Public Information and ABA Required Disclosures

The links below provide information about Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School that may be of interest to prospective and current students, faculty, and staff. If you have questions, feel free to contact us directly at planning@cooley.edu.


Index

About WMU-Cooley

ABA-Required Information

Sexual Predator/Offender Registry
Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Admissions Data

Demographics

Financial

Academic (J.D. & LL.M.)

Life at WMU-Cooley

Copyright

Employment Outcomes

Attorney Licensing


About WMU-Cooley

Mission and Strategic Plan

The Mission of Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is to prepare its graduates for entry into the legal profession through an integrated program with practical legal education as its guiding principle and focus. This mission includes providing broad access to those who seek the opportunity to study law, while requiring that those to whom that opportunity is offered to meet WMU-Cooley’s rigorous academic standards.

The preparation for practice mission means that WMU-Cooley graduates must: 

  1. master the fundamentals and basic skills required for the competent practice of law and representation of clients;
  2. demonstrate the substantive knowledge and skills required for passage of a bar examination and admission to the bar; and
  3. understand and embrace the legal, moral, ethical, and professional responsibility of lawyers.

The Law School Strategic Plan

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Accreditation and State Authorization

Founded in 1972 in Lansing, Michigan, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School exists and operates as a single legal and accredited entity with campuses located in Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, and Lansing, Michigan, and Tampa Bay (Riverview), Florida. It is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It is also licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education (FCIE).

ABA Approval
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is fully approved by the American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The School operates campuses at Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, and Lansing, Michigan, and Tampa Bay, Florida.  Students who graduate from any of these campuses are graduates of a fully approved law school.

Direct any inquiries to:

American Bar Association
Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
321 Clark Street
21st Floor NE
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 988-6738
www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education.html

Effect of Branch Campus Accreditation
All students matriculate at, attend, and graduate from WMU-Cooley, not from an individual campus. Regardless of which campus they attend, all students have equal status; are free to take any class offered at any campus; are deemed by the ABA to be enrolled at, and are recognized as graduates of, an ABA-approved law school; and possess the same status of bar admission eligibility. This enrollment status applies at all times beginning with matriculation.

Inquiries regarding the status of WMU-Cooley's campuses may be directed to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar by calling: (312) 988-6738.


HLC Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School since 2001. The HLC is part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Founded in 1895, the NCA is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. Through its commissions it accredits, and thereby grants membership to, educational institutions in the North Central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The HLC is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

Higher Learning Commission
A member of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413
(800) 621-7440
hlcommission.org/


FCIE Licensure
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is licensed in Florida by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education. Additional information regarding this institution may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400, toll-free telephone number (888) 224-6684.

Sexual Predator/Offender Registry Website - Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
Toll-free: 1-888-357-7332
TTY Accessibility: 1-877-414-7234

NC-SARANational Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School has been approved by Michigan to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of post-secondary distance education.  Approved institutions can be found here.

Documentation
Copies of our accreditation and state authorization documents can be obtained from:

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Office of Planning, Assessment, & Accreditation
300 S. Capitol Ave, 9th Floor
Lansing MI 48933
Email: planning@cooley.edu

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ABA Required Information

ABA "Standard 509" Report

Each year, the Law School proudly submits to the ABA its annual report as required by ABA Standard 509 highlighting key information about the Law School, including tuition and fees, living expenses, GPA and LSAT scores of entering students, grants and scholarships awarded and conditions placed upon scholarships, student body demographics, curriculum, faculty and administrators, attrition and transfer numbers, and bar passage rates. These reports, which are filed by all ABA-approved law schools, provide prospective students with valuable comparative data.  We encourage you to read them.  

ABA Conditional Scholarship Retention Data

WMU-Cooley honors scholarships are continued for the duration of the student's enrollment at the law school as long as the student is not subject to sanction under the Honor Code or Disciplinary Procedures. 

Students Matriculating In: # Entering with
Conditional Scholarships
# Whose Conditional Scholarships
Have Since Been Reduced or Eliminated
Previous Academic Year
2015-16
0 0
2014-15 0 0
ABA Interpretation 509-4 defines a conditional scholarship as follows:
A conditional scholarship is any financial aid award, the retention of which is dependent upon the student maintaining a minimum grade point average or class standing, other than that ordinarily required to remain in good academic standing.



Admissions Data

Admissions Statistics

Useful statistical information about admissions to the Law School's J.D. program is available as part of the Law School's Standard 509 Report.   

Outcome-Based Admissions Process

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School uses an outcome-based admissions formula that calculates the probability of academic success and projects a law school grade point average, based on the combination of LSAT score and undergraduate grade point average.  The relative weighting of LSAT and undergraduate grade point is derived through regression analysis of the past performance of 3,410 previous students who attended WMU-Cooley.  The methodology is the same as that employed by the Law School Admissions Council in the admissions formulas that LSAC calculates and provides to each school.  Our methodology incorporates overall results, not just those of the first year, as is the case with the LSAC calculation. Find the technical description of the study WMU-Cooley conducted to develop its methodology here.

WMU-Cooley uses no other factors in making this calculation.  Regular admission is limited to applicants whose predicted WMU-Cooley grade point is 2.20 or higher.  For those whose predicted grade point average is between 2.20 and 2.49, the Admissions Committee considers other factors in determining a possible limitation in credit hours that can be taken during the first two semesters.  Scholarship levels are set through the same process, with scholarships tied to the predicted grade point average, beginning at the 2.50 level.  Find more information about scholarships here.

Below is the chart we use to guide admissions decisions.*

Predicted CGPA

Average Probability of Success

Probability of Success Range

Action

<2.00

52.36%

22.67-61.69%

Denial

2.00-2.19

67.74%

61.17-72.61%

Deny or PEP

2.20-2.34

75.59%

71.28-78.78%

Individual Review by Committee*

2.35-2.49

81.72%

78.44-84.32%

Individual Review by Committee*

2.50-2.64

86.28%

83.35-88.55%

Regular Admission

2.65-2.74

89.49%

88.16-90.71%

10% Scholarship

2.75-2.84

91.51%

 90.09-92.72%

20% Scholarship

2.85-2.94

93.12%

92.22-94.28%

30% Scholarship

2.95-3.04

94.58%

93.89-95.31%

40% Scholarship

3.05-3.14

95.69%

95.21-96.30%

50% Scholarship

3.15-3.24

96.53%

96.12-97.06%

60% Scholarship

3.25-3.34

97.23%

96.97-97.50%

70% Scholarship

3.35-3.44

97.91%

97.61-98.13%

80% Scholarship

3.45-3.54

98.32%

98.20-98.50%

90% Scholarship

3.55+

98.77%

98.52-99.18%

100% Scholarship

*The results of the study have been rounded in this table to the nearest 1/100th to reflect the common practice followed in displaying grade point averages.

Benchmarks are subject to change. The benchmarks used for admissions, including PEP, and scholarship eligibility, are subject to change based on periodic review and without notice.

Character and fitness as an admissions factor.  Admission can be denied or limited based on character and fitness disclosures made during and after the admissions process.  Find information about character and fitness here.

Students with a predicted WMU-Cooley grade point between 2.00 and 2.19 are eligible to be considered for the School’s Professional Exploration Program, known as PEP.  The file of each applicant who falls within this predicted grade point range is considered by the Admissions Committee, and those whose file demonstrates potential for success are invited to attend the week-long PEP program.  At the time the PEP invitation is offered, each invitee is informed of the applicable probability of success range for students admitted to the school.  Participants in PEP are tested and evaluated, and about half are selected for admission to the law school.  Find a description of the PEP program here.

Because the School has operated with an access and opportunity mission since its founding over forty years ago, the School does not seek the “best” class, meaning the highest LSAT scores and grade point averages.  Rather, we offer a chance to succeed to every student who meets the 2.20 predicted grade point average standard or who is selected based on PEP performance.  Every individual admitted to the School receives written notice of both the predicted grade point average and percentage of success based on the performance of students previously admitted with similar credentials.

Applicants with high profiles are most welcome and receive substantial scholarship support.  Although we now neither admit nor exclude anyone based solely on a high or low LSAT score, students with higher LSAT scores perform exceptionally well academically.  Click here for success rates of students admitted with high LSAT scores.  The Law School Admissions Council has issued six cautionary policies regarding the proper use of LSAT scores here.  The American Bar Association has provided similar guidance

No admissions process, including ours, can predict law school success or failure for an individual applicant.  The best that can be done is to predict the probability of success at a particular law school based on factors used in a school’s admissions decisions.  In our case, we use the regression study results based on previous performance of WMU-Cooley students.  Of course, that still leaves a line-drawing problem.  We have selected a minimum probability of law school success that is based on a reasonable probability for students with similar credentials.  While others reasonably may differ regarding where to draw that line, we have chosen to draw our line at a level that is consistent with the School’s well-established opportunity and access mission and demonstrates capability to succeed as shown by performance-based probability calculation.  Providing written notice to each accepted applicant of his or her probability of academic success allows each individual applicant to make an informed decision regarding the reasonableness of the risk of academic success or failure. 

Additional information about admissions can be found on the WMU-Cooley website.  Click here for our admissions page.  Click here for our prospective students page.

Demographics

Student Enrollment on October 5, 2016:

Fall 2016 Faculty: 158 total faculty

Degrees Awarded: 460 degrees (411 J.D. and 49 LL.M.) were awarded October 6, 2015 through October 5, 2016

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Financial

Tuition & Fees, Cost of Attendance, and Financial Aid.
J.D. figures for tuition and living costs »
LL.M. figures for tuition and living costs »

Merit Based Aid. Eligibility and awarding information for each type of award can be found here »

Credit Balances. Title IV credit balances will be refunded to students after all aid has disbursed to the student account and a $0.00 balance is owed to the school.

Disbursements of financial aid are typically made in two installments at the beginning of each semester. For second semester and students on academic probation, disbursements are held until grades are posted.

Institution's cohort default rate: See table from the U.S. Department of Education below. This information can be verified on the Department’s Federal Student Aid website. Enter the following code in the OPE-ID field: 012627

Three-year Official Cohort Default Rates


OPE ID

School

Type

Control

PRGMS

 

FY2013

FY2012

FY2011

012627

Western Michigan University THOMAS M. COOLEY LAW SCHOOL (All Campuses)
300 SOUTH CAPITOL AVENUE
LANSING   MI  48933-2002 

Master's Degree or Doctor's Degree

Private

Both (FFEL/FDL)

Default Rate

 3.5 

 2.8 

 5.1 

No. in Default

 51 

 39 

 63 

No. in Repay

 1,446 

 1,345 

 1,233 

Enrollment figures 

Percentage Calculation

 4,646 

31.1 

 5,046 

26.6 

 4,422 

27.8 

ENROLLMENT: To provide context for the Cohort Default Rate (CDR) data we include enrollment data (students enrolled at any time during the year) and a corresponding percentage (borrowers entering repayment divided by that enrollment figure). While there is no direct relationship between the timing of when a borrower entered repayment (October 1 through September 30) and any particular enrollment year, for the purpose of these data, we have chosen to use the academic year ending on the June 30 prior to the beginning of the cohort year (e.g., FY 2013 CDR Year will use 2011-2012 enrollment).

Financial Aid Code of Conduct. As active institutional members of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Professionals (NASFAA), the Financial Aid employees at The Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School (WMUTMCLS) have historically adhered to the NASFAA Code of Conduct. The Code is intended to help guide financial aid professionals in carrying out their duties, particularly with regard to ensuring transparency in the administration of the student financial aid programs, and to avoid the harm that may arise from actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest. [read more]

Refund Policies. The institutional refund policy can be viewed here » .

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Academic

Academic Calendar. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School has a year-round academic program with 3 semesters per year: January (Hilary), May (Trinity), and September (Michaelmas). Students may begin their studies in September, January, or May. The academic calendar can be viewed here » .

Graduation Requirements. Graduation from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School requires the completion of 90 credit hours of study with an overall cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 or C, as well as a 2.0 or C average in required courses. The Law School confers the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) upon its qualified graduates. Details about how the 90 credits must be earned may be found here.

Curricular Offerings. Every J.D. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School student must complete 90 credit hours, including 66 credit hours of required substantive and skills-based courses, plus 24 credit hours of elective courses in one of several concentrations of study. Download Cooley's J.D. course offerings (pdf).

The Graduate Program offers the following degree programs: a Master of Laws in Corporate Law and Finance, a Master of Laws in Homeland and National Security Law, a Master of Laws in Insurance Law, a Master of Laws in Intellectual Property, a Master of Laws in Taxation, a U.S. Legal Studies for Foreign Attorneys LL.M., and a Self-Directed Master of Laws. LL.M. course offerings are listed by program:

Academic Support. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School provides a comprehensive academic support system that begins before matriculation and ends with post-graduation programs. Find a full description here.

Academic Requirements Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School's J.D. requires the completion of 90 credit hours of study with an overall cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 or C, as well as a 2.0 or C average in required courses. Details about how the 90 credits must be earned may be found here.

WMU-Cooley's LL.M. degree requires the completion of 24 credit hours and an overall cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 or B on the total hours taken and completed. Details about how the 24 credits must be earned may be found by program:

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Life at WMU Cooley

Student activities. The Law School has more than 50 active student organizations.

Nondiscrimination. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School abides by all federal and state laws against discrimination. In addition, WMU Cooley Law School abides by American Bar Association Standard 211(a), which provides that "a law school shall foster and maintain equality of opportunity in legal education, including employment of faculty and staff, without discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability."

Students with Disabilities. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is committed to complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 by providing access to campus facilities and reasonable accommodations in programs, services and classroom activities. Students with disabilities are responsible for ensuring that the Law School is aware of disabilities that require accommodations by contacting the disability coordinator for their campus.

Disability Access Guide More information about WMU-Cooley Law School facilities, parking, accommodations, and classroom access can be found in the Disability Access Guide (pdf)

Transfer of credit. From the Student Policy Manual, Chapter 2, Sections 2.04, (B), 20.04 (C), and 2.04(D) (pdf). For Joint Degrees: Chapter 5, Section 5.04(B) and LL.M. Degrees Chapter 10, Sections 10.12 and 10.13 (pdf).

Articulation Agreements. An articulation agreement is an agreement between or among institutions of higher education that specifies the acceptability of courses in transfer toward meeting specific degree or program requirements. 20 USC Section 1093(a). WMU Cooley Law School has established articulation agreements for students in joint degree programs with Davenport University, Western Michigan University, Oakland University, and Olivet College.

Privacy of Student Records: Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, an educational institution may not release information other than "directory information" regarding a student or graduate without the written consent of the student or graduate. In compliance with this law, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School has established its own FERPA policy, which defines "directory information" to include whether a student is enrolled, whether a person has graduated from the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and certain other information. The law allows for several exceptions to the prohibition on disclosure of student information, including a health or safety emergency.

Other information will be released only upon the written consent of the individual student, stating what information can be released and to whom the information can be released. Such requests must be presented to the Registrar. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act also provides for a right to inspect and review the student's education records, within a reasonable period of time of a request. If a student believes that information in the student's education records is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise violative of privacy or other rights of students, the student may request that the School amend the records. The FERPA policy sets forth that process. The School, within a reasonable time, will decide whether to amend. If the School decides to refuse to amend, the student will be informed of the right to a hearing.

An enrolled student has the right to restrict the release of directory information. To restrict the release of directory information contact the Registrar's Office registrar@cooley.edu.

Military Friendly policies: Students in the Military Called to Active Duty (pdf): From the Student Policy Manual, Chapter 7, Section 7.17.

Emergency Procedures. In the interests of protecting the safety of students, employees, and guests, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School has established a set of procedures to use if an emergency arises. These procedures are based upon guidance provided by WMU Cooley Law School's Access Control provider and by key WMU Cooley Law School personnel.  Read WMU-Cooley Law School's Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures Policy (pdf).

Crime and Security. Go to the U.S. Dept. of Education, Campus Security Data web page. Enter "Cooley" in the NAME search field or to obtain information for each of WMU-Cooley Law School's campuses.

For detailed information about WMU-Cooley Law School's response to emergencies, campus crime and crime prevention efforts, download our Campus Security Policies and Report (pdf).

Register to Vote.

MICHIGAN:  To register to vote in Michigan, visit the Michigan Secretary of State's Office and download a voter registration form (pdf). To obtain information about absentee voting in Michigan, visit the SOS absentee voting page. To obtain a Michigan absentee ballot, visit the same page and download an absent voter ballot application (pdf).

FLORIDA:  To register to vote in Florida, visit the Florida Department of State's Office and download a voter registration form (pdf).  Detailed voting information, including early voting, vote-by-mail  (formerly absentee) voting information, can be found in the Florida Voter Registration and Voting Guide (pdf).  Detailed information about voting in Hillsborough County can be found on the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections website.

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Copyright

What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for the civil copy right infringement may be order to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United State Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five year and fines up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially, their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

See WMU-Cooley Law School's policies regarding peer-to-peer file sharing (pdf).

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Employment Outcomes

Graduate Employment Data

Law schools collect and report graduate employment information to the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (ABA). WMU-Cooley Law School asks each graduate to complete the American Bar Association’s Employment Questionnaire. The ABA designed the questionnaire, which collects employment information for those who graduated between September 1 and August 31 of the prior academic year. For WMU-Cooley, the 2016 Graduate Cohort includes those who graduated from the law school in September 2015, January 2016, and May 2016.

WMU-Cooley Law School publicly reports employment data on its graduating classes in accordance with ABA guidelines. The graduates who voluntarily respond to the survey are the primary source of employment data. For graduates who did not respond to the survey, WMU-Cooley Law School determined and confirmed a graduate's employment status from publicly available sources such as state bar records, social media, law firm or employer websites, and other internet resources that have been deemed sufficiently reliable by the ABA. Any graduate employment information that was indirectly obtained and that was deemed credible in accordance with ABA guidelines was reported. Reported information for the classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016 are included in the yearly summaries posted below, and they are presented in the format required by the ABA. The law school submits its Employment Questionnaire for all WMU-Cooley campuses combined.

As with any statistics, it is important to understand the definitions of terms and the methodology used to compile graduate employment data and reports. An explanation of ABA reporting methodologies can be found here.

If you have questions about WMU-Cooley Law School's graduate employment data, contact WMU-Cooley Law School’s Office of Career and Professional Development.

(2016 Graduates_ALL CAMPUSES.pdf)

(2015 Graduates_ALL CAMPUSES.pdf)

(2014 Graduates_ALL CAMPUSES.pdf)

These reports are also available on the ABA Placement Statistics website.


Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics for data on law careers.

Career and Placement Services. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley provides comprehensive services to help students and graduates with career planning and employment searches.  Find a full description here. WMU-Cooley also offers extensive clinical internship and externship opportunities as well.  Find a full description here.

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Attorney Licensing

Licensing Requirements

Every jurisdiction has licensing requirements for lawyers that include character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar. Applicants and students are encouraged to contact the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice to learn about that jurisdiction's requirements for admission to the Bar. As an ABA approved law school, WMU-Cooley's J.D. program satisfies the educational requirements for U.S. jurisdictions.

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About Us

An independent, private, non-profit educational institution affiliated with Western Michigan University. The Law School, as an independent institution, is solely responsible for its academic program. Accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. The Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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