Presently home to just one law school, Stetson, the booming area legal market has been clamoring for more graduates. Until now, the deficit had been partly satisfied by importing Cooley graduates from the school's home base in Michigan, often by G5. Indeed Cooley, whose motto is "The spirit of the law is in the human heart (Lex Corde)," would be doing a public disservice had it not reached out.
Those who follow law school rankings have been astonished by Cooley's unbroken rise in Judging the Law Schools, the industry bible. By most criteria, Cooley is the #1 school in the country. In overall rank, until now it has come in #2, a hair behind a well-known Massachusetts institution. Eschewing meaningless statistics, which many law schools intentionally misreport, anyway, the Cooley rankings focus on items intrinsic to the law school experience, such as Part Time Faculty and Library Total Square Footage. With its new facilities and additional faculty, Cooley is destined for #1.
August 8, 2011
Thomas M. Cooley Law School to Open New Campus in Tampa Bay
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School announced today that the American Bar Association's (ABA) Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar accepted the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee to acquiesce in the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s application to open a Tampa Bay-area campus in Riverview, Florida. The Tampa Bay campus has also been approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the Florida Department of Education, Commission for Independent Education.
The Tampa Bay campus will begin offering evening classes in May 2012, followed by morning classes in September 2012, and afternoon classes in January 2013. The implementation will follow the same pattern as at the School's other campuses, rolling out the standard curriculum over a three-year period. All Cooley students will be eligible to attend classes at the Tampa Bay campus.
Tampa Bay comprises a little over 4,000,000 residents, but is home to only one law school. Florida represents Cooley's largest alumni location outside Michigan, and Florida provides about 6% of our applicants and 5% of our incoming students each year. The School also has an active externship program in the state.
In addition to its large alumni base of 886 graduates throughout Florida, Cooley has had a growing presence in the Tampa Bay area through its Service to Soldiers: Legal Assistance Referral Program, which recently expanded to Florida in January. The ABA's Military Pro Bono Project and the Hillsborough County Bar Association joined together with Cooley to offer a complimentary training program aimed at preparing local attorneys to represent members of the military in legal issues ranging from child custody concerns to housing rental disputes.
Cooley, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Michigan educational corporation, has acquired a 130,000 square-foot facility in Riverview, comparable in size to its current campus in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Renovations and staffing details are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. The facility will accommodate the approximately 700 students who are expected to attend.
Professor Jeffrey L. Martlew, a former Michigan circuit court judge, has been designated as the Associate Dean for the Tampa Bay campus. Associate Dean Martlew explained that the new campus in Tampa Bay will cater to an underserved sector of law students, particularly part-time students and minority populations, but will provide Cooley’s full-time program as well.
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, the private, non-profit law school operates J.D. programs across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Today, Cooley Law School has more than 15,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at cooley.edu.