WMU and Thomas M. Cooley Law School to part ways

Western Michigan University and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School will end their affiliation as of November 2023, at which time the law school will no longer bear the WMU name.

"The affiliation with Cooley made sense at a time when new ventures for extending the University’s reach could be explored and given time to mature," says WMU President Edward Montgomery. "Today, the pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives. It is transforming higher education in ways that will have lasting effects on our sector and WMU. As a result, we are focusing on our core mission as we chart a course for an even stronger post-pandemic WMU."

WMU-Cooley President James McGrath offers, “I appreciate WMU's need to focus on its core mission during this period. WMU-Cooley is also refining its program in the face of COVID-19 and these efforts will expand upon our recent innovations. Since my arrival last year, we have embraced modern teaching techniques, increased our admissions profile, decreased tuition by 21%, and consolidated our footprint into two campuses. The end of the affiliation will not affect our ability to continue to deliver a quality student experience as we have over the course of our 48-year history.”

The affiliation agreement was established in 2013, and the school adopted the name Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The agreement calls for a three-year transition period should the relationship be dissolved.

Consistent with the original agreement, both institutions have remained independent entities. Each institution has retained independent governance, as overseen by separate boards. The agreement has not involved an exchange of funds or financial support. The dissolution will not affect the operations of either entity.

Nov 05 2020


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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. The affiliation between WMU and WMU-Cooley, which are legally and financially independent institutions, will end on or before November 5, 2023. 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. 

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