Thomas Cooley Law School’s Ineffective Attempts at Intimidation

To the extent it is known at all, Thomas Cooley law school is mostly the butt of jokes, often about its independent law school ratings in which it appears second every year. (Apparently, Cooley doesn’t think its rankings would be credible if Cooley came out ahead of Harvard.) But now, Cooley has a new hobby sure to raise its profile: attempting to silence its critics by serving them with subpoenas. At least, that’s what happened to Paul Campos, who writes Inside the Law School Scam. In response, Campos went ahead and outlined Cooley’s abysmal value proposition. It’s enlightening reading, especially for those who are considering Thomas Cooley Law School. (HT Simple Justice.)


  1. Avatar SchoolHardKnocksGrad says:

    I graduated Cooley and was the only member of my family who even graduated from college. So I had this impression that the practice of law would be lucrative and had a rude awakening after graduation despite passing the bar exam. The job market is next to impossible unless you graduate towards the top of the class. My brother with only a high school diploma had done much better than I have done and same with most of my high school classmates who just went into the work field after high school. It reminds me of what Robert Kiyosaki said in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad and how formal education has been over-hyped. If I had to start over again I would have definitely taken a different route and learned something more practical like heating/plumbing at the local community college.

  2. Avatar Miscellaneous Lawyer says:

    I have blogged about this previously, but it bears repeating; there is a massive bias towards university (or college) education that just isn’t justified.

    I attended a fairly well-off private school, and there was a lot of pressure to do well at school and get into uni. This pressure included the people who just weren’t as academically strong.

    About half of the people I would class as ‘academically weaker’ instead went to a TAFE (Tertiary and further education) or completed a similar qualification which was geared towards practical skills, and most of them are now employed earning far more that I am as a solicitor.

    Sure, if your life’s goal has always been to be a lawyer, fine, go for it, and chase that dream. But if you just aren’t sure, perhaps take a course in business management, or hospitality management, or even take a trade; you will be far more likely to get a job at the end of it, and you won’t have paid the big $$.

  3. The overemphasis on formal education may have made some sense during the Cold War when we were in an arms race and were also spending huge sums on NASA. Formal education was and is pushed as a way of validating certain concept of the American dream and to assuage class consciousness among nervous middle classes. It’s largely a subsidized fool’s errand; as we grow more and more educated formally, we learn more useless junk at a high price.

  4. So here’s an (almost) theoretical question. If Cooley is suing someone for defamation, and must prove as one of the elements that their reputation has been damaged, can they win? Can you actually impugn the reputation of Cooley?

  5. Avatar Rebecca Robinson says:

    A buddy of mine went to a top tier school and had the same problem. I also know a Harvard graduate facing the same obstacles. It’s not the school that provides you with a sucessful career. Rather, it is the individual. Not everyone that goes to law school–even a 1 tier school–has the potential to secure that type of employment. It’s really about your personality and who you know.

  6. Avatar Rebecca Robinson says:

    Is there a “like” button? I feel as though my entire undergrad was a massive waste of time that would have been better served focusing on the law the entire time, instead of only these three years. I had four years of learning about junk. I was talking to someone, just yesterday, about how more prepared people would be if we studied the law for three or four years and finished the remainder of the time doing internships/externships.

  7. Avatar ALJ says:

    I graduated from Cooley. I would have to agree with Rebecca in regards to this happening at other schools. The last time I checked there was at least 12 schools that were being sued. When I took the bar there was student from MUCH higher ranked schools that were shell shocked. They had no job offers and their school had told them they would be making 100k. Cooley does have a bad reputation for it’s admission practices but I have personally seen graduates hold their own weight in courtrooms. One advantage (for me at least) was the cost. There are so many students taking huge sums of students loans to fund their education. I was able to graduate with no student loans. Nevertheless, I believe the lawsuit is good. Not because I believe it has any merit but because at the very least it highlights an on going issue with many ABA schools.

  8. Avatar KDD says:

    My husband and I both are attending Cooley. I agree with ALJ, if you have a decent LSAT score and a GPA over a 3.0, Cooley is a really affordable option. There would have been no way in hell that both my husband and I would be able to achieve our personal and collective goals if it wasn’t for Cooley’s scholarship program. We will be able to graduate with HALF the student average loan debt of ONE PERSON attending law school. That, to us, means everything. Plus, although exaggerating statistics is misleading and unacceptable, who really believes those statistics anyway? Just like Tucker Max and Nils Parker’s ridiculous article about going to law school, if you are doing it because of any of those six reasons (you like to argue, you want to be Jack McCoy, you have a liberal arts degree, you want to do something noble, you’re lost, or you want to make copious amounts of money) or because you think you are then automatically entitled to six figure salaries, you are a hopeless case already. America was built on the backs of self made people. A piece of paper doesn’t entitle you to anything. That’s what people, especially college graduates, have forgotten. It just provides you with an advanced skill set that you can choose to or not to use to your benefit.

    This sentiment was echoed by a close friend who is a graduate of a top 50 law school and out in the current job market, so I don’t want to hear anything about naivety or not having experienced “the real world” yet.

  9. Avatar DW says:

    I dont know about other states but california has CBE (California Bar Examiner Schools) and ABA schools. ABA’s are a lot more expensive and allow you to sit for the bar in any state while CBE is California only. I went to a law school that cost only 5000 a year while holding down a full time job. My logic was that i can finish law school with no debt and then pass the bar while still sustaining my career. At least then I can find a job under no pressure and with little risk.

  10. Avatar sadly says:

    Beware Cooley pays trolls to say nice things on blogs. Cooley sucks and will take your money. Stay away. Stay away—- you have been warned.

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