Thomas Cooley Law School: Admission Guide and Statistics


Thomas Cooley Law School is a private, non-profit academic institution that will end its affiliation with Western Michigan University on or before November 5, 2023. Despite the partnership, WMU Cooley Law School operates legally and financially independently, retaining full control over its academic offerings. The school holds the American Bar Association and Higher Learning Commission accreditations. The school has two campuses now, one in Florida and the other in Michigan.

As we explore the institution further, we’ll also delve into the Thomas Cooley Law School ranking, acceptance rate, and programs, offering a comprehensive view of its standing in legal education.

Classmates studying together- Thomas Cooley Law School

Overview of Thomas Cooley Law School

Established in 1972 by Hon. Thomas E. Brennan, along with a select group of judges and lawyers from the Lansing area, Cooley Law School took its name from Hon. Thomas McIntyre Cooley, a renowned jurist of the 19th century. The school’s humble beginnings as a local law institution quickly evolved, eventually garnering a regional reputation before becoming the seventh-largest law school in the United States. Its growth has been so significant that it now attracts a global student body, with its founding influenced by the then-Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Cooley Law School has left an indelible mark on the American legal landscape with a distinguished alumni network exceeding 20,000 professionals spread across private legal practices, corporate law, legislative bodies, government agencies, and academia. The school’s robust, accredited part-time legal education program is the nation’s most comprehensive, fueled by a commitment to fair and objective admissions and a rigorous, practical curriculum.

Is Thomas M. Cooley Law School Good?

When evaluating the quality of a law school, several metrics come into play, such as bar passage rates, employment outcomes, and academic offerings. Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan offers some data points worth considering:

Bar Passage Rate

The Cooley Michigan Law School first-time bar passage rate is 37.9%, which is significantly lower than the average first-time bar passage rate among states, which stands at 73.1%. This is an important factor for prospective students, as passing the bar exam is critical in practicing law.

Employment Outcomes

Ten months after graduation, 59.9% of full-credit students have found employment. This employment rate may not compare favorably with top-tier law schools, but it does offer a reasonable glimpse into the employment opportunities available to Cooley graduates.

Taking the LSAT Flex could be a smart move if you’re aiming to boost your chances of admission and better prepare for the rigors of law school. While this alternative to the traditional LSAT offers the same scoring scale and maintains test integrity through online proctoring, being prepared for either version of the LSAT can be a significant advantage.

2023-2024 Western Michigan Law School Ranking

Rank Category
180-196 Best Law Schools
64-70 Part-time Law
186 (tie) Business/Corporate Law
167 (tie) Clinical Training
192 (tie) Constitutional Law
174 (tie) Contracts/Commercial Law
186 (tie) Criminal Law
187 (tie) Environmental Law
148 (tie) Health Care Law
176 (tie) Intellectual Property Law
120 Legal Writing
177 (tie) Tax Law
139 (tie) Trial Advocacy

Prospective law students often rely on law school rankings to determine which school to attend. Western Michigan Law School is currently ranked between No. 180-196 among Best Law Schools and No. 64-70 among Part-time Law schools, according to the latest data.

While its Cooley Law School ranking is not at the top of all law school rankings, it is essential to understand that rankings are only one element of the equation. If a practical, experience-based curriculum and a diverse, inclusive environment are high on your list, Cooley’s strengths in these areas may well outweigh any concerns stemming from its ranking.

How Hard Is It To Get Into Cooley Law School?

Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s acceptance rate is 48.2%. This statistic provides insight into the competitiveness of the admissions process.

Given the nearly 50% acceptance rate, one could argue that it’s more accessible than other law schools with lower acceptance rates. However, being part of that 48.2% will still require a strong application, including a compelling law school personal statement, solid academic achievements, and good LSAT scores. If you’re preparing for law school applications, taking a Free LSAT Practice Test could be an excellent way to gauge your readiness and identify areas for improvement.

The J.D. Program at Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Thomas Cooley Law School has been at the forefront of modern legal education since 1972, training a diverse group of practice-ready lawyers. The focus is not just to prepare you for the bar examination and the legal field. They also strive to emphasize real-world readiness that sets you apart from others by requiring practical experience from every student.

When you choose to study with Cooley Michigan Law School, you will benefit from:

  • Faculty members with an average of 15 years of teaching experience
  • Equal access to justice for all people, regardless of background
  • A variety of schedule options with two- to five-year programs

If you want to specialize, Thomas Cooley Law School offers nine concentrations to choose from:

  1. Administrative Law: Focuses on administrative procedures and governmental law.
  2. Business Transactions: Covers how to negotiate, structure, and implement transactions.
  3. Canadian Law Practice: Designed to prepare students for legal practice and licensing in Canada.
  4. Environmental Law: Concentrates on environmental laws and policies.
  5. General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm: Prepares students for opening their own law firm or practicing law solo.
  6. Intellectual Property: Specializes in areas like patent, trademark, and other intellectual property law.
  7. International Law: Addresses both public law (human rights, immigration, environmental) and international business transactions.
  8. Litigation: Focuses on civil or criminal litigation, including negotiation and alternative dispute resolution skills.
  9. Focused Studies: Allows students to construct their own specialized area of study.

Real-World Experience That Gives You an Edge

Students are required to hone their writing and research skills, two core attributes of well-trained attorneys. Further, the school’s commitment to experiential learning means every student participates in the following:

  • Law School Clinics: These on-campus centers, such as the Sixty-Plus Elderlaw Clinic and Cooley Innocence Project, offer real-life legal experience under expert faculty supervision.
  • Externship Program: Partnering with over 3,000 placement sites nationwide, this program allows you to work and network with practicing lawyers and judges, earning academic credit along the way.

Faculty That Truly Cares

With an impressive 9 out of 10 rating in student evaluations, professors make themselves available to students for one-on-one guidance. Their accomplishments in academia and practice make them respected educators and go-to experts on various legal topics.

A man reading in the library- Thomas Cooley Law School

Admission Requirements and Process of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Here are the essential components for your law school application:

LSAT Score: The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is necessary for almost every law school. Make sure to prepare well and submit your scores for evaluation.

Academic Transcripts: You’ll have to provide transcripts from all the educational institutions you’ve been a part of. This is generally managed through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS).

Letter of Recommendation: Most law schools require at least one law school letter of recommendation, though some may ask for up to three. Make sure to submit these through the CAS.

Personal Statement: Almost every law school will ask for a personal statement. This is your chance to shine and present yourself beyond test scores and GPA.

Resume: The law school resume gives them a better understanding of your professional and academic experiences and interests.

Application Form: This will require general details like your name, past education, and nationality. When filling out your law school application, being as honest as possible is a must. If any character and fitness questions require a “yes” response from you, excluding minor traffic violations that don’t involve alcohol or drugs, you’ll need to give:

  • A comprehensive explanation detailing the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the situation.
  • Information about your age when the incident occurred.
  • Supporting official or court documents that verify your case was resolved and that all imposed fines and penalties were paid in full.
  • Not being truthful in your application can result in what is termed a “late disclosure,” which could negatively affect your law school journey.

What Is The LSAT Score For Thomas Cooley Law School?

The LSAT scores for admitted students typically fall between 146 and 151, representing the 25th to 75th percentile. The median LSAT score for incoming students is 148. To maximize your chances of admission, aim for 148 or higher. 

If you want to improve your LSAT score, consider enrolling in our LSAT Prep Course or opt for one-on-one guidance with our LSAT Tutoring services.

What Is The GPA For Thomas Cooley Law School?

Incoming students had GPAs ranging from 2.64 to 3.33, representing the 25th to 75th percentile. The median undergraduate GPA for program participants is 3.0. Aim for a GPA that reaches or surpasses the median of 3.0 to improve your chances of admission.

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships for Thomas Cooley Law School

Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan
2023-2024 30 credits 18 credits
Tuition $45,600 $27,360
Total estimated expenses $70,894 $47,702
Cooley Law School in Tampa
2023-2024 30 credits 18 credits
Tuition $45,600 $27,360
Total estimated expenses $73,376 $50,182

For new J.D. students, Thomas Cooley Law School costs $1,520 per credit hour for students in the academic year 2023-2024. But don’t allow the high cost to discourage you. With various law school scholarship opportunities and financial aid programs, Cooley makes quality legal education accessible and affordable.

Earn a merit-based scholarship to substantially cut down the cost of your education. Thomas Cooley Law School’s generous scholarship program rewards students for academic excellence. In fact, you could earn a scholarship covering anywhere from 10% to 100% of your tuition for all 90 credits required to graduate, provided you maintain good standing and are not on probation.

Maximize Your Law School Admission Potential with Effective LSAT Prep

Boost your chances for law school by acing the LSAT and creating a standout application. We offer a range of services from group classes to one-on-one help and expert advice on your whole application. Make the smart choice and prepare the right way.

LSAT Prep Course

Our intensive LSAT Prep Course is designed to give you a deep understanding of the test format, types of questions, and effective strategies to tackle them. This comprehensive course offers simulated tests, detailed score analyses, and continuous support to help you achieve a competitive LSAT score. Enroll in our LSAT Prep Course and secure your law school future!

LSAT Tutoring

Benefit from personalized attention with our LSAT Tutoring service. Work one-on-one with an expert tutor who will tailor lessons to your individual strengths and weaknesses, focusing on areas that will yield the most improvement. This customized approach allows for more flexible scheduling and concentrated study sessions. Master the LSAT and get admitted to Thomas Cooley Law School!

Law School Admission Consulting

Manage the complexities of the law school admission process with ease. Get advice on your personal statement, your law school resume, and even tips on how to get great letters of recommendation. Work with our expert Law School Admission Consultants and pave your path to success!


Thomas Cooley Law School is a community committed to shaping well-rounded, practice-ready lawyers. The school’s flexibility is one of its standout features. It provides a choice of scheduling options and programs, access to hands-on learning activities, and a selection of specializations.

With such a comprehensive educational experience, students are well-prepared for the complexity of the legal profession.