Law school's name change OK'd

The Florida Commission on Independent Education (FCIE) has approved Thomas M. Cooley Law School's request to changes its institutional name to Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School (WMU-Cooley).

Earlier this year, an affiliation agreement between Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University (WMU) earned approvals by the Higher Learning Commission and the American Bar Association (ABA), and led to the name change at the law school's Michigan campuses. FCIE approval makes way for the name change at the school's Florida campus, located in Riverview.

In 2013, the agreement won the approval of both schools' governing boards. The affiliation 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.

"Recently the ABA began encouraging independent law schools like ours, one of 21 such schools in the United States, to develop working relationships with other educational entities in order to provide the benefits of being affiliated with a university," said Don LeDuc, WMU-Cooley president and dean. "WMU is the right choice for Cooley because of the similarities of our missions, operating philosophies, academic programs, and student bodies."

The affiliation agreement builds on a decade-long relationship between the two schools that includes three existing graduate dual-degree programs: 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.

In May 2012, WMU-Cooley opened its campus in Riverview at 9445 Camden Field Parkway. The campus offers morning, afternoon and evening classes, and has 448 students.

Published: Tue, Nov 04, 2014