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A classroom in Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Lansing, Michigan campus.

Law School Announces Resizing Plans

A Michigan-based law school is resizing by consolidating its campuses into one location.

Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School announced that it will be closing its Grand Rapids campus and consolidating all of its Michigan campuses to a central location in Lansing, Michigan to strengthen its position, Inside Higher Ed reports.

“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,” Board Chairperson Hon. Louise Alderson says in a press release.

TROUBLED HISTORY, OPTIMISTIC FUTURE

For years, Cooley Law has struggled with bar exam passage rates.

The ABA took action back in 2017 in cracking down on law schools that admit students unable to pass the bar exam, with Cooley being found out of compliance with at least one accreditation standard.

In July 2019, Cooley appointed James McGrath as president and dean. Since his appointment, McGrath has led an effort to improve bar passage rates among other initiatives including invigorating faculty governance, strengthening Cooley’s relationship with its accrediting bodies, and improving 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,” McGrath says in a press release.

Cooley, along with many other law schools, has been further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of enrollment.

“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,” McGrath adds in a press release. “The current pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives forever and WMU-Cooley is embracing these challenges as opportunities.”

Sources: Cooley Law School, Inside Higher Ed, Above the Law, Above the Law

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