Cooley Law School and Olivet College establish partnership

Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Olivet College Establish Partnership to make Lansing Region a National Leader in the Insurance Industry

By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

On February 17th in the Insurance Capital Board Room of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Don LeDuc, President and Dean of Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Don Tuski, President of Olivet College, signed an agreement that will join Olivet College's risk management and insurance program with Thomas M. Cooley's Juris Doctor and Master of Law programs, creating the second such educational program in the nation.

The agreement unites "two schools that already share the common philosophy embodied in Olivet's Compact emphasizing individual and social responsibility and Cooley's emphasis on professionalism," said Don LeDuc, President and Dean of Cooley Law School. "Our goal is simple, to make Michigan and Lansing national leaders in the insurance industry, a goal shared by the Lansing Regional Chamber and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership."

"This new partnership will further strengthen Olivet College's position along with Cooley Law School as national leaders in insurance education, said Don Tuski, President of Olivet College. "Furthermore, Lansing can now be known as not only the home of top insurance companies, but top insurance schools.

In addition to the educational programs covered under the agreement signed today, the two schools also committed to considering creation of additional joint bachelor's/juris doctor programs in the insurance area, and opened the possibility of establishing a paralegal program with an insurance emphasis.

"This landmark agreement between Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Olivet College is a significant step forward in our community-wide efforts to make Lansing the Insurance Capital of Michigan," said Tim Daman, President and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. "The insurance industry is a key component of our region's ability to successfully compete in the knowledge-based economy of tomorrow, and now we have the educational support to further development of the workforce needed to make that happen."

The insurance industry has become an enormous economic force in the Lansing region. Insurance companies are responsible for close to 8,000 jobs in the region, and are expected to create another 1,300 jobs by 2014. Expansion projects are underway at Delta Dental, Jackson National Life and Accident Fund Insurance Company of America. Auto-Owners Insurance recently purchased 132 acres in Delta Township to accommodate future growth.

In addition to educational and workforce development programs needed to support growth in the insurance industry, LeDuc noted "the need to reform Michigan's statutory governance of the insurance industry to attract and retain insurance providers, reform Michigan's regulatory structure to remove unnecessary and costly regulations, reform Michigan's tax structure as it applies to the insurance industry, reduce delays and litigation in processing benefits claims by rewriting insurance contracts in Plain English and enhance the use of alternative dispute resolutions and provide objective and neutral information regarding the insurance industry."

Established in 1844, Olivet College is a private, liberal arts institution located in south central Michigan. The college remains dedicated to its academic vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility by providing a quality higher education to all, regardless of gender, race or financial means. The college is home to more than 1,100 students, who study under The Olivet Plan. Their risk management and insurance undergraduate program is ranked eighth largest in the nation, according to Business Insurance magazine, and one of 20 notable risk management education programs in the world, according to Risk Management magazine.

Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, the private, non-profit law school operates J.D. programs across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Today, Cooley Law School has nearly 14,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at

Published: Thu, Mar 11, 2010