Summary: The Thomas M. Cooley Law School has been renamed the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School as its affiliation has been approved by the ABA and the Higher Learning Commission.
The country’s largest law school, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, has been renamed the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, according to a news release from the school.
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The change comes a year after an affiliation agreement between the two institutions was reached and reviews from the Higher Learning Commission and the American Bar Association were conducted.
First-year law classes on the WMU Kalamazoo campus will be offered by the WMU Cooley Law School as part of the agreement beginning in the fall of 2015. Faculty from both schools are developing a law minor and a 3+3 program at WMU. This will permit students to earn a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years.
WMU President John M. Dunn said the following at the event announcing the agreement:
“We were delighted that our respective accrediting bodies have given the nod to the affiliation between Cooley and Western Michigan University. This move will broaden the range of opportunities available to students, expand the collaboration and research options available to faculty members, and improve the range of services to students, employees and our respective communities.”
The governing boards of both schools approved the agreement last year and all that was left was approval from the accrediting agencies. The two schools will keep their independent governing boards as part of the agreement.
This agreement is on top of the longstanding relationship between the two schools.
“Now is a great time for our schools to affiliate in a deeper relationship. I have been excited about this from the start,” says Don LeDuc, president and dean of Cooley. “WMU just affiliated with its medical school and has had an interest in adding a law school affiliation. We have been looking to expand and deepen relationships with a university, and WMU is the right choice for Cooley because of the similarities of our missions, operating philosophies, academic programs, student bodies and locations.”
As of right now there are zero plans to construct a law school on the WMU campus. There are campuses for Cooley in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Auburn Hills. There is also a campus in Tampa Bay. The name change for that location is pending the approval of the Florida Commission on Independent Education.
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