Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is committed to strengthening its position as a leader in providing a modern legal education. Last fall, WMU-Cooley announced it was cutting tuition by 21 percent effective for the 2020-21 academic year. In August 2019, in response to the changing legal education market, WMU-Cooley took a first step in consolidating its multi-campus footprint by merging its Auburn Hills campus with its other Michigan locations. Currently WMU-Cooley has campuses in Michigan and Florida.
Building on these efforts to meet the changing legal landscape, the WMU-Cooley Board of Directors voted to take the next step to right-size the school's infrastructure by consolidating all of its Michigan campuses into one central location in Lansing, Michigan, the state capitol. Its Grand Rapids campus will cease operating on August 31, 2021, pending approval by its accrediting agencies.
“WMU-Cooley’s Board is committed to placing the law school in a position of strength as we continue to provide broad access to legal education,” said Board Chairperson Hon. Louise Alderson.
Upon his arrival in July of 2019, President and Dean James McGrath has led the effort to improve bar pass rates and other student outcomes, invigorate faculty governance, strengthen the school’s relationship with its accrediting bodies and improve the law school’s financial outlook. “The recent Board action was the appropriate decision as demand for a legal education continues to vacillate. We are focusing on providing a quality practical legal education to students who will truly diversify the legal profession, said McGrath.
“As with many institutions of higher education, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly affected our decision making and continues to have an impact on our enrollment," McGrath continued. “We have made bold and sweeping changes this past year and a half to show our commitment to building a socially just future, while setting us on a path to better serve our students and the profession.”
WMU-Cooley, a fully accredited law school, has a proud history of graduating practice-ready attorneys committed to providing access to justice. Its diverse student body has opportunities to participate in one of the law school’s clinics, including the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project and the Access to Justice Clinic, or to choose from more than 3,000 externship sites around the United States and the world.
"The current pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives forever and WMU-Cooley is embracing these challenges as opportunities," asserted McGrath. "WMU-Cooley’s goals are to rebuild our school, our profession, and help make our nation stronger and more equitable. We will ALL RISE by working together."