Cooley offers students the option of focusing electives in a specific area of study, with an upper level skills course. Concentrations are offered in the following areas:
Administrative Law (Public Law)
Administrative procedures, governmental law
Students choosing this concentration will receive advanced training in administrative law, as well as in the substantive matters that are typically addressed by government agencies, such as environmental protection and labor relations. For a practical learning experience, Cooley students may enroll in the Public Sector Law Clinic in Grand Rapids, or in one of the many externship placements in governmental agencies, courts and legislative offices around the country.
Negotiate, structure, and implement transactions
This concentration focuses on transactional law, creating practice-ready graduates who can negotiate, structure and implement transactions. Business planners can be expected to be involved in a wide range of business, real estate, labor, sports and entertainment matters. This concentration dovetails neatly with the LL.M joint degree program in Corporate Law and Finance. Clinical experiences abound, with externship opportunities in the United States and abroad in corporate counsel offices, law firms with a focus on business transactions, and governmental agencies.
Canadian Law Practice
Prepares students for practice and licensing in Canada.
The Canadian Practice Concentration is designed to prepare students for examinations, articling, and practice in most Canadian provinces. The Canadian Practice Concentration includes 12 credits of required courses, a minimum of three credits of skills classes, and a minimum of three credits of clinic/externship. Cooley has multiple externship placements in Canada.
Constitutional Law / Civil Rights (Public Law)
Defend and uphold the Constitution
This concentration appeals to students interested in public interest law and will focus on civil rights, civil liberties, anti-discrimination law and advanced constitutional law. Cooley has multiple externship placements in the United States and abroad at public interest law organizations, governmental agencies, advocacy groups, and private firms specializing in civil rights and human rights cases.
Environmental Law (Public Law)
Environmental laws and policies
Environmental law affects many areas of legal practice. Students who choose this concentration will receive training in advanced environmental law issues. Cooley has multiple externship placements such as governmental agencies and public interest placements where the focus is on environmental law, as well as private law firms specializing in environmental law.
General Practice, Solo and Small Firm
Serve clients in a small to medium size firms in a variety of legal areas
Many law graduates are interested in solo and small firms where the lawyers assist their client with a variety of legal matters. These lawyers will likely be handling estate planning, real estate transactions, family law, commercial law and contracts, criminal matters and personal injury matters. Students choosing this concentration will be prepared for a general practice where both legal knowledge and business knowledge is essential. Skills classes are emphasized. Students can enroll in Cooley clinics where they can appear in court under Michigan's third year practice rule or they can choose to extern with a small firm in any state in the country.
Patent, trademark and other intellectual property
Intellectual property is a growing legal field in the United States and internationally. Students who choose this concentration will focus on patent and trademark law and other advanced intellectual property law. This concentration dovetails neatly with Cooley's LL.M. joint degree program in Intellectual Property. Cooley has multiple externship placements with private firms that focus on intellectual property, including sports and entertainment law firms.
Public law (human rights, immigration, environmental) and international business transactions
International practice has both public law and private law dimensions. Students who enroll in this concentration will choose elective classes that emphasize either public international law or private international law, or include a combination of electives. Students who participate in one or more of Cooley's foreign study programs are able to earn up to 10 credits which satisfy the concentration's general international law elective course requirements. Cooley has multiple externship placements in the United States and abroad where students work in a placement which focuses on international law issues.
Civil or criminal litigator, includes negotiation and ADR skills
Students in this concentration develop the skills necessary to function as an effective civil or criminal litigator. Few disputes are actually tried to a conclusion, and an effective litigator must have a skill set that includes negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. Students can gain litigation experience in many Cooley clinics, or in most externships with a legal aid, prosecutor's or public defender's office. Cooley also has multiple externship placements in private firms which focus on litigation preparation and assisting the supervising attorney in court.
Students can build their own focused area of study
Cooley allows students to build their own concentration when a student wishes to focus his or her electives in an area not presently covered by a concentration. A self-directed concentration could be a career path (like criminal law, military law, family law, labor law) or it could be a skills path (like ADR).
Tax laws and policies
Taxation touches nearly all areas of law. This concentration focuses on tax issues in a variety of areas. The concentration dovetails neatly with Cooley's LL.M. joint degree program in Taxation. Students can choose between multiple externship placements around the country with the IRS, tax courts, and private firms that focus on tax issues.
No specific concentration
Cooley students are not required to concentrate their electives. Some students prefer complete flexibility. The undeclared concentration requires a skills course and a clinical experience (Cooley clinic or externship) and the remaining credits are all electives.