly 100 hours of instruction free of charge from LSAT Test Prep Services and Cooley faculty members on LSAT test preparation, logic and critical reasoning through classical philosophy, torts, legal writing and trial skills.
They will also benefit from group panel discussions led by practicing lawyers and judges from throughout metropolitan Detroit.
“The CPSI is aimed at diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities to students of color, low income students, and otherwise disadvantaged students,” said Cooley Professor Chris Johnson, who directs the school’s Corporate Law and Finance LL.M. program. “It is important for legal professionals to reflect the diversity of the clients they will serve and it is our hope that this program will help increase the applicant pipeline to law school for an entirely new and diverse group of students.”
The students participating in the program hail from Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ontario. In addition to five students from Oakland University, they represent 15 other undergraduate institutions including Florida A & M, North Carolina Central, Clark Atlanta, Winston-Salem State, Agnes Scott College, Emory, Temple, University of South Carolina, Wayne State, Oberlin, Walsh College, Bryn Mawr, Oakwood University, Hamline and Indiana University. Collectively they have an average undergraduate GPA of 3.40. Each student receives a $750 stipend to help defray their expenses while attending CPSI.
Major funding for this program comes from Cooley’s Dean’s Annual Fund and Oakland University. This year’s program was in jeopardy when the U.S. Congress eliminated funds to the Thurgood Marshall Scholars Program, which helps fund the ABA Council of Legal Education Opportunity. But law firms, State Bar of Michigan sections, and voluntary bar associations stepped up to provide more than $10,000 to continue the program: Michigan law firms Miller Canfield, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Plunkett Cooney and Jaffe Raitt Heurer & Weiss, and Clark Hill, the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers, Business Law, Law Practice Management, and Health Law Sections, the Michigan Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the Arab American Bar Association, Association of Black Judges of Michigan, the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, and Women Lawyers Association of Michigan-Oakland Chapter.
On June 1, students participated in an opening reception sponsored by the Oakland County Bar Association with keynote speaker W. Anthony Jenkins, of Detroit; the 76th president of the State Bar of Michigan. Congressman Hansen Clarke, a CLEO-program graduate, will speak to students on June 20 during a lunch program. Federal Judge David M. Lawson will take students through a federal court motion call on June 27. The program will conclude on June 30 with a mock trial competition and closing ceremony sponsored by the State Bar Young Lawyers Section featuring remarks by Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia D. Stephens.
“At a time when nearly two-thirds of all African American and half of all Hispanic and Mexican American applicants to law school are being totally shut-out from every law school they apply to for admission, programs like this one provide reason for hope that one day the legal profession will reflect the diversity of the clients we serve," said Cooley Auburn Hills Associate Dean John Nussbaumer.
Twenty sophomores and juniors from 16 colleges and universities from throughout the country are participating in the second annual College Pre-law Summer Institute at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Auburn Hills campus. The program is aimed at diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities to low-income, disadvantaged and students of color. Students participating are college sophomores and juniors interested in law as a career and are receiving nearly 100 hours of free law school and LSAT prep instructions, plus a $750 stipend to help defray their expenses.
Pictured is this year's class. L to R: Front Row: Jennifer Estell (Cooley Student TA), Eboni Graham, Danielle Smithen, Ronniesha Smith, Victoria Butts, Amber Taschereau, Sara Mohamed, Verlinda King
Middle Row: Jonathan Huynh, David Tomenes, Shavon Caldwell, Kurtis Davenport, Anna Machalski, Timothy Wiggins (Cooley Student TA), Shannon King, Tringa Gojcaj
Back Row: John Traylor, Jayant Trewn, Joshua Cartee, Jermere Nickerson, Justin Abney
Since 1968, CLEO has helped more than 8,000 low-income and minority students become successful members of the legal profession. The College Scholars Program seeks to continue this standard of excellence through a collaborative effort between CLEO, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and colleges and universities throughout the United States. The goal of the college scholars program is: 1) to provide talented college students (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors and post-graduates) with a series of workshops designed to sharpen their critical reading, writing and analytical skills and 2) provide them information on other aspects of the law school admissions process.
About Cooley Law School:
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, the private, non-profit law school operates J.D. programs across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Cooley's Graduate Program in Intellectual Property Law offers LL.M. and joint J.D./LL.M. programs for students specializing in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and licensing. Courses are offered in Auburn Hills, by videoconference to Cooley’s Lansing and Grand Rapids campuses, and by an on-line e-IP option. Additional information can be found at cooley.edu/llm.
About Oakland University:
Dedicated to delivering a distinctive higher education experience, Oakland University offers 132 bachelor's degree programs and 117 graduate degree and certificate programs. Visit Oakland University online at www.oakland.edu.