Ethics and Professionalism

Ethics and Professionalism

Culture of Professionalism

We want to inspire excellence, service and integrity in the souls of those we serve

ethics and professionalism

By creating a culture of professionalism within the law school, WMU-Cooley inspires excellence, service and integrity in the souls of those we serve. WMU-Cooley fosters high caliber relationships between the WMU-Cooley community and the legal and local communities.

WMU-Cooley is dedicated to the following ideals:

  • Lead by modeling and teaching ethics
  • Foster and encourage service
  • Practice professionalism
  • Commitment to our communities

Our professionalism principles:

Embrace Professional Behavior

  • Take responsibility for your own actions and words
  • Correct misunderstandings and misinformation
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Don't criticize without offering a solution
  • Volunteer to fix what is broken
  • Try to figure it out yourself, first
  • Follow appropriate channels in an appropriate manner
  • Treat others with respect and dignity
  • Work toward improvement, not destruction or the status quo
  • Anticipate the impact of your behavior
  • Behave in a way that will get a positive result
  • Take into account the demands on and limitations of others
  • Commit to personal growth and learning

Promote an Ethical School Community

  • Acknowledge that the school community is us-it is nothing more than a composite of all the people who associate with it and in it. Creation of an ethical community can only be accomplished through the ethical acts of its stakeholders.
  • Be Accountable: Acknowledge that each member of the Cooley community is accountable for their own development as a professional and for establishing and maintaining a professional school environment.

Serve the Community

  • Acknowledge that affiliation with the law profession entails public service as its primary purpose. That the profession may provide a means of livelihood makes it no less a public service (with credit to Dean Roscoe Pound, Harvard Law School).
  • Know that professionalism requires providing excellent quality service to your clients and participation in the work of the legal community.

Focus on Students

Acknowledge that all of us-staff, students, faculty, alumni, and community members-have a stake in educating the law student in the ways of professionalism.

Other featured programs, principles and honors

  • Ethics Library - WMU-Cooley's Ethics and Professionalism Library maintains nearly 5,000 volumes of ethics materials. The Ethics and Professionalism Library is open to students, faculty, and attorneys to promote the research and study of ethics and professionalism.
  • E. Smythe Gambrell Award - Through WMU-Cooley's innovative, award-winning Professionalism Plan, which received the American Bar Association's highest recognition for professionalism, the E. Smythe Gambrell Award, WMU-Cooley created a culture of professionalism that permeates every part of the school.
  • Florida Professionalism - The Florida Bar's Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism offers a handbook on professionalism.  
  • Professionalism Advisory Committee - Bringing together nearly 60 leaders to identify professionalism issues that impact the practice of law and higher education and to create a dialogue on ways to improve and promote professionalism in legal education.
  • School-wide Pro Bono Opportunities - WMU-Cooley offers its students the opportunity to serve the indigent, under-served, and deserving through programs at each campus. Students should contact the Career and Professional Development Office at their campus to take advantage of these opportunities and to log their pro bono hours through the Pro Bono tab on Symplicity. 
  • Commitment to Honor - At every orientation, our new students, along with faculty and staff, promise not to lie, cheat, steal, plagiarize, or tolerate those who do.
  • Integrity in Our Communities Lecture Series - Nationally and locally recognized speakers talk about issues, trials, and lawsuits touching on ethical and professional matters.
  • Professionalism in Action - A collaborative program between the State Bar of Michigan and WMU-Cooley bringing students, local attorneys and judges together to discuss the role and importance of ethics and professionalism in both the study and practice of law. Our newest campus in Tampa Bay has adopted this program as well, with attorneys and judges from Hillsborough and neighboring counties setting great examples for our students before they have even started law school


WMU-Cooley Law School
300 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933 
(517) 371-5140

Click here for a full sitemap

Click here for ABA-required disclosures

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
Get Adobe Acrobat Reader


Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is an independent, private, non-profit educational institution affiliated with Western Michigan University. As an independent institution, the Law School is solely responsible for its academic program. Accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. In corde hominem est anima legis.

Read non-discrimination policy


WMU Cooley Logo
In corde hominem est anima legis.

© 2017 WMU Cooley Law School