Juris Doctor

Juris Doctor

transformative experience

The decision to attend law school can be made at almost any time in life. Some choose to start right after college, others wait a year or two, and still others make the decision years later. But no matter when you make the decision, WMU-Cooley Law School has a program to fit your life. With a variety of schedule options, a well-rounded curriculum, specialty law school concentrations, and real-world, hands-on training, WMU-Cooley transforms law students into exceptional lawyers.  

 

WMU-Cooley Law School Curriculum

WMU-Cooley Law School’s juris doctor curriculum is specifically designed to help students master the knowledge, skills and ethics needed for bar examinations, law practice, and further graduate study.

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J.D. Concentrations

At WMU-Cooley, students can choose to concentrate in a particular field of practice:

  • Administrative Law — Centers on administrative procedures and governmental law.
  • Business Transactions — Instructs how to negotiate, structure, and implement transactions.
  • Canadian Law Practice — Prepares students for practice and licensing in Canada.
  • Environmental Law — Teaches environmental laws and policies.
  • General Practice, Solo and Small Firm — Prepares students for opening their own firm or solo practice.
  • Intellectual Property — Focuses on patent, trademark and other intellectual property.
  • International Law — Covers public law (human rights, immigration, environmental) and international business transactions.
  • Litigation — Teaches civil or criminal litigation, including negotiation and alternative dispute resolution skills.
  • Focused Studies — Allows students to build their own focused area of study.

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Read about why law school concentrations are important. “Law School Concentrations and Why They’re Important.
 

Hands-On Learning

WMU-Cooley was founded on the premise that students who have learned actual real-world lawyering skills will have untold advantages over law students who have only learned the theory of the law. Every student not only must have skills training before graduating, they also learn very early the practical lesson in the importance of clarity in legal writing. Every student must perfect his or her writing and research skills as core attributes of a well-trained attorney. And to fully immerse students in the realities of being a lawyer, we emphasize practical legal training where each student is required to participate in some form of experiential learning including:

1) Law School Clinics — An on-campus experience where students do pro bono work under an experienced faculty member’s supervision (i.e., Sixty-Plus Elderlaw Clinic, WMU-Cooley Innocence Project, etc.).

2) Law School Externship — WMU-Cooley’s externship program allows students to work with a practicing attorney or judge at any one of over 3,000 placement sites across the nation. Student externs have the exciting opportunity to work, network, and receive mentorship with professionals at real-life law firms, courtrooms, and legal businesses, and receive credit for your time. 
 

Schedule Options

At WMU-Cooley, we offer a variety of law school schedule options designed to help make your dream of going to law school possible. You can choose from several more traditional law school options or jump into an accelerated two-year option if you are on the fast-track to start your legal career. Full-time, Part-time, Evenings and Weekends are some of the many options you can consider. Find out more about WMU-Cooley’s different options. 

  • Traditional
  • Three-year part time 
  • Four-year part time 
  • Five-year part time 
  • Weekend/evening 
  • Two-year accelerated

Students also have the option to enter law school three times a year, in January, May or September. We operate on a "rolling admissions" system, which means we process law school applications when they are received. Even if you have a full-time job, kids’ soccer games to attend, or other responsibilities, WMU-Cooley may have a schedule option for you. Click below to learn more.

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Our flexible schedule options have helped thousands of law students reach their potential by simply working around their schedules. Let us help you. Hear Dinah Lynch’s story here
 

Law School Scholarships

Financing law school can be a challenge for any law student. As much as we understand that a legal education is an investment in you, we also are prepared to reward academic excellence through a generous scholarship program, awarding unconditional awards up to 100 percent of tuition for all 90 credits! Find out more about scholarship opportunities.

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Our Faculty

WMU-Cooley has some of the most experienced faculty of any law school in the country — inside the classroom and the courtroom. With an average of 15 years teaching the law, our professors also average 11 years practicing law before choosing the classroom as a career. WMU-Cooley’s faculty focus the majority of their time doing exactly what they love to do; teach and support our students in the ways of success, in law school and in their career.

This mentor mentality is the rule rather than the exception. And WMU-Cooley students rave about the professors. In fact, our faculty consistently receive ratings of 9 out of 10 in student course evaluations. That’s not surprising when you realize the scope of WMU-Cooley professors’ accomplishments. 

The dynamics in the classroom expands when you are learning from a faculty of legal experts in a field of law they have practiced. Our experts are so respected, they often find themselves as legal experts in the media, by topic and on important news events of the day.

But these professors don’t just give during class. WMU-Cooley professors are known for being available to students, just to answer any student questions or by spending time going over hard-learned legal concepts. By mentoring in academics as well as in life, WMU-Cooley faculty empower their students to achieve their goals, no matter what is going on in their daily lives. Check out this blog on Professor Emily Horvath

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WMU-Cooley Locations

Since our founding in 1972, WMU-Cooley Law School has grown from one campus in downtown Lansing to numerous locations in Michigan and Florida.

Visit our campuses in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Tampa Bay, as well as our location on the main campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Each location offers comfortable and beautiful surroundings that include outstanding classrooms and lecture facilities; law libraries staffed with professionals who support students seven days a week; quiet and safe study areas; and inviting spaces to meet, network and share friendship with other students and faculty. Each location has its own personality. It’s just a matter of knowing yours! 

Students can get involved with others and their communities through numerous volunteer projects and opportunities, all while learning how giving back and lawyering are intertwined with each other.  

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Learn more about the communities near our locations:

Where a WMU-Cooley Juris Doctor Can Take You

Law school can be an exciting adventure; a time when you reach deep within yourself to become the best lawyer and person you can be. Once you graduate, you will look back, like so many WMU-Cooley graduates, with pride and appreciation in this hard-earned accomplishment.  

With more than 20,000 WMU-Cooley graduates making their mark across the nation and the world, you will find yourself amongst a fiercely proud family of leaders. Read more about our amazing graduates! 

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CONTACT

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

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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.

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