Law School Discussion

Why is Cooley Law so despised?

Ninja1

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Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #110 on: October 15, 2008, 01:43:56 PM »
I'm brand new to this forum, but I'll jump into the discussion...granted, I've only read the first two pages and the last three pages of the thread, but I get the gist of the conversation.  And, I'm a student at Cooley.

First: http://www.cooley.edu/overview/thomasbrennan.htm#articles

That is a link to a page where there are 80 essays from the schools founder (published in the Detroit Legal News) discussing the creation of the school.  Much of the animosity towards the school came from U of M (and their pressure on the ABA).  U of M was opposed to the new school and challenged its creation every step of the way.

There is some insight in these essays to the motives behind the creation of the school, and I think even breezing through a couple of the essays is worth the time.  To summarize, the judge that started the school wanted to give people a chance, and if they acheived, they could continue. (There is no mandatory number of cuts.  If every student achieves, every student can continue.  Many simply find they are not destined to be lawyers and leave.  Many transfer.  Many do fail.  But they were given a chance here.)  I think that's a pretty fair reason to start a school.

Second, this school has many people looking to begin a second, or even third career.  People here that intentinoally avoid the competition in T1 or T2 schools.  People that are a little older, perhaps a little wiser, than someone who finishes undergrad, enters law school, and has never held a job or paid their own bills.  (I know that's an unfair generalization, but I've never personally met a U of M, Harvard, Yale, or U of Chicago law student that has paid their own bills...and I've met quite a few students).

Third, this school is affordable.  Don't take my word for it:

http://www.abajournal.com/news/mag_lists_50_law_schools_with_best_financial_aid_ratios/

I can graduate with little debt, get the exact job I wanted when I entered lawschool, and move on with my life.  Is there anything wrong with that?

Fourth, this school offeres a practical leagal education.  There is very little theory taught here, and everything is geared towards being able to practice law immediately upon graduation.  Many of my friends in T1's and T2's tell me that isn't necessarily the case in their schools.  Programs and clinics exist to prepare students to practice immediately, but that education is not integrated into every class.  I'm not saying either is better, just pointing out some differences.  This leads to a sharp difference in where graduates find jobs.  BigLaw doesn't want to put a grad in the courtroom, they want to train you to fit their model, and they want to invest in their new hires to cultivate them to achieve in very complex legal matters.  That's great...if that's what you want to do.  The Cooley students that seek those positions usually find them, but chances are if that's the type of legal career you are after, you would choose a different school at the outset.

Finally, This school is only 30ish years old.  Competing against schools with reputations that are 150+ years old.  Of course it will take time for the school to mature and the reputation to deveolp.  Consider it a hazing process.

Just my thoughts...take them or leave them.
(I'm sure there is a spelling error or two, feel free to point them out)

jag

P.S. for the poster that bashed the MI Sup. Ct., here's a Wall Street Journal aritcle: http://www.opinionjournal.com/cc/?id=110007396 ...If you are going to enter the corporate world, I would recommend you get to know the MI Sup. Ct. and it's holdings.  That article is a couple of years old, but the Court contians perhaps the strongest collection of textualists in the nation.

Why is it that virtually every poster that is "from Cooley" tends to sound like they're on the payroll?

"They only had 188 transfers out and only failed out 405 of us last year!" Yeah, yeah, we know, Cooley is so elite and those folks couldn't hack it.

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #111 on: October 15, 2008, 02:15:31 PM »
I love the "there is no mandatory number of cuts."  Huh? I am pretty sure they have a curve there which means there is pretty much a mandatory number of cuts...

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #112 on: October 15, 2008, 03:07:50 PM »
I'm brand new to this forum, but I'll jump into the discussion...granted, I've only read the first two pages and the last three pages of the thread, but I get the gist of the conversation.  And, I'm a student at Cooley.

First: http://www.cooley.edu/overview/thomasbrennan.htm#articles

That is a link to a page where there are 80 essays from the schools founder (published in the Detroit Legal News) discussing the creation of the school.  Much of the animosity towards the school came from U of M (and their pressure on the ABA).  U of M was opposed to the new school and challenged its creation every step of the way.

There is some insight in these essays to the motives behind the creation of the school, and I think even breezing through a couple of the essays is worth the time.  To summarize, the judge that started the school wanted to give people a chance, and if they acheived, they could continue. (There is no mandatory number of cuts.  If every student achieves, every student can continue.  Many simply find they are not destined to be lawyers and leave.  Many transfer.  Many do fail.  But they were given a chance here.)  I think that's a pretty fair reason to start a school.

Second, this school has many people looking to begin a second, or even third career.  People here that intentinoally avoid the competition in T1 or T2 schools.  People that are a little older, perhaps a little wiser, than someone who finishes undergrad, enters law school, and has never held a job or paid their own bills.  (I know that's an unfair generalization, but I've never personally met a U of M, Harvard, Yale, or U of Chicago law student that has paid their own bills...and I've met quite a few students).

Third, this school is affordable.  Don't take my word for it:

http://www.abajournal.com/news/mag_lists_50_law_schools_with_best_financial_aid_ratios/

I can graduate with little debt, get the exact job I wanted when I entered lawschool, and move on with my life.  Is there anything wrong with that?

Fourth, this school offeres a practical leagal education.  There is very little theory taught here, and everything is geared towards being able to practice law immediately upon graduation.  Many of my friends in T1's and T2's tell me that isn't necessarily the case in their schools.  Programs and clinics exist to prepare students to practice immediately, but that education is not integrated into every class.  I'm not saying either is better, just pointing out some differences.  This leads to a sharp difference in where graduates find jobs.  BigLaw doesn't want to put a grad in the courtroom, they want to train you to fit their model, and they want to invest in their new hires to cultivate them to achieve in very complex legal matters.  That's great...if that's what you want to do.  The Cooley students that seek those positions usually find them, but chances are if that's the type of legal career you are after, you would choose a different school at the outset.

Finally, This school is only 30ish years old.  Competing against schools with reputations that are 150+ years old.  Of course it will take time for the school to mature and the reputation to deveolp.  Consider it a hazing process.

Just my thoughts...take them or leave them.
(I'm sure there is a spelling error or two, feel free to point them out)

jag

P.S. for the poster that bashed the MI Sup. Ct., here's a Wall Street Journal aritcle: http://www.opinionjournal.com/cc/?id=110007396 ...If you are going to enter the corporate world, I would recommend you get to know the MI Sup. Ct. and it's holdings.  That article is a couple of years old, but the Court contians perhaps the strongest collection of textualists in the nation.

First, I am not going to take one guy's opinion (in an opinion piece, no less) over those of every other lawyer I've met.  Maybe someday my mind will change, but that will probably be because the court has. 

Second, I paid my own bills for quite a few years (and still do).  We haven't met, so your streak is still alive, but at least you know of me.  The majority of my classmates are in similar situations.  The majority of the people in my section did not come here straight from undergrad. 

Your classmates are avoiding competition?  I don't see why you would want to avoid competition anyway, but either way I'm not buying that argument.  The environment at Michigan is nothing if not congenial.  Of course we all have a competitive streak--you wouldn't get to this level if you didn't--but we are all in this together, and we all realize that we benefit more from cooperation mixed in liberally with the competition. 

A practical education is laudable, but I disagree that it's good enough.  I'm not in lawyer school--I'm in law school.  I can figure out what a praecipe is, and how to file it, from reading the rules.  I don't think anyone here who wants to practice is going to have trouble with that.  The clinical programs here are incredible, and there are countless opportunities to jump in and represent clients.  I'm much more interested in learning about the theory, and then applying it to the practice.  I think one without the other is far inferior. 

I feel like I have to keep saying this, but I don't have that much of a problem with Cooley.  If it didn't have its own rankings, it would get picked on so much.  My biggest problem is with the people who claim that there is no difference between the education at Cooley and the education at the top schools.  That's just silly. 

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #113 on: October 15, 2008, 03:42:15 PM »

I feel like I have to keep saying this, but I don't have that much of a problem with Cooley.  If it didn't have its own rankings, it would get picked on so much.  My biggest problem is with the people who claim that there is no difference between the education at Cooley and the education at the top schools.  That's just silly. 

I won't argue with this, except to say that Michigan attracts better talent. I doubt the education is inherently different (to the point that you can separate the education from the educated). All ABA accredited school have roughly the same curriculum for the first year and a half. The quality of the faculty is probably much better at Michigan than at Cooley. Most elite schools have top notch faculty, but some lack superior faculty in certain areas. For instance, Alabama has two professors that specialize in white collar criminal prosecution and in SEC disclosures, respectively. Kenneth Rosen sat on the committee that drafted the final SEC Executive Compensation disclosure regulations, the very same regulations that I consult when I draft a 10-K for a client. It's hard to get a better legal education in securities law than from someone who was instrumental in drafting the rules. Pam Bucy was a federal prosecutor for many years with the DoJ. She has firsthand experience in many white-collar crime cases. Would an Yale professor provide better insight into white-collar prosecution? Maybe, but not likely.

In most cases, elite law schools have better faculties with far more relevant experiences than the faculties of non-elite schools. However, this is simply not true across the board. I suggest that all prosepctive law school students do thorough research into the backgrounds of the faculty of their top schools. For me, it is Alabama, Arizona, and Utah because I have found faculty members with experience relevant to my specific career goals. If you have not done that, you are really selling yourself short. If there are Cooley faculty members with relevant experience pursuant to the fulfilment of a prospective student's career goals AND the student either wants to or does not mind practicing in Michigan, I would not try to talk them out of attending Cooley. If they told me that they wanted to practice at Morrison Forester in San Francisco, I would naturally advise against Cooley. It all comes down to individual career goals. The choice of a law school, in my opinion, is more about mentorship and building prospective job contacts than anything else. The legal theory and education is virtually the same anywhere. Of course, the fact the Alabama's football team will murder that of any elite school is also a big plus!

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #114 on: October 15, 2008, 05:57:34 PM »
Wow...some pretty harsh criticism for offering a personal perpsective...

I don't think I was critical of anyone else, at least without qualifying the personal experience that led to my assumption, but yet blasted.  Tough crowd.  I guess it's an argument, not a discussion.

No, I am not on the payroll.  But I am comfortable with the decision I made.

Yes, I think the Cooley ranking system is b.s...in fact, it's a joke to the students here.

Come here week 3 and you'll see who's getting cut...and you'll agree they don't belong in law school.  Cooley profits off tuition, it's counter-intuitive to think the would intentionally boot people out.  The argument is whether they should have been admitted in the first place, and that goes back to the principles of the founder.

As far a competition...law school shouldn't be a zero-sum game.  Someone doesn't have to fail for everyone that succeeds.  There are many here, myself included, that don't care about being the top of the class.  I'm here to learn to be a lawyer, and I know where that will take me.  To me, the competition is the bar exam and the job market.

As far as professors here, every professor here has been a practicing attorney.  I think that adds a different perspective in the classroom, and I find it a positive aspect.  What makes a better professor, one who is published or one who has several real-world victories?  I honestly don't know the answer, or if there even is an answer.

Anyway, I enjoy the discussion for those who offer some substance...I guess I'll continue to take the chastising from the rest.

jag

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #115 on: October 15, 2008, 06:50:26 PM »


False.  Certain schools have the top faculty, the experts in fields, the professors who have been published many times, or even been a Supreme Court Justice.  Yes.  Everyone is going to learn what strict scrutiny is in the same way, but not everyone is going to get the depth and critical analysis that you will at other schools.  It's about being provactive and challenging;  some faculty can't do that, although they might know what the definition of mens rea is. 
[/quote]

Yes, what you cite are insights into the theory. Some professors have greater insights than others based upon their individual experiences. I believe that is the exact point I was attempting to make. I think most Columbia or Yale professors will have a greater depth of experience and wealth of knowledge regarding many legal issues. In certain specialties, however, they may not. In fact, there may be professors at lower ranked schools with far more experience in certain areas or specialties.

I would choose Yale over Cooley. Yet, I wouldn't choose Yale over Alabama. This is my choice, though. Who am I to say that Cooley is not the right school for some people? I would never pay $45k per year for a legal education when I can get what I believe to be a comparable education for less than half the price. Maybe Cooley students feel the same way.

It is hard for me to speak to law, because I am not a lawyer. I can speak for accounting because I am an accountant. My colleagues who attended Notre Dame, USC, or UoT Austin (all highly rated Accounting programs, on par with the Ivy Leagues of Law) are no brighter than my colleagues from lower ranked schools. I was just at a conference with an audit partner from Earnst and Young. He got his MBA from Wharton. Honestly, his depth of understanding of FAS 157 and FAS 141R did not dwarf my boss's insights. She is an ASU grad (not the best school in the world, middle of the road, at best). In practice, where they attended school has never been a factor. My boss was an audit manager at Arthur Anderson before it fell. She left to start her own firm when the Anderson office was absorbed by Deloitte after Anderson lost is ability to practice before the SEC. At the end of the day, accounting is still accounting. You learn what you know by serving clients. I can't imagine that law is drastically different.

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #116 on: October 16, 2008, 05:33:54 AM »


 You learn what you know by serving clients. I can't imagine that law is drastically different.


I don't think this is quite true.  I worked for a judge last summer and saw huge differences in the quality of work on different cases.  This may sound like I'm shilling for biglaw or something, but the large firms did vastly superior work.  This was a big consideration (besides, you know, the money...) when I applied for jobs over the summer.  I don't think anyone will dispute that there are terrific lawyers coming out of Cooley and other lower ranked schools, but come on-does anyone REALLY think that Cooley and, say, Michigan are comparable?  If you knew that your life, liberty or property were on the line and I said I can get you a lawyer (cost being no object)-do you want someone who graduated from Michigan or from Cooley?  How many would really pick Cooley?  Maybe we should run a poll on that?

Also, I think most (all?) schools require that their professors worked in the real world before getting hired as faculty.  I know my school has a requirement of 5 years in practice before they will be considered.  Many of them still do some practice on the side as well.

Thistle

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Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #117 on: October 16, 2008, 08:57:53 AM »
as i have said before, i want the best lawyer, with the best record, regardless of school affiliation. 

if my life, liberty, and property were on the line, i wouldnt hire a first-year attorney anyways, so looking at school is rather moot.  i certainly wouldnt base my hiring decision on who got a better lsat score.

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #118 on: October 16, 2008, 12:35:59 PM »

I don't think this is quite true.  I worked for a judge last summer and saw huge differences in the quality of work on different cases.  This may sound like I'm shilling for biglaw or something, but the large firms did vastly superior work.  This was a big consideration (besides, you know, the money...) when I applied for jobs over the summer.  I don't think anyone will dispute that there are terrific lawyers coming out of Cooley and other lower ranked schools, but come on-does anyone REALLY think that Cooley and, say, Michigan are comparable?  If you knew that your life, liberty or property were on the line and I said I can get you a lawyer (cost being no object)-do you want someone who graduated from Michigan or from Cooley?  How many would really pick Cooley?  Maybe we should run a poll on that?

Also, I think most (all?) schools require that their professors worked in the real world before getting hired as faculty.  I know my school has a requirement of 5 years in practice before they will be considered.  Many of them still do some practice on the side as well.

Michigan selects the best of the best while Cooley selects almost anyone. Of course Michigan would produce a much greater percentage of superior attorneys. As far as which attorney you choose... Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro were both Loyola grads. Gerry Spence, OJ's first choice (who declined to take the case) was a University of Wyoming grad (Tier 3). I wonder how many Harvard grads he has taken behind the woodshed for a colossal a$$ whooping. Generally, Michigan probably produces better lawyers. Specifically, some instances will shock you.

In fact, between the choice of a full-ride scholarship to Harvard/Yale/Stanford/Columbia and a full-ride to Wyoming with a five year intership with Gerry Spence, I would choose the latter. There is nothing more valuable than personal instruction from a Master. This is why I say, select a law school on the basis of mentorship opportunities. Professors who are well-published and highly-touted in academic circles don't always make great mentors. Sometimes they do, but don't make that assumption without first visiting a school and interacting with potential mentors. Just my opinion.

Re: Why is Cooley Law so despised?
« Reply #119 on: October 16, 2008, 01:07:02 PM »
You just won't fine this diversity of opinions on autoadmit...