Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cooley Law School instituting a "Financial Management Plan"

Normally I do not like posting until a day or two after a previous post (and I haven't made a post in a while, as I am studying for the bar), but this is the time for an exception.

Everyone has theories on which bottom-feeding law school will be the first domino to fall.  Some have pointed to Indiana Tech.

This post isn't about that domino falling, unfortunately, but it could be bigger than the flop of Indiana Tech.  Without further ado, visit the following link at the Thomas M Cooley Law School web page:

Cooley Announcement



Quick summary: the law school is suffering financially and enrollment is continuing to decline, so the law school will be "reinventing" itself by firing faculty and staff, and review all programs, campuses, and expenses.

The date of the posting is yesterday: July 1.

It appears that something more might be going around behind the scenes, however.  Above the Law is reporting that what was originally posted had this (and at the time of me posting this I do not believe that ATL has updated that Cooley has edited their original announcement):
As part of the plan, Cooley will also hold off enrolling incoming first-term students at the Ann Arbor campus for fall 2014, though all currently enrolled Ann Arbor students will continue to be able to pursue the school’s full curriculum.
Visiting Cooley's announcement page now, it appears that any mention of the incoming class at Ann Arbor has been scrubbed.  What does this mean?

Let's take in the big picture for a second.  Looking at the full-time 1L enrollment numbers at Law School Transparency, Cooley has been experiencing massive drops since Fall 2010.  582 in Fall 2013 (though 582 too many), which is down . . . wait for it . . . 1,000 since Fall 2010!

We know that Cooley has multiple campuses, five, in fact, with four in Michigan and one in Florida.  One thing that you might not know about Cooley is that the vast majority of its students are part-time.  Thus, they are only being hit with $26,000 a year, instead of over $40,000.  So Cooley makes less in student loans per year than one might assume, but the students are hooked in for a longer period of time.

I think the most obvious course of action will be to sell off a couple of the campuses in Michigan.  Fire the faculty and staff at the closing campuses.  Shunt the incoming students to the other campuses.  Continue to raise tuition by an average of 10% a year, while claiming to "work to keep tuition as low as possible."

Thus, if you have your "Cooley Board of Directors" hat on, it seems like there are two likely scenarios for the incoming 1L class at the Ann Arbor campus: they will either enroll there, or they will enroll at another one of Cooley's Michigan campuses.

Finally, I would provide more staff to Laura Leduc, the Dean and President's daughter, who made over $100,00 a year as "Director of Planning," in 2011.  pg. 42.  She will need additional staff in order to oversee the sweeping changes that the Board will be implementing, as she has since been promoted to Associate Dean of Planning, Assessment, and Accreditation.

Rest assured, we'll keep an eye on the "Financial Management Plan" that the Cooley Board of Directors implements.  If they follow my plan, I expect a juicy tenure-track position to be made available to me at the "flagship" Lansing campus.


30 comments:

  1. This news is quite upsetting to me as the innocent individual on the left of the linked picture below will be unemployed:

    http://www.cooley.edu/_images/news/2010/cooley_stadium.jpg

    I hope Dean Leduc had the decency to give Luggie the Lugnut a decent severance package.

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  2. Is Laura Leduc related to dean Don Leduc?

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    1. Yes. I stumbled across that little tidbit when I went and re-read your post on Dean/President Leduc and visited the 2011 Guidestar page as research for this post. Laura Leduc was listed under "Business Transactions involving interested persons." http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/381/988/2011-381988915-086a2bd1-9.pdf

      Fun additional fact: Judge Brennan was paid over $300,000 in 2011 to work 5 hours a week on average.

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    2. Oh, yes, they're related. Baby and Daddy, to be precise. Reminds me of my own law school, where I counted EIGHT pairs that were spouses or parent and child.

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  3. Let us not forget, Cooley has at least 89 million dollars in bond debt rated junk at BBB!

    DIE MOTHER&^%$#@#!#S!!

    ...when the federal government is dealing with large "educational" entities going bankrupt every other day, leaving the federal government on the hook for every dollar of federal student loans originated to said institutions' students who were unable to complete a degree (the Closed School Discharge), the Higher Education Act will change.

    The federal government should not be allowing students to borrow money to attend insolvent higher educational institutions. And oh so many law schools are insolvent.

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  4. Finally !!

    I view these blogs each day in hopes that a law school WILL actually close. It seems that we're finally getting to the point where a bunch of them will close.

    As for the students who will suddenly find themselves without a school to attend, how much you want to bet that another toilet will gobble them up? I'm quite certain that if Cooley does close, some other TTT will offer them the opportunity to continue with their JD.

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    1. Fox News reported that Acting Dean Andre Douglas Pond Cummings of Indiana Tech Law School was spotted tonight at an Ann Arbor hip-hop club. I think he senses an opportunity here... :-)

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    2. Um, lose the caps you bigoted fool! It's andre douglas pond asshat.

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  5. a shout out to this blog, and to campos, and to nando and to scotty and to Tom the Temp...a big villain has fallen today, and we did it!

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    1. Don't be ridiculous. This blog didn't do anything. The economy sucks. Cooley's at the bottom of the food chain. It was going under no matter what. I hate to disillusion you because I know that a sense of personal accomplishment is hard to find in Mom's Basement, but a bunch of poorly-written posts by losers who would have failed at anything they attempted wasn't what brought Cooley down.

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    2. If this blog is of so little importance, why do you visit it and take the time to insult it?

      Thank you to the scambloggers, who ARE making a difference. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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    3. @7:50, so much anger. I got out of LS 30 years ago and have done reasonably well. But I support the scamblog movement because I am seeing these kids who have crippling debt trying to make it in a world where there simply isn't enough legal work for half of them to do. I am also seeing damned near fifty new ABA-accredited law schools that opened since I graduated, all poring unneeded lawyers into a grossly over-saturated market.

      And your analysis is deeply flawed. In past economic downturns law school enrollment tended to go up, as people looked for a way to "ride out" a recession and pick up some marketability. Now the opposite is true - applications and enrollments are dropping in a bad economy, as are revenues as increasingly desperate schools offer bigger and bigger discounts passed off as "scholarships." Most importantly, the average LSAT score of people going to law school is falling - the smart money is getting out. Remember, Cooley survived past recessions and still managed to survive and expand.

      The scamblogs didn't do it all themselves but they brought something to the party. Without the scamblogs prospective lemmings would have little to go on beyond the schools' ginned-up employment statistics.

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  6. Today is July 2. Scores of people already admitted to Cooley's Ann Arbor campus (which should call itself Cooley | Ann Arbor, in the funky-ass style of one toilet in Massachusetts) are now being sent away. That's manna from heaven for them.

    But most of them won't see it that way. Some of them may have quit jobs in order to go to Cooley. Some may already have made commitments for housing in Ann Arbor. Some may even have moved to Ann Arbor in preparation for a first year that now is not going to happen. Many must have turned other schools down in order to accept Cooley's offer. Now the rug is being yanked out from under these people about two months before their first year of law skule was supposed to start.

    I don't know the terms of their contract with Cooley, but I'm willing to bet that Cooley is in breach. What is Cooley going to do for them? Probably not much more than offering to let them transfer to another Cooley toilet-campus. Perhaps Daddy's new ASSistant dean of whatever will throw in a coupon good for a 5% discount on a sweatshirt or a pair of boxer shorts embroidered with Cooley's esteemed logo.

    I have some advice: 1) Don't go to law school. 2) Consider suing Cooley.

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    1. Many must have turned other schools down in order to accept Cooley's offer?

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    2. Indiana Tech, Valpo, various unaccredited skules…

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  7. The first domino wobbles.

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  8. I was the one who predicted, several months ago in a comment on this very blog, that Ann Arbor would be the first Cooley campus to close!!

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  9. You mean they never had a financial management plan before July 1, 2014? They just charged whatever they wanted and spent the money however they wanted?

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  10. As I made clear in my post, Cooley has scrubbed the announcement of any mention of Ann Arbor, so we can't count our chickens before they hatch.

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    1. Yes, we can count those chickens. They may have scrubbed the announcement, but the word is already out. How can they possibly keep Ann Arbor going now that they've announced that they're cutting out the entire entering class just two months before classes were supposed to start? (As I said above, they've probably breached their contract with the people who had already accepted their offer of admission.) Even if they back down now, everyone will know that they were prepared to shaft the entering class—and that the Ann Arbor campus, if not all of Cooley, is in dire straits. Who would apply next year?

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    2. "(As I said above, they've probably breached their contract with the people who had already accepted their offer of admission."

      My $20 would be on the fine print allowing Cooley to 'transfer/cross-admit' or whatever to another campus. They'd still be admitted; just to a campus an hour further away.

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  11. My guess is that Cooley will actually close the Ann Arbor campus next year. They're probably trying to hang-on as long as they can to service their current student population, thus avoiding a lawsuit from current students that had their school suddenly disappear.

    HOWEVER, this news can't be good for Cooley's next admission cycle. The class size for the 1st years starting in 2015 will be microscopic.

    So I predict 2015 will be the year we've been waiting for. In 2015 we'll start to see actual closures of law school toilet. Plus, admissions will continue to decline.

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    1. To flush out the current students, they'll need to keep the Ann Arbor campus open for two more years. So it probably won't be wound up before 2016, unless Cooley forces its students to move to one of the other illustrious campuses.

      I predict that Cooley's announcement will be just the excuse that other law skules need to announce their own closure (which may be disguised as merger or acquisition or something else along those lines).

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  12. It's interesting that the Ann Arbor campus is the former home of Ave Maria Law School. As in, get your JD in half an hour or it's free.

    I think the Cooley bondholders will have a very nice law school facility on their hands in the near future, and this could be an opportunity to start the new, non-scam law school envisioned in the "Socratic Method" thread.

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    1. Ave Maria?

      Ora pro nobis et in hora mortis nostrae. (Pray for us even in the hour of our death.)

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  13. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore.

    We will be united in our common interests.

    Perhaps it's fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution -- but from annihilation.

    We're fighting for our right to live, to exist.

    And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:

    "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!"

    Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

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  14. From the announcement:

    "Cooley Law School’s enrollment and revenue have continued to decline while >>>>health care and legacy costs<<<< continue to rise."

    Healthcare and legacy costs: gold-plated benefits packages for current professors, and platinum-plated benefits for retired professors. For healthcare costs and legacy costs to be so prominently mentioned in the news release, could there be the faintest possibility that the school is basically saying, "Look, we tried to negotiate with the retired professors and current professors but they didn't want to give even an inch when it came to their hugely-expensive salary/health/retirement packages."

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    1. Well, they're not going to negotiate anything with the retired professors. But, yes, that's what it means.

      I suppose that "legacy costs" also includes the hiring and promotion of the dean's daughter.

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    2. Well, here is where the independent law schools have an advantage in negotiations. The safest bet is to work at a law school that is part of a state university. In that case your pension is guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the state government. If your school is part of a university they'll just have to pass the legacy costs on to undergrads, post graduates and students in other professional schools. But when VLS, Cooley and other "indies" file for bankruptcy the pension liabilities, at least the unfunded ones, are going to be on the table.

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  15. Imagining The Open ToadJuly 6, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Should do a post on the 6Cir smack of Cooley in their defamation suit. In addition, I have trouble believing Strauss didn't know (more precisely) how to seek sanctions separately, so I assume he had some reason for only getting it on the record but not properly seeking them. Or maybe by this point he knew he couldn't lose and just had better things to deal with.

    Still, would have been nice icing on the cake to see Cooley having to pay sanction $$ here, too. Too bad.

    http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/14a0139p-06.pdf

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