Cooley Law School's First Class Reports to New Tampa Bay Campus
May 7, 2012 – Today, 104 students will begin their journeys to become lawyers at Florida's newest law school. The inaugural class of Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Tampa Bay campus starts with classes beginning this evening. Cooley Law School officials had projected 60 students would comprise the first Tampa Bay campus class. The Tampa Bay campus is Cooley's fifth campus and the first outside of Michigan; the school's other campuses are located in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills and Ann Arbor.
"Cooley's Tampa Bay Campus enrollment exceeded our expectations," said Jeff Martlew, associate dean of Cooley's Tampa Bay campus. "These numbers indicate the Tampa Bay area was ready for a law school. We are pleased to open our doors with such enthusiasm from the community and the students who have selected Cooley."
The new students were introduced to Cooley during a two-day orientation on April 30 and May 1. During that time, law students had the opportunity to meet with Cooley faculty, staff and alumni. Students were also introduced to a number of local judges, members of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the local Florida Association of Women Lawyers and a member of the George Edgecomb Bar Association.
The Tampa Bay campus is offering evening classes in May, with morning classes starting in September, and afternoon classes starting in January 2013. The full curriculum will be rolled out over a three-year period. Once the full curriculum is in place, Cooley will employ approximately 65 full time faculty and staff and about 35 part time faculty in the Tampa Bay area. The campus will accommodate nearly 700 students.
Cooley's Tampa Bay campus is located at 9445 Camden Field Parkway, Riverview, Fla. Renovations to turn an existing building into a state-of-the-art law school began in September, 2011. All renovations are expected to be completed in late 2012. Once complete, the renovated 132,000-square-foot building will include a 25,000-square-foot law library, 336-seat auditorium and 24 classrooms.
Cooley announced in August 2011 that the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar had accepted the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee to acquiesce in Cooley's application to open a campus in Riverview, Florida. The Tampa Bay campus was also approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the Florida Department of Education, Commission for Independent Education.
About Cooley Law School: Founded in 1972, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 15,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.