Despite being retired for ten years the founder of the Thomas M. Cooley law school that prides itself on "ethics" still commands a hearty salary of almost $400,000 per year for his work in __________? To be honest it is hard to pinpoint the work he performs to justify such a salary while spending his retirement years in sunny Florida discussing gays on his personal blog and publishing the controversial and misleading Cooley rankings proclaiming the school is the second best law school in the country after Harvard.

The author of this blog post provides a thought-provoking analysis of such a scheme and you cannot help but wonder whether the founder's salary is funded through the $36,750 in yearly tuition Cooley's 4000+ students pay a year and how they must feel about the likely proposition that they each personally subsidize his lavish living on $400,000 a year through their outrageous tuition prices to enjoy his retirement in Florida while these tuition dollars are adding NO VISIBLE VALUE to their degree, educational experience, or employment prospects offered through their "non-profit" school besides the ridicule associated with the Cooley rankings.

It seems as though the school feels that the founder of the Cooley gravy train deserves to be compensated at such a high level instead of cutting skyrocketing tuition costs for its indentured students while they face the likelihood of being employed for $50,000 a year in either the private or public sector (if they are lucky enough to be employed at all) after paying/incurring $150,000+ in tuition/non-dischargeable debt over three years to attend the school. I highly encourage you read this post.
"Remember the Thomas M. Cooley law school? The school, generally considered a 4th tier bottom of the barrel law school, made some news last month by suing some anonymous critics, who appeared to be unhappy former students blogging about the school. The school has also been sued for apparent misleading employment stats. Of course, somewhat related to all of this is the ridiculously laughable attempt by Thomas Cooley to hide its poor reputation by creating its own ranking system that puts itself as the number 2 law school in the country. "

"Anyway, the lawyer representing Cooley, Michael Coakley, who attended the (according to Cooley itself) far inferior law school of the University of Michigan, apparently decided to take some questionable steps in identifying one of the bloggers...."

See the Full Article: Lawyers For Thomas Cooley Law School Skirt Legal & Ethical Questions In Uncovering Anonymous Blogger They're Suing
"Representatives at three large Tampa area law firms, requesting to speak without attribution, said they have no Cooley graduates and consider it a school that admits just about any applicant."

Tampa Bay Business Journal
In addition to the numerous constitutional lawyers, electronic freedom fighters, consumer advocacy and human rights groups, and media organizations that have condemned Thomas M. Cooley's lawsuits against bloggers and internet commentators and stood up in support of this very blog now comes a law professor (from a REAL law school) calling out Cooley for its unethical abuse of the same legal system it hypocritically attempts to "teach" to its students along with knowledge, skills, and ethics (LULZ). In response to a commentator who references this blog and points out the absurdity and baseless nature of Cooley's "lawsuit", ironically pointing that Cooley will likely be responsible for creating Michigan law on anonymity (on the wrong end of the law, of course), the most honest law professor in the industry, Paul Campos of Inside the Law School Scam, responds by branding Cooley's claims as a SLAPP. The word SLAPP and Cooley are becoming synonymous, it seems.

For More Click Below:
Here is another piece that picked up on Cooley's frivolous SLAPPs ( against internet bloggers that slipped through my radar a few months back. Link is below the excerpts.

"Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a bit like the hunt for the alleged strawberry miscreant in "Caine Mutiny," is relentlessly pursuing once-anonymous blogger [Rockstar05] who had been critical of it.  This seems incongruous for an institution of professional learning."

"But, in terms of the law school, the stakes are sky-high for the credibility and marketability of it as a law school.  This pursuit of the alleged miscreant can turn him into a digital folk hero. The school would come across, at best, as thin-skinned.  At worst, it could be perceived as engaging in a complex scheme to conceal accurate information about its admissions policies, job placement record, and the compensation its JDs receive."

For More See:
Here is a fine piece linked below exposing Cooley for its shameless abuse of the legal system and blatant disregard of the First Amendment it hypocritically purports to "teach" its students as a law school. Perhaps that is why Cooley students are some of the worst in the country at passing the bar and fare even worse in terms of finding employment. Adding insult to injury is the measly $49,000 per year a Cooley Law grad can command in private practice as the most lucrative job market after dumping $165,000+ on a toilet Cooley degree for those who do manage to find employment. Check out the link below.

"What can we say about a law school, whose purpose is to train future lawyers, that doesn't believe in the fundamental right of freedom of speech under the First Amendment?

Such is the case with the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which is suing a blogger critical of it under a frivolous claim of defamation, which can best be described as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit intended to intimidate free speech."

Continue reading on Legal hypocrisy gets extreme - Detroit national politics |

The Michigan Press Association, Gannett Company, Inc., Scripps Media, Inc. (as owner and operator of WXYZ-TV in Detroit), the Detroit News, Inc., The Macomb Daily, and The Rail joined the Public Citizen in Michigan Appeals Court filing an amicus brief supporting the position that the Thomas M. Cooley Law School should not be entitled to proceed with their frivolous claims and should be subjected to scrutiny under the widely accepted constitutional Dendrite standard. Gannet Company is the largest U.S. newspaper publisher as measured by total daily circulation. Its assets include the national newspaper USA Today and the weekly USA Weekend. The Detroit News is one of the two largest newspapers in Detroit.

Michigan Press Association Amicus Brief and Public Citizen Brief:
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Now here is a stunner. In their further attempts to police the internet, the Cooley administration seems to have abandoned their pricey PR trolls (err, I mean team) in favor of sending out the Deans themselves to various internet forums to "defend" the "Cooley Law proposition" using flawed logic that a 5th grader could see through and SURPRISE SURPRISE, more misleading information! I assume this is their reaction to the overwhelming and abundant criticisms directed toward the school by the internet community and the vast and ever-growing body of information that prospective students have access to at the click of a Google search (seriously, check the is NOT pretty). 

Last I heard, the Deans of multiple Cooley campuses are actually REPLYING on comment threads on the link at the bottom of this page. Needless to say, when someone points out the faulty logic, circular and elementary Cooley reasoning, and other gaping holes in their propaganda, they just choose to ignore it. Apparently they have better things to do than actually TEACHING somebody something- marketing and recruitment OF COURSE!! After all, the resources at Cooley are already being efficiently utilized to make sure this is a top rate school, its students are prepared for the bar and the legal profession, and that they find lucrative and rewarding employment (??!!!!) . Check out the Cooley rankings where where Cooley ranks itself as the second best law school in the country according to objective data despite ranking itself 181 out of 193 law school in terms of percentage of graduates employed, 191 out of 193 law schools in terms of student-faculty ratio, and 160 out of 193 schools ranked in bar passage rates ( page 395/424). When the Dean's are simply front-liners trying to sell you the Cooley law proposition with no accountability for the end result (read: six digits of debt and no employment), it is not a surprise they are focusing their time, efforts, and resources on keeping enrollment up and not on what on the fate of their students or the legal profession will be three years down the line.

Perhaps they feel threatened their lucrative positions as law school Deans are at stake. After all Cooley made $271,139,283 in 2009 (, that's two hundred seventy one million dollars one hundred and thirty nine thousand two hundred and eighty three dollars- which they apparently are not content with.  Either way, Cooley Deans can add one more role to their positions, "Actively surveying and monitoring the internet for negative reports regarding Cooley Law School and countering it with meaningless and intellectually insulting propaganda in an attempt to maximize incentive compensation by increasing student enrollment and retention." The RETIRED FOUNDER of Cooley, Thomas E. Brennan even went out his way to comment on this article to defend Cooley. Perhaps now he can justify why he gets paid $368,581 (Page 39- year to otherwise literally DO NOTHING in his position as "Professor Emeritus" (

My next piece will be titled "Dissecting Cooley Logic", where I tear apart what these Deans (read morally bankrupt and unethical shills) set forth as facts, their misrepresentations, and misleading, self-serving propaganda. Stay tuned.
For the truncated version:

What was your initial reaction when you learned that you were being sued?
Did you ever think that you might be sued as a result?

Absolutely not. Initially I was almost certain it was a Cooley defender attempting to play
a prank on me. My blog seemed to attract mostly bitter Cooley students angry
about anyone speaking ill of their school despite not being able to identify
anything false or inaccurate in my blog post. However, when I went on the
Internet to find Cooley proudly and prominently displaying news of their
lawsuits on their website I was just kind of shocked.

My website was confined to numerous links for the factual material and I added some
of my personal experiences, opinions, and a fair amount of biting commentary. I
did not ever contemplate that my blog would be the subject of a lawsuit, or that
anything contained in it would be alleged to be “defamatory”.  

I found it interesting that Cooley’s same PR team decided to leave out the
breaking news of it being sued later the same summer (August 2011) in a class
action lawsuit for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business
practices for $250,000,000 by Cooley grads.

Why did you start the Cooley scam blog to begin with? What did you hope
to achieve?

I decided to create the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Scam blog after Cooley issued
a press release this past February 2011 claiming they were the the second best law school
in the United States of America (out of 193 ranked law schools), right after Harvard,
according to “objective criteria” and a seemingly impartial ranking system called
“Judging the Law Schools.”

I dug a bit deeper and found a few flaws within their very own ranking system: 

For example, the ranking system EQUALLY WEIGHTS traditional indicators of a law
schools performance, namely, its mediocre employment rate (#181st),
student faculty ratio (#190), and first-time bar passage rate
(#160th) with less traditional and measures less indicative of
success that impact one’s decision to attend a law school which includes but is
not limited to the availability of library chairs at the institutions four
campus libraries (#2), total faculty (#2), and total law school enrolment
(#1). Furthermore, their entire ranking system consisting of 40 indicators has
10 indicators -25% of the entire ranking- solely devoted to library size factors. 

Cooley clearly uses its self-published rankings as a shameless marketing tool where
any large institution with four campuses (which is virtually unheard of for a
law school) would be inclined to score better comparatively. I was motivated by
their intellectually dishonest rankings and manipulative, shameless, and
deceptive marketing campaign to recruit students which I believe is extremely
misleading and may potentially be interpreted by some prospective students as a
legitimate alternative ranking system to other more credible rankings, such as
the US News.

I also felt that Cooley’s press releases served as little more than propaganda and
distorted the bitter reality that Cooley is more well-known as a degree mill,
and a school of last resort which has one of the worst reputations and one of
the most dubious distinctions in the legal community. The Cooley brand is well
known for the irreparable stigma it carries, and with the filing of these SLAPP
suits as a reckless abuse of the legal system it is unlikely that their 
reputation as a legal institution can fall much lower. 
It is with this sense of duty I created my blog site so that prospective students
would be able to access the information that Cooley does not publish on their
website so that prospective students can make more INFORMED DECISIONS prior to
deciding what is likely to be their biggest financial commitment in their
lives.  The blog was to serve a strong “Buyer Beware”message to students
considering Cooley as an option for law school.

My underlying concerns were that ambitious students leverage their entire futures
to attend law schools including their financial stability in the pursuit of a
‘higher education’. The value of these life-altering decisions is extremely
questionable in the lower-tiered schools. The decision to attend law school can
affect one’s entire life, including their ability to buy homes, get married,
and start families. A J.D. is one of the most grossly overpriced products on
the American market. I personally believe students should be able to make
informed decisions and have access to information and biting critiques
rearding the prudency of a law school investment given the state of the
current legal job market. Especially when incurring hundreds of thousands of
NON-DISCHARGEABLE DEBT.  I felt that if I could even influence one
person’s decision whether or not to attend law school or whether to attend Cooley
then my time and effort in developing my site would be worthwhile. 

People have a right to access information- if Cooley can launch their marketing
propaganda non-stop and parade around proclaiming themselves as the 2nd best law
school in the country then why can I not provide a hard hitting critique and
assessment of the value of a Cooley degree and their unethical, misleading, and
deceptive business practices?

Why did you decide to fight the suit, rather than submit to the initial
demands that Cooley was making?

To me there was never really a choice in the first place. If they were to e-mail me
prior to filing the lawsuit or identify anything they considered to be
defamatory I would have gladly removed the material if I agreed. If they
threatened legal action, I would have complied despite my personal disagreement
with their allegations. No one enjoys a lawsuit, and given that I do not have
the time, or financial resources to defend my rights I would have reluctantly
acquiesced and deleted the site.

Here they never contacted me at all until the day after they filed and publicized the
lawsuit. I immediately offered to delete the website if they would drop the
lawsuit, allowing me to carry on with my life and 3L studies at my new law
school. They seemed less interested in me deleting the website or removing
anything that was potentially “defamatory” than they were in my identity. They
declined my offer and demanded my identity immediately, stating that if I gave
it to them right away they would “consider” a non-monetary settlement. I
perceived the communication as somewhat hostile, strategic, and a bullying
tactic, so I decided to “lawyer-up”. After I retained an attorney, my attorney
also communicated that I would be willing to delete the website; instead their
lawyers refused and remained insistent on knowing who I am without putting
anything concrete on the table.

They have claimed that your blog includes defamatory statements. What is
your response to that charge?

There is nothing defamatory in my blog post. In fact, if you view the Complaint itself
you will see that they have pieced together different parts of my blog, taken
things out of context, manipulated my statements, and filled in a lot of their
own words in order to put forth a facially non-frivolous lawsuit. The claims are
really weak.  They allege thatI refer to them as a “multi-million dollar business”, well first
I don’t quite understand how being called a business is defamatory. Second, by means of
their second charge in their complaint they concede they are a business by alleging I
have intentionally interfered with BUSINESS relations. Third, their own 2009
IRS Form 990 which is open to public inspection proves they are a multi-million
dollar business with gross receipts totaling $271,139,283. Do you see how
profitable it is to be a law school? It seems Cooley has literally attempted to
piece together a claim by attempting to plant non-defamatory factual statements
I made and intersperse it with my opinion and their self-created statements
distorting and intentionally manipulating certain things in my blog post in
order to file a claim against me. 

In my opinion, holding yourself out to the general public and prospective students
as the second best law school in the country especially when your bar passage
rates are in the bottom 25% of schools after taking into account that they fail
out over 25% of the weaker students in their entering classes which inflates
their bar passage rates to begin with, and that the Cooley employment rate is
one of the worst in the country is providing false and misleading information in
order to attract and retain consumers.

Clearly, Cooley is trying to police the internet. Cooley seems angry over my critique of
their school and calling them out for their questionable practices and seems
intent on harassing me with lawsuits. If I proclaimed to the world that I was
the second best at anything in America I would expect that I would be inviting
a fair amount of criticism in my direction unless I had formally been honored
with a silver medal in that category. Cooley is a public figure; they hold
themselves out to the public as the biggest law school in America, and as the
second best legal institution- is this any way to deal with some of your
inevitable critics?

I am guilty of nothing more than identifying the institutional hypocrisy evident
in Cooley’s business practices which involve millions of federally backed
student loan dollars using publicly available information which includes data
from the ABA, the US News, the Cooley website, and other sources which are all
referenced within the original blog post.

This appears to be little more than a textbook SLAPP suit which is intended to
intimidate free speech and amounts to a severe abuse of the legal system and
legal process. This leads me to believe that Cooley does not in fact truly
believe in the very first amendment it teaches. Any prospective student should
be wary of such a hypocritical school. Cooley then proceeds to openly boast
about integrity and ethics at the core of its institution of higher learning. In
my opinion, Cooley is likely the most unethical law school business in
existence, lacking any sense of institutional integrity

How concerned are you about being unmasked at this point? What are your
biggest concerns about having your named revealed?

I am pretty sure I am doing the right thing here. These lawsuits have been
universally derided in the legal community and have angered human rights
organizations and first amendment lawyers across the country. Public Citizen has
already intervened as Amicus delivering a strong message that under the
balancing test put forth under the Dendrite Rule the balance sharply tips in
favor of non-disclosure of my identity given how weak Cooley’s claims are,
stating that Cooley has not proved anything is defamatory or that they can
prevail on their claims.

I’m sure that no one would like to be publicly identified with a lawsuit due to the
stigma associated with it. Now this is a civil case, but in criminal cases I am
sure everyone is aware of the bias when one hears that an individual has been
charged of a crime. There is an immediate presumption towards a defendants
culpability that comes to mind despite the ideal that a defendant is innocent
until proven guilty.

I have had a lot of people reach out to me and offer me support. I’d like to think
I am fighting the good fight. If my name does get revealed I just hope that the
majority of people are able or willing to dig and read between the lines (as so
few are) and see this for what it is- a frivolous lawsuit filed to harass a
critic, which is the definition of a SLAPP suit. When they do a bit of research
and realize that what I’m saying is the truth, I would hope that they too voice
their outrage over Cooley and perhaps down the line there will be more scrutiny
of Cooley by Consumer Protection agencies or the ABA.

How has the suit impacted your life?

As a 3L law student who works 20 hours a week, attends classes full-time, and is
working toward another professional designation simultaneously while preparing
to write the bar exam in the upcoming months this has all been a bit
overwhelming. Many 3L students do not budget in the time commitments, effort, or
emotional investment required in being harassed by lawsuits into their normal
work load. Thankfully my attorney has been sympathetic to my financial
situation; otherwise I would be facing additional crushing financial burdens
that are some of the additional intended goals of such SLAPP

I can’t say I enjoy squaring off against a law school with a seemingly endless
supply of financial resources, artillery of lawyers, and a full PR team. I’m
sure that no one would enjoy fighting Goliath as a tiny David. As I mentioned I
have several personal and professional commitments which remain my priorities
and so the lawsuit remains a hassle. I preferred life without lawsuits, but if
this lawsuit can in any way increase the spotlight on Cooley’s questionable and
unethical business practices, help reform law school reporting in general, or
inform potential Cooley students of the bigger picture surrounding the Cooley
Law School proposition on a larger platform, I would feel that something good
has come of all this.

Do you regret starting the blog?

Not at all. I truly believe that I was performing a public service.

In what world does it make any financial or economic sense to invest $150,000+ and
three years of your life into a Cooley degree which (generously) lists their
entering private sector salary at $51,000 and an employment rate that ranks
181/193 other law schools in the country? Keep in mind that these figures do not
take into account the actual response rate of graduating classes, whether the
employment reported requires a J.D., and that generally unemployed or
underemployed individuals will be less likely to report unemployment or
mediocre wages/employment. 

Law school is now a billion dollar industry with loose reporting standards in dire
need of reform in terms of greater transparency in reporting. Student loan debt
has now surpassed revolving debt (mostly credit cards) in the United States of
America. Given the financial dollar amounts at stake I would go as far as to
suggest that there needs to be SEC-type regulation of law school reporting.
Surely there would be an outrage if financial statements by publicly traded
companies were fudged. What about law school individual investors who invest
hundreds of thousands of federally backed loan funds into these law schools? I
personally believe Cooley is one of the biggest

There lies a deep humanitarian crisis in the corporatization of law schools. It is
completely unethical for law schools (again, specifically Cooley as the biggest
offender) to continue getting richer off of indentured students using federally
backed student loan dollars who have done nothing wrong besides pursuing higher
education in hopes of achieving their ambitions and goals and leading a
rewarding, fulfilling, and financially secure life with little regard to the
employment prospects or future financial well-being of your

The average starting salary for entering attorneys has deteriorated markedly each
year since the recession due to a poor job market and the continuing oversupply
of attorneys. Some numbers estimate the average salary for a starting attorney
position is now around $70,000- keep in mind that outliers from HYS  may
still command those lucrative $160,000/year salaries that television shows
glamorize and can significantly distort the average. Despite the poor outlook
for law school graduates the ABA continues to accredit new schools each year and
institutions such as Cooley continue to increase enrolment, expand their
operations, and increase tuition each year despite a contracting job market.
Further, much of the legal job market has been restructured to a temporary and
part-time legal job market.  I recall NALP statistics pegging the number of JD graduates
in 2009 around 44,000 for a total of 27,500 jobs requiring a JD, further, the 27,500 jobs are not
necessarily attorney positions (simply JD required) and do not take into account
temporary or part-time legal employment.  

Furthermore, clarity and transparency into Cooley’s PR propaganda is of public concern.
Providing clarity and transparency into what Cooley projects in attracting the
largest student body in America is very critical for law school consumers and
on a larger scale society in general given the oversaturation of the legal job
market and impending “bubble burst” with respect to higher education, which is
strongly driven by law schools. Law schools are deceiving students, but are also
abusing taxpayers through taking advantage of federally backed funds that many
law school graduates may not be able to afford to repay. In the end, society
will be hurt the most. I felt certain things needed to be said in the interests
of society’s welfare and felt morally and ethically obligated to take a stand.
It is with this sense of moral duty and altruistic ideals I created my blog
site. However, by being inspired and taking the initiative to voice my concerns
I have become the target of Cooley’s abuse. 

There are a lot of people who have anonymous blogs that are critical of
law schools. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for them?

My advice would be to responsibly continue in what you believe in and advocate for
change. There needs to be freedom of information. The whole idea behind lawsuits
of this nature is to intimidate, frighten, and silence free speech. It is a
SLAPP-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It is by its very nature
designed to silence criticism and free speech and discouraging public
participation by instilling fear of being sued and the burdens associated with
it. The whole goal is to crush the opposition no matter what the underlying
merits of the suit. They will harass you, intimidate you, and burden you in any
way, shape, or form. It may be emotionally, mentally, and financially taxing. I
am presently a victim of such a suit, and let me tell you, it is not an
experience I would recommend to others. 

However, I do believe that very few law schools, if any, would engage in such an abuse of
the legal system. Many reputable organizations would find it better to simply
ignore and dismiss any criticisms from a blogger. Indeed litigating these
matters is a very questionable tactic. It also has the unintended effect of
inviting more publicity onto what was considered “defamatory” in the first
place, which is known as the Striesand Effect, which I’m hoping in light of new
developments will be renamed to the Cooley Effect in honor of Cooley’s

Law schools are currently getting sued all over the country- there is merit to what the
anonymous bloggers are saying. Schools are beginning to be reprimanded (lightly)
after determining that they have fudged numbers in the past, the US News has announced
tighter reporting requirements from law schools beginning next year due to the continuing
pressure and criticisms. But Cooley is the ONLY law school that has gone out 
and pre-emptively sued its critics….it is also the only law school with five
campuses spanning two states…it is also the only law school that issues
inherently flawed press releases claiming the legal profession has strong
employment rates and remains a good investment….all this while having one of the
worst employment and bar passage rates amongst law schools and by the same
breath declaring itself the second best law school in the country (next to
Harvard)…catch my drift?

My ultimate advice is to do your research, exercise your right to free speech,
continue being critical on matters of public concern, and remember that
consumers have a right to access information. In other words: rock on.
First Amendment Attorney Marc Randazza recently published a blog post that called Cooley a "toilet law school" which had filed a "feces defamation suit".

Here are some entertaining excerpts:

"Cooley truly is on a level all its own in embodying all that is wrong with 
legal education. At the very beginning of its Complaint, Cooley brags about 
having the largest enrollment and four campuses, as if this is a mark of 
accomplishment. Harvard and Georgetown have large law school enrollments – but 
they also send many of their students, and likely the preponderance of them, 
onto gainful employment – or employment period."

"Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a standalone punchline within the legal profession.
I’m familiar with its absurdly large class sizes, its questionable practice of culling the bottom 
few percent of its students each year to ensure high enough bar passage rates
to  maintain its tenuous grasp on ABA accreditation, and its bizarre
self-ranking  system that places an inordinate emphasis on library seating capacity."

"If someone is accusing your nationally mocked law school of
being a  scam, perhaps bringing a lawsuit over such allegations isn’t the best
way to  disprove them."

"This lawsuit is a heinous crime against free
expression.  May an even worse pox than the one currently afflicting it befall
that  institution for turning the courts into an instrument to beat down free
speech  and censor the reality that everyone – including many jobless and
hopeless  Cooley alumni – knows to be true: Cooley sucks."

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