Cooley named one of best schools for practical legal training

Cooley Law School has been ranked by The National Jurist magazine as one of the best law schools in the nation for practical legal training. Cooley received an “A” rating and ranked 17th out of the top 93 schools that made the study for being the most committed, having the broadest offerings, and being the most successful in terms of their experiential training curriculum.
The National Jurist’s March edition ranked law schools by calculating data that law schools submitted to the American Bar Association in Dec. 2013. The schools reported the number of simulation positions filled, the number of faculty-supervised clinical positions filled, and the number of field placement (externship) positions filled.

“Since its founding in 1972, Cooley Law School’s mission has always been to prepare our students for the practice of law,” stated Christine Zellar Church, Associate Dean of Practice and Performance Skills.  “The school believes that experiential learning is essential in preparing for the practice of law. Every Cooley student must participate in a clinic or externship before graduation.”

Cooley offers 11 clinics, where students are mentored by professors, in these practice areas:  family law and domestic violence survivors, estate planning, elderlaw, immigration, criminal defense for indigent clients, municipal law, debt relief, landlord/tenant, family advocacy, and post conviction relief for inmates who may be factually innocent. Cooley offers more than 30 skills specific classroom experiences ranging from litigation classes to alternative dispute resolution classes. 

Cooley students may choose from an externship experience in one of more than 3,000 approved placements around the world, or they may propose a new placement.  Externs are supervised by full-time faculty members, and they work with attorneys or judge supervisors.

Mike Stetz, author of The National Jurist’s article, “Best School’s for Practical Training,” notes, “A recent graduate who is better trained to hit the ground running will have far greater success starting a solo practice or landing a job with a small employer that would otherwise not consider hiring at entry level.”

Cooley students also have opportunities for workshops and participation in more than 14 intra-school competitions.  The competitions simulate trial practice, appellate practice, client counseling, negotiation and mediation settings.  Individuals who excel in competitions may earn opportunities to represent Cooley while demonstrating their practice skills in national competitions.

Cooley’s ranking in the top 20 law schools for practical training is higher than any other law school in Michigan.


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