Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thomas M. Cooley School of Law

There is a lot of information out there about a law school called Thomas Cooley School of Law, also known as "Cooley Law" which, to be honest, gets a bad rap on many law school forums.  Why is that though?  Is the poor reputation deserved?  Is a third or fourth tier law school that much worse than a second or first tier school?  What about a top 14 school?  Is a fourth tier law school worse than a top 14 law school?  Maybe not. 

One must ask themselves when they go to law school if it is something that they really want to do.  Many people go to law school for different reasons.  Some go merely to learn.  They figure that the education they will receive will help them intrinsically in some way.  However, this is not the common student.  The common student plans to work after law school.  Many will be taking on huge amounts of debt.  I was one of those people. 

Some common law students go with the goal of working in a big firm or corporation while others want to open their own law firm or work in public interest.  This is where the distinction between law schools becomes clear.  If you want to work in a large firm or in a corporation, you may want to be more concerned (but not completely concerned) about rank.  And, yes, you can do that from any accredited law school, even Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.

Many will say the law profession is at a weak or low point.  Others say that you should never go unless it's a top school and even if so, you should not take out many loans.  However, that should not stop a person from going to law school if that is what they want to do.  One school that people often shy away from is Thomas Cooley.  However, as a law student who started out in the fourth tier, I would recommend Thomas M. Cooley school of law for someone who was serious about law school, and this is why.

First, if you are serious you will probably do well.  My blog provides the tools you need to excel in law school, and for no cost at all.  I realized, that while going to law school, that there are people who will work hard and smart, and will desire to actually learn the law while they are there, and there are other students who will subsist, sitting around during class like a blob, avoiding being called on while surfing the internet and updating their Facebook (consider leaving Facebook while at law school, see  I was not one of these students, and you, if you want to excel, should not be either.

My goal during law school was simple: to learn as much as I could, and to understand everything.  If you do that, with an honest desire to gain knowledge, you will succeed.  That's the secret.  But how do you learn the knowledge the best?  By reading everything over and over and taking notes, not missing classes, discussing it, applying it over and over in your mind, writing about it, copying your notes over and over, memorizing every tiny thing that the teacher says should be memorized or will be on an exam.  When the professor asks a question to anyone in the class, even if it is not the case you are being asked to discuss, aim to answer that question faster than the person who is on the hot seat.  Hell, aim to answer that question faster than ANYONE in the class.  At a school like Thomas M. Cooley, with huge classrooms, this is going to be a challenge.  But if you can answer it fastest, you can probably type it fastest, and you can probably get the coveted A. 

Also, if you do well you can transfer to a higher tier of law school.  There are people who have realized the importance of doing well and who have transferred from Cooley to top schools.  I am not saying your goal should be to transfer, even if you are at Cooley, but I am saying if you want to go to law school, your LSAT blew (like mine did -- even though I wish I would have retook it), then you should consider any accredited law school if it jives with your goals.

So say you got into Thomas M. Cooley and you are scared because you keep reading on top-law-schools that TMC is not the best school or is the worst.  Who are they to judge you?  There are people at Boston University School of Law, St. John's University School of Law, University California Hastings School of Law, and University of Los Angeles School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, and many more who have all transferred from Cooley.  These are all fine schools, highly respected in the legal field.   Honestly, you are going to be a lawyer, who cares of what others think of where you went to school.

One thing I have realized is that people often care too much about where they went to school, when after a few years in practice, that doesn't even matter.  So many people are quick to say "Cooley is not worth it" when in a few short years nobody even cares where you went, and instead cares on how talented you are.  And, truth be told, you can gain the same talents at either Cooley or Harvard or even Yale.  It all depends on YOU.  There are slackers at Stanford as well as Cooley.  You just have to focus on yourself, your goals, and what you want out of life.  Don't listen to people who say Cooley Law School is a joke.  If I would have listened to people who said Western New England School of Law sucks I would have been wondering what to do with my life.

The question is now, do you want to go to law school?  Have you only been accepted into a fourth tier school?  Does that really matter to you, and if so, will you let it interfere with your goals?

Think hard about it, because with the right aim, you can be a success no matter where you go.  Be it Cooley or Yale.  Thank you.

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