Thomas Cooley Law School is an Embarrassment
Prominently displayed on the Thomas Cooley Law website is a link to the school ranking. They abandoned the US News ranking system, which certainly can be criticized, but also threw out logic and gave themselves a rank of twelve. Out of the entirety of United States law schools, they took a US News tier 4 school and made it number twelve.
What makes this absolutely more shocking is the “open and notorious” nature of this embarrassment… with no sense shame. Actually, it is on its 10th edition and the press release was authored by the President and Dean.
Fraud is defined by the dictionary as “intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another” and”an act of deceiving or misrepresenting.”
How did they arrive at this order? Cooley can only make this claim by sufficiently broadening the number of factors and then allotting them equal weight. Traditionally, highly important considerations are GPA, LSAT, Bar passage rate, and employment upon graduation. However, in this scheme they are given the same weight as Total Volumes in Library, Total Applications, Total Law School Square Footage, Program Achievement Rating Rank.
Cooley must believe it is being very witty using this equal footing formula accurately describe the entirety of a legal education.
Lets talk program achievement. “In essence, each school’s reported bar passage rate is divided by a quality index computed through a combination of LSAT and UGPA scores reported for that school [the formula used is Bar passage rate/(UGPA x 15 + LSAT) x .5].” This is the one factor which “double counts” the really important indicators, but don’t be fooled, it is moderated by 28 other comparatively less important factors. So they allotted themselves an 82 (whatever that means).
[80 divided by (3.o x 15 + 146) x .5
80/(3.0 x 15 +146 ) x .5 = 0.209424084
Now for Pitt:
90/(3.4 x 15 + 159) x .5 = 0.214285714
Cooley managed to take its 3 pitiful factors GPA, LSAT, and Bar passage and “shine that turd”. An 83 to 82 score is arbitrarily silly. Math is used to obscure the truth. Did you catch the manipulation?
I would suggest adding another category “Attrition rate” where Cooley would surely be number “1″ : 1st Year – 26%; 2nd Year – 10.4%. Cooley wants people to believe that it can accept a host of people with the worst statistics (independent indicators) and come out thinking they are a top law school.
This is nothing short of a delusion.
But this delusion extends to the highest reaches of the administration. Here is the opening paragraph by the President and Dean of the law school in a press release about the ranking system:
“The English nobility and the Indian caste system represent outdated notions of entitlement and reflect the evils of cultural discrimination. Indeed, Americans overthrew their former government largely because of the abuses of the self-perpetuating nobility that reserved for itself the privileges of participation in the English political and social systems. And Americans have replaced the caste system with equal protection under law. Americans inherently reject elitism and discrimination in favor of opportunity.” Cooley Press Release
This comparison to law school rankings balances tenuously on the verge of absolutely crazy. To relate systems of ethnic oppression to a ranking system that is grounded on merit is utterly shameless. Further, it is offensive to people facing discrimination and to those with the ability to think rationally. The mentality that Cooley openly advertises is anti-intellectual and fraudulent in nature. A perfect moment to try out my new labeling system, “Thomas Cooley Law School is the rubbish bin of academia.”
I worry not only about the students being deceived, but rather that this atmosphere will inevitably impact clients. The ABA should take a look at this practice because I doubt is isolated within Cooley. It is not just the single act of creating a fraudulent ranking system, but the environment that gave rise to it. If this is a symptomatic of a systemic failure, I think an in-depth inquiry is required by the ABA.
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Note: The comments section has filled with Cooley Apologists attempting to reconcile their attendance at Cooley via a colorful narrative. Please be weary that these individual stories are (1) totally unverified and (2) generally useless. I say the latter because it is a basic logical fallacy to cite to a specific example and make claims regarding the group – i.e. if John Boehner can pull himself up by his bootstraps and become a millionaire and speaker of the house, surely everyone can. Accordingly, some Cooley students will be successful, but on the aggregate the numbers across the board look comparatively awful. Attending Cooley with the idea of becoming a Slumdog Millionaire is totally foolish. Cooley people, please stop filling up the comment section with your inane and unverified personal stories. 6/30/2011