Cooley’s Great Campus Locations: Auburn Hills

wmich_cooleylaw_verticalThe fact that WMU-Cooley’s campuses are located in cities considered among the best places to live in the nation may surprise some people, but it won’t surprise anyone at the Law School. The exciting cities of Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Grand RapidsLansing and Tampa surround our great campuses.  This post, the fourth of a series by Sharon Matchette featuring campus-area attractions, focuses on Auburn Hills.

Students, residents, and visitors in the Auburn Hills, Mich., area, have a remarkable variety of attractions, eateries, sports and cultural events to fill their days.

Between Auburn Hills and Detroit a half-hour away, there is an abundance of shopping locations, including mega-malls and outlet centers, and entertainment centers such as The Palace of Auburn Hills.


Other great entertainment attractions include the historic Detroit Opera House, the fabulous Fox Theatre, the Chene Park Amphitheater located along the Detroit River, the Motor City Casino, the DTE Energy Music Theatre 15 minutes from Auburn Hills in Clarkston, Mich., the  Meadowbrook Music Festival on the nearby Oakland University campus, and much, much more.



For sports fans, the Detroit/Auburn Hills area is among the nation’s best major league venues, featuring the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Pistons, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Detroit Grand Prix.




Auburn Hills itself, home to slightly over 20,000 residents, features a thriving business community which includes Chrysler Corporation’s world headquarters and tech center, located literally across the street from our campus.

Auburn Hills also hosts several important educational institutions, including our Detroit area educational partner Oakland University and our next door neighbor, Oakland Community College.

Situated near the Clinton River, the Auburn Hills campus area features several nature centers, parks and trails, including the Clinton River Trail, Hawk Woods Nature Center, and the Dennis Dearing Jr. Memorial Park, featuring a fireman-themed area for kids ages 2-5, picnic area, swings, and more.


For nature fans willing to drive a few minutes from Auburn Hills, the outstanding Detroit Zoo, 15 miles away at Woodward Avenue and 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak features 125 acres of exhibits, including the astounding polar bear exhibit, the Australian Outback Adventure, and the Penguinarium, among many others. The zoo is home to more than 2,600 animals of 265 species, and is open 362 days a year, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Further down Woodward Avenue in the city of Detroit is the one the nation’s great art museums, the Detroit Institute of Arts, whose center court displays world-famous murals by Diego Rivera.  And just down the street from the DIA, lovers of fine music can hear and watch the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the first in the world to be heard on radio and now billed as the most accessible orchestra on the planet.

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Area shopping is dominated by the upscale Somerset Collection in nearby Troy, one of the nation’s elite shopping venues, and the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, Michigan’s only enclosed outlet mall, with 185 manufacturer’s outlets and traditional retail stores.


Good restaurants and bars abound, with too many to name.  Needless to say, the area around our Auburn Hills campus is a great place in which to live and learn.

Come and visit WMU-Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus.  We would be glad to show you around!

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WMU-Cooley Grad Nick Lewis Recognized for Alaska Legal Services Pro Bono Volunteer Efforts

The Alaska Legal Services Corporation has named WMU-Cooley graduate Nick Lewis (2012 Ellsworth Class) as its pro bono volunteer of the month for the assistance he gives to low-income clients in the Anchorage, Alaska area.  The Law School proudly salutes Nick on his outstanding recognition.



ALSC’s marvelous Volunteer of the Month for August is Anchorage attorney Nick Lewis. As a volunteer at ALSC, Nick answers questions for the Landlord Tenant Hotline and handles various cases for low-income clients. Professionally, Nick has been working on legal issues affecting the mining industry with local attorney JP Tangen.

Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?

That’s easy. Of the organizations I considered volunteering with, ALSC provided me with great opportunities to help people in need while giving me valuable guidance on practical approaches to helping clients.

Volunteerism is one of the most important aspects of the profession; that was a sentiment of a lot of the professors and deans at my alma mater, Cooley Law School. It was particularly important to my friend and mentor, Dean Ann Wood. Her influence certainly nudged me to help out when I can.

How do you think your efforts help ALSC clients?

ALSC suggested I would make a good fit for the Landlord Tenant Hotline. Landlord or Tenant disputes can be very personal. Explaining the Landlord and Tenant Act and potential financial and personal risks involved in not resolving issues correctly can sometimes make a significant difference. I feel that I have helped ease some of these folks off the “ledge.”  By providing people with objective information and options concerning statutory requirements, I feel that I have empowered them to make more prudent decisions.

Taking on individual clients makes a difference by helping folks who couldn’t afford an attorney otherwise.

How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?

Working with ALSC is its own reward. I enjoy working with other attorneys, staff, and of course, the clients.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?

In other community involvement, I also volunteer with the Bar as Co-Chair of the New Lawyers Section and as a volunteer attorney with the Alaska Network for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Our community is already pretty great but there is always room for improvement. ALSC, ANDVSA, and the Alaska Bar really make a difference for folks and I wanted to be a part of that “difference” if I could.

My favorite hobbies are probably wrenching on old cars, fast cars, or old trucks and learning the art of furniture making. I designed and built my own 5-piece office in law school. It was a great stress reliever and I had a beautiful craftsman-style 18 square foot executive desk to spread everything out on!

Also, I’m working on having more fun. I grew up in Alaska, spent a year at UAA, and spent the rest of my higher education out of state. Now that I’m out of higher education I intend on enjoying my home state the way an Alaskan should! I’ve never done much camping, hiking, skiing, hunting, berry picking etc… but I’m really looking forward to it! I’ve already started hiking in the various areas around Anchorage with a weekly hiking group (which I’m not very faithful to!) and I’m trying to get healthier by enjoying the Coastal Trail.

 This story is republished with the permission of the Alaska Legal Services Corporation.



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Cooley Law is now Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

wmich_cooleylaw_verticalAugust 13, 2014 – KALAMAZOO, Mich.–After reviews by the Higher Learning Commission and the American Bar Association, an affiliation agreement in the works for more than a year has led to a new identity for the nation’s largest law school–the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Completion of the arrangement between the private nonprofit law school and the public research university drew officials from both schools to the WMU campus this week to announce that the affiliation is now effective. They also used the occasion to roll out the law school’s new visual identity and reveal a number of initiatives that will benefit current and future students of both schools as well as the communities they serve.

Initiatives unveiled included an announcement that WMU Cooley Law will offer first-year law classes on WMU’s Kalamazoo campus in fall 2015. In addition, faculty at both schools have begun the work of developing both a law minor and a 3+3 program at WMU that will allow students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just six years.

“We were delighted that our respective accrediting bodies have given the nod to the affiliation between Cooley and Western Michigan University,” says WMU President John M. Dunn. “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 affiliation agreement won the approval of both schools’ governing boards last year and was signed and awaiting only the review of the accrediting agencies. The agreement is expected to enable initiatives that will leverage the common commitment both institutions have to educational access, diversity, applied research and professional preparation. Under terms of the agreement, both schools retain their independent governance structures and separate fiduciary responsibilities.

The affiliation agreement builds on a decade-long relationship between the two schools that includes three existing graduate dual-degree programs and, for a time, shared physical facilities in the Grand Rapids area. Cooley and WMU’s joint degree programs currently lead to these degrees: a Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Public Administration, a J.D./Master of Business Administration and a J.D./Master of Social Work. In addition, preliminary discussions have begun on the potential for leveraging such shared areas of expertise as ethics, health care, life sciences, intellectual property, entrepreneurialism, homeland security, tax law and sustainability.

“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.”

Since the board approvals last year, faculty and staff from both schools have met a number of times to begin the process of identifying areas of potential in which an affiliation could have the biggest impact. Preliminary discussions have revealed a number of mutual interests that could develop into future joint programs. The Aug. 13 gathering at WMU also signaled the launch of two campuswide committees–one to manage operational issues and another for faculty members to discuss curriculum development.

Moving forward, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School will continue as a private, independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity. Employees at both schools will continue their respective employment status. Law students must still be admitted separately to the law school, and students in dual- or shared-degree programs must be admitted by both schools independently. Tuition at both schools is unaffected by the affiliation.

While no plans are in place to build a law school facility on the WMU campus, planning is already underway for Cooley to offer a handful of first-year courses at WMU next fall. Cooley also has Michigan campuses in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills and Ann Arbor, and the name change outlined in the agreement extends to those campuses. Changing the name of Cooley’s fifth campus in Tampa Bay, Florida, is subject to the additional approval of the Florida Commission on Independent Education, which meets next in the fall.

Founded in 1972, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is the largest, most diverse law school in the nation, with an enrollment of more than 2,400 students.

WMU, founded in 1903, has regional facilities in Battle Creek, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, metro Detroit, Benton Harbor and Traverse City.

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Cooley’s Great Campus Locations: Lansing

The fact that Cooley’s campuses are located in cities considered among the best places to live in the nation may surprise some people, but it won’t surprise anyone at Cooley. These exciting cities are near all of Cooley’s Michigan and Florida campus locations, whether Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Grand RapidsLansing or Tampa Bay.  This post, the third of a series by Sharon Matchette about Cooley’s great campus locations, focuses on Lansing.

Cooley’s Lansing-based students, faculty, and staff have access to the one of the nation’s most vibrant university communities that also happens to be the seat of state government.


As Lansing’s annual Common Ground music festival gets underway, residents and visitors alike are reminded just how much there is to do in the state’s capital city.  Common Ground has been part of the Lansing entertainment scene since 2000 and features six days of national acts on various stages in Adado Riverfront Park. Such familiar and popular acts as Earth, Wind and Fire, the Violent Femmes, and 311 grace the main stage, while two other stages provide an equally lively entertainment line-up. Music runs each night 5:45-11 p.m.


Occurring during the Common Ground Week is the annual Color Run, otherwise known as “The Happiest 5K on the Planet.” This event features runners dressed in white who are splashed in color on their way to the finish line. The event, which takes place July 12, raises money for charities; in 2014, the organization has partnered with Kelleigh’s Cause and the Sparrow Children’s Center. The start-line window opens at 9 a.m. with waves of participants going every few minutes. Come on out and watch the colorful fun.


Ongoing things to do in Lansing include the Impression 5 Science Center with its interactive exhibits to spark families’ interest in science, the Michigan Historical Museum, Potter Park Zoo, the historical State Capitol Building; the Lansing River Trail, a scenic trail that stretches from Jolly Road on the south end of town to Old Town on the north end. Hikers can also pick it up at Potter Park and walk all the way over to Michigan State University. In all, about 13 miles of paved trail meanders through numerous parks, natural areas, and downtown Lansing.


Because of the proximity of Michigan State University “next door,” East Lansing is considered an equally accessible location for attractions, events, eateries, and nightlife. The area’s visitor website highlights the fun in both Lansing and East Lansing, as well as in surrounding areas.


For sports fans there is the Lansing Lugnuts baseball team, playing at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, and the full roster of Michigan State University sports active during the academic year. For professional sports fans, Detroit — featuring the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings — is about 90 minutes away. For those not wishing to make the drive, however, many pubs and restaurants in Lansing and East Lansing show the games on TV.

Even going to the movies in Lansing has some special twists. In addition to the standard movie theaters, Celebration Cinema has Studio C in Okemos, featuring Oscar’s Bistro where patrons can order their food and take it into the auditorium or just eat in the café, or, for those who ante up for the premier seats, the wait staff will assist you during the show with your food and drink orders.

Come and visit Cooley’s Lansing campus.  We we be glad to show you around!

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Cooley’s Great Campus Locations: Tampa Bay

Cooley has campuses in the great Michigan locations of Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, and Lansing.  Today’s post by Sharon Matchette highlights just some of what the equally great Tampa Bay, Florida area has to offer to students attending Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus, which opened in 2012.


The Tampa Bay, Florida, area, located on the west coast of the “Sunshine State” near the Gulf of Mexico, is home to Cooley Law School’s campus in Riverview. Forbes named Tampa as the Fifth Best Outdoor City in America, The Pew Research Center called Tampa the fifth most popular place to live, and the Washington Square News ranked Tampa as a top city for “20 somethings.” The area is home to several sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football team, the Tampa Bay Rays major league baseball team, and the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL hockey team.


Between the beaches, the historic sites, and the sports, cuisine and nightlife choices, the Tampa Bay area is a vibrant location, steady in its growth and attractiveness to tourists and residents alike. Students also find a welcoming home here. In addition to Cooley, the area is also home to the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa.

There is much to do and see in the Tampa area, including such attractions as Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium, and the Lowry Park Zoo — many of which are geared up to offer special attractions for the upcoming Fourth of July celebration.


Busch Gardens, at 10165 N. McKinley Dr., Tampa, is a unique blend of thrilling rides, live shows, restaurants, shops, games, and one of the country’s premier zoos. From July 3-Aug. 10, Busch Gardens in Tampa hosts “Star Spangled Nights,” with extended fireworks July 3-5.


The Florida Aquarium, at 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, is one of the top aquariums in the country, with over 20,000 sea creatures. Visitors can experience sharks, alligators, otters, penguins, and more! For the upcoming holiday, the aquarium will also host fireworks.

Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, was named the #1 Zoo by both Parents Magazine and Child Magazine. The zoo boasts about 1,000 animals, including manatees, koalas, elephants, tigers, penguins, giraffes, orangutans, and more, along with water play areas, rides and educational shows. From July 4-6, military personnel with ID and up to three dependents may visit for free.


For many of these locations, visitors can get a break on admission prices with the Tampa Bay CityPASS. This is a booklet of admission tickets to five must-see tourist attractions in Tampa Bay, including Busch Gardens Tampa, The Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and a choice of either the Chihuly Collection of art works, or the Museum of Science and Industry.

There is so much to do in the Tampa Bay area, it’s easy to run out of time. The TripAdvisor group has tried to help by ranking some of the attractions. Coming in at #1 is The Tampa Theater, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa. Beer fests, wine tastings, classic movies combine to make this a destination for many visitors.

Coming in at #2 of 88 attractions is Big Cat Rescue at 12802 Easy St., Tampa, where visitors get an up-close look at the wildflife. The rescue is a Certificate of Excellence winner in 2014..


And one of the area’s most impressive sights is the towering Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which ranks #3 on the list of must-see locations. Spanning Tampa Bay, the bridge is more than just an easier way to get around the area, it’s a destination site for visitors and photographers. alike

Come and visit Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus.  We know you will love what you see!

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Cooley’s Great Campus Locations: Ann Arbor

The fact that many Michigan cities are considered among the best places to live in the nation may surprise some people, but it won’t surprise anyone from Michigan. These exciting cities house or are near all of Cooley’s Michigan campus locations, whether Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids, or Lansing.  This post, the first of a series by Sharon Matchette about Cooley’s great campus locations, focuses on Ann Arbor.

Cooley’s Ann Arbor-based students, faculty, and staff uniformly love what the famous “city of trees” has to offer.  It’s easy to see why.

Most recently, Ann Arbor topped Movoto Real Estate’s list of “Most Exciting Places in Michigan.” The city, known for its summer festivals, unique restaurants and multitude of entertainment venues has been named Michigan’s most exciting place by Movoto.

Criteria for the recognition include nightlife, live music venues, parks, arts and entertainment choices, a higher percentage of non-fast food restaurants, and a higher percentage of the 18-34 population.


Summer is a particularly active time in the city, with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival running from June 13 to July 6, celebrating the best in theater, dance, music, and comedy evenings in the main area of Ingalls Mall, the Power Center, and Hill Auditorium. Events yet to come in the festival include NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” blues legends Robert Cray and Mavis Staples, George Bedard & the Kingpins, children’s events, and more.

Soon it will be time for the renowned Ann Arbor Art Fair, which runs July 16-19 and has been going strong for more than 50 years. The event is now actually four fairs in one, including the original art fair, the State Street Art Fair, the Guild’s Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, and the South University Art Fair.
Ann Arbor Art Fair Home

Ann Arbor has no shortage of accolades and awards for being one of the most desirable places to live. Among other tributes, Ann Arbor has been named to “America’s Best Main Streets” by Fodor’s Travel, as one of “America’s Greatest Main Streets” by Travel & Leisure Magazine, one of the “Ten Coolest Cities in the Midwest” by MSN Travel, and among the “Ten Best Cities for Families” byParenting Magazine and the “Best Place in Michigan to Raise Your Kids” by Business Week Magazine.

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The city was also listed second among the Top 10 College Towns, the Best Cities for New Grads, and the Most Educated Cities; third for Best Midwest Food Towns, and the Top 10 U.S. Cities for Well-Being; and fourth for Most Walkable City, and The Country’s Most Well-Read Cities. Check here for additional insights into the wonders of Ann Arbor.

Come and visit Cooley’s Ann Arbor campus.  We know you will love what you see!

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Study Predicts Upcoming Boom in Lawyer Jobs Market

The National Jurist magazine reports on a recent study which says that the most robust legal job market that ever existed in this country is right around the corner.  According to the study conducted by Western New England University School of Law professor Renè Reich-Graefe,

  • About 520,000 currently employed lawyers will retire by 2030, requiring new lawyers to fill these positions.
  • An additional 156,000 new jobs will become available as the need for lawyers continues to grow.
  • Due to population increases, more than 166,000 lawyers will be needed to meet the demands of the growing population.
  • More than half of currently practicing lawyers in this country will retire over the next fifteen to twenty years.
  • The median age of lawyers increased from 39 years in 1980 to 49 years in 2005.
  • In 2005, alone, more than 62 percent of all lawyers licensed in the United States were 45 years old or older.
  • Over the next 45 years, the demand for legal services within the United States will increase by nearly one third above the current need. This demand should require an additional 25 percent to 30 percent increase in the number of lawyers needed to meet the rising demand.

 “As a result, future law school graduates can expect soon to secure better legal jobs, have more opportunity to move laterally and earn higher incomes over the next two decades and beyond than has been the case for the last thirty years — even when they enter and remain within the legal services market with lesser professional credentials and qualifications as compared to market entrants and participants during the last three decades,” Reich-Graefe said.

These findings are consistent with what Cooley’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc, has been predicting in a series of commentaries.  See “Assessing Future Enrollment” and the three commmentaries referenced in State Bar of Michigan Data Confirms Improved Law-Related Employment. Indeed, at the beginning of 2013, President LeDuc wrote that “Now’s a Great Time to Enter Law School.” And more than two years ago, he noted how “The Aging of Michigan’s Lawyer Base Portends Job Growth.”

Click here for all of President LeDuc’s commentaries.

President LeDuc has not been alone in his views.  We have noted that National Jurist previously reported about increased law jobs for the class of 2016, and that LawCrossing and Crain’s Detroit Business last fall found improvement in legal jobs on both the national and state employment scenes, respectively.





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